20 September 2012

As others see us: Muslims cry 'double standards'

Many Muslims around the world feel singled out for abuse when non-Muslim nations allow "blasphemous" or otherwise denigrating representations of the Prophet Muhammad or the religion of Islam in general. They claim to be unimpressed by western nations' appeal to the principle of freedom of expression because they see that the principle isn't honored universally. In particular, they see western nations compromising the principle of free expression out of perceived sensitivity to one religion and wonder why no similar sensitivity is showed toward them.

A Gambian newspaper columnist, for instance, notes that "Denying the holocaust against the Jews has been criminalised whilst contempt of another religion, Islam to be precise, is categorized under the banner of free speech." In the writer's opinion, allowing denigration of any religion belies the west's claim of global moral leadership. In Lebanon, Hezbollah boss Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah makes a similar equation between Holocaust denial and anti-Islam expression. Noting how the U.S. seems to rebuke every instance of skepticism about the Holocaust, Nasrallah asks: “Don't the Muslims - followers of this Great religion - deserve to have the same level of presence and a similar law to be issued in their favor?”

Are these Muslims missing the point about Holocaust denial -- leaving aside the point that it is not illegal in the country where the "Innocence of Muslims" film was made? In both cases quoted here, the assumption seems to be that Holocaust denial is banned or stigmatized primarily because it is offensive to Jewish people. They might argue that the Nazi party and Nazi regalia are banned in Germany for the same reason. It should be possible, however, to argue that such measures have less to do with Jews than with Nazis. Holocaust denial, I presume, is banned in some places and deplored practically everywhere not because denying it insults the Jews but because it aims to exculpate the Nazis. In any event, Holocaust denial is something different from generic anti-semitism, which is more freely expressed, and as readily deplored, around the world. In fact, non-Muslim critics of this month's violence quickly point out that anti-semitism is probably more common in Muslim (or at least in Arab) countries than anywhere else on earth today. If they can denigrate Jews (and Christians, and others), it is asked, how dare they throw tantrums when anyone mocks Muhammad? Islamic apologists answer with a self-serving distinction between denigration of religion and denigration of prophets. They claim that, as Muslims, they revere Moses and Jesus, at least, almost as much as they revere Muhammad, and that no matter how much they may criticize Jews and Christians, they'd never stoop to insulting their founding prophets. Our Gambian writer goes so far as to boast that "of all religions on earth, Islam is the only one, which approves the Christians fundamental dogma that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin in an immaculate manner, without a father." But that's only part of the story, of course. A Christian might comment that unless Muslims acknowledge that Jesus's father was God, which they cannot do, they are denigrating his mission if not the man himself.  That point aside, this pious respect shown by Muslims to Moses and Jesus proves nothing, since Muslims revere both men as Muslim prophets, on the assumption that the revelation each man brought was essentially the same as the Qur'an, but was distorted in each case by his followers and successors. Members of the Baha'i faith tell a quite different story about Muslim attitudes toward their founder, who dared to be a post-Muhammad prophet. We should also like to know the Muslim attitude toward people like Joseph Smith who likewise fall outside the approved line of prophetic succession.

It's easy to dismiss many Muslims as hypocrites, but does that invalidate the principle they espouse -- that world peace requires an equal respect for all religions and a principled refusal to denigrate any of them? The answer depends on the definition of denigration. If a person can't say that there is no god without denigrating a group of believers, we have to side with the denigrator against the denigrated. No one on earth should be compelled to affirm the existence of a god out of sensitivity to the feelings of those who already believe. Nor should the atheist be compelled into silence out of the same sensitivity. I would probably agree with Muslims that Islam is too easily insulted, but we'd agree for different reasons. But am I wrong -- is the west wrong -- to believe that Muslims are too thin-skinned for everyone's good? Pragmatism and an interest in peace might require some degree of mutual respects among faiths, and a respect from all faiths for atheists, but the rules for respect can't be written unilaterally by any side. It can't be a matter of a Muslim ultimatum followed by more tantrums.  The world is not obliged to acknowledge Muhammad as a great or even a good man. If Muslims will not accept this without throwing tantrums, perhaps it should be they who are compelled to respect the opinions of the majority of mankind. But if it makes them feel better, they may not be the only people on earth who could use such compulsion.


Anonymous said...

It’s now official – there’s been no actual shortage of Holocaust Survivors :

Quote from The Holocaust Industry by Norman G. Finkelstein of the City University of New York, published by Verso in the year 2000:
'The Israeli Prime Minister's office recently put the number of "living Holocaust survivors" at nearly a million.' (page 83)

I've checked out the six volumes of Churchill's Second World War and the statement is quite correct - not a single mention of Nazi 'gas chambers,' a 'genocide' of the Jews, or of 'six million' Jewish victims of the war.

Eisenhower's Crusade in Europe is a book of 559 pages; Churchill's Second World War totals 4,448 pages; and De Gaulle's three-volume Mémoires de guerre is 2,054 pages.

In this mass of writing, which altogether totals 7,061 pages (not including the introductory parts), published from 1948 to 1959, one will find no mention either of Nazi 'gas chambers,' a 'genocide' of the Jews, or of 'six million' Jewish victims of the war.

CODOH - Committee for Open Debate of the Holocaust - breaking the power of taboo


Anonymous said...

The political art of large-number repetitionistic reiterationism:
Zionist trial runs of "6 Million" Holocaust propaganda in 1911, and also in 1919

Max Nordau (1849-1923) was the co-founder of the World Zionist Organization together with Theodor Herzl.

Have a look at this Max Nordau quote from Ben Hecht's book 'Perfidy' - which is available for free in PDF format at
http://www.hirhome.com/israel/perfidy.pdf (on page 232 of 261):

In the Zionist Congress of 1911, 22 years before Hitler came to power, and three years before World War I, Nordau said, “How dare the smooth talkers, the clever official blabbers, open their mouths and boast of progress. . . . Here they hold jubilant peace conferences in which they talk against war. . . . But the same righteous Governments, who are so nobly, industriously active to establish the eternal peace, are preparing, by their own confession, complete annihilation for six million people, and there is nobody, except the doomed themselves, to raise his voice in protest although this is a worse crime than any war . . .” unquote.

Anonymous said...

And take a look at the article from The American Hebrew, October 31 1919

(see attached reproduction below), prophesying a 'holocaust' of 'six million':



The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop!
By Martin H. Glynn
(Former Governor of the State of N.Y.)

From across the sea six million men and women call to us for help, and eight hundred thousand little children cry for bread.

These children, these men and women are our fellow-members of the human family, with the same claim on life as we, the same susceptibility to the winter's cold, the same propensity to death before the fangs of hunger. Within them reside the illimitable possibilities for the advancement of the human race as naturally would reside in six million human beings. We may not be their keepers but we ought to be their helpers.

In the face of death, in the throes of starvation there is no place for mental distinctions of creed, no place for physical differentiations of race. In this catastrophe, when six million human beings are being whirled toward the grave by a cruel and relentless fate, only the most idealistic promptings of human nature should sway the heart and move the hand.

Six million men and women are dying from lack of the necessaries of life; eight hundred thousand children cry for bread. And this fate is upon them through no fault of their own, through no transgression of the laws of God or man; but through the awful tyranny of war and a bigoted lust for Jewish blood.

In this threatened holocaust of human life.. etc etc

Samuel Wilson said...

While the comments above have little to do with whether "open debate on the Holocaust" is perceived primarily as an insult to Jewish people, which was the reason for raising the subject here, for the sake of arguments here are the results of a Google News Archive search for references to gas chambers between 1943 and 1945. Everyone definitely should do their own research on any subject wherever possible.