Appearing right above this essay later today (if time permits) or tomorrow will be a rather classic liberal look at one aspect of Islam, both Islamic religious teachings and the effect those teachings have on certain aspects of middle eastern societies.
That soon to be written essay will be critical and will apply the same perspectives I have already applied to nearly identical Christian teachings frequently here in this blog over the last ten years.
Of course, if you are reading these words on Monday, you've already read the essay, since it appears directly above this one. So reading down here is a lot like time travel. You've traveled back in time, before the above essay was ever written. But I digress.
As a long time, traditional liberal who fought for human rights in Afghanistan long before anyone outside of Texas heard or cared about George W. Bush, I find the silence of the left on issues of Islamic teachings and practices very disturbing.
The Huffington Post rails mightily every day about women's rights, racism, the rights of hispanic immigrants, gay marriage, the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transexuals, daily outbreaks of Christian hypocrisy, prayer in school, global warming and evolution versus creationism. But you'll virtually never find a single blog about the failings of Islam or the Islamic world on these very same topics.
To be certain it's easier and more fun to attack Kansas than Teheran, However, the left wing hypocrisy is glaring and, to my mind, maddening.
Years ago I fought against the evils of the Taliban along side these same Hollywood liberals as we pleaded for the UN to intercede on behalf of women in Afghanistan. Now the silence from the left is deafening.
Meanwhile the right is on a unified campaign to point out nearly every Islamic evil. If a day goes by without a good enough (errr.... bad enough) example, the right dreams one up or relives some past evils.
Right wing bloggers like Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs are on a crusade against Islam.... and, absolutely, the pun was intended.
What's really interesting is that the right is generally using the exact same arguments traditionally used by the old school left: women's rights, racism, the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transexuals, daily outbreaks of Islamic hypocrisy, prayer in school, global warming and evolution versus creationism.
Read Michelle Malkin today and you could be reading Susan Sarandon ten years ago. Now that is a disturbing thought.
Why is this happening? I have three observations.
First, the left today has two rather diverse movements, liberals on one hand and so-called progressives on the other. Progressives are not liberals. In fact many hold very traditional conservative goals. They tend to be isolationist, against free trade, and against open borders. This crowd includes many who fight against big corporations, fear international institutions and want a stronger, bigger U.S. government with socialist overtones.
Talk about a big tent. This crowd includes everyone from Keith Olbermann to Pat Buchanan to Alex Jones.
Progressives unite in one critical area: they hate George Bush and they hate the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They want the troops home now and they want Bush humiliated and controlled, if not impeached and imprisoned. Nothing can be accomplished until Bush is removed from effective power. No time to criticize Islam until the greatest evil in history is removed from the world stage.
Once Bush is gone (and their campaign can only last two more years, at most), this coalition can turn to other issues. A few might become objectively critical of Islam. Others will not. Many will continue to strictly confine their observations to things within the sphere of US influence. They will never be critical of anything but the United States, it's policies and practices.
Second, we liberals do often suffer from terminal, if highly selective, political correctness. We are rightfully sensitive to the feelings of millions of Muslims worldwide, and especially those living in the West. We want to draw a line between valid criticism and an attack on an entire religion.
With the right labeling Islam the "religion of perpetual intolerance," or "the religion of perpetual outrage," we liberals are careful to actually protect the religion and people being so unfairly attacked. We delay or curb our criticism of Islam for fear of being accused of "piling on."
Worse yet, if we attack any aspect of Muslim life, we might get lumped into a basket with Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.
We can safely attack the foilbles of Christianity because Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh will defend the Christians. We are prevented from similar criticism of Islam because it puts us on the wrong side of the "liberal versus conservative" dichotomy.
I know that is stupid, but you know I'm right.
Finally (third), I'm embarrassed to tell you the left is withholding criticism of Islam out of fear. How many liberal free speech advocates openly defended the Danish cartoonists? How many reprinted the cartoons? Damn few. Once again, liberals had to look toward leaders like Michelle Malkin to carry the water for them. Sarcasm fully intended.
Around the world written criticism or even minor insults to Islam lead directly to beatings, torture, imprisonment and death. And it is scary. Here is a short capsule of recent brutality (courtesy once again of the great liberal leader, Michelle Malkin).
Conservatives are fearless and stupid. Just ask George "Bring it on" Bush. Malkin, Coulter and others are actually baiting Muslims. "Go ahead, make my day!"
Liberals need a little more courage. And so I begin the essay that will appear above this one later today or tomorrow.
TECHNORATI TAGS: ISLAM MUSLIM RELIGION LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANITY ANN COULTER MICHELLE MALKIN KEITH OLBERMANN ALEX JONES
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