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Jerry Shenk


Western Progressivism's Islamist Paradox

by Jerry Shenk
 

The world is again witnessing the unspeakable brutality of Islamist barbarians in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Americans' reactions to Muslim violence tend to differ by their political leanings, diverging, especially, on the Hamas terrorism and intransigence which started and fuels the Israel/Gaza conflict. Not all progressives agree, certainly, but many on the American left have embraced Gaza and Hamas, while most conservatives favor Israel, the lone democracy in the Middle East.

Pluralistic societies like Israel and America afford Muslim citizens far greater freedoms than Muslims concede where they're in power. In America, Muslims build mosques, worship and dress as they wish. Under Islamic sharia law, Christians have no rights in most Muslim nations where churches are outlawed, Christians are persecuted, condemned to death for converting from Islam or gratuitously slaughtered.

Despite having fled brutal Islamic regimes, some western Muslims impose sharia law in their neighborhoods in preference to independent western judiciaries and secular law.

Muslim societies, even those relocated in Western nations, remain largely immune to progressive criticism despite Islam's institutional tolerance of misogyny, honor killings, pederasty, brokered and arranged marriages of children, and female genital mutilation, among other distasteful, decidedly illiberal practices.

Its apparent indifference to the moral illiteracy, the pure nihilistic evil of Islamist jihad abroad is a paradox of western liberalism, especially when contrasted with its attitudes toward Christians. The American left reserves its ugliest bigotry for Christians, because, one suspects, devout progressives view Christianity as a competing theology in much the same adversarial way Islamists regard Judaism.

When pious liberals speak or write about practicing Christians, especially evangelicals, it seems that no insult, ridicule or slander is unacceptable. America's most prominent progressive has condescendingly denigrated Christians as "bitter clingers" to guns and religion. Ignoring that some Muslim regimes actually do it, liberals have flirted with anti-Christian blood libel, asking "Do All Evangelical Leaders Believe Gays Should Be Put to Death?" Minnesota public schools which ban Christian prayer provide prayer rugs and spaces for Muslim children.

One wonders how liberals reconcile their cultural orthodoxy with sympathies for Islamists such as Hamas. Although some fell short and hit their own citizens, since 2001, Hamas has fired over 15,000 rockets intended to murder Israeli civilians, placed rocket launchers in and dug attack tunnels under Gaza's civilian facilities and residential neighborhoods while using Palestinian civilians and children as human shields. Hamas has ensured residential/public infrastructure damage and civilian deaths on both sides, while, inexplicably, receiving international funding.

Many incurious, nave Americans swallow the Hamas propaganda which stigmatizes Israel, even though no military has ever done more to avoid civilian casualties than the Israeli Defense Forces.

If otherwise politically-polarized American progressives and conservatives can come together on only one thing, surely our judgments will coincide on a simple, straightforward question of probity: Can we all agree that the "moral" precepts of contemporary, self-identified religious groups and cultures which corrupt, abuse, disfigure or willfully slaughter innocents and celebrate death are inferior to those which do not?


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