Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2006 / 27 Elul, 5766

How not to offend

By Michael Graham


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ladies, if you were at a social gathering and met a gentleman who refused to shake your hand because you are a woman, would you be offended? Well, don't be. It's only because he's a Muslim.


And Professor, if you were giving a lecture on World History and one of your students jumped up in the middle of your class and began screaming death threats because you accurately quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor, would you be offended? Please, professor, relax. It's only because that student is a Muslim.


My gay friends, let's say you were at Harvard a few days ago, listening to Iran's "moderate" former president Khatami answering a question about the government execution of homosexuals during his term in office. If you happened to hear Khatami say that executing homosexuals is appropriate in some cultures — Well, I hope you weren't offended. It's not because he's homophobic. It's only because he's Muslim.


It's a shame that there are so many misunderstandings in the world today. We Americans turn on cable news and see thousands of Arab Muslims marching in the streets or gunning down nuns over a university lecture, and we tend to think the worst. We generalize about the state of Islam, or we make judgments about the sanity of Arab Muslim culture.


This is simply wrong. We shouldn't be offended by our Muslim brothers. We should understand them.


For example, should the Pope be beheaded for criticizing Islam? That's a silly question — almost as silly as "Should a cartoonist be beheaded for drawing Mohammad?" The real question isn't "Why behead the Pope," but rather — "Why not?"


OK, so it's not how we would run a culture. But isn't that what tolerance is all about? Respecting the way OTHER people choose to run theirs?


After the Pope's recent insensitivity, the head of the Organization of Islamic Councils — the world's largest Muslim organization — announced that the Pope should never make any comments of any kind that might anger Muslims. Now, we could get hung up on Western ideals like free speech or open dialogue. Or we could find a way to respect alternative opinions, like the ideal of "beheading people for having opinions Muslims don't like."


Really, isn't it rather close-minded of us to say that countries where women are forced to wear burkhas, or where homosexuals are beaten and imprisoned, are somehow "wrong?"


Our problem is our narrow-minded insistence that Western values are the right ones. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe an anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist theocracy might be a good thing? Hey — who are we to judge?


That's why I have so much admiration for American liberals. They are the one group who has thus far managed to avoid knee-jerk judgmentalism when it comes to the modern Muslim world.


Why, the liberal New York Times was the very first American newspaper to condemn Pope Benedict XVI. When the Pope pointed out that Islam was, at one time, spread at the point of a sword, the Times immediately demanded a "deep and persuasive apology" for hurting Islamist feelings. Not because the Pope actually said anything that was in dispute ("Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword!" — Ayatollah Khomeini) but because the truth itself was offensive.


Can the truth that hurts the feelings of a bunch of screaming, hate-filled, illiterate thugs really be the truth? Something to think about, isn't it?


Now you might assume that, given the attitude of Islam towards women, gays and academic freedom (Iran's government just fired thousands of professors for being too liberal), the American Left would be leading the outrage parade on behalf of their core constituencies. After all, here in the US, liberals are the first to protest over the number of ladies' rooms in public buildings or the reading of "Heather Has Two Mommies" at the local kindergarten.


And yet, it's liberal academics and editorialists who are attacking the Pope, and when President Khatami came to Harvard, some of his more ardent defenders were liberal Jewish lesbians — all of whom would be sitting in Iranian prisons today under his regime.


Ah, but this is why I admire liberals so much. They are prepared abandon their most heartfelt ideals in pursuit of that highest ideal of all, tolerance. And what could be more tolerant that accepting intolerance itself? Why, the more liberals defend homophobic, women-beating nun-killers, the more truly "liberal" they become!


Which leaves these New York Times liberals free to condemn the true enemies to freedom, namely evangelical Christians who peacefully use the democratic process to vote against partial-birth abortion and same-sex marriage!


Now doesn't it all make sense?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host at 96.9 FM TALK in Boston and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.



Archives


© 2006, Michael Graham

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles