Islam Basic Beliefs raise the question: What Is Tolerance? What Supports Rage Disorder? Middle East Religion encourages Rage Anger, vsvs Definition Tolerance.
|HOME IDEA EMPORIUM IDEA 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16* STUPID OPINION * HOW TO THINK|
The Ultimate Reality
The Brain Game
Walls in the Mind,
Give Peace a Chance
innerwear that dares
ISLAM BASIC BELIEFS
Core Concerns: Islam Basic Beliefs, Western Tolerance
Islam basic beliefs - Middle East religion. Islam basic belifs - Middle East religions.
Worldwide, there are many cultures of "righteous" rage – cultures
where rage and hatred are incited, encouraged, fostered as righteous. I think
of the recent slaughter in Rwanda, the genocide in in Darfur, the Nazi massacre
of millions of Jews, the nineteenth century outrage at women who wanted to vote
and slaves who wanted freedom. I will write mainly of one small incident.
September, 2005. A Danish newspaper
publishes cartoons allegedly making fun of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
Time passes. Things almost blow over.
In December, an imam (Muslim religious leader) living in Denmark takes the cartoons back to Muslim countries and shows them – along with far more inflammatory ones. The Danish cartoon that upsets him most has Mohammed with his turban turned into a bomb; it reportedly is against the way that some Muslims are using their religious to justify violence; the imam takes it as mocking his religion. The cartoons the imam also shows have Mohammed as a devil (he has horns) and as a pedophile. One shows Muslims praying, with dogs ready to mount them. The caption says, "This is why Muslims pray." These cartoons were never published in any Danish publication.
One has to ask oneself. What is going on here? Clearly he fears the published cartoons are not enough to get the response he wants, which is anger, rage, outrage, hatred. And why would he want such a response? Most likely because he is angry and hates, and wants others to join in.
He is successful.
As one might expect, a price is put on the head of a couple of the Danish cartoonists.
All over the world, Muslims protest (not against the death threats, only against the cartoons!) – this is a horror, a violation, an outrage. There are massive demonstrations in the streets. Small children, women, men – everyone, it seems. Cars are overturned and torched.
Early February, 2006. Muslims in Lebanon burn down the Danish embassy in retaliation.
Canadian television shows Danish products taken off the shelves of Muslim stores, and a non-Muslim university professor pompously intoning that this is all understandable: Christians would likewise be outraged if something similar were done to our religious symbols. Next on the screen is a young Muslim man talking about his hurt feelings. (He says nothing, of course, about the threat to the lives, not just feelings, of the Danish cartoonists.)
American, Canadian and British TV reporters with concerned faces look deeply into the camera and shake their heads. They speak of the growing Muslim anger.
A Danish man interviewed on a Canadian station mildly says that the Muslim response goes too far, holding an entire nation responsible for what a few have done.
Clearly, there is Muslim outrage.
But does it make sense? And if so, what kind of sense?
Denmark: a country with a liberal tradition of respecting human rights. It is the only country in Europe where, during World War II, the Jewish population was protected. It has a cradle-to-grave social-care system. It was one of the first (perhaps the very first) country to legalize gay marriages. It has even passed a law mandating that cows must be allowed a minimum amount of time outdoors and not be kept cooped up.
I remember spending time in Denmark. It felt welcoming, friendly, safe. I've read that it has a low violence rate.
This is the country that is having its products taken off the shelves, and an embassy burned – because a cartoon deemed offensive to Muslims was published.
I could start with the track record of various Arab countries on respect for religions other than theirs, and the track record of various Arab countries on human rights. But I will start with something else.
Over and over, in the wake of 9/11, Muslims (and many non-Muslims) have proclaimed that all Muslims must not be judged on the basis of the few that are terrorists. Yes, it was Muslims that flew the airplanes into the World Trade towers, but most Muslims are not like that.
That's very true. Each individual should be judged only on the basis of his or her own behavior.
So then why are all Danes being judged on the basis of one Danish cartoon? Why has an embassy been burned? Why have Danish products been taken off shelves? Why is there so much rage? That, most of all, is what the footage shows. Polite Western reporters. Enraged Muslim rioters.
Maybe the reporters are so nice and polite
when they speak of the growing Muslim anger because they are afraid of
having that anger turned on them.
Before I say more about that anger, I will just briefly look at the track record of predominantly Muslim countries on religious tolerance.
In Egypt, one of the more liberal Arab countries, over the past half century the Christian population has shrunk from almost 50% down to 10% - because Christians have been (to put it nicely) discriminated against and pushed out. Anti-Semitism, needless to say, is rampant – it's commonly held that Jews are lower than dogs. The justification I've heard for that opinion: "It's in the Koran." (I don't care if it is or isn't in the Koran. I care about the attitude.)
