Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Don’t Want To Fear You

Cross posted to The Autonomist

September 1, 2007

In a recent article from CNN, a Muslim woman asked, "Do I look like a terrorist to you?" Apparently some one nearby was singing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’ allegedly with “insulting lyrics about terrorism and Osama Bin Laden.” Along with the story is a photo of an attractive Muslim looking woman in her hijab with a spiritually serene look on her face.

The question may be answered, “Just what does a Terrorist look like?” Given the number of radical Jihadist attacks against Western Society for so many years now, just how can we tell if you are a “Religion of Peace” Muslim or one with explosives strapped on under your garments?

Reading the article we see that the purpose is to instill guilt in us for our feelings towards Muslims in general since 9/11. CNN might have served their readers and viewers better had they instead delved into the ‘why’ of Americans feeling fear towards so many Muslims.

We Americans have ancestral roots from all over, including many Muslim Countries. We even have several American’s that are Muslim or that are sympathetic to Islam. We don’t know a whole lot about your belief, being that we are a nation of many beliefs, but yours is one that leaves us confused and since September 11, 2001, a bit frightened.

You say you are a “Religion of Peace” and I want to believe that. But, were the 19 men who high-jacked 4 Commercial Airliners with innocent people on them and flew them into our buildings, killing over 3,000 of our citizens, as well as citizens from other nations inside the buildings, also “peaceful” members of Islam?

Time and again we have seen videos of Muslims either beheading or mutilating Americans or even other Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. We read stories of young women being stoned to death for little more than falling in love with the ‘wrong’ man or for even being raped. According to other Muslims, that is called an “Honor Killing.”

We are told that the Qu’Ran doesn’t permit such a thing, but still we see and hear of it happening in the Middle East and somewhat in Europe, today!

We fully realize that not every Muslim is a terrorist. But terrorist continue to come out of sects of your religion. How do we determine ‘peaceful’ Muslims from ‘terrorists’ prior to them blowing themselves up, high jacking aircraft to fly into buildings, driving explosive laden vehicles next to buildings of innocent people or poisoning reservoirs or food stocks? What distinguishing factor is apparent so we may differentiate between you?

While terrorists have mostly been men, we have seen women strapping bombs to their bodies and entering wedding parties in Jordan or restaurants in Israel. Woman’s role in suicide bombings seems to be growing. That frightens us as we have traditionally in America viewed women as the caretakers of life, the nurturers and peaceful mothers taking care of families.

I am sure the singing of ‘the Twelve Days of Christmas’ with “insulting lyrics about terrorism and Bin Laden” displeased you, but I have to ask why? Why would insults to terrorism be considered an insult to you?

I am of the belief that people often try to mask their fear with actions you ascribe to an unidentified fellow shopper. We men especially, don’t like to admit fear so we mask it. Even if it is a wholesome fear that makes us aware more so of what goes on around us, we don’t like others to realize we may have any fear. So, we mask it with words or songs that you may not appreciate. A wholesome fear as that kept many of us alive through previous wars.

September 11 frightened us. We saw what many of “the Religion of Peace” desire for us. Those Muslims don’t desire co-existence; they desire domination or death for “infidels.” 9/11 taught us that those from your midst do not wear uniforms. Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel shows us that terror comes without warning from those you may not suspect.

If you are an expectant mother, how do we know you really are pregnant and not hiding explosives disguised as a swollen womb? How do we know whether or not you have fallen in with the radical Jihadists that desire to strike terror into others to force them into submission?

How can you expect us not to feel fear whenever we see you out in public when so many of your fellow Muslims take no action to out those from within your midst that do follow the radical teachings of the radical Jihadists?

What are we to think and feel when the major organization that claims to support you opposes any measure to discover terrorists in your midst? When they jump at any act of a Muslim being questioned over suspicious conduct and activity on commercial aircraft? When they tell us we are overreacting, but we continue discovering plans to attack us associated with followers of Islam?

Why do you not demand those representing you cooperate with the authorities to purge the radicals from your groups?

