Tag Archives: muslim

Porcine Problems

As I travel the country, I am exposed to many different kinds of people. Some of these people share similar ideals and tastes as me and we get along quite well. Others have differing viewpoints and we deal with each other in a cordial manner as often as possible. Whenever people congregate, it is important to be respectful of other’s sensibilities. To that end, those in polite company try to avoid intentionally and deliberately offending others. This was a lesson I—and many of my peers—was taught growing up. It is the polite thing to do. It is not, however, mandated by law. Imagine a world where anything found to be offensive to anyone could subject one to stiff penalties including flogging or death. No one would ever interact out of fear for their life. Thankfully we live in a country that protects free speech. Or do we? The media is filled with stories of people taken to task for the crime of uttering their personal beliefs. Perhaps we will soon face the troubles plaguing other countries. A family in the UK had to deal with a particularly onerous issue when confronted on a bus by an Islamic woman wearing a hijab.

According to a story in The Daily Mail, the young couple was trying to comfort their autistic 15-month-old by singing the theme song to the popular children’s show Peppa Pig. The show is about a family of pigs and the song features snorting sounds. The Islamic woman approached the couple and expressed her offense after which the bus driver told the couple to leave the bus two miles from their stop.

In a land that celebrates free speech, who is in the wrong here? Is it the couple trying to comfort a child? Or is it the woman expressing her outrage at what she deems an offensive song? In my opinion, it is the bus driver for sticking his nose in the matter. Both parties have the right to express their opinion and they did so, but to eject a person from a public bus for inadvertently offending another is the real crime here. If the couple intentionally sang the song knowing that in doing so they would inflict emotional harm on another, then some kind of sanction might—and I stress MIGHT—be in order. But even then, free speech is protected by law, so the sanction could not be by the state or any representative of the state.

Now, as this happened in the UK and I am not up to date on British law, I cannot address the legality of speech in that country. If this happened in the US, however, I would recommend that driver be removed from his post and the Islamic woman be strapped down and forced to binge watch Peppa Pig episodes until she sings the song in her sleep. But I digress.

Lately it seems that people are so self absorbed that they cannot acknowledge others. So self absorbed that they focus only on their own sensibilities to the exclusion of everyone else. What this means is that they feel their needs supersede the needs of others, and that they are more important than anyone else. This creates a morbid sense of entitlement that threatens to shatter social decorum.

If something creates any degree of offense, no matter if it was intended or not, it is the equivalent of committing a mortal sin worthy of death. People have opinions and just as no two people are exactly alike, no two opinions are the same. A collection of opinions forms an ideal. Quite often the ideals are diametrically opposed to the point that they may cause offense. This is where the problem lay.

A lot of progressives and liberals will shout the mantra of inclusiveness and diversity from the rooftops until they encounter someone whose ideology runs afoul of theirs. They cry for society to be tolerant of Islam while they browbeat Christians. When Muslims cry out in offense, liberals demand that society accommodate them. When Christians express offense, liberals slap them with separation of church and state.

Now we face situations where one group of people is trying to dictate what the rest of the world can and cannot do. While Christian students are banned from praying in school, Muslim students are given a special room to use to pray. Students in many schools have to abide a uniform policy that dictates what they can and cannot wear; Muslim students are exempted from this. Soon, schools may be forced to remove food items from the menu that offend Muslims. We may find our entertainment dictated by the auspices of these ideologues. Peppa Pig may get cancelled by Sharia law.

If a mother cannot comfort her child by singing a song because it offends one person, then we are already on the path to the end of our society. The best that we can hope for is that liberals realize the door swings both ways. Tolerance does not apply only to Muslims. Everyone has to be able to express themselves as they see fit, even if that way is to sing a song about pigs on a bus full of Muslims.

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Social Activism or Self Promotion?

Hash tag activism is the latest buzzword forged in the wake of the geopolitical flashpoint surrounding the kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria by Muslim extremists. Social activists are claiming that creating the hash tag puts the issue before the people and could—emphasis on could—motivate the Nigerian government to do something to facilitate the release of the students. Many people, on the other hand, feel that the celebrity promotion of the hash tag is nothing more than grandstanding and ineffective in the long run of doing anything to help the victims and serves only to promote the celebrity in question.

