Dangerous Ideologies? Sadly, Yes.


This story from Brooklyn has received some attention in today’s New York Times and I think it deserves even more attention:

Debbie Almontaser dreamed of starting a public school like no other in New York City. Children of Arab descent would join students of other ethnicities, learning Arabic together. By graduation, they would be fluent in the language and groomed for the country’s elite colleges. They would be ready, in Ms. Almontaser’s words, to become “ambassadors of peace and hope.”

Basically, it seems that Almontaser was forced to resign as a result of a targeted personal attack on her by a good old-fashioned “negative campaign” but what bothers me the most about this story is the fact that people who initiated the attack are so open about their anti-Muslim attitude:

“It’s a battle that’s really just begun,” said Daniel Pipes, who directs a conservative research group, the Middle East Forum, and helped lead the charge against Ms. Almontaser and the school. […]  Mr. Pipes and others reel off a list of examples: Muslim cabdrivers in Minneapolis who have refused to take passengers carrying liquor; municipal pools and a gym at Harvard that have adopted female-only hours to accommodate Muslim women; candidates for office who are suspected of supporting political Islam; and banks that are offering financial products compliant with sharia, the Islamic code of law.

In other words, if there exists a group of people who are not breaking the law but share a religious belief that causes them to attempt to create living conditions in which their beliefs could be respected, then they constitute a threat. Well, not really, unless this grous is Muslim – fundamentalist Mormons can go on CBS and tell the country that they had no idea it was illegal to have sex with underaged girls, but a Muslim woman wanting to enjoy pool without men around is a threat to American way of life?

Mr. Pipes refers to this new enemy as the “lawful Islamists.” They are carrying out a “soft jihad,” said Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a trustee of the City University of New York and a vocal opponent of the Khalil Gibran school.

Really? “Soft jihad”? Like soft icecream? So the religious groups that believe there’s a divine law that needs to be obeyed are a threat to the state? Well, they are, but Muslims are not the only ones then, because, if one were to be educated in the history of Christianity or Judaism, there were plenty of examples of Christians and Jews standing up for their religious beliefs, but if those scary Muslims dare to change the system to accomodate their beliefs, it’s all going to hell.

Now Islam-bashing is not new, but to express your radical opinions on your blogs and in your newspapers is “free speech” – all kinds of racists and anti-Semitic stuff, for example, could be found on the internets, but a directed political attack on a principal to get her fired without really knowing much about the school is an example of attack that should be not tolerated.

“They don’t throw bombs, but they create political cover for ideological support of this jihadi movement,” he said. Mr. Pipes places Muslims in three categories, he said: those who are violent, those who are moderate and those in the middle. It is this middle group, he argued, that now poses the greatest threat to American values.  “Are these people who are not using violence but who are not fully enthusiastic about this country and its mores, its culture — are they on our side or are they on the other side?” he asked.

Not enthusiastic enough? How do you measure enthusiasm? By how many “Support the troops” bumpet stickers I have or miniature American flags or how often and how loud I yell “God Bless America”? What is this guy talking about?

2 thoughts on “Dangerous Ideologies? Sadly, Yes.

  1. It is Anti-American in a free market society to tailor services to a specific religious belief?

    Someone should ask him why there are state mandates for liquor stores to be closed on Sundays.

  2. How about the Americans who are tired of American mores and culture? Are we then not on our own side? And what is the other side anyway? Is anyone who isn’t “enthusiastic” about America looking to have America destroyed? Where do these people come up with this stuff?

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