There are Muslims fighting the Jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq and several Muslims from America are in our Military’s fighting terror, but what of the rest of you? What stand do you take? How do we know where your loyalty is when you act as if nothing has been going on for so long as radical Muslim Jihadists continue to terrorize citizens worldwide and kill innocent civilians to subdue others to their radical views?

It has been said that Radical Christianity is just as dangerous as Radical Islam. Need I remind you that Christianity’s dark and bloody days are centuries in the past? We grew and progressed and have rejected or marginalized those that interpret our Holy Book wrongfully to harm others. Radical Islam is here and now!

Tell us all, how do we not fear you when we cannot tell whether or not you are with them, with us or sitting on the sidelines acting like nothing is wrong?

My apologies, but my life and the lives of my family matter more to me than your feelings. We don’t want to fear you, but you leave us no choice. You give us no indication one way or the other until you either walk away, this time, or blow yourself up, when it is too late for us to save our loved ones and stop you. We don’t like having those feelings, but what choice do we have?

When in Viet Nam, Vietnamese civilians had a habit of carrying their straw conical hats, the Nón lá, in front of them, hiding their hands. They adapted to sliding it off their heads and onto their backs when approaching or passing U.S. Forces. Why, you ask? We could not tell if they were innocents or Viet Cong carrying grenades or guns to harm us and would draw our M-16s on them in a heartbeat until we saw their hands. We didn’t mean to disrespect them or their culture, but our lives meant more to us, as did the lives of other Vietnamese nearby.

Until those of you within your community take a stand in opposing terrorists and take an active part in combating terrorists, outing the radicals and countering the radical archaic interpretation of your Qu’Ran, we will continue to fear you. Not a debilitating fear, mind you, but a wholesome fear that makes us more aware of our surroundings and ready to pounce and yes, we may make untoward comments to mask that fear from time to time.

If doing so helps me stop a suicide bomber before they detonate themselves, it just might possibly be your life or one of your loved ones life that is saved along with my own.


UPDATE: Until more Muslims take a stand top help curb terror from within their midst, the American Public will remain frightened. Flight delayed after she feared 7 were terrorists. Muslims, we need to see and know you are with us. We need the help of all of you, not just a handful. Radical Jihadists won't accept a middle ground, how can you expect us to?


Unknown said...

Lew, first of all, thank you for your military service.

I have had a foot in both the Middle East and the West now for a number of years, so I feel as though I should try to be a bridge between the two as much as I can. Yet it is a tall order, for some things are just difficult to explain.

I do know a lot about "honor" killings, though. They are believed to have their origins in misinterpretations of pre-Islamic Arab tribal codes. It isn't actually fair to blame them on Islam, since they occurred centuries before the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) roamed this earth and gave birth to Islam. And it also isn't quite fair to blame them on the tribes, since the tribes have more humane ways of handling these situations. Something got terribly twisted along the way, though. That much seems undeniable.

The U.N. estimates that globally there are 5,000 "honor" killings per annum. Most subject matter experts, including me, think that figure is understated. Many "honor" killings are unreported or disguised as accidents or suicides. Sometimes mysterious disappearances are simply explained away by saying Fatima moved abroad. It is the case, however, that the overwhelming majority of "honor" killings in these times take place in Arab/Muslim countries and in Arab/Muslim immigrant communities elsewhere. So there's a correlation, if not causality.

I recently conducted a nationwide attitude and opinion survey on "honor" killings in Jordan. And I found that the vast majority of Jordanians would like to see tougher laws in Jordan. This is good news. . .people do know right from wrong. Currently "honor" killings are considered misdemeanors, and there are three penal code articles on the books that allow the perpetrators to get off with barely a slap on the hands (i.e., the average sentence is only six months). But I also found that over 20% of my representative sample believes Islam dictates that affronts to family honor should be avenged through murder, so this is a problem. Islam does not say such a thing, but that doesn't stop people from believing it and even perpetuating the belief.

And this is where I become disappointed with the leadership, whether it be the spiritual leaders, who I don't think are quite stepping up and clarifying these things in the mosques, or the political leaders/autocratic regimes, who seem too concerned with saving their own bacon to lead on this issue and to reform the laws. It's a hot potato in the countries where these crimes exist. But it seems to me leaders should lead, not run and hide.

