Sunday, February 21, 2016

WTF Carson!

The man who sees with his index finger


Carson: Muhammad’s Army Enslaved Girls And Killed Jews. Why the fuck do we need to relive these centuries and millennia old conflicts? I mean has Carson read about Moses and the Israelites and what they did? Has he read the Old Testament? Is aware of the history of persecutions conducted by the various churches that sprang up throughout history? Other than terrorist movements, is he aware of any contemporary Muslim society that enslaves Jews and girls?

Before anyone brings about issues of child bride and women’s rights, let’s bear in mind here that these issues reflect the degree of development and education of certain societies and they are not attacked to a specific faith as evident by the fact that they can be observed among Hindus and certain Christian communities in Asia and Africa.

As for the phenomenon of abuse of domestic servants in some Muslim countries, once again, it should borne in mind that the issue is not observable only in Muslim countries, and it’s, as its heart, a function of race, class and power, rather than faith. It might also be important to remember here the child labor involved in making our clothes, our smartphones, our shoes, our various electronic equipment and toys. Furthermore, let’s not forget that human trafficking and sweatshops are still common phenomena in the glorious West, despite being illegal.

The point is: Making stupid comparisons a la Carson and others distract from the real fight and the real problem, and encourage more schisms and more radicalization. Islamic extremists can use such foolish proclamations by presidential candidates to justify their equally foolish claims of a war against Islam waged by America and the West, and that could only undermine reformist efforts to counter their propaganda campaigns.

So, to the Dr. Carsons of the world, let me ask: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).

However, it’s not my intention here to dismiss the facts that Muslims societies do suffer from many problems regarding treatments of minorities and women, not to mention children and secular and liberal movements. Nor am I trying to undermine the legitimacy of attempts made human rights organizations and Western governments to raise these issues in their dealings with certain Muslim governments. On the contrary, this is simply an invitation for consistency and for tackling the right issues at play here in order to come out with the right solutions and be more successful in our ongoing attempts to identify suitable local partners.

Muslims are not the enemy. Islam is not the main problem that Muslim societies face. Muslim popular attitudes are bound to change with greater emphasis on education, development and political freedoms, just as has been the case with other peoples and societies. As for Islam, it’s up to Muslims above all to figure out what to make of it given modern values and realities. But because this is an interactive and hyper-connected world, Muslims are admittedly not the only stakeholders in this matter; others do have a legitimate right to have a voice heard in this regard as well, especially when it comes to how they are being viewed and treated by Muslims. But only self-critical people have the right to criticize others, an observation that applies to all sides and elements of the equation. Until people like Ben Carson begin to examine their own religious and cultural heritage with the same critical eye with which they examine other faiths, religions and cultures, their criticism will continue to sound hollow and hypocritical, and more an instrument of propaganda and conflict than peacemaking and intellectual and spiritual awakening.