Friday, November 20, 2015

Christiane Amanpour Asks Exactly the Right Question

Reporting from Paris this morning, CNN's Christiane Amanpour said she had asked the Iman of the main  mosque in Paris why he had hadn't organized a large march with thousands of Muslims to protest the terrorist attacks. Why not fight the fear and the foolish reaction of the far Right who are calling for anti immigrant measures with an affirmation of French Muslim love of France and rejection of terrorism?  

March down the Champs-Elysees with banners to proclaim Muslims in France are as horrified by ISIS's violence and psychopathy as non Muslim French. Wrap yourself in the French flag and get out front about it.

The Iman, apparently sheepishly, reported he had, in fact, made just that suggestion but he was told:  "You do not represent the feelings of  the members of your congregation, most especially the younger members."

All the Islam bashing by Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, the entire staff of Fox News cannot approach the damage this report might do.This is the first time I've heard anything--and it is second hand--which supports the notion that we really do have a clash of cultures, that we may not be dealing with simply a few deviants who do not speak for anyone other than themselves and their own twisted, criminal psychopathy.  Apparently, among a certain element, a cohort of Muslims, the murderous attacks against "Westerners" resonates.

Of note, the 9/11 attackers attacked symbols of American imperialism and power: The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol.  The terrorists on those airplanes killed men and women who bore them no animus, who had never done anything directly to harm Islam, or Muslims, beyond going to work in an American capitalist system.  But somehow, mowing down people sitting at a sidewalk cafe on a Friday night seemed different. They were not occupying territory which could in any way be seen as iconic of capitalism, imperialism, Christianity, oppressive government, military--they were out enjoying the night, or going to a concert. It seemed closer to killing people for playing music or simply being in the company of members of the opposite sex--real Taliban, Sharia law stuff. Those guys with the guns were killing out hatred of people for their values.

Bernie Sanders was tone deaf to suggest murderers blowing up theater goers in Paris should be seen as simply symptoms of disaffection of displaced persons resulting from the depredations  of climate change on the economies of the Middle East.  But he might have been closer to the truth than those who say we should not use terms like "Radical Islam," because so few Islamic people, really only a mentally deranged few, would ever embrace random, wholesale murder.

Attacks in Paris were against people who were in no way connected to Western military or political institutions--just men and women at a café or a theater, doing those decadent Western things like listening to music, drinking wine and flirting.

If this is true, then we have a real problem.


  1. Mad Dog,
    Agreed-the idea that ill will towards the West may extend beyond a small subset of Islamic crazies is the elephant in the room.The GOP notion that mosques and Muslims in general are the root of all evil and a threat to Westerners everywhere, is a wrongheaded overreach. But it is also perhaps an over reach of the left to assume anger towards us is confined to a few fringe players. Maybe the uncomfortable truth is the belief the attacks are justified is more widely held than we care to accept- but if it's the truth we need to acknowledge it. Thankfully, Amanpour isn't afraid to ask the tough question-even if we might not like the answer..and if the hatred is confined to a few, a more public outcry is not only warranted, but wise..

  2. Maud,
    There were reports of celebrations in Palestine after the Twin Towers came down, and clearly there is sympathy for ISIS among some groups of Muslims in Europe, Canada and the US or we would not be seeing young Muslims streaming toward the fight in Syria like children after the Pied Piper. Would love to understand the appeal. I know I would sit in class in high school and fantasize about a bomb going off in the school and escaping, but I don't think that was hate of my Christian, Western society, just a desire to escape the pressure.
    Remarkable, when you think of it, how American Blacks have, for the most part, not wanted to separate themselves, have become alienated to the point they simply hate the whole white world around them to the point they want to plant bombs.
    What has happened among the races in America, movies like Crash, notwithstanding is very wonderful. I may be naive, but I see genuine affection among the younger generation across racial lines, both in specific relationships and in general. There is significant admiration for Black culture among whites on many levels. George Carlin had a riff on this which was very true. His observation that you see white kids who have spent time with Blacks emulating their speech rhythms and postures but not the other way round is so on point. A stroll through Brooklyn is enough to convince me of the joys of cross cultural harmony.
    It's tempting to postulate our own war, a unique occurrence in world history allowed us to purge and move forward. On one level that's stupid, a lot of hate happened after the Civil War, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. On some level, that Martin Luther King could stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial and remind his people that Blacks could not achieve the Promised Land on their own and that white people of good will were with them as evidenced by their presence in great numbers among that crowd on that day had to have an effect of reminding Blacks of the good will of enough white people to make a difference.
    I don't know Muslim/Arab youth have that in Europe.

    Mad Dog