Saturday, February 11, 2006

So Here We Are....

First, a bit of background. I am
~Texan (native born as opposed to adopted)
~Middle of the road conservative (Somewhat liberal in regard to social/educational/personal concerns, usually conservative in terms of safety/finance/security)
~A Wife and mother (Three kids, all great, two in college one in high school)
~A Teacher (I teach high school art, including what I hope will be an AP Art History class next fall)
~Pet owner/Animal lover (I have five pets, all foundlings, including a rabbit, a chinchilla, a conure, a turtle and a wonderful Golden Retriever Mix known as Indy)
- Disclaimer-while I love pets to a ridiculous degree, I am not one of those disillusioned souls that confuse animals with people. Nor would I hurt others or damage private property in order to achieve misguided goals. In short, I'm not a big fan of PETA and their ilk.- On With The Pixie Hats
(with many apologies to Monty Python, et al.)
My opinion, and it is my own after reading far too many apologists on either side of the issue, is that we are headed to a very bad place internationally. I read a good deal of history. And the epithet "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it..." applies to current situations in the world. I make no claim as an authority on any religion, not even my own, but I do know that the concept of separation of church and state occurred for a very good reason, and that was by placing religion at the head of any nation, you end up with the minorities' beliefs being trampled and ignored. Ask ethnic Kurds how their lives were handled. Better yet, find out how Coptic Christians fair in the Middle East. Theocracy was singularly responsible for that period in time known as the Middle or Dark Ages. (not to mention some nasty pogroms) Although their were pockets of advancement in science, mathematics and other fields most of the European population was stagnant and trapped in cycles of poverty, war and plague. The increasing strength of the European nation-state and the further advancement of monarchy and government that were moved away from the control of a religious center. This helped to create governments that could serve all sectors of their population because the religious views of the people served was not the main factor in whether they recieved aid.

Islam wants to change that. Although this is not a blanket condemnation of Islam as a religion, there do appear to be people in power within the Muslim hierarchy that want what amounts to a World War. How else can you explain the burning of embassies and killing of people because of a CARTOON??? And you expect the rest of the world to take you seriously????? This isn't a game and we aren't living in the Middle Ages. Instead this plays into the stereotype of the Muslim as Irrational Nationalist Militant. And frankly, when I hear that some Muslims want to see the flag of Islam flying over Parliment, it brings to mind that their are no intentions by the militant Islamists to compromise on anything or even to adhere to negotiated treaties. Sharia law is what they want. And Sharia law says that infidels-or in layman's terms the Rest of the World-are second class, that they should be taxed for not bowing to their Prophet and that any promise or agreement made with someone outside of the faith, doesn't have to be honored.

Let's think about that for a minute. ................
That means that treaties, business agreements, contracts, banking concerns, home loans and other arrangements do not have to be honored in the terms of Sharia law. So how are we supposed to believe that if say, Iran, is permitted to enrich plutonium for energy use, which is pretty funny since they sit on top of one of the world's richest oil fields, isnt' going to breech a treaty designed to keep them out of the Nuclear Family? You can't. Even the imams say you can't. Look at where so much of the Islamist violence is occurring-Indonesia, Malyasia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt on to Turkey where just yesterday a Catholic priest was shot and killed while at prayer in his church by a 16 year old adherent to Islamic rhetoric. Have you looked at where the history of the Islamic faith? AT times the empire reached from China and India to France. Is there any question that some radical Islamists would like to reinstate such limits. You may want to check out this link.

Sorry to ramble on so, but I am worried. As they say, all politics is local. I know there are a number of mosques in our area and I have a good number of Muslim students. I am not of the opinion that all Muslims are bent on world domination. But it worries me considerably when I see protesters in downtown Dallas, spouting their hatred and showing their anti-American and anti-Israel signs when THE U.S. NEWS AND ISRAELI NEWS DIDN'T SHOW THE CARTOONS. Let me repeat that a little louder....