The Nigerian government has been woefully inattentive to the plight of the kidnap victims, despite the kidnappers posting videos of the girls recanting Christianity. The media in the US did not spend a lot of time covering the issue, nor did the rest of the world. It was only once family members in Nigeria created the hash tag and saturated social media with it did it become a trending topic that garnered the attention of an ADHD world.

For the uninitiated, a hash tag is a social media tool originated by the social site Twitter and now used in almost all forms of social media. It is a way of discovering messages about a specific topic by using the keyboard pound symbol (#) in front of a simple word or phrase written together with no spaces. Some people make status updates that are nothing but a hash tag that is 140 characters long, which can be difficult to decipher.

It became fashionable to pose in a selfie with the kidnapped girls’ hash tag featured proximately in the picture, even to the point that first lady Michelle Obama had the Whitehouse photographer take a picture of her in the Whitehouse posing with a hand-scrawled sign (probably done by the Whitehouse calligrapher) touting the hash tag. Other celebrities followed suit and now the selfie itself is a trending topic. There are those who think that this is the key to motivating change in the world.

There are also those who decry this kind of promotion as pointless. A marine took a selfie with a sign saying that a military intervention is the only way to secure the release of the hostages, parodying the hash tag theme. Bill O’Rielly has spoken out against the first lady and others who promote the hash tag as being nothing more than self-serving self promotion, designed to do nothing more than make the famous seem concerned and interested in the plight of the unfortunate.

They are both right.

Those celebrities who pose with the hash tag signs are doing nothing more than bolstering their own image in the name of a “greater good,” and are no better than those who flock to disaster areas for photo ops showing their good deeds. These celebrities could keep the hash tag trending by simply retweeting it without the selfie, but they don’t. They have to photo bomb the hash tag to keep themselves prominent.

But the hash tag is doing some good. Public awareness by itself is a pointless goal, to be certain. That people know about varies issues does nothing to resolve the issues. Awareness driven action, on the other hand, can accomplish something. The Arab Spring is proof that social media can drive people to do something about social issues, even if it does not have immediate, tangible results. The Nigerian government has indicated a greater willingness (for whatever that’s worth) to take more action on the issue.

I, like many people, get frustrated having these issues drilled into my consciousness at every waking moment by both the regular and social media. My Facebook feed gets littered with cries to keep the hash tag issue of the day going (as well as way too many requests to like this cute kitten or like the poor unfortunate person who lost everything in a disaster or the long-lost soul looking for birth parents) and twitter keeps chirping and my mailbox blows up. Add the news covering these “trending issues” and my tolerance for hash tagging—never real high to begin with—drops to non-existent.

I tweet, I blog and I update Facebook. Since I am social media savvy, I not only know how to use hash tags, I actually use them quite regularly; just not to the extent of those who do nothing but hash tag. No one, however, will see me holding a sign promoting a social issue hash tag—unless it’s about me.

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Silencing The Masses

The march toward the end of the Unites States has taken another step forward this weekend with the asinine utterances of Senator Lindsey Graham, ( R ) of South Carolina. It is even more scary in that Graham is a republican, the party usually decrying the abridgement of our constitutional freedoms. Graham was on Face The Nation Sunday commenting on the burning of the Koran by Florida fundamentalist preacher Terry Jones which sparked violence across the middle east. Graham joined Senator Harry Reid in saying that congress should investigate the incident. “We’ll take a look at this of course. As to whether we need hearings or not, I don’t know,” he said.

What is there to take a look at? No crimes were committed. No laws were broken. At least no American laws. If we broke some Sharia law, who cares? This is the United States. We have our own laws that are for our citizenry. If another country does not like our laws, so be it. They do not have to live under them, just as we do not live under theirs. This is why we have our own country, so we do not have to answer to a foreign government of which we have no say. We as citizens—or should I saw “WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES” have written our laws to govern ourselves. We elect representatives from our communities to be our voice in government. In this country, we have a say in governance “IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION.”

Islamic countries’ laws are based on their religious system. Sharia law is right out of the Koran and is much more limiting than our constitution. These people can never appreciate a government working under the auspices of the separation of church and state. For these countries, state is controlled by the church. Their laws are based on religious precepts. They cannot abide our freedoms and want to destroy our system and implement theirs. These are not the extremists as we have been led to believe, rather these are the mainstream. Only the “Americanized” muslims really claim to embrace the American ideal of separation of religion from daily life and these are the minority.