Anti-Semitic and anti-Western cartoons abound. Many of them are gross - hugely more offensive than even the one of Muslims being ready to be mounted by dogs. They show Jews and Americans and Westerners in general as evil monsters.
I've had Muslim students, immigrants from Arab countries, speak of their amazement at finding out - slowly - that Jews are ordinary people, just like them. They were brought up to hate Jews. It took years in Canada to unlearn that, even partially.
I started by looking at Muslim religious intolerance because it is a cartoon featuring the central Muslim religious figure, Mohammed, that sparked the protests. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," said a central Christian religious figure, Jesus. I'd say, to put it mildly, that Muslims are in no position to cast any stones.
I haven’t gotten to other human rights injustices – the situation of women in many Muslim countries, other human rights violations in many of them (Algeria comes to mind), etc. I don't think I need to go into that. I've made my point: people who have, as a group, a dismal track record on human rights have taken offense, not even at an act of violence, but at a cartoon
Probably it is too scary to feel such rage, let alone express it.
But there is rage, masses and masses of seething rage, seeking some outlet.
I asked: does the Muslim rage make sense? And if so, in what way does it make sense? My answer: Yes, it makes sense. That it is totally out of proportion also makes sense.
This is my core point: the rage of the Muslim protesters is the common rage of the "righteous". This is also the emotion that fueled the imam to go to Muslim countries with cartoons never shown in the Danish publication. There's not only rage, of course – there's also hatred.
One sees this kind of rage and hatred in so many places. In Rwanda, it was easy to whip up Hutu rage at the Tutsis. In Germany, it was easy to whip it up at the Jews. In the United States, a huge block against black civil rights came from the rage and hatred of many whites. Worldwide, such rage has also been turned by heterosexuals against gays and lesbians. In some black subcultures, this rage is turned against whites.
I'm at my starting point. Worldwide, there are many cultures of "righteous" rage – cultures where rage and hatred are incited, encouraged, fostered as righteous.
Where does this rage come from? Human nature. We are born with the potential for it. A technical term for the rage is "narcissistic rage." This is the rage against those we are cut off from, and keep distant from us through hatred and rage.
This is the rage of Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned.
It is the rage of many Muslims at a cartoon, while many of these same Muslims do not rage against the outrageous religious intolerance of many Muslim countries and the flagrant human rights violations in many of these countries.
This rage is out of all proportion to the offense. It is like detonating a nuclear bomb against a mosquito.
What would happen if people let go of the rage? People might see the wrongs they themselves have done and are doing.
Probably most of all, they would see the humanity of those they hate. Much more of the world would be seen.
This is the last thing the raging and the intolerant want. Most, they believe they are justified in their rage.
But sometimes people learn – and the world changes.
We are also born with the potential for empathy, caring, tolerance. Those qualities can be nurtured, just as rage and intolerance can be nurtured.
How does one learn? Those raging can look inward, at themselves and their own group. So Muslims raging at the cartoon could take a good look at Muslim wrongs.
One can also look outward, at those one is cut off from. At the end of the film, Malcolm X, after he has long believed there was no way for blacks and whites to be together, Malcolm X goes to Mecca and sees black and white men praying together, and learns to recognize our common humanity
There is something else. I come to the mild faces of the reporters.
All too often these days, the raging "righteous" are given a positive image of themselves. I turn on the TV. I see rage out of all proportion. That's not what the reporters or the commentators speak of. They sound sympathetic. The lone Danish voice of reason isn't reinforced. It is as if much of North American and European culture is caught within the illusion that the rage is a justified response to an intolerable horror.
I say, stop it. It's dangerous. It's out of touch with reality. So stop it. It doesn't recognize the millions of concerned and caring Danes. It doesn’t recognize the human rights of the cartoonists. It certainly doesn't explore how the cartoon, from what I can make out, is about something many people (Muslim and non-Muslim) are against: the misuse of a religion to foster violence. (Maybe that's what, deep down, inflamed the imam - that someone dared to portray accurately Muslim abuse of the Muslim religion, an abuse of the Muslim religion that he probably denied was an abuse - and then there was the Danish cartoonist, with a simple cartoon that said it clearly for all to see: "Look what some people are doing - and it is wrong.")
Once again, the violence, the readiness to use violence to stop speech and even thinking, the readiness just plain to use violence, has to stop.
I've written about one incident of "righteous" rage. It could be about any of a hundred other incidents. And that's it, for now.
