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Jewish World Review
Nov. 3, 2003
/ 8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764
Stop insulting Judaism and Christianity, Mr. President
It's high time to tell the truth about the adherents and, more importantly, leaders of the "great religion"
I'd like to think that with Ramadan
rolling around again, President Bush at
least considered calling off his annual
White House dinner with assorted
Muslim luminaries to break their holiday
fast. No other religious group not
Jews, Catholics, Protestants or even
Druids rates an official celebration
like the Iftaar supper, a White House
"tradition" since 2001. That was the
year the United States first decided
that "reaching out" to Muslims following
Muslim terrorist attacks on the United
States was a good idea. Three
Ramadans later, a sense of dining
entitlement has no doubt kicked in
that's harder to buck than not.
So,the president hosted his Ramadan
dinner. Believing (and having written)
that this man is all that separates us
from the abyss, I'm pulling for Mr. Bush
to succeed. At the same time, I'm also
hoping he choked a little on his official
remarks, at least on the part where he
called on people of all faiths to reflect
on "the values we hold common love
of family, gratitude to G-d, and"
insert Heimlich Maneuver here "a
commitment to religious freedom."
Islam may have a lot of things
love of family and gratitude to G-d, as
the president said, along with jihad
(holy war), dhimmitude (inferior status
of non-Muslims) and a corner on the
suicide bombing market but it does
not have "a commitment to religious
freedom." And, that goes even after
excluding al Qaeda, the Taliban and the
entire royal family of Saudi Arabia. Take
Egypt. According to a report I first saw
posted at www.robertspencer.org, a
new Web site devoted to both jihad
and dhimmitude, a slew of Christian
converts from Islam have been arrested
since Oct. 21 in Egypt our modern
(moderate?) friend and recipient of
billions in U.S. aid in a crackdown on
As reported by the Barnabas Fund,
a British watchdog group, as many as
22 Christian converts "have been taken
from Alexandria to police stations in
Cairo and are being beaten,
interrogated and tortured." The
charge? Falsifying identity papers. While
it's not technically against the law in
Egypt for Muslims to convert to
Christianity as it is under the sharia
law of, say, Iran, Sudan and Saudi
Arabia it is illegal for any Egyptian to drop his Muslim name
for a Christian name. "Thus," as the Barnabas Fund explains,
Christian converts in Egypt are always "regarded as Muslims
in the eyes of the law."
The repercussions never end. Muslim women who convert
to Christianity are prohibited from marrying Christian men,
while children of converts are regarded as Muslims and
educated as Muslims. Even in death, converts must be buried
as Muslims. As a result, the Barnabas Fund explains, some
Christian converts apply for official papers under assumed
names the Egyptian state considers illegal. If their unofficially
adopted Christian names are detected, converts are open to
charges of falsifying official documents "which can be used
as a way of punishing them for their apostasy."
What was that the president was saying about Judaism,
Christianity and Islam being equally committed to freedom of
religion? It sounds like the voice of diplomatic politesse as
it does every time Mr. Bush insists the Muslim terrorists
waging jihad on Western civilization "are evil people who have
hijacked a great religion." It may seem nice and neighborly,
but such a formulation categorically denies the fact that there
is something inherent to that "great religion" jihad and
dhimmitude, for starters that inspires the supposed
"hijacking," shaping a theology that has always been part
terrorist manifesto. This same soft-soap routine also
obscures the desperate need for Islamic reformation, an
accommodation with modernity that would allow other
religions to coexist with Islam without fear.
The impulse to hide the truth about Islam about its
connection to terrorism and its disconnection from Western
civilization is a shocking fact of the "war on terrorism."
Addressing reporters on the day of his Ramadan dinner, Mr.
Bush said Muslim leaders have asked him: "Why do Americans
think Muslims are terrorists?" Instead of answering, "Because
an unending pattern of catastrophic terrorism against the
United States has been perpetrated by Muslims, that's why,"
Mr. Bush replied: "That's not what Americans think.
Americans think terrorists are evil people who have hijacked a
Preaching on Saudi state television from the holy mosque
in Medina, Shaykh Salah Bin-Muhammad al-Budayr recently
hailed Ramadan, concluding his sermon (according to a
translation at www.imra.org.il): "O G-d, support Islam and
Muslims and destroy the enemies of Islam, including Jews,
Christians and atheists. . . . O G-d, deal with the Jews for
they are within your power. . . O G-d, shake the land under
their feet, instill fear in their hearts and make them a booty
for Muslims and a lesson to others."
Such sermonizing quite common in the Muslim world
may show a commitment to something, but religious freedom
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© 2003, Diana West