Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wage War on the Pope

By being nice to Catholics.

In fact, be nice to all Christians.

In fact, be nice to everyone.

Then this man or anyone who listens to him will have no basis to establish that Islam is wicked or evil, inhumane or violent. Tonight after a movie with some sisters I stopped by Barnes & Noble for some coffee... and grabbed a few magazines to read. I picked: Foreign Policy (which is neocon propaganda), TIME, and a special edition of US News that was about Prophets.

So the neocan mag was disturbing--that's why I picked it. I had never before seen or even heard of this publication so it was a new experience. There were three main "articles" I read in it. First, a statement by an Israeli author (I forget for whom he wrote the piece originally) about why Israel didn't really lose the war. It seemed a kind of propaganda to me directed against Hezbollah, to encourage Zionists, neocons, whomever, that Israel really was stronger than it seems, and that Hezbollah is weaker. More or less, that Israel has and should maintain the power and authority to continue to smack Arabs around without any fear of retribution.

The next article I read in it was the cover story, the reason I picked it up. It was about how Muslims (Islamists? No, just Muslims) are planning a nuclear attack against America. The "report" divulged such information as expense reports--how much it would cost to get these supplies, etc--and the practicalities for a team of terrorists to plan such a nightmare. The authors asserted not that their scenario was a possibility, but it was an imminent event which we should be looking out for. "We" I guess being neocons reading the magazine, who should now suppose that every Muslim is an expert on building bombs, and is trying desperately to get a hold of some uranium. This is how paranoia spreads, people. This is why schizos shoot down Afghan mothers in the street.

And the third article was... disturbing as well, to say the least. It started out describing how politicians who supported the neocon policies were advantageous to their cause. It proceeded to discuss how to ensure the survival of their movement in the next few years. One striking remark, that in fact a previous reader had highlighted, was that the US needs to bomb Iran before Bush leaves office!! You heard it here first. Unless you, like me, pick up such rubbish while sipping a decaf mocha at 10pm on a Sunday night.

The article in TIME which I read sparked the title of this post. It was about the pope's upcoming visit to Turkey. It's clear that Benedict has no love for Islam, and I've read a multitude of accounts regarding why, many along the lines of trying to unite Europe under Christianity (and therefore by pitting them against Islam,) but this particular article seemed to consider him to be trying to reform Islam himself. At least, that's how I understand it right now, when it suggests that he is calling for Muslims to further denounce the violence done for Islam.

You know what that looks like to me? He's trying to set Muslims against Muslims, get us to fight ourselves out. Is that a cynical understanding I have? Trust me, my heart bears no great love for the violence which terrorists claim is justified by my peaceful religion. I want nothing more than for them to understand that what they call Islam is so evil as to not even be recognizable as the faith I practice, and why. But is painting all Muslims with the same bloody brush fair, in order to get us to distinguish ourselves? I detest the labels for Muslims... moderate, liberal, fundamentalist, etc, and don't want to be defined by them, or to define others by them. They serve to separate and not unite the ummah. And such claims by not only the Pople are an attempt to get Muslims to classify themselves--this can't be done. Even though only one side is correct... the saying goes that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. All the attention, all the press--this goes to the group making the most noise, and the noise is explosive.

So we as Muslim are facing a sentiment from the West in general that grows fiercer by the day. Fueled by unrest in Baghdad, political failures in Palestine, and especially by a prejudiced media and leadership in this country (USA), the hatred of Islam and misunderstanding of Muslims grows. It is now a beast that must find its demise before it wreaks even more havoc on the Muslims of the world--and it can be fought in the simplest of ways, by fighting it in ourselves.

Responding to hatred with hatred fuels the animosity. Reacting without aggression, however, but with patience, and with calm but clear insistence regarding the truth, we can demonstrate what we represent--actions speak louder than words, right? Then all the claims about us evaporate, unsubstantiated.

Please tell me it's more than a pipe dream.

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