One of the debating techniques commonly employed by the Left is to take a worthwhile principle and exaggerate it or invert it to create absurd distortions of moral arguments and force its opponents into a swamp of rhetorical excess, false analogies, and categorical errors.
Three examples should suffice as illustrations:
If you are a leftist, virtually anything you disagree with is just like the Holocaust.
Control the borders? Holocaust Redux! Deny homosexuals the right to marry? It’s the Gay Holocaust!
One of the most notorious examples of the genre was the famous assertion back in the 1990s that reforming the welfare system was the moral equivalent of genocide against African Americans.
Any cuts in social spending are routinely depicted as a modern Auschwitz for poor people.
The McCarthyism bogeyman
Whenever a liberal politician is confronted with his dubious past policies and votes, the “specter of McCarthyism” is spotted hovering over the political battlefield.
If a conservative points out a leftist commentator’s foolish and discredited paper trail, Joe McCarthy is said to be alive and well, conducting a modern version of the witch hunt for Communists.
Hollywood types are particularly famous for their McCarthy sightings. They consider themselves constantly on the verge of being blacklisted by the right-wing establishment, forgetting that they themselves are now the establishment. The Tinseltown Bolsheviks have been in the ascendant for so long that they fail to notice that they are the ones screaming “you’ll never work in this town again!” whenever a Hollywood conservative is foolish enough to out himself
If an artist who smears dung on crucifixes is denied NEA funding, it is termed “censorship”.
If a liberal talking head is interrupted on a TV news program, that’s “censorship”.
Deleting a leftist’s obscene blog comment is considered “censorship”.
Anytime a conservative viewpoint is expressed without giving equal or greater time to liberal arguments, then “censorship” has occurred. Not allowing leftist ideas to dominate public discourse “has a chilling effect on free speech.”
So much for the Left. What about Islam?
For the last eighty years or so radical Muslims have studied, absorbed, and adapted the ideas and techniques of the Socialist Left. As I have pointed out previously, the turgid prose of radical Islamic theorists is all but indistinguishable from that of orthodox Marxists, once certain key words and phrases have been substituted.
So it’s no surprise that Islamists have borrowed the rhetorical techniques of the Left. They are particularly adept at taking a well-known Western political principle, twisting it out of all recognition, and then reversing it to use against the infidel.
Once again, three examples:
Freedom of speech
As CNN noted last week, radical Muslims utilize their First Amendment rights to proclaim their hatred of non-Muslims, to applaud the killing of infidels, to celebrate the coming destruction of Israel, and to support all manner of violent action against anyone who opposes the expansion of Dar al-Islam. They repeatedly approach the line between free speech and incitement, but carefully avoid crossing it.
The “flying imams”, in their legal action against the airline and airport authorities, were at pains to point out that everything they did was protected by the Constitution. British Muslims who carry placards exhorting their fellows to “kill those who insult the Prophet” loudly insist, without any apparent sense of irony, that they have a right to free speech when they do so.
But any speech that criticizes Islam is entirely another matter, and so we come to:
Freedom of religion
A Muslim’s freedom of religion trumps the right to free expression of anyone who expresses a negative opinion of Islam. Such “insults” show disrespect, express “racism”, and are forms of “hate speech”.
The OIC has carefully constructed a well-funded initiative to criminalize criticism of Islam under the banner of human rights, using the principle of freedom of religion to insist on the rights of Muslims everywhere not to be offended.
Freedom of religion also requires that non-Muslims institute halal menus, install footbaths, allow the separation of the sexes, and supply all the other accoutrements that Muslims demand for the unhindered practice of their faith.
For Muslims, freedom of religion doesn’t mean being left alone to practice their faith as they see fit. It means an active accommodation by non-Muslims to whatever conditions Islam insists are necessary.
The rights of women
Islam draws from the lexicon of Western feminists to codify the restrictions it places on women, according to both scripture and Muslim tradition.
The wearing of the headscarf then becomes a “right”, which just happens to be something that Muslim women want to do. The fact that women who dare to go unveiled are routinely beaten or killed — and that an awareness of this prospect helps women focus their minds on claiming their “right” — is ignored.
The strictures of sharia as they apply to women — whether they concern the veil, marriage, divorce, child custody, or ownership of property — are recast as the “rights” of women.
Pliant Muslim spokeswomen routinely assert their right to be treated as inferiors by custom and under the law.
The last of these items is demonstrated by the gradual evolution of a woman’s “right” to wear the hijab. The boiling of this particular frog begins with innocuous assertions of freedom of choice.