Yet-due to the irrational take that some Muslims have on life, and I have run into this with students who get disturbing information regarding the world from relatives overseas and older siblings at colleges and universities everywhere, I have to wonder, What In The World is being taught in mosques under the guise of religion. I used to teach C.C.D. at my Catholic church. We never relived The Inquisition nor did we go out and find someone to crucify (although I have heard that is done in some fundamental type churches.....ahem......euw.) While it's great to have traditions, Islam in the Middle East seems to be far more concerned with maintaining the status quo than in stepping out of the 12th century. Their attempt to stampede the world into an open World War is terrifying. All the more so that if attacks occur on our shores, I have no doubt every apologist for accommodation in Congress will sign onto the nuclear option. I don't like it, I don't like the idea of innocent people being hurt. But then again, after 9.11.2001, is there any question that New World Ways are not the same as Old World mentality?

We are talking of an area of the world in which Zarathustra lived and created a belief in what is known as absolutism. This predated all these religions by centuries and the belief spread to largely the same geographic areas as the outer limits of the Muslim Empire in antiquity. It is the underlying current for all of the religions that started their including Christianity. It is a cultural belief so attached to the behavior that many of the Middle Eastern nations have traditions that are not part of the Quran, but of this earlier belief system. It is a system that supports Eye for an Eye revenge, blood feuds and a My Way or the Highway view of everything in life. When you look at the actions of Iran, Syria and their religious leaders, are they acting in the name of Islam or in the name of a self-centered concept of the world around them and their place in it. This is the same attitude that led Galileo to be excommunicated by the Catholic Church, but then again, that was 500 years ago. Shouldn't people have grown more in that time unless their focus is so artificially narrow that it is hamstrung from conception? I don't plan on donning a hajib or burka any time soon. I won't prevent anyone else from doing what they want in the name of their religion, but their rights end where mine begin. I think many Americans and Europeans need to make those limits a little more clear.


fatochre said...

clap, clap, clap(standing ovation)
clap, clap, clap,clap,clap.
That, sister, was the most eloquently put statement I have heard in days. I agree with most, I would say 90% of it, but I can guess from your post that you are intelligent enough to know that total agreement usually involves cult like behaviour. so I will say that the vast majority of what you say is wonderful. Thank you for your views and I am so so so so very glad you posted them.

I will ask if I can borrow them, and I mean lift them off your website to deliver them to a muslim friend that I am having trouble making a connection with after this whole cartoon thing.

You see, I view the whole demonstration thing as a threat to my way of life. I think that I should speak out in defense of freedom of expression in another country before I have to fight for it in mine. On my blog though I only seemed to say that Islam was the enemy since I get quite emotional when I post. And in a sense Islam is the enemy since so many of its views are being hijacked by narrow minded violence freaks. I don't hear alot from the other side of Islam so I feel like a strong front will hold the line till cooler heads can prevail. (If that makes any sense)
But, I have a friend here in america who is a muslim who is confused about my stance since I seemed different till the whole "cartoongate" got me motivated enough to enter the fray on this issue. so I would like to copy and paste parts of your post to form a response of sorts to this friend. I promise to keep your original intent in tact and not misconstrue your meaning.
Thank you very much,
David Pike.

EllenK said...

Thanks for your kind comments. I have no problem with anyone using my arguements if they think it will make this chaotic point in history a little bit clearer. I post quite a bit on the Dallas Morning News blogsite as a frequent writer. I guess the whole problem is that we are such different cultures that we truly do not understand their need for absolute adherence and they dont' understand our need to say "whatever". I do recommend a book on the concept of absolutism as it predates the entire Middle East. It's called "The Search for Zarathustra". I tend to like anthropoligical type stuff so this was right up my alley. It does take a more European (i.E. liberal) stance, but over all it puts in a nutshell the whole issue of what would normally be called "cussedness" in my part of the country in regards to religion. Oh well, we all have our religious crosses to bear (no pun intended....)