No Laughing Matter

“You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        —Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

 

Robin Williams was funny.

Say what you will about some of his politics, but the guy was funny.  Yes, Jumanji was pretty much a stinker, and yes, his manic tendency to race off-script down random rabbit trails could make him hard to watch in an interview sometimes.  But that simply showed us that for all his comic genius, he was all-too-human.  His was a rare entertaining talent, and he will be sorely missed.

One thing I’ve never heard him accused of, however, is being a racist.

Until now.

Apparently—I had to read this in a news report, because I don’t watch narcissistic award shows—Billy Crystal did a tribute piece at the Emmys in which he featured some clips of Williams doing stand-up.  In one of the clips, Williams—in his trademark ad-lib style—borrowed a scarf from an audience member, wrapped it around his head like a niqab (the article refers to it as a hijab, but Williams uses it to cover his whole face, which I understand is a niqab) and said in falsetto, “Welcome to Iran.  Please help me.”

And the Twittersphere went nuts, complaining that the bit was racist, that the show was racist for using it, or that it was insulting to Williams’ memory to make him look like a racist.

Basically, it was racist.

Huh?

I suppose I should expect this kind of lack of thought from people who not only sit down to watch the Emmys, but then feel compelled to get on Twitter to comment about the show.  But let’s take a look at this.

First, the bit had nothing to do with race.  Nothing.  “Racism” is the practice of racial discrimination; that is, drawing distinctions or being demeaning towards a group of people based on their race.  Williams was doing neither.

The niqab or hijab is not associated with any particular race, but with the religious/political doctrine called “Islam.”  In particular it is associated with the fundamentalist variety of Islam focused on sharia law.  That has nothing to do with race.  The Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Egypt are largely Arab, but those in Iran—the subject of Williams’ ad-lib—are not.  They’re Persian.  Women in all three places can be found behind head/face covering.  Ditto Turkey, where the Muslims are neither Arab nor Persian, but, well Turks.  In the Sudan, they’re black.  In the Russian Caucasus, it comes as no surprise that the Caucasians are white.  In Thailand they’re Thai, and in Indonesia they’re Indonesian.  In all of these places the sort of head covering Williams was mimicking ranges from common to required by law (as in Iran), and it’s all due to the ideas of Islam, which is not a race.

Repeat after me, class: It’s not about race.

Second, Williams was not mocking or demeaning the niqab/hijab or Muslims.  He was drawing attention to serious human rights issues that plague women under Islamic rule.  Now, apologists will tell you that the head cover is a symbol of chastity and modesty, but particularly in those places where its use is mandatory—as in required not by religious observance, but by national law, and enforced by modesty police (I kid you not)—it is also symbolic of the oppression that in many ways treats women as second-class, if not semi-slaves, and this was Williams’ point.

I touched on this in the last post, but consider that in fundamentalist Islamic societies, women cannot serve as witnesses in the prosecution of a man (or men) she accuses of raping her; only men are competent to testify, and she’d better come up with four of them who agree with her.  Otherwise, not only does the accused go free, but her accusation is now an admission of adultery, for which she may be executed, sometimes by stoning or beating.

Speaking of beating, under sharia, wife-beating is expressly condoned, the rationale being that the woman is to be subservient and obedient to her husband, who is her master.   Further on marital relations, the husband is allowed to take up to four wives, any of whom he may divorce—leaving her penniless and un-marryable—simply by saying “I divorce you” three times; vice-versa is not true for the wife in either case.  By the way, Islam also condones pedophilia; Mohammed—who is to be imitated in every way as the perfect model of human behavior—married one of his wives, Aisha, when she was six, and consummated the marriage when she was nine.  More recently, a Saudi cleric issued a fatwa in 2011 permitting marriage to girls as young as one.

If you’re a woman, not only must you wear that head cover, but many places you can’t go outside, even in broad daylight, without a male relative as an escort.  Nor are you permitted to drive a car.  Some places you can’t even go to school; that’s what the charming gentlemen of Boko Haram have been trying to enforce by kidnapping hundreds of girls in Nigeria.  And while we’re at it, although not really part of Islamic doctrine as such, we ought to take brief notice of the practice of “honor killings” and acid attacks prevalent in Islamic societies—usually committed by a close male relative—when Muslim girls refuse arranged marriages or simply become too Westernized.

This is what Robin Williams was trying to highlight when he donned the niqab, took on the character of an Iranian woman, and pled “Help me.”

Is that what you call “racism”?

That question highlights a much broader issue in that this loaded pejorative “racism” is thrown around so lightly these days it has ceased to have any meaning beyond “I don’t like what you did/said/thought.”  Particularly for the Progressive Left—and I’ll bet you dollars-to-donuts 100% of those who took the trouble to Tweet about an Emmys piece are big-time Leftys—“racism” has become the automatic charge for everything with which they disagree.

Don’t want U.S. judges applying foreign law to Americans in American courts?  You’re a racist.