Then, after the infidel’s resistance has been worn down over a period of time, accusations of violent intentions on the part of non-Muslims are thrown into the mix. The Investigative Project reports on a confrontation between Congressman Keith Ellison and Zuhdi Jasser:
– – – – – – – – –
Responding to Jasser’s call for reform, [Rep. Keith] Ellison launched into a tirade. “I think you give people license for bigotry,” Ellison told [Zuhdi] Jasser. “I think people who want to engage in nothing less than Muslim-hating really love you a lot because you give them freedom to do that. You say, ‘yeah, go get after them.’“
Muslims must “stand against” extremist members of their faith, Ellison said. But he seemed more threatened by Jasser. “Now is somebody going to snatch my 13-year-old daughter’s hijab off, call her a horrible name, spit on her because of something that you said, Dr. Jasser, I worry about that,” he added.
Opposition to the veil is thus conflated with intended violence. And it’s true that real anti-hijab altercations have occurred. Back in 2004 CAIR complained to the authorities about an incident in Florida:
The Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on law enforcement authorities to investigate an assault on a Muslim woman at a shopping mall in that state as a hate crime.
The victim, the owner of a jewelry kiosk at Westshore Mall in Tampa who wears an Islamic head scarf, says she was verbally and physically assaulted on Tuesday by three people who told her to “get out of (America)” and said her religion is “hateful and violent.” The assailants allegedly blamed the woman for the recent Madrid train bombings.
During the assault, one of the attackers allegedly grabbed the victim’s throat and attempted to remove her head scarf. The perpetrators fled when the victim ran to find mall security officers. Police are currently investigating the incident as a case of simple battery.
Islamists now frame the wearing of the hijab as a human rights issue, or even a feminist cause, so that the denial of the right to veil is made equivalent to traditional Leftist issues of gender inequality.
Yvonne Ridley, a convert to Islam, accused human rights organizations of ignoring the “harassment of women who wear the hijab”:
On an almost daily basis there are horrific stories pouring out of Tunisia about how the state police are ripping off the hijabs of women living there.
Some of these women, who are merely fulfilling their religious obligation to wear a hijab, have been assaulted, sexually abused and even locked up in prison by the authorities.
…I would ask them to read the harrowing report below before bellyaching to more journalists about their rights to parade around like Diana-look-a-likes.
It was written by an imam from Tunisia who had it smuggled out and given to me because he wants the world to know exactly what is happening to the women in his country.
Here is a snippet: “The police will randomly make their way into markets and rip the hijabs from women’s heads as well as take away any fabrics being sold to make hijabs…”
My appeal goes out to feminists of all faiths and no faith but please don’t think Muslim women are weak because the reality is that Islamic feminism can be just as radical as western feminism.
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff reported here on Tuesday about her Counterjihad efforts at the OSCE Human Dimension Roundtable in Vienna. The topic of the meeting was “gender equality, with a special focus on combating violence against women”, and Elisabeth and her colleagues used the opportunity to raise the issue of violence against women under Islam.
Representatives from various Muslim NGOs were unhappy with this “hate speech”, and protested the interventions put forward by Pax Europa and Wiener Akademikerbund.
One of the protesting NGOs was COJEP (Conseil de la Jeunesse Pluriculturelle, Council of Multicultural Youth), an organization that has its roots in Millî Görüs, a militant Turkish Islamic movement that is popular among European Turks. COJEP responded with an intervention of its own, which was very revealing:
The second point: I am being victimized because I wear a headscarf. [The] Headscarf ban in some participant [sic] States is a form of Islamophobia and is felt as violence against Muslim women by most of them. Forbidding women to exercise their basic rights or barring entrance to public places unless they take off their headscarves is clearly a form of violence. […]
Discrimination against women wearing headscarf decreases their ability to become a part of society, hinders their personal development, prevents them from advancing their cultural knowledge, restricts them from obtaining financial independence, and puts a major obstacle in the way of their empowerment and advancement. [emphasis added]
The frog has now been completely boiled. Not only is the wearing of the hijab a woman’s right, but the denial of that right is a form of violence against women.
This is a shrewd move on the part of radical Islam. At one stroke they have co-opted the trendy rhetoric of domestic violence against women, whilst taking off the table any possible discussion of the real meaning the hijab.
Because the hijab means two things:
In the Muslim world, it signifies the inferior status of women under sharia, and the proprietary interest that men have in their women.
However, in a Western context the hijab has an additional meaning. Like the mosque and the call to prayer, it serves as a territorial marker. Veiled women walking with their men are the human equivalent of minarets. They are claiming the surrounding territory for the Ummah.
And Islam has now adroitly turned the hijab into a feminist issue, thereby ruling any counter-arguments off the turf. Western feminists are bizarrely eager to remain silent about — or even embrace — the inferior status of women under Islam, as symbolized by the veil.
Welcome to the brave new world of Feminislam.