They have figured out the best way to undo our system is from within. They use our own freedoms against us by claiming that they must be allowed to practice their faith openly. We let them, even when their faith demands societal control that is far removed from the constitutional freedoms we enjoy. The goal is to destroy our freedoms. One of the best ways is to subvert and abridge our constitutional rights, such as the right to free speech or our right to privacy or our right to a fair trial of our peers. Many lawmakers who support the suspension or abridgement of our rights do so by saying that it is for the greater good. We have surrendered our protection against illegal search and seizure when we travel at airports in the interest of national security. This is also the same excuse used when the government intercepts our private messages and phone calls as they look for terrorist communications.

Now Reid and Graham want to take away our right to express ourselves because some Muslims in some foreign country are offended. Is burning a book a good thing? Ordinarily I’d say no. I would become incensed if someone tried to burn a Bible. Do I offer the same idea for the Koran? No. I really do not care about the Koran. It is not the inspired word of God. But, here is the kicker: do Americans have the right to burn either of those books. Yes, they do. It is not a hate crime. It is an expression of personal ideology—one of the primary principles upon which this nation was founded. If Christians become outraged at the burning of a Bible, no one in congress raises an eyebrow (which is sad in and of itself) but let some Muslims cry foul when a preacher organizes a Koran burning and now congress wants to look into preferring charges? Ridiculous! It does not matter if there is a war on. It does not matter if all of Islam shouts out against it. It is an American freedom; one that hundreds of thousands of men and women have spilled blood and died for.

This is still the United States of America and it is still a country based on individual freedoms as outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If other countries don’t like it, let them try to take us down the way that other countries have for more than 200 years. We won’t go without a fight. They know this which is why they have changed tactics. Don’t let them destroy us from within by attacking our base principles while we let them under the guise of tolerance. We have to fight to keep our rights.

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What Hope Comes From Violence?

The uprising in Egypt captured the attention of the world. The media portrayed the event as the ouster of an evil dictator who quashed any dissention and terrorized his people for his entire 30-year reign; bringing about the opportunity for the Egyptian people to discover new freedoms as a democratic nation. Reporters have been dispatched all over Egypt—though most tend to stay in Cairo where the action has been—to cover this historic change of power to the people. Yet at no time in their storied past have the Egyptian people had democracy, so they have no idea how a democratic nation is supposed to behave. The reporters have found this out the hard way.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper was assaulted by a mob before Mubarak’s resignation. CBS’s Lara Logan was the victim of a “brutal and sustained sexual assault” and beating, and ABC’s Brian Hartman was threatened with beheading and in the latest incident, a group of reporters were assaulted even as they cried out that they were reporters. The mob, however, wasn’t impressed with the reporter’s credentials. They were not protesting for a rational discussion of social issues. They were not protesting for international sympathy. They were not even protesting for democracy. They wanted their leader’s head and those of anyone who supported him…including Americans.

“Yes, I want you to go from here,” one protester said. When ABC reporter Christiane Amanpour asked why, the man said, “Because we hate you. We hate America … You are not a good person.”

These are the people our media and our president support in their “struggle.” These people hate us as much as Arabs do and most of the Middle East. This will not improve with Mubarak gone. It will only get worse. Yet the liberals under Obama called for Mubarak to step down, as if his leaving would usher in peace and a new government to be an ally for America. Obama wants to reach out to whatever new regime is established there, which will more than likely be a Muslim regime practicing Sharia law.

Egyptians and most middle easterners do not think the same way Americans do. They do not have the same values. They do not live the same way of life. They resent us and our way of life and want nothing more than to see us fall—unless it is to help us fall. The media is learning this lesson the hard way, but don’t expect Obama to take this lesson to heart. He will probably apologize to the Egyptians who injure their hands on the heads of the Americans they beat and pay to replace the rocks they throw when they stone Americans.

The media has not abandoned hope in their liberal agenda however. They blame the violence on Pro-Mubarak gangs, even though the gangs themselves that are doing the beating are the same ones who called for Mubarak to leave.

Sometimes it seems like it would be best to leave Egypt and the rest of the Middle East to self-destruct. We have one ally in the region in Israel and that one is tenuous at best. Sadly, Obama’s expediency will probably throw Israel under the bus to appease the Muslims who take over in Egypt. When this happens, a beating or a black eye will be the least of worries for reporters or any other Americans in the area.

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