Support requiring voters have sufficient I.D. to prove they are who they say they are (you know, the same thing most states require for you to collect welfare)?  You’re a racist.

Support tighter border security to prevent ISIS—or whatever they call themselves this week—from slipping in to start bombing American cities or spreading Ebola?  Guess what: you’re a big, fat racist.

Advocate eliminating the welfare regime that has destroyed the black family and trapped millions in an endless cycle of dependency and poverty?  Well, that’s because you’re a racist.

Think it’s a good idea to have school vouchers that not only force competition, but give impoverished black parents a means to send their kids somewhere other than the rat/gang/drug-infested hell-hole that is their local public school?  That makes you not only a racist, but anti-teacher, to boot.

Think affirmative action, alternative ethnic curricula, reduced admission standards, and modified grading scales treat minorities as inherently inferior and incapable, and set them up for failure by artificially inserting them into schools and jobs for which they would not otherwise qualify?  Then your name is Dr. Thomas Sowell, and you’re a racist even though you’re black.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King fought against real racism: fire hoses and police dogs, separate lunch counters, back-of-the-bus, and lynching.  He dreamed of a day when people would be judged not by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.  Today’s Progressive Left has hijacked and weaponized that movement, and perverted Dr. King’s dream into a world where people are judged not by the content of their ideas, but by how their ideas can be misrepresented and then demonized as “racism” without further debate.

And that’s not funny.

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Actions Speak

What are words for?

When no one listens, what are words for?

When no one listens, there’s no use talking at all

        —Missing Persons, What Are Words For?

 

I see that once again we have a cease-fire in Gaza that will ultimately prove temporary, and with crises burning there, in Iraq, in Syria, and in Ukraine, the President who as candidate pledged to forego vacations as part of the sacrifice inherent in the office is heading back for his annual half-month respite on Martha’s Vineyard.

Some things never change.

Quite so, actually.  Much of my recent delay in posting is I’ve been trying to work through some thoughts on the Gaza situation, and I keep coming back to the idea that in fact in that context some things don’t change, and there is a broader lesson to be learned.

And it has everything to do with Islam.

Rusty, you know that Hamas and other groups like it are just an extremist minority, and that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful.

So I keep hearing from the PC-crowd.  Indeed, every U.S. President since George H.W. Bush (as well as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown) has told us that Islam is a “religion of peace.”  But if the radical jihadists are a tiny extremist minority, and there hundreds of millions in the vast peace-loving majority, I have one question:

Where are they?

Let’s consider some facts.

Wikipedia lists 45 armed conflicts currently ongoing around the world.  Islamists are involved on at least one side (sometimes both) in 28 of those conflicts (most of the rest involve communist revolutions).  In other words, although Muslims make up less than a quarter of the global population, roughly two-thirds of all the war on the planet today consists of Islamists either (a) trying to establish an Islamist state by force (e.g., Afghanistan, Gaza), (b) trying to enforce Islamic law against non-Muslims (e.g., anti-Christian violence in Egypt), or (c) fighting with each other over who has the “correct” version of Islam (e.g., Syria, Iraq).

This is not new.

After moving from Mecca to Medina—prior to which time he had gained fewer than 100 converts to his new religion—Muhammad was essentially a pirate and warlord.  In 630 A.D. he attacked and conquered Mecca, and went on to force almost the entire Arabian Peninsula to convert to Islam or at least submit to Islamic law.

After his death, Muhammad’s armies continued to spread Islamic rule—not by evangelism and thoughtful conversion, but by the sword—throughout the Fertile Crescent, across North Africa, and around the Mediterranean.  Islamists conquered all of the Spanish peninsula and penetrated into southern France by the end of 8th Century, where they remained for 700 years.  They pushed eastward into what are today Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In 1453 they took Christian Constantinople (today Istanbul), and conquered all of what is now Turkey.  In 1529 and again in 1683 Islamist armies nearly captured Vienna, in the heart of Europe. They pushed across India during the 12th to 18th Centuries.  The late 19th and entire 20th Centuries saw Islamists slaughter millions of non-Muslim Armenians, constant bloodshed between Sunnis and Shiites fighting over the “truest” version of Islam, and the never-ending quest to drive the Jews of Israel into the Mediterranean.  Even today, Islamists are fighting not only in the Middle East, but across much of Africa, Indonesia, and the Caucasus.

The so-called “religion of peace” has been engaged in wars of religious conquest literally from its very beginning; wars that have continued non-stop for 1,400 years.  They have fought and killed Christians.  Jews.  Buddhists.  Hindus.  Zoro-Astrians.  African tribesmen.  At some point, the apologists claiming that those waging jihad are only an extremist fringe have to answer some questions:

How do you explain a 1,400 year track record of non-stop violence if they are only a tiny minority?

How is it that these are extremists who are perverting the true religion, when these wars of religious conquest trace all the way back to Muhammad himself, and were continued by his original direct followers?

