Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The Cotillion Meets
All of the individual posts are interesting, but somehow I had missed the news that Michael Graham has been suspended without pay from his job at a radio station for criticizing Islam by writing this column. Catch the story at Dr. Sanity and at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
For comparison, think about very negative columns which have been written criticizing Catholics. I have seen the Catholic pope accused of causing millions and millions of deaths for his position on condoms, for example. But we don't demand that the people who write these columns be fired! Instead, if anything, people claim the right to rebut the criticisms. Do we really want to let Islam become a sacred cow that may not be criticized? Can we remain free if we allow this to happen?
If we do allow such criticisms of Islam to become a pink slip from a job in the media, will we not be creating a western echo chamber in which pro-Islamic terror rhetoric will go unchallenged? See Rightwingsparkle's post:
Dave at malungtvnews, is a Londoner who has been filming and interviewing the Muslim clerics in Finsbury park for two years now. Dave and I have interesting e-mail conversations. We are on completely opposite ends of the political and lifestyle spectrum, but I think we are learning a lot from each other.I have read a number of complaints about MEMRI from Muslims, who claim that MEMRI is biased. All MEMRI does is translate actual radio and print programs in other languages to English. I'm sure CAIR would like to shut that down as well. I urge you to go over and read MEMRI to find out what some Muslims are saying and writing.
One thing I have learned from dave is that the Muslim's he knows do not think Bin Laden was responsible for 9-11. They say he praised it, but never admitted to it.
In a recent e-mail dave says this about doctored photos and video:
"...all of the muslims I speak to believe the media is doing that all the time on a global scale, controlled by a cabal of rich jewish people who want to control the world. I think most people in this country believe that your media is more controlled than most."
If anything ever needed to be exposed to western-style argument and debate, it is this type of Islamic propaganda. Start with this transcript of a TV show which aired on July 24, 2005. Al-Jozo is the mufti of Mt. Lebanon:
Host: "So you don't think Al-Qaeda is responsible?"and:
Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: "I don't think so, and I cannot believe that Al-Qaeda has the ability to fly four planes simultaneously over Washington without any military plane budging. I am holding a book by French author Roger Garaudy called Western Terrorism. He brings proof from the Americans themselves. He says: 'The Bin Laden theory seems very weak, even technically speaking. An in-depth discussion among many civilian and military American pilots has made it clear that such a large-scale and precise operation could only be carried out by professional and highly-trained pilots who can hit with precision a target that looks like a pole from the altitude of a huge passenger jet..."
Al-Jozo: "America and Israel... There is no doubt that Israel plays a major role in distorting the image of Islam. Even in London – I said that Zionists are involved in that operation – they want to distort the image of Islam in Britain and Europe, and to drive a wedge between Muslims and the West. This is obvious.Remember that in many Islamic countries a death penalty can be imposed for criticizing Islam!
"Many of our young men here have carried out martyrdom operations, and we have said that these are 100% good operations, and we have defended this martyrdom."
Host: "But they target soldiers."
Al-Jozo: "Not only soldiers. They target civilians as well."
Update: In the comments Howard wrote that Graham was suspended not for the column but for what he said on the show. However, I haven't been able to find a transcript of the show or shows. This Washington Post article from July 26th seems to be referring to the same things that were written in the column. And this July 29 article covering the suspension seems also to be referring to the same statements:
Graham, 42, said on his mid-morning program on Monday that the fault for recent acts of terrorism lies not with Islamic radicals alone but also with Muslims generally because religious leaders and followers have tacitly supported extreme elements. "The problem is not extremism," Graham told listeners. "The problem is Islam." He also said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."
Howard also wrote that commercial pressures were forcing this action by the media company. However, the airwaves ring with condemnation of the Catholic church's stance against condoms. Books have been written denouncing Pope John Paul II for being a mass murderer. Compare Graham's comments about Muslims having a responsibility to denounce terrorism to Richard Cohen's column about the responsibility of individual Catholics:
When I raised these matters in a recent column discussing the legacy of Pope John Paul II, I was barraged by e-mail, some of it favorable but some of it simply demanding that I butt out. This was none of my business, some Catholics told me. I beg to differ. It shows no disrespect to an intellectual such as Benedict XVI to engage him intellectually on these matters -- and boldly so. He is a man of firm convictions, not mere prejudices.
But the task ultimately has to fall to Catholic dissidents. True, there are fewer than there used to be -- Cardinal Ratzinger saw to that -- and they have to be respectful of the new pope. But they, like their brethren in the liberal Protestant churches, have to be more forceful in their opposition and their challenge to authority.
And see this earlier column by Richard Cohen.
(For the record, I agree neither with Cohen's criticism of Catholicism nor with all of Michael Graham's criticism of Islam. But that is not the issue here. The issue here is that we live in a free society which demands a thick skin, and the remedy for speech which offends you is to speak and contradict the other person's arguments, not to try to silence the critics.)
In the column he does refer to what he said on the radio show. Does anyone know where I can find an actual transcript of what he did say?
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