March 13, 2006

Appeasement Or Real Politik?

Marc Schulman has an interesting post up at American Future.

From The Telegraph:

School textbooks should be reviewed for intolerant depictions of Islam and other faiths by experts overseen by the European Union and Islamic leaders, the European Parliament was told yesterday. The call for a special committee to examine religious education in schools came from Hans-Gert Pöttering, the German Christian Democrat who heads the largest group of MEPs. Pöttering suggested that the EU could co-operate with the 56-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which has its headquarters in Saudi Arabia, to create a textbook review committee that could help to choose the experts to sit on the committee.

At least the cave wasn't complete:

Mr Pöttering, the head of the centre-Right, but largely federalist European People's Party, said the work of building bridges between Islam and the West had to "begin with young people".

He also called for similar tolerance in the Islamic world, holding up examples of anti-Semitic cartoons taken from the Middle East and suggesting a parallel review should be made of Islamic school books.

It's good to see that the proposal was immediately condemned as "appeasement" by Charles Tannock, a British Conservative MEP:

Marc notes:

This sounds like an exercise in political correctness and appeasement. I don't see why we should be bringing children into this debate.
After all, it is not the "children" that are currently the problem on either side. It is only the adults that don't understand the consequences of appeasement.

Posted by GM Roper at March 13, 2006 01:42 PM | TrackBack

hey GM!..great follow up on this issue with this post..I linked to yaz!

Posted by Angel at March 13, 2006 04:33 PM

He asked for similar tolerance from Islamic textbooks...

Okay, if they go first, we should follow. If they want to run the world, they can start with some leadership here.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at March 13, 2006 10:42 PM

"Muslim irrationality" brought us this:

Did you any of you learn that in your textbooks?

Posted by Jorg at March 14, 2006 04:28 AM

Jorg, actually, having had the pleasure of both a european and american educational experience, I did learn that in school. But, and I think you will agree, that the vast majority of items noted at that site are from a history of from 600 to 1000 years ago and do not come close to the current effort of terrorism (read destruction, murder, etc.)streaching back to at least '72 Munich and the Achille Lauro incidents. Since then, the vast majority of terrorist attacks have been instigated by islamofascists or their ilk. I also will note your feelings about Saudi Arabia (which I for the most part share) and which is a prime mover behind Wahhabism the major proponent of the islamofascist movement. The High School that I graduated from is now an "Islamic" school (the building having been sold to them by the Fairfax school district and one of their graduates (arrested in a supposed-not proven yet in court-plot to assassinate President Bush) was voted "The most likely to become a martyr" That doesn't speak well for the "children" becoming "moderate Muslims."

Posted by GM Roper at March 14, 2006 11:51 AM

George, yes most inventions are pretty old, but they were created by Muslims at a time when they were more religious than today. There is not inherent "Muslim irrationality."
If Muslims were able to invent all this despite the Koran, they could invent great stuff today as well since the Koran did not change.

Thus, the threat we are facing is not the religion of Islam, but those who abuse it for political purposes.

Besides, Malaysia has been very successful economically in recent decades. It's one of the Asian Tigers. They credit themselves to many inventions and interantial patents, I believe. Other Muslim countries have been successful as well like Turkey and to a lesser extent Indonesia and Bosnia, i.e. they can't be irrational. Why is it that those European and Asian Muslim countries are so different from the Arab countries although they share the same religion? Answer: Islam isn't the decisive variable for terrorism. There are other reasons for terrorism, incl. rape.

"'72 Munich and the Achille Lauro incidents. Since then, the vast majority of terrorist attacks have been instigated by islamofascists or their ilk."

You are not forgetting the Catholic IRA, are you?
The IRA is responsible for hundreds (?) of terrorist attacks in Britain.

Who was funding the IRA?
A major source of funding came from Americans, I believe.

Britain has been your main ally for decades, but you did not go after those who financed the IRA.

Why? Because of the "The Discreet Charm of the Terrorist Cause", writes conservative Wash Post columnist Anne Applebaum:

Also since 72:

The Catholic ETA in Spain....

Or the Christian Orthodox Bosnian Serbs. Do you remember Srebrenica? Last summer was the 10 years anniversary.

Or the Christian fundamentalists in North Uganda...

What about the drug lords in South America, esp. Columbia? They consider themselves Christian, but the are responsible for terrorism.

Wasn't Timothy McVeigh a Christian?

Wasn't the Unabomber raised Catholic?

How many terrorist attacks did the Christian KKK commit since 1972?

There was a series of arson attacks against churches in Alabama in recent months, I was told. Is that the work of the KKK?

Wasn't the guy who killed JFK a Christian?
Or the guy who killed Martin Luther King?

I thought the guys from the Montana milita were raised as Christians...

How many Abortion clinic doctors and nurses have been killed by Christian fundamentalists in the US?
What was Eric Roberts (?) excuse?

Not all those questions are rhetorical. I don't know the answers, but I would be VERY interested in them. It would be great to learn more about all that.

Do you still think the "vast majority of terrorist attacks have been instigated by islamofascists"???

I am sorry about your highschool. Is it now an Islamic School run by Saudis? Do you monitor what is going inside the school? Who is checking them out so that they don't preach hate?

In my Saudi post I wrote:
"A hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Saudi incitement in U.S. mosques scheduled for October 25th was cancelled unexpectedly. Israpundit believes:
This hearing would have exposed Saudi support for the wrathful dogma of Wahhabism, the rejection of the co-existence of different religions and condemnation of Christians, Jews, and all other non Muslims. It would have revealed their attempts to instill contempt for America and its non Wahhabi-style of government."