These questions become extremely important once we are willing to acknowledge the motivation driving the jihadists.  This is not about American “imperialism” and decadence; Islamist violence and conquest was going on for 1,000 years before this country was founded, and the majority of it today is taking place against people other than the West.  No, what this is all about for the Islamist—and has been since the days of Muhammad himself—is forced conquest of the entire planet for Allah, or more specifically, for Islam.

This goal continues today.  A 1982 Muslim Brotherhood manifesto on a “worldwide strategy for Islamic policy” states among its objectives “to establish an Islamic State,” by infiltrating and influencing media and the government to push the Islamic agenda both informationally and legally.  Following up on this, a 1988 Muslim Brotherhood document applying this manifesto to North America in the same manner said:

“The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house . . . so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Understand that Islam is not just a religion, and thus Islamist conquest does not mean religious conversion to the worship of Allah (or at least does not mean that exclusively).  Placards at Islamist protests proclaim “Islam is a Perfect System for All Mankind,” “Death to Those Who Insult Islam,” or “Islam Will Dominate the World”—it’s always about Islam (or Muhammad), never about Allah.  Islam does not distinguish between matters of worship and matters of civil politics and legal governance.  Religion and law are one and the same, and you see this in the full imposition of sharia law in a number of heavy Muslim-majority countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, just to name a few.  This alone begs the question just how “extremist” the Islamists really are within the broader Muslim community.

Rusty, it’s not like anyone is going to invade and conquer the U.S. to impose sharia law here.  And besides, we have the Constitution.

Oh, really?

It doesn’t always take a violent conquest.  Consider the situation in Europe.  We’ve discussed this before, but the overall population of Europe, exclusive of immigration, is in decline. Non-Muslim fertility rates in Europe are almost uniformly below the 2.1 per female necessary for a culture to sustain itself.  In places like the U.K., France, Norway, and Finland, the non-Muslim fertility rate hovers at about 1.8, while the Muslim fertility rate is north of 3; in other words, Muslims in those countries are having 60% more babies than non-Muslims.  Some researchers believe the U.K. will become a Muslim-majority nation within 35 years.

The situation isn’t much better here.  The fertility rate for Muslims is between 2.6 and 2.8, while the overall U.S. fertility rate (including Muslims, meaning that the non-Muslim rate is actually even lower) is about 1.9.  This disparity and its implications for our demographics raises serious questions about just how extreme the Islamists’ attitudes and drivers really are.

We’ve covered this before.  In 2011 the Pew Research Center found that roughly 1 in 5 U.S. Muslims believe that violence in defense of Islam could be justifiable in some circumstances, and agree that there is at least a fair amount of support for “extremism”; 20% is no mere fringe minority.  Half identify themselves as “Muslim-first.”

Globally, the vast majority of Muslims believe that sharia should be the law of the land.  A 2012 study—commissioned by WND, so take it with a bit of a grain of salt—suggests that as many as 40% of U.S. Muslims share that belief, even to the point of trumping the Constitution.  Muslim groups have virulently opposed proposed legislation in states such as Michigan and Oklahoma aimed at precluding the application of foreign law over U.S. and state law, arguing that it is racist and “anti-sharia,” even though the proposed measures never mention sharia by name.  Why would these Muslims care enough to oppose these laws as “anti-sharia” unless they were in fact intending to apply sharia law?

Rusty, sharia is just a code of conduct, no different than a WWJD bracelet.  It’s just a cultural difference, and you’re being a racist Islamophobe.

Oh, OK.

Under sharia, non-Muslims are not technically required to convert (although this allowance is often more honored in the breach than the observance), but must accept second-class dhimmi status that denies them many rights and privileges reserved for Muslims, and must pay a special tax called the jizyah.  I will not attempt to catalogue all the evils of sharia, but just to give you a flavor, under sharia law:

  • A woman who is raped must produce four male witnesses (and if she cannot,her accusation is an admission that she is guilty of adultery, which subjects her to death by stoning);
  • Amputation remains a viable form of punishment for crimes such as theft;
  • Merely insulting Islam, the Qu’ran, or Muhammed is a capital offense;
  • A man is entitled to beat any of his up to four wives.

In sharia countries, women cannot drive, and often cannot even attend school.  Nor may they appear in public without a male relative.  Homosexuals . . . well, they are commonly hanged on construction cranes.  And if you can stomach it, go see how many internet videos you can find showing the beheadings of non-believers, then get back to me on the “cultural difference” debate.

The first steps are already here, consistent with the strategies of infiltration, influence, and propaganda set forth in the Muslim Brotherood’s 1982 and 1988 strategic memoranda.  The UN is considering resolutions that would effectively criminalize criticism of Islam. Similar measures are being proposed in the U.S. that would categorize such behavior as a “hate crime.”

It may not be by the scimitar—although 1,400 years of history suggests that if it is, that’s fine with the Islamists—but make no mistake: Islam, and more to the point, sharia, is coming to a statehouse near you.

And you’re not going to like it.

For further information, check out this well-done video by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim anti-Islamist activist.