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Ramadan rhetoric and reality

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 19, 2006 01:02 PM

President Bush honored Muslims who have assisted the War on Terror at an iftar dinner Monday night at the White House. He praised “New York City police officers and a EMT worker who risked their lives to save their fellow citizens on 9/11; a military doctor and a member of the Navy’s Chaplain Corps; members of our Foreign Service; and military veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect our country and help those nations build free and democratic futures.”

All well and good.

But when President Bush starts overgeneralizing and whitewashing reality, his shallow platitudes about Islam become a hindrance.

“Islam is a religion that brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people around the world. It has transcended racial and ethnic divisions. It has given birth to a rich culture of learning and literature and science…

…Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. For Muslims in America and around the world, Ramadan is a special time of prayer and fasting, contemplation of God’s greatness, and charity and service to those in need. And for people of all faiths, it is a good time to reflect on the values we hold in common, including love of family, gratitude to God, the importance of community, and a commitment to tolerance and religious freedom.”

Religious freedom? Ask an apostate. Ask Abdul Rahman. Ask Indonesian Christians. Ask Saudi Christians. Ask Egyptian Christians.

Tolerance? Ask gays in Iran. Ask Danish cartoonists. Ask Salman Rushdie. Ask Aayan Hirsi Ali. Ask brave moderate Muslims. Like the ones Robert Spencer pays tribute to today. Like Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, whose trial on charges of sedition for advocating ties with Israel starts today in Bangladesh. Like Teguh Santosa, the newspaper editor who faced indictment in Indonesia for publishing the Mohammed Cartoons. Like Abdulkarim Sabra and Muhammad al-Asadi in Yemen, who were also prosecuted for publishing the cartoons.

And like Mohammed Taha, editor-in-chief of the Sudanese private daily Al-Wifaq, who dared to criticize Islamic extremists in his country. Oh, wait. You can’t ask him. They beheaded him.

Get real.

“A rich culture of learning and literature and science?”

Not for Muslim girls in the Arab world.

As for the special time of Ramadan, read Keith Roderick’s reality check at NRO:

Fasting from sunrise to sunset is a struggle for Muslims during this month of Ramadan. The month will present a more dangerous struggle for non-Muslims in Iraq, against whom Islamic terrorists promise to increase their violence.

On Thursday, October 12, Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Mosul, Saliba Chamoun, buried one of his priests, the latest victim of violence targeting Christians and other minorities in Iraq during Ramadan. Father Boulos Iskander had been kidnapped the previous Monday by an unknown Islamic extremist group. Family and church authorities negotiated with the abductors, who demanded $350,000 in ransom, but later promised to reduce the amount to $40,000 if Pope Benedict XVI’s reference to historical Islamic violence was publicly condemned.

The ransom was raised and paid. St. Epharim’s parishioners dutifully posted 30 large signs on walls around the city repudiating the Pope’s statements. They awaited word of Fr. Iskander’s promised release. On Wednesday in the Tahir City District, a mile from the Mosul city center, the priest’s body was found. Fr. Iskander’s severed head lay atop his chest. His severed arms and legs were placed around his head.

The same day as Fr. Iskander’s kidnapping, the leader of the Mandaean religious community (followers of John the Baptist), Sheikh Raad Mutar Saleh, was assassinated in Suweira, 35 miles southeast of Baghdad.

…On October 4, an Assyrian Christian neighborhood in Camp Sara was devastated by a bomb that killed nine persons. The week before, two similar explosive devices were used in an attack on the Assyrian Cathedral of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad. Islamists also targeted a Dominican convent. Two days later, during the second week of Ramadan, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul was attacked. In the past two years, over 27 churches have been attacked or bombed…who in the Muslim community will call to end the violence against the others, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Mandaeans, Turkomen, Yazidis, and Shabak, whose blood is also flowing freely in Iraq?

…Western media outlets have been conditioned to call the Muslim month of fasting “the holy month of Ramadan.” For many Iraqis, especially ethnic and religious minorities, Ramadan has been less than blessed this year. Murder, intimidation, rape, torture, and other forms of violence have increased during this “holy” month. Hope in Iraq’s future cannot be found in the destruction of minority faith and ethnic communities…

Want more? Just Google “Ramadan violence.”

Read: ” The U.S. military spokesman says there has been a 22 percent jump in attacks during Ramadan…”

It ain’t all peace, love charity, and understanding.

If we truly want moderate Muslims to prevail over the jihadists and their enablers, we must abandon double-talk and sugar-coating and delusionary pleasantries. Confronting hard truths is the most compassionate thing we can do. If we don’t do it, who will?

***

Related: Memeorandum has a good round-up of blogosphere reaction to the ABC News report on Bush’s Iraq-Vietnam remarks. I’ll weigh in sometime soon.

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