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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 Sept. 25, 2006 / 3 Tishrei, 5767

Just shut up

By Diana West


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Shut up.


When all is said and done — when protesters junk their placards, when burning churches cool, when a murdered nun's grave grows grass — "shut up" is the underlying message of Pope Rage, the latest fulmination to come from Islam, this time over Pope Benedict's recent lecture on faith and reason. When the pope argued, quoting a Byzantine source on Mohammed, that the practice of forced conversion — key to Islamic expansion over the centuries — is inimical to both faith and reason, the reaction of anger and violence was instantaneous. Just shut up, the umma exclaimed.


Or, to put it more elegantly, as did Daniel Pipes: "The Muslim uproar has a goal — to prohibit criticism of Islam by Christians and thereby impose Shariah norms in the West. Should Westerners accept this central tenet of Islamic law, others will surely follow. Retaining free speech about Islam, therefore, represents a critical defense against the imposition of an Islamic order."


The question is, Will we retain our free speech about Islam? Speaking at the United Nations this week, Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf asked the international community to ban the "defamation of Islam" — a rendition of "shut up" that's a constant refrain at the UN — but it looks like mum's already the word. Just read through George W. Bush's address to the world body. "Islamic fascists" are out. "Extremists who use terror as a weapon to create fear" are in.


We probably have presidential pal and roving ambassador Karen Hughes to thank for Mr. Bush's discreet-to-the-point-of-incomprehensible talk. "Diplomats say that Muslims hear [the phrase "Islamic fascists"] as an attack on their religion, thereby validating the extremists' false charge that the United States is at war with Islam," writes Morton Kondracke, explaining Mrs. Hughes' semantic sentiments, which he says have put the kibosh on administration straight talk. But maybe there's more (less) to it. Earlier this month, Mrs. Hughes wrote: "As I have traveled the world, I have met those who try to justify the violence based on policy differences, long-held grievances or a perceived threat from the West."


Differences, grievances, threat: Isn't she missing some little old jihad thing? Not that she's alone. Take Hughes mentor Edward Djerejian. Veteran diplomat to assorted Middle Eastern countries — warm to Arabs, cool to Israel (just like his close associate James Baker, who now co-chairs the vaunted Iraq Study Group) — Mr. Djerejian is another happy warrior of ambiguity. The "seminal challenge" of our age, as Mr. Djerejian describes it, is "the struggle for ideas between the forces of moderation and extremism, whether it be secular extremism or religious extremism of no matter what religion, no matter what culture."


This is a challenge, all right — a challenge to know what he's talking about. But such obfuscation is more than just the antithesis of reasoned critique. It also happens to comply with what Mr. Pipes calls "Shariah norms" in the West.


Islam prohibits "blasphemy," which includes criticism of its prophet Mohammed. The Shariah penalty is death. But if it is "extremists" who carry the penalty out — as in the ritual murders of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam (2004) and Mohammed Taha in Sudan (2006) — what Pope Rage reveals is how shockingly little separates "moderates" from "extremists" when it comes to the blasphemy-taboo in the first place.


"Even the most moderate and Westernized Muslim will not tolerate insults to the Prophet Mohammed," writes Tulin Daloglu, commenting on Pope Rage from the moderate side of Islam in The Washington Times. "Each offense unites Muslims against Western prejudices and rejection — and the extremists gain more credibility."


So shut up.


Blogging online, columnist Mona Charen reported on another moderate, George Washington University's Seyyed Hossein Nasr. In an interview with NPR host Diane Rehm, Mr. Nasr contested the notion that Pope Rage violence against Christians was not unprovoked. As Mrs. Charen wrote, "Diane Rehm equably restated his position (I paraphrase): 'So you think words are violence.' He confirmed."


So shut up.


Meanwhile, listen to the voice of bona fide "extremism," Great Britain's own Anjem Choudary, as reported in the Evening Standard: "The Muslims take their religion very seriously and non-Muslims must appreciate that and must also understand that there may be serious consequences if you insult Islam and the prophet."


He continued: "Whoever insults the message of Mohammed is going to be subject to capital punishment."


"Shut up," say the moderates, "or else," say the extremists. Frankly, this sounds an awful lot as if the "moderates" are as non-reasonable as the "extremists." This may be shocking-but it's nothing to be left speechless over.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006, Diana West