A Patterico reader styling himself Asinistra took exception to my statement on Patterico’s site:
- Islam today, in itâ€™s Islamic fascist mode, is an aggressive ideology seeking to expand its influence by force and terror; those people need to be fought. An Islam which is not trying to expand by force and terror is perfectly acceptable, and doesnâ€™t need to be fought, save perhaps on the intellectual level.
Were we seeing two separate Islams, the peaceful Islam on one hand and the aggressively expansionist on the other, thereâ€™d be a real reason to differentiate between them. Unfortunately, that isnâ€™t the case today: Islam today, as it is led by the Islamic fascist leaders, has enough of the Islamic world involved in the aggressive version that you might as well say, on a practical level, the fight is against Islam.
- Geeze, Dana, you mean theyâ€™re not showing you â€œtwo separate Islamsâ€ on FOX? Maybe thatâ€™s your effinâ€™ trouble, booby. Surely I canâ€™t be the only one who drifts through this cozy little crackhouse who actually has daily contact with Muslims who I get to see working, studying, playing, and out on the town with the wife and kids.
- Itâ€™s always amusing to see our liberal friends assume that, if you disagree withe their worldview, you must get your news from Fox. â€˜Fraid not, A; my usual source is The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Do I know any Muslims? Yeah, kind of do; a man with whom I worked for over a year is a Palestinian Arab, an immigrant from Jerusalem, who is married to an Israeli Jew. Iâ€™d trust him not to try to blow up anything, but I also know that he was smart enough to get out of that hell hole and start getting Westernized â€” as are the Muslims you â€œget to see working, studying, playing, and out on the town with the wife and kids.â€
There certainly are Arabs who arenâ€™t the least bit interested in killing anybody, and there are plenty who donâ€™t believe the words of the Hamas Covenant, which calls for the destruction of Israel. But even if they are not the numerical minority (and that isnâ€™t a concession; itâ€™s an acknowledgement that no one really knows), they are the political minority, their peaceful intentions completely lost in the cacophany of violence, violence caused by Arabs, in the Middle East.
One of my frequent e-mail correspondents (whose name I will not disclose, since she doesn’t post them publicly) has been adamant that if the Israelis just treat the Palestinians with respect, the Palestinians will respond very positively and that Israel and an independent Palestine can, working together, become the center of a flourishing region. As evidence, she has cited numerous social occasions in which she has met and spoken at length with Palestinians, and been bridge partners with them.
My friend, though she claims to speak several European languages, does not speak Arabic, nor was she ever in the Middle East. And that means she has, at best, dealt with Palestinians who were better educated than most (speaking a European language), wealthier than most (the fact that they were abroad means they had money), and more Westernized than most.
My correspondent, as well as Asinistra, have taken judgements on how Arabs would respond to things based on the Arabs they have met. But the Arabs they have met are, very specifically, as unrepresentative of Arabs in general as a sample of American expatriates living in Paris would be of Americans in general.
I noted this in A letter from an Arab moderate â€” which will be completely ignored by his Arab brethren. That which seems perfectly reasonable to us Westerners (a Levant partitioned between Israel and the Palestinians, on something close to the old “green line” borders of 1967, with the Arabs recognizing and guaranteeing peaceful coexistence with Israel) is simply not reasonable to the Arabs; to them, it would be an admission and acceptance of defeat.
What I really don’t understrand is how our liberal friends, the ones who tell us about multiculturalism and how we should understand and respect the differences between people, can be so ethnocentric in their political judgements concerning the Middle East. Our liberal friends, who are quick to point out the differences between Western and Arab cultures when the discussion is the war in Iraq, telling us why an occupation intended to be temporary and benevolent, resulting in a democratic Iraq cannot work, seem impossibly blind to Western and Arabic cultural differences when it comes to other issues dealing with Arabs, basing their views on how a Westerner would react, and seemingly unable to realize that an Arab might react differently.