I am still struggling to figure out a lot of these East/West issues myself. Still, I have to admit I am deeply concerned that large portions of the Middle East are just falling further and further behind, and this is not good for any of us. American society and much of the West moves at such a swift pace that it is not enough for some of the countries of the Middle East to pride themselves on what is really very modest, if any, progress. The gap is widening. This seems a self-evident truth to me. But I'm not sure what to do about it. The people in the region say they don't want outside interference (though they love our generous aid packages), yet they seem loathe to roll up their sleeves and take on some of these tough issues themselves in any kind of meaningful, effective way. And too many of the people I know in the region don't even seem to be aware of how far behind they're falling. They are too busy blaming others for the predicaments they are in. Meantime, the rest of the world is moving at warp speed. It's troubling, deeply troubling.

I fear for all of us, really.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"
(Available on

LewWaters said...

Thank you, Ellen. Your comment is very insightful and informative.

While I am not addressing 'Honor Killings' directly, they are part of what we see coming out of Muslim Nations and some Communities. As a father of two daughters, the thought of any such thing is abhorrent to me. It has to be even worse than barbaric.

I'm not aware of the actual origins and accept that it predates Islam. Yet, Islam is where we still see it today and that alone is very troubling.

Don't get me wrong; I am not one that condemns all of Islam, just that sect that practices terrorism and radical Jihadism. I have often come under fire from fellow conservatives for my support of everyday moderate Islam.

Still, as I tried to portray in my post, we in the West do fear Muslims as some have shown they will stop at nothing at imposing their radical misinterpretation upon all, especially other Muslims.

While we try to show those that claim to be moderate or peaceful that there is a better way and we can co-exist, we must continue fighting those that will kill us. It is a difficult task and we are not receiving the support we should from within our own nation, other nations and especially the Muslim community.

To many of us, those that can so easily kill their daughters or sisters and consider it "honor" are as frightening as the terrorists. But, until they carry out an act, how do we tell who is who? A flippant comment I often make at work, "My crystal ball is out for calibration," describes why I look upon Muslims and Arabs with an air of concern.

Until more stand up and not only condemn these practices, but takes an active and public roll in eliminating them, I don't see that we have any other choice but to be wary of them.

I see that you are active in fighting gender-based violence and thank you for that. I will have to check out your book, too.

Thank you for such an informative comment.

Roger W. Gardner said...

Hi, Lew. It's a pleasure to finally be on your site, after seeing your name come up so often elsewhere.

That was an excellent post. I particularly like the line: "Why would insults to terrorism be considered an insult to you?" That was brilliant. And unaswerable.

I wrote somewhere that these "moderate Muslims" are, to me, behaving almost exactly the same way as those Eastern European countries -- Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, et el -- behaved at the beginning of WWII. They were hedging their bets. They were waiting on the sidelines to see who would come out the stronger: the Axis or the Allies. Unfortunately for them, they picked the wrong team and ended their days on the frozen tundra of the Russian steppes.

According to Dr. Walid Pharris, those who most closely follow the teachings of the Prophet are the terrorists. In the eyes of these Islamists, those "moderate Muslims" are apostates.

In my copy of the Koran, of the 434 pages, 288 contain some form of quite lurid and graphic violence -- most of it aimed at the infidel or the apostate. For me, those numbers pretty much say it all.

I, too, greatly appreciate your service and admire your clear and straight-forward talk.

I'll be back often.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!


LewWaters said...

Thank you, Roger. I’m glad you liked the post and my blog.

I have seen your name pop up often too and visited your site. Very good writing. That you consider my writing good is a compliment.

Islam will have to save itself, if it is to survive. We will be more than willing to help, I’m sure of that. Christians banded together not that long ago and marginalized groups like the Ku Klux Klan that were distorting Christianity. We turned away from the days of the Salem Witch hunts and the Inquisitions. We shed ourselves of many wrongful and oppressive beliefs falsely based upon Old Testament verses taken out of context.

