I just read your Friday post about Oriana Fallaci's criticism of Islam. I understand that she is angry but will you please give Muslims a break? The Muslim community in America is as outraged as she is about the terrorists and their threats against Europe. I and every other Muslim I know condemns the terrorists. We're working very hard to counter the wrong impression that Islam is a religion of violence and to raise awareness in the community that Muslims need to take strong action to counter the hate-filled actions and speech of the terrorists.
Ameena in Brooklyn"
While Pundita applauds all efforts by civilians to denounce terrorism, I think putting al Qaeda and similar crews out of business is principally a job for militaries. What I see as a civilian job, one that should be joined by leaders from all religions and governments, is unsticking our collective head from the sand and grappling with four huge problems now confronting humanity:
1. The developed democracies cannot keep footing the bill for people who practice polygamy unless the people submit to forced sterilization.
2. The developed democracies cannot continue to support people who follow practices that institutionalize misogyny and barbaric customs directed against women and female children.
3. The same democracies cannot continue to tolerate in their midst people who want all the benefits that come from living in a society of modern democratic laws but also want to follow tribal laws from ye olde country.
4. The peoples of the democratic nations cannot continue to deploy Orwellian language and a double standard just because they want cheap goods and labor or a coveted natural resource from a despotic regime. For example, democratic peoples need to stop referring to China as a "quasi-communist pro-free market authoritarian state." China is a military dictatorship and should be treated as such
From my reading of Oriana's essay, at least the portion I quoted, I'd say that to the extent she's angry, the anger comes from a sense of betrayal as a Catholic who is trying to follow the guidance laid down by the Vatican leadership. She perceives the leadership as applying a double standard, one that now helps place Italy in clear and present danger.
Religions practicing a double standard for pragmatic reasons is an old story. However, what greatly concerns me is that African men are playing Christians against Muslims so they can have as many wives as they want. If the Christians say you have accept monogamy to be a Christian, the Africans reply, "I'll just go be a Muslim where I can have four wives."
If the Muslims say you can't have unlimited wives the Africans reply, "I'll just go be a Christian where they're willing to look the other way." And if the Muslims protest, the Africans retort that many Muslims exceed the four-wives rule.
I do not know how widespread this playoff game has been during the past half century. One thing I know is that no person of decent heart should continue to support the game. Polygamy has created situations on the African continent that have led to horrific human suffering -- while leaving it to the developed countries to foot much of the bill in the attempt to save people who continue to breed like flies.
You have expressed great concern about the image of Islam. I too have great concerns:
One is that the United States has finite resources going into an era that is seeing climate shifts and vast populations unprepared to survive without help from the USA.
Two is that economically depressed regions in the USA are not getting enough help from federal government.
I am seeing these two situations rush at each other as the early part of this century unfolds.
(See Pundita post Paw, a Revenuer's at the door... for a brief discussion of how polygamy supports the clan business model in tribalized societies. Attempts to phase out polygamy in a society must be made in concert with modernizing business practices.)