Eyes Wide & Deliberately Shut
Israel - Middle East
Friday, February 17, 2012
During these last two weeks I’ve covered the topic of sanctions against Iran and why many analysts believe they will fail. Last week I also tried to show, once again, how Israel’s human rights position is unfairly portrayed and focused upon by secular academics and “religionists” to the exclusion of what is occurring elsewhere.
Lately, we’ve been inundated with the big question of when Israel will, or won’t, attack Iran and how far away the latter is from attaining a nuclear weapon. It is fair to say that this speculation has been around for the last five years or so. It’s also fair to point out that, given its history of having to defend itself; Israel cannot afford to ignore the exponential threats to its existence.
While Iran’s defenders strenuously argue that its pursuit of nuclear power is only motivated by economic necessity, its own narrative has sent mixed messages. Sometimes they plead innocence and at other times (usually in-house and to their own people) they make no bones of their desire to acquire nuclear weapons to “strike terror into the hearts of [the] enemies of God.”
More recently, Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei told worshippers in Tehran that Iran would continue to pursue its nuclear program. His audience responded with chants of “Death to Israel”. Writing for WND, Reza Kahlili wrote:
“On Friday, in a major speech at prayers, Khamenei announced that Iran will support any nation or group that attacks the “cancerous tumor” of Israel. Though his statement was seen by some in the West as fluff, there is substance behind it.”
Even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has been quoted by The Daily Caller as saying:
“Unless something intervenes, I cannot imagine the Israelis are going to allow Iran to go nuclear and to hold the Damocles sword over 6 million Jews all over again. Israel was established to prevent a second Holocaust, not to invite one.”
Regardless of the above, your average Iranian apologist will insist that this is merely saber rattling rhetoric and a natural response to the “unmerited” attention it is getting over its “peaceful” nuclear program.
As I’ve tried to demonstrate in these columns – there’s a strong aversion on the part of some to believe that Iran really has an atomic bomb on its agenda. There appears to be a similar disinclination to believe or report anything controversial about Muslim dominated nations and regimes. Any suggestion to the contrary is routinely consigned to the “Islamophobia” corner of the classroom.
Whatever you do, don’t get caught being one. Just ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Newsweek (ironically) has recently published an article by Ali in which she claims that there is a rise of “Christophobia”. To paraphrase her – Christians are being murdered for their faith from one end of the Muslim world to the other.
While it may seem out of character that Ali - an atheist - should point to the plight of Christians in Muslim dominated countries; Ali’s own experiences go a long way in explaining her willingness to confront Islamic hegemony. Her bio states:
“As an outspoken critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has lived with death threats from radical imams and Islamic terrorists for years...”
Ali adds that:
“I first encountered the full strength of Islam as a young child in Saudi Arabia. It was very different from the diluted religion of my grandmother, which was mixed with magical practices and pre-Islamic beliefs. Saudi Arabia is the source of Islam and its quintessence...Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality — hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved — just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.”
One thing that caught my eye in Ali’s Newsweek presentation was the graph with the notation: “Terrorist attacks on Christians in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia increased 309% from 2003 to 2010.” Her contention is that Islamic violence against Christian and other minorities has been commonplace in recent years in Muslim dominated nations reaching from “West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania.”
According to Ali;
“In some countries it is governments and their agents that have burned churches and imprisoned parishioners. In others, rebel groups and vigilantes have taken matters into their own hands, murdering Christians and driving them from regions where their roots go back centuries.”
Moreover, she argues that, what has been regarded a civil war in Sudan, was in reality motivated by the “Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities” and culminated in the 2003 Darfur genocide.
Regarding Darfur, Kevin Levin notes the following:
“This silence on the Arab world's support for Sudan's genocidal regime is part of a broader picture. While the Times did provide some coverage of Saddam Hussein's murder of up to 200,000 Kurds in the late 1980's, it again ignored the theme of broad Arab support for Saddam's program of Arabizing northern Iraq. The Times largely failed to cover Sudan's on and off again genocidal campaign against Christian and animist blacks in the south of the country that claimed about two million lives, and of course ignored as well Arab support for Sudan's policies in the south.”
Ali also notes the media’s “reticence” to report on these incidents and acknowledges that one reason could be a fear of promoting more violence. Yet she - rightfully so in many cases - concludes that certain groups have done a decent job of influencing public figures and media representatives into believing that all examples of “perceived anti-Muslim discrimination” should be treated as either “Islamophobia” or “Xenophobia”.
It works on the same principle that taking any position other than a pro-homosexual one – for any reason – means you are “homophobic”. The result is ostracization and ridicule.
Predictably, following Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Newsweek piece several bloggers and columnists labeled her a “Muslim basher”. One Eurasia Review OpEd compared the article to a Glenn Beck effort and asked whether this was how Newsweek hoped to raise itself “from the dead”.
Newsweek’s motives are one thing and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s are another. But we should be thankful when the truth finds voice. It is misplaced ideology and prejudice that simply blames Israel for injustices to the Palestinians, ignores Iran’s nuclear and genocidal ambitions and deliberately overlooks widespread Islamic hegemony.
We can shut our eyes to the facts but that doesn’t change them.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: Sanctions, Myths & Idols
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