Muslims I’ve spoken to tell me that similar verses within their Qu’Ran are also taken out of context and wrongfully used to justify terror and Jihad against any who believe differently. But, if that is true, it is first up to them to correct it from within, not sit back and see which way they will lean as the smoke of this war settles.

My call is for them to take a stand, either with us, or against us, so we know who to trust or who to annihilate, if need be. Their religion, their choice.

Unknown said...

Lews gonna love me for this....

On 9/11 how many innocent people were killed?

What's with all this Islamo-phobia w/ weapons underneath garments?

There were actually 6,500 deaths on 9/11!! And not all by Islamic, but our home grown terrorists.

Abortionists who kill 3,500 unborn every day 24/7. With no bombs but curettes and forceps. Never seen to the casual observer.

When on any flight you see a black pregnant lady, she has a 1 in 3 chance of her killing her baby. Otherwise 1 in 4. Fact. No need to abandon your flight, really.

World wide, 137,000 babies are aborted daily, 50 million a year. Abortion by attrition will stop any war due to the lack of people to kill.

So next Tuesday on 9/11, keep thinking of ALL 6,500 victims in your prayers, please.

Pardon my unorthodox MO, but I like to get my point across where readers will tend to remember it better. Kiss your kid at night.

LewWaters said...

Gecko, abortion is without a doubt a horrendous end for a life. Unfortunately, our courts, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to declare the senseless slaughter of the unborn a "legal procedure."

They have even passed measures blocking effective protest against it, partially because some anti-abortionists brought it on themselves.

It is tragic that women are persuaded into aborting children instead of being taught to avoid the pregnancy in the first place.

The so-called "sexual freedom" isn't freedom at all, it has served to demean women and place them in an unpropitious position. They haven't gained freedom at all but are used even more by men than before.

Sorry, ladies, but nature decided you to be the childbearers, not man.

Men share the blame as well as they feel the need to wet their sexual appetites with no regard for the woman or the child they father.

That being said, we cannot take our focus off of terrorism that goes well beyond slaughter of just the unborn.

This truly is a multi-faceted war, at home and abroad.

Snooper said...

As usual, Lew, you have outdone yourself. Keep that up and pretty soon you'll have to start over!!

Right Truth said...

Yes an excellent article.

"Why would insults to terrorism be considered an insult to you? "

Excellent question and should be asked each time the Muslims get insulted in some way. Why so touchy? Did someone his a nerve???

Also Christianity doesn't FORCE anyone to convert, we simply share the path to salvation. Individuals have the free will, provided by a loving God (the only true God), to accept or reject that message.

Unlike Islam, which tries to force people under threat of death to convert. Islam also rapes women hostages who refuse to convert (the recent Korean hostages held by the Taliban is one example).

Where's the Western outrage for that? More precisely, where's the Muslim outrage to that? Does rape and murder not offend them?

Right Truth

Ellen said...

Good comments, all.

Radar, I'm chewing on your theory about moderate Muslims hedging, for I, too, have wondered how there can be such outrage in the Muslim world over Prophet (pbuh) cartoons, yet such deafening silence over bombings in all their varieties. I used to attribute it to the lack of hierarchy in Islam (i.e., no Pope equivalent, no one who within the faith has global stature as a moral authority). It is a flat faith organizationally, so there isn't the kind of leadership that exists in other faiths.

Debbie, I've noticed that, in the Arab/Muslim world, people tend to have very thin skins when faced with even the mildest criticism of their culture/faith. To be honest, I think that is at least part of the reason they are falling further and further behind, for in order to improve, one must first be able to acknowledge and discuss with a cool head what isn't working well. I've rarely seen anyone in that world step up and take responsibility for anything, no matter how awesomely wrong (and I've seen some very bad behaviors). I say this not to bash anyone, but just to note a difference between West/East, Christian/Muslim.

Catholics were outraged and vocal about it when the child abuse scandals were making headlines. I don't think you'd seen something comparable happen if something similar were to occur in Islam. As for criticizing government officials, politicians, and other leaders, it is illegal in Jordan (and probably elsewhere in the region). People can be and are imprisoned for saying anything critical of those people. And so they are rarely dealing with the truth.

But it is a fool's "paradise."