Some context is necessary for this exchange. Several years ago in our small town, a Saudi man was arrested by the FBI, and was charged with supporting terrorism. He was later released, and these postings occurred between the arrest and the release.
Please do. But please note that if Muslims do not find it funny, I am not about to change my ways on the basis of that judgment. Taken in its entirety, Islam is almost as humorless as the National Organization of Women.
I will be very interested to see how this case plays out. If he is found guilty (note the intrusion of western jurisprudence here), this will highlight an interesting contradiction. I gave a talk on Islam and the Christian faith last Monday night on the WSU campus. I believe the gentlemen arrested was one of my questioners there, a man who challenged my thesis that Islam is inherently militant. We will see if he really believed what he was saying. In the meantime, the only thing that could make liberals sympathetic to fundamentalist Islam — a religion that dresses their women by rolling them up in the carpet — is the fact that it is largely non-white (mostly), non-European (for the moment), and non-Christian (forever).
It is quite right that in a judicial setting, the accused enter that forum with the assumption of innocence. That is the necessary assumption of any righteous court system. It does not have to be the assumption of particular individuals — as in, say, detectives, prosecutors, and individuals who might need to testify against the accused.
At my forum on Islam, I was told by the Muslims in attendance that the Koran forbids war on women and children. Now if it turns out (as has not yet been established) that one of the Muslims present was giving material comfort and support to people who were doing precisely that in the name of Islam, what conclusions would be legitimate to draw?
One direction that should at least be noted is that lying to the infidel is perfectly acceptable. And with many PC infidels, it is not that strenuous a task.
Samuel has asked if I would be willing to urge residents of our town to treat the strangers among us with respect, kindness and dignity. The answer is absolutely. “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:33-34). But kindness, respect and dignity are, like everything else, defined by a particular standard. As a Christian, I think that standard ought to be biblical, and not to be defined by a mule-like PCness that refuses to profile according to ethnicity at airports. Forgetting this, we rifle through the luggage of 85-year-old Swedish grandmothers while letting 28-year-old Saudi young men go on through. My position is not a violation of the Golden Rule. If the roles were reversed and I were in Saudi Arabia, and some Anglos blew something up over there, I would expect them to profile all the Anglos leaving the country. They would do it too — not being wooly-headed like we are.
Roger has applied his insights in such a way as to make detective work an impossibility. When a bunch of people are intent on doing bad things to you, and you know their general description (language, country of origin, race, etc.) it is not a hate crime to look closely at everyone who answers to that description. If a white guy knocks off a convenience store, you don’t have the cops patrol black neighborhoods looking for him in the interests of fairness. Reminds me of the story about a drunk who was looking for his car keys under a street light, though he had dropped them about fifty feet away. He wanted to look under the street light “because the light was better there.”
Janice was talking about somebody when she averred that she would not give a plug nickel to hear an intolerant preacher talk through his hat on the nature of Islam. She is in luck, for I am willing to offer all these observations for free.
Jonathan said the “only conclusion that could be drawn would be that the particular person charged was not following the rules he is to follow.” This is one possible conclusion, but not the only one. Another possibility is that the rules are not what they are being represented as being. In other words, it is at least a logical possibility that jihad means real physical war, and that lying to the infidel is no more reprehensible in some Muslim eyes than lying to Nazis would be to me.
Here is the dilemma you all have. My “intolerant” insistence that jihad is about far more than subduing the lusts within (a medieval Islamic innovation) is a position that is shared by many Muslims around the globe. Such Muslims can find themselves in positions of influence — e.g. cockpits of highjacked airliners. You cannot condemn my position that jihad involves physical warfare against the infidel without simultaneously condemning the many Muslims who agree with me. Are you willing to say that United Methodists in Moscow, Idaho have a better grasp of what makes a true Muslim than does, say, Osama?
Doesn’t it bug you to have spokesmen for the Bush administration making pronouncements about what does and does not constitute true Islam? It bugs me. Why not let Muslims define it?
“Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.