Friday, June 5, 2009

What Islam Is, and Isn't

I thought Obama’s Islam speech was pretty good, as are most of his speeches. True, there wasn’t a lot of content there, but those types of speeches rarely have much in the way of substantive policy. The goal of this speech was to tell Islamic nations that the United States is not their enemy, and I think Obama succeeded.

One line in his speech stood out. Obama said “my experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't.” That’s very true—America should know what it is dealing with. It’s also something Obama ignored throughout his speech. In reality, Islam is significantly different from the version present in Obama’s speech.

Obama explained that he knew “civilization’s debt to Islam.” Islam has contributed its share to the West, and the Muslim world was a great center of science at one time, but really, modern civilization doesn’t owe very much at all to Islam. Our modern culture evolved from the Middle Ages and feudalism through the Renaissance and Enlightenment down to the present day. The primary influence during the Middle Ages was Christianity, the primary influences on the Renaissance were ancient Greece and Rome (that’s why they call it the Renaissance; “Renaissance” means “rebirth”), and reason and science were the basis for the Enlightenment.

Islam has made contributions to civilization—most obviously, they call our numbers “Arabic” numerals for a reason. But a glance at the modern word doesn’t really show much in the way of Islamic influence, and the Muslim influence there was essentially died out five hundred years ago.

Obama also made the claim that “America is not at war with Islam.” Let’s face it—it is, or at least Islam is at war with America. Take a look at a map of the Middle East, which is where the vast majority of Muslim countries are. (Two non-Middle East Muslim countries are Indonesia and Albania, neither of which are particularly unfriendly towards America.) The countries that make up the Middle East are: Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine (defined as those states that are independent of Israel but not controlled by another country). Of those, seven (Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Qatar, and Turkey) can be considered friendly towards the United States. The other eight—which include most of the powerful states in the region (the friendly nations, with the exceptions of Pakistan and Turkey, are almost powerless in the region) either have governments that are openly hostile to the United States and Israel or have significant anti-American sentiment among their population.

The most influential Muslim in the world is probably Osama bin Laden. The second is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both are anti-American. The most powerful Islamic countries are probably Iran, Egypt, and Pakistan. Iran is an American enemy, Egypt is neutral but certainly no friend, and Pakistan, while an ally, is at the brink of collapse.

Not all Muslims hate America. But the ones that matter do. Moderate Muslims exist—but they don’t speak out. The men (and it’s only men) who have influence in Muslim countries are anti-America and anti-Israel. If the majority of Muslims do not in fact hate America (and it is very possible that this is the case), then they are a very silent majority. Islamic power, and the most vocal of the Muslim intelligentsia, are solidly against America.

Should Obama have included all this information in his speech? Of course not—it would be stupid to offend the people he is trying to attract. But he should realize what Islam is, and what it is not, and react accordingly.

Obama’s path to popularity in American and Europe has been very easy. But his philosophy may be much less popular in Muslim countries, and he should not count on his charm and biography to carry him through there.


At June 6, 2009 at 4:04 AM , Anonymous C4SA said...

You thought that Obama's speech was good???? I thought that it was was horrifically nauseating.
The caliber of stupidity that flows from this man's mouth is MIND-BOGGLING.Obama says he believes that there are Israelis who want peace, giving off the impression that the normal assumption anyone would make is that all of Israel is against peace. From previous peace offers and agreements to the fact that Israelis have many times elected governments for the purpose of negotiating away land in exchange for promises of peace, it would seem obvious that most Israelis want peace. Also he confuses the desire for peace with the acceptance of a "two-state solution" that many Israelis now believe will bring them more war.

He talks about the "legitimate rights" of the "Palestinian people" but never mentions the desire for autonomy, independence or statehood for any people who don't claim the Jews are occupying their land.

He talks about Israel stopping all settlements as called for in the Road Map to Peace. He talks as if that same road map has no specific and measurable obligations that the Palestinians are supposed to take. He also doesn't believe his government must honor US commitments to Israel made by previous administrations.

Obama says we are not a Christian nation or a Jewish or Muslim nation, but a nation of citizens. He then later says that we could be considered (inaccurately) one of the biggest Muslim countries in the world.
Obama criticizes Netanyahu for not verbally committing himself to the "two-state solution." I have never heard him criticize Abbas regarding his refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state or his refusal to acknowledge Jewish rights and historical connection to Israel. In fact, I don't recall him criticizing Abbas on any issue of importance.
The president's speech is so detestable from the beginning that I can't bother finishing it. He tells a Muslim audience of how Ellison was sworn in on Jefferson's Koran but doesn't explain that Jefferson read the Koran to gain an understanding of the faith responsible for holding Americans hostage in Algiers. You might have the impression John Adams respected the laws of Islam but here's what he really thought of that religion :"THE ESSENCE OF HIS (Mohammed's) DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE" (Adam's capital letters). I gather President Adams' "tolerance" toward Islam is a little musunderstood by President Haremboy.

I'm sure there's more crap in this speech but I can't read this.

At June 7, 2009 at 7:14 AM , Blogger My Files said...

You thought the speech was good? Are you mad!!!!He validates Al Qaeda on ‘torture’ by restating his expeditious Gitmo get out dream. He makes a moral equivalency between the Holocaust and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory!!!!!He all but apologized for America’s ‘blunder’ in Iraq. No mention of terrorism in the speech. He knifes the previous US administration in the back in front of a foreign audience. No pat on the back for American military sacrifices in the Middle East. All this against a scenario where he visits and lauds dictatorial Saudi Arabia and Egypt and snubs democratic Israel. You better reread the speech.

At June 7, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Beth said...

I have to say that I am getting tired of hearing Obama always apologizing for America.

At June 7, 2009 at 3:10 PM , Blogger Im Here To Say It said...

Beth said...

I have to say that I am getting tired of hearing Obama always apologizing for America.

So am I!
In fact I blogged about that this morning

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