February 10, 2006
UPDATE ONE: Now I have seen the cartoon. So mild in comparison to the hatred and rage in the Middle Eastern cartoons I've seen. My strongest response: the cartoon of Mohammed with his turban turned into a bomb depicts exactly the type of hijacking of the Muslim religion that some Muslims have done. As is well known, deadly violence is being done in the name of the Muslim religion. But instead of looking at the wrong being done in the name of the Muslim religion, the Muslims who are protesting seem to be against anyone noticing this wrong, and consider that anyone who notices it is being offensive. I'd say that murder is much more offensive than a cartoon showing the wrong.
UPDATE TWO: the rage is generalizing, and now is being directed against the States. Of course. Rage (like fear) generalizes. Someone is frightened by one dog, and often ends up afraid of all dogs. One has to stop the fear, or in this case the rage. Instead many in the West have encouraged the rage by saying it's okay, understandable, etc. – rather than totally out of line with the so-called provocation. I have been hearing some more reasonable responses by Westerners these past few days. At last.
UPDATE THREE: Syria and Iran are reported to be fanning the rage. Again, of course. That fanning has been going on all along. The protests have not been, for the most part anyway, a spontaneous outpouring of rage. What does one do with a fire if one wants to put it out? One does one's best to understand it (or one doesn't know how best to put it out), and then one uses the best tools at one's disposal to put it out.
To put out dangerous rage, one had better see it as such (which the West as well as the Muslim world has mainly not done), and one had better stop it, perhaps with the emotional equivalent of rain, or if the rage is too strong, with the emotional equivalent of a firewall against it. Best if one defuses the rage. If there's no more rage, then there's no more raging. No more smoking ruins. It is just gone.
How might one stop the outpouring of rage? Here are a few suggestions. One could start by protecting the Danes - as the Danes protected the Jews in Denmark during World War II. One could also strongly protect freedom of expression. One could also protest vehemently against violence and destructiveness, including Muslim violence and destructiveness (just as much of Europe and Canada protested, including with huge demonstrations, against the invasion of Iraq). And one could make oneself as human as possible - to make it as likely as possible that one is seen as a fellow human being. This is often hard - I think of the murder of the CARE worker who had devoted thirty years of her life to bringing aid to Iraqis. Worldwide outcry and the pleas of her (Muslim) husband could not save her. She was murdered. And the Muslim world did not rise up in outrage and protest against this monstrosity.
Once again, I say enough. Enough of acting as if the rage and violence were an okay response.
By the way, in case you might like to
see a sample of the Arab cartoons, here are a few:http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/ArabCartoons.htm
As for links to the Danish cartoons,
the link I had no longer works. Don't know why.
It was my final comment in February.
But it is now July 2006, and every day brings news of more violence between Hezbollah and Israel - from the abduction of 2 Israeli soldiers, to Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, to daily bombings in Israel, to the Israeli bombing of a Lebanese village killing forty civilians including twenty children. Outrage.
What I have noticed is that some Lebanese anger goes against Hezbollah for endangering the Lebanese. Most goes against Israel. And as for the Arab world, there is almost nothing being said against Hezbollah. Instead there is rage against Israel and the United States.
Why? I am watching American and Canadian news sources where both the Lebanese (including Hezbollah) and the Israelis are shown as human, where the pain of both sides is shown. My guess is that in those countries where rage against Israel is mounting, only the pain of the Lebanese is shown - and when any Israeli losses are mentioned, there is joy and gloating, rather than grief.
I don't know how best to break the rage and hatred. I know that I've earlier suggested that one way is to show the "enemy" as human.
But that leaves out, what does one do with the rage, if one outlet is closed? Movements that give an outlet for human caring and human rage often are immensely successful.
The Nazis told Germans they were great, established strong social programs - and gave an outlet for rage, disdain, hatred, contempt (Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, those with physical disabilities, those with mental disabilities, etc., etc.).
Hezbollah has a great reputation with many Lebanese, in good part because of its social programs (education, health care, etc.). Another part of the appeal is hate appeal - it gives people an outlet for hatred.
But what does one do with human anger, rage, hatred - often anger backed by injustice. The Germans had the injustice of the settlement at the end of World War I, which gave them crippling war debts, so enormous that there was no way the country could get its economy on its feet.
In the Middle East conflict, there is also a history of a people - the Arabs - whose land was occupied by a people - the Jews - claiming it's their right to be there because their god said so thousands of years ago.
Everywhere one turns there are old injustices - even new injustices. Done to the native people in North America. The aboriginals in Australia. In South America. In Central America.
Somehow, though, one must break through
the rage-hatred shell.
You may note that I am not staying
I am used to
signing my own name.
here to go from this exploration of Islam basic beliefs,
Islam Basic Beliefs raise the question: What Is Tolerance?