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GORIN The Complete Useful Idiot's Guide to Combating Extremism
by Julia Gorin
[pundit/comedian] 8/29/06

Muslim groups recently criticized President Bush for referring to a "war with Islamic fascists." In an item titled "U.S. Muslims bristle at Bush term Islamic fascists," Reuters quoted CAIR executive director Nihad Awad as saying, "We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism." Seconding the notion was a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, Edina Lekovic: "The problem with the phrase is it attaches the religion of Islam to tyranny and fascism, rather than isolating the threat to a specific group of individuals."

Julia Gorin

Pundit, comedian and opinionist Julia Gorin is proprietor of www.JuliaGorin.com and is a contributing editor to www.JewishWorldReview.com..[go to Gorin index]

Aside from the fact that Lekovic is lying (from the 2002 LAX shooter to last month's Seattle shooter to the North Carolina University mower to the D.C. snipers, the only "specific group" affiliation was Islam), we must aggressively ignore these kinds of suggestions. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in the same paralysis that Europeans are experiencing. Whenever Europeans get together to come up with ways to combat extremism and counter terrorism, not only do they find themselves being the ones prescribed with making all the adjustments — as opposed to the terror-prone Muslims — but they usually end up either with suggestions toscrap Holocaust Memorial Day, or with a very limited vocabulary.

Take, for example, a Christian Science Monitor article from April, titled "Fighting Terrorism, One Word at a Time":

"Officials in Brussels have embarked on an unusual exercise, combing their dictionaries to excise words and phrases that could cause offense. When the review is complete and the rules laid down, you will not, for example, hear EU officials talk any more about 'Islamic terrorism'.EU policymakers worry that it lumps all Muslims into the same category, and angers them."

Friso Roscam-Abbing, an EU spokesman, said, "'The politically more correct term will be 'terrorism that abusively invokes Islam.'.[H]e rejects accusations that the EU is soft-soaping 'Islamic radicals' — another phrase that is coming under the microscope." Another EU official added, "'You don't want to use terminology which would aggravate the problem.'"

Of course, we could always just have our vocal chords surgically removed. Or perhaps Europeans could make more headway at these summits if they stopped inviting the terrorists?

Meanwhile, if "aggravating the problem," or using language that "can breed resentful terrorists," as the article also suggests, is a security concern, doesn't that demonstrate that there's some sense in "lumping all Muslims into the same category?"

Isn't it a tacit admission of something to say that just using insulting language can make a Muslim snap into kill mode? If policies, protocols and language lexicons are changing based on "Let's not anger them," the implication is that those who aren't terrorists are simply not terrorists yet. We are being told, in so many words, that Muslims as a group are at-risk, that the average Muslim has terroristic inclinations.

If terrorism indeed has a distinct appeal to the average Muslim, and yet the religion is not the cause, then what is? Genetics? Is it time to start talking about the terror gene — and asking the uncomfortable question: Do they choose it, or are they born that way?

And if Islam isn't the cause of murderous proclivities, have we considered that at the very least it must be a symptom? Take, for example, Denver Safeway killer Michael Ford. When he could no longer take the unspecified jabs at his religion that his family claims he was getting from co-workers, he opened fire on them. Admittedly, it's possible that here, it wasn't the religion which drove him to kill, but insults to the religion.

The Reuters article "U.S. Muslims bristle at Bush term Islamic fascists" reports that many American Muslims who reject the term "say they have felt singled out for discrimination since the September 11 attacks."

It's time to pin down those feelings for what they are — displacement. Every other group trying to secure its place in Western society has instinctively personalized and internalized the crimes of its own — feeling a sense of embarrassment for far smaller-scale crimes than what Muslims and Arabs inflict on their host societies. Who can forget the Jews and the Italians out-praying each other in the hope that the Son of Sam killer wasn't "one of ours"? When we learned his last name was Berkowitz, the Jews plotzed. Then we found out he was an Italian adopted by Jews, and the Jews breathed a sigh of relief ("He's adopted! He's adopted!") while the Italians cringed.

The welcoming Statue of Liberty lets immigrants feel they have nothing to prove, but from the beginning, every arriving group has had the decency to not take it to heart. Until now. When you refuse to have natural feelings of collective shame, you project them out onto society as discrimination. Muslims outsource the guilt that they decline to feel, which then leads to appropriate suspicions of them. In contrast, when you hang your head in shame over what other members of your community do, the surrounding society in turn lessens your guilt. Picking up on the good will of a community that has those human feelings of shame, society does the work to disassociate that group from bearing collective responsibility. Suspicions lessen, and there emerges a functional relationship that becomes part of the social fabric.

The "discrimination" that the indignant Muslims and Arabs among us are feeling — despite our running to protect mosques and yelling "They're not all like that!" every time they help prove that they are — is their own unfelt guilt. The resulting caution, which is perceived as "discrimination" and which would have subsided by now, will only grow.

This piece first appeared at JewishWorldReview.com

copyright 2006 Julia Gorin





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