Yesterday while at Borders I spent about 20 minutes flipping through a US News & World Report special issue about Islam. What I read was fairly informative. While I thought it neglected the conceptual differences between traditional Islamic notions of law and society and traditional Western notions, it was still a good read.
One thing that stuck me was the interviews with American Muslims (in describing themselves they used the phrase “Muslim-American” which annoys me intensely) was their descriptions of how 9-11 affected them. Granted I’m sure they interviewed dozens of people and they only chose a few, but they all had the same theme, largely that they were all self-consciously Muslim in their day to day life, whether in garb, associating with other Muslims, etc. One even went so far as to describe identification with a larger group as “uniquely American”. That also annoyed me intensely (this should be a country for individuals, groups are for the Balkans.). They were then surprised and offended when people began viewing them differently after 9-11. Put another way, they voluntarily profiled themselves before 9-11, but became offended when perception became negative.
There was also a section on Europe’s experience with Islam. The Theo van Gogh story is well known, but there was an article about Muslim immigrants not assimilating in Germany. The article also mentioned that the immigrant children are taught in Islamic schools. I don’t remember if the German taxpayers were on the hook for that or not. Not surprisingly this produces youth who have no interest in assimilating and I would imagine no economically viable skills, which is great if you’re trying to produce a permanent underclass, but beyond that it seem braindead. The slur mentioned in the title is “Pork Eaters” which is a derogatory term that the Muslim schoolchildren use for ethnic Germans.
I then come across this article in Reason
On April 30, American journalist Chris Crain became the victim of a hate crime in Amsterdam. While walking in the street holding hands with his partner, he was savagely beaten by seven men shouting antigay slurs. A few days later, Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Program at the Human Rights Watch, expressed some sympathy for the gay-bashers. Crain’s attackers were reportedly Moroccan immigrants.
“There’s still an extraordinary degree of racism in Dutch society,” Long opined to the gay news service PlanetOut. “Gays often become the victims of this when immigrants retaliate for the inequities that they have to suffer.”
Serap Cileli, a Turkish-German author and filmmaker who escaped an arranged marriage, told Der Spiegel that until recently, the German media refused to publish her accounts of her and other Turkish women’s experiences for fear of appearing “racist.”
Even feminists often balk at breaking the multicultural faith. A 2001 article in Labyrinth, a feminist philosophy journal, lamented that concerns about the oppression of women in the Third World could perpetuate “the stereotype that ‘brown’ men abuse ‘brown’ women more than white men” and cause “Third World” people to be perceived as “more barbaric” than Westerners.
Now beyond the implicit statistical errors in the above what does it say when everyone is so concerned about appearances and feelings over everything else. I’m reminded of the old Onion headline “ACLU defends Klan’s right to burn down ACLU headquarters”.