I don't know if the hearing took place by now. I still think the United States is very soft on Saudi Arabia.

I think the conservative blogosphere is very critical of Islamic influence in Europe and European policies towards Muslim. You yourself wrote several posts on this topic.

You and the rest of the US blogosphere, however, do not write much about the evil influence Saudi Arabia has in the US and on US politics. Why do you share your story about your highschool in a comment, but do not devout a post to this topic?

Why are you much more concerned about Islamic influence in Europe and our so-called appeasement, but you don't write about Saudi influence on the US and your government's appeasement of the Saudis?

Why don't you publish these pictures on your blog:

Posted by Jorg at March 14, 2006 05:19 PM

Jorg, my last comment too. True, they were more religious 1000 years ago, but significantly less fascistic. The Christians and Jews lived with them for most of that period of time without harm or trouble. Relations with Christians and Jews in Spain were mostly good.

As far as my old school is concerned, it is now a religious school and our constitution forbids us from interfering with what is taught there. We are not currently allowed to "monitor" if they are teaching hate.

The IRA has indeed caused many terror acts, but not to the extent of the islamofascists. There have been many Americans mistakenly and stupidly donating to the IRA. When Gerry Adams tried to make nicy nice with the US in the late 90's however, he was rebuffed soundly.

Pointing out the pot is black does noting for the blackness of the kettle. I, nor you, need to focus on one only aspect of the problem of terrror, yet we can choose to do so. We need not ignore other facits of terror but can choose to do so.

When you write a post about Saudi Arabia (and you have written some good ones at Atlantic Review, do you always write about all the other Muslim led countries that have promoted similar policies? No? I didn't think so.

Sorry if I'm sounding snarky, but I'm growing tired of this debate and I value your friendship too much to continue it.

Posted by GM Roper at March 14, 2006 06:56 PM

Since you asked me a question:

I like to write about topics that are underreported. Iran is the constant focus of our meda, thus I don't see much of a point in criticizing them.

If you inform me about a Muslim led country that pursues policies as bad as Saudi Arabia, but the media ignores it, I would be happy to write about it.

I am for balance in the coverage of the US and Europe. I practice what I preach.

Are you for fair and balanced reporting?
How about publishing these pictures on your blog
That would balance all your posts about so-called European appeasement.

Posted by Jorg at March 15, 2006 04:35 AM

Granted I finished high school in 1972, but we were not taught religion at all. I went to a public school. We learned about other cultures, but not to the degree that religion was part of the discussion. So, yes, we did learn about contributions to science, medicine, math etc. from the Middle East, but it was taught with a strictly secular bent. Our teachers stuck to the facts in attributing discoveries and contributions to the people of a specific country or region - not their God or religious beliefs.

I learned much about "Arabic" people, not "Muslim" people. Not all Arabs are Muslim. And for a teacher to leave us with the impression that such discoveries or contributions were specifically due to a predominant religion in the area would have been less than truthful. For the scientific contributions to the world which came out of the Middle East are too universally due to the ingenuity and curiosity of "man", not his religious beliefs. Were some of them in the Middle East Muslim? Yes. Even most. But not all. If our teachers said it was specifically from "Muslims", then one could imply that all contributions to the world from America were from "Christians" since it is the predominant religion here. That, too, would be wrong.

With that said, once one has finished their primary schooling then there are many higher education classes one can take electively to delve deeper into the religious aspects of these many cultures. I still think it has no place in public schools. (At the same time, I don't think they should be forced to refrain from expressing themselves religiously by simple dress like a head scarf or wearing a cross around their neck.)

As long as a child is under the legal age here, it is my firm belief that it is a parent's right to instruct them in the religion of their choice UNLESS they want to remove their child from a public and to a religious institution.

But I'm beginning to digress here. I just wanted to point out that in my experience in school, learning about the Middle Eastern people was not taboo or ignored. We learned a great deal.

Posted by Oyster at March 15, 2006 10:38 AM

Jorg, take a breath here. You are responding to some inflaming image of what Americans supposedly don't see about the world -- the implication being that Europeans in general, and you in specific, do see it.

All tribes try to tie their wars into the dominant religion. That said, there have been no primarily religious wars in Christendom since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. You can't call something chicken soup just because the chicken walked through it. All the Unabomber, McVeigh, ETA stuff may be rhetorically satisfying, but it does not capture what is happening. If you want to try and total all the KKK, Christian fundamentalist, Montana militia killings since 1972, the number is less than 5. Certainly a small enough number that they can be more properly regarded as individual, rather than corporate acts.

Even Ireland cannot be considered a religious war. There is no arguing over the authority of the Pope, or transubstantion. It's tribal. Other than the tribal names, there is very little religious reference in the struggle.

The current situation with Islam is different, though it could change. Many of the people committing terrorist acts are specifically invoking their religion -- they are inviting us to make the connection. Other Muslims contradict this, and suggest that the jihadists are defending something more tribal than religious. I accept that as at least partly true. Zarkawi shows no respect for Muslim shrines, for example, and the Sunni-Shia divide seems more tribal than religious.

And yet. And yet there is this constant religious reference by the perpetrators, not just the accusers.

I find it interesting that the Muslim, Chinese, and European civilizations showed equal learning and sophistication until 1500. I do not automatically assume that Islam is incompatible with scientific advancement. But I do note that there hasn't been any advancement, and the prevailing religion, frequently invoked, deserves consideration as a possible factor.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at March 15, 2006 09:10 PM

BTW, GM, about a third of my college (W&M) came from Northern Virginia. If we're close in age, I imagine we know folks in common.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at March 15, 2006 09:12 PM

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