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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 4, 2011 / 30 Shevat, 5771

Their freedom is not our freedom

By Diana West




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Americans must learn two concepts to better understand the political earthquake the United States is now pushing as President Obama gives his nod to "the Arab street," predominantly organized, it seems, by the Muslim Brotherhood, to force out an ally, Hosni Mubarak.

Many on the right have seen in the anti-Mubarak movement vindication of George W. Bush's Big Idea -- that ballot-box democracy would transform the umma into Jeffersonian, or, at least, pro-Western and anti-jihad republics. That this hasn't happened anywhere (and in spades) doesn't dampen their enthusiasm. In fact, citing Bush to bolster pro-"opposition" commentary is in vogue. Writing in the Washington Post, Elliott Abrams quotes Bush, circa 2003, as saying: "Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? … Are they alone never to know freedom …?" Jay Nordlinger at National Review quotes Bush, circa 2008, as saying: "The truth is that freedom is a universal right -- the Almighty's gift to every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth."

Such is "universalist" gospel. Universalists believe all peoples prefer freedom to its absence, which is probably true. But they also believe all peoples define "freedom" in the same way. Is that true?

The answer -- and first concept -- is no. The entry on freedom, or hurriyya, in the "Encyclopedia of Islam" describes a state of divine enthrallment that bears no resemblance to any Western understanding of freedom as predicated on the workings of the individual conscience. According to the encyclopedia, Islamic freedom is "the recognition of the essential relationship between God the master and His human slaves who are completely dependent on Him." Ibn Arabi, a Sufi scholar of note, is cited for having defined freedom as "being perfect slavery" to Allah. To put it another way, Islamic-style "freedom" is freedom from unbelief.

Suddenly, something seems very lost in Bush-speak translation. It has been from the start, which helps explain what's gone wrong in U.S. wars in the umma. Bringing Western-style "freedom" to the Islamic world may have resembled an idealistic extension of the civil rights crusade in the eyes of President Bush and his followers, but it was actually one big cultural misunderstanding.


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At this point, I can imagine being quizzed on whether the Islamic definition of freedom applies outside of a strictly Islamic religious milieu. But judging by the most solid indicators we have -- polling data on Egyptian attitudes from Pew (2010) and University of Maryland/WorldOpinion.Org (2007) -- I would have to say that Egypt is a strictly Islamic religious milieu. These findings reveal a population steeped in the teachings and attitudes of Shariah (Islamic law). For example, Pew tells us 84 percent of Egyptians favor the death penalty for leaving Islam; 95 percent say it's good for Islam to play a big role in politics. The Maryland/WorldOpinon poll shows that 74 percent of Egyptians favor "strict Shariah," and that 67 percent favor a "caliphate" uniting all of Islam. In free elections, such potential pluralities might well rate as "democratic" in terms of majority rule. But would the West consider them to be "democratic" in terms of individual rights?

Writing in the Washington Examiner, Byron York considered some of these same Egyptian data and found an apparent contradiction between the huge popularity of the death penalty for leaving Islam ("apostasy") on the one hand, and "freedom of religion" (90 percent) on the other. This would be a contradiction in the Western context. But we are not looking at a Western context. Which brings me to Concept Two.

Islam does not recognize as valid any religion but Islam. That means that what we in the West hear as "freedom of religion" becomes, in the Islamic context, freedom of Islam. Indeed, as Stephen Coughlin, the brilliant analyst of Shariah, has pointed out to me, citing both the Koran and quoting the classic Sunni law book "Reliance of the Traveler," Judaism and Christianity "were abrogated by the universal message of Islam." That means overruled. Further, it is "unbelief (kufr)" -- grounds for the capital crime of apostasy -- "to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as "Christianity" or "Judaism," are acceptable to Allah Most High."

Suddenly, a post-Mubarak Egypt run by the Muslim Brothers is not so difficult to imagine.

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© 2009, Diana West