Friday, February 10, 2006

Cartoon Violence, part 3: An American Muslim's Take

Hardly any words could add substance to this man's column... M. Zuhdi Jasser at National Review. He asks what could possibly turn certain folks into (literally) a mob... the answer he comes up with is: dreams.

Whoa! Isn't NRO where conservatives go for good columns and thought and analysis and such? Buckley started it up, right? How in the flamming hootie-hoo could it allow such a flim-flam idea into a subject to explain away this blood-thirst?

Well, after that I had to finish reading it.
There are some in my faith who dream of a new Caliphate, a world ruled by and for Islam. It is a seductive call to many in my faith, as dreams always are. But it is anathema to me. I do not believe that we were meant to be one thing, because that, in itself, takes away our free will. My dream can only be real if it is only mine — if it is rooted in the individual success. Once the community or the so-called ummah takes it on as a communal success, it is no longer a dream but an imposition, a violation of freedom and liberty.

...Dreams are a funny thing. For example, it is a dream for me that I may one day make the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. But the very thought of living there, makes me feel all hollow inside. Is that not a peculiar thing — that the holiest place for me to visit would not be a holy place for me to live.

That is because the hajj is a dream of mine, a pillar of my faith, but living there would be my reality. The difference between a dream that is fleeting and one that is real always comes down to the question of free will. If I would live there, I would not be free and no devotion that is coerced can ever be true.

That is why my first allegiance is to this country. Without its freedoms and protections, my faith would be something much smaller. That is also why my dream has always been one of a pluralistic, democratic society where all religions and people can feel welcome. Islamists, from the radical to the moderate, would argue that in their dream the will of the majority and the Islamic state become one. What instilled my intense love for the United States from a young age was that our democracy has a Bill of Rights that upholds minorities, prevents oppression by the majority, and keeps religious scripture out of government — the antithesis of Islamism.

Oh, this guy is good! He gets better.

The next question flowing from all this is, "How can we create a new dream for people so driven towards rage?" Dreams are the product of our imagination. If we can visualize something, then we can imagine it becoming a reality.

And that is why I am so enthusiastic about the liberation of Iraq.

Speaking my language, Z.J. ...only much more eloquent, obviously.

Earlier in the piece he describes a Muslim newspaper that serves his local area (in Arizona). In it he was caricatured as a dog (which, as you can imagine is fairly offensive to Muslims) a few weeks before this recent outbreak of the 12-Cartoon Fury. He completes the circle conceptually:

I would like to end with my own cartoon. In it, I see all the compassionless theocrats and obscenely rich despots on a ship named al-Titanic leaving the Middle East forever — and, on the shore, the Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all people of faith joyously dancing in victory for the advent of a new Middle Eastern pluralism. Now, that would be a cartoon worth getting excited about.

Just so you know, this guy is the chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy... I'm going to have to check this thing out!

Enjoy the read.

(Traffic whoring: New post at the Anti-Strib on GW's new budget.)


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