The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.
A study published last year by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition documented the effects of…mass surveillance. In targeted communities, a culture of enforced self-censorship takes hold and relationships of trust start to break down. As one interviewee said: “You look at your closest friends and ask: are they informants?”
This is what real fear of surveillance looks like: not knowing whom to trust, choosing your words with care when talking politics in public, the unpredictability of state power.
There seems to be this pervasive belief in the US that we can invade, bomb, drone, kill, occupy, and tyrannize whomever we want, and that they will never respond. That isn’t how human affairs function and it never has been. If you believe all that militarism and aggression are justified, then fine: make that argument. But don’t walk around acting surprised and bewildered and confounded (why do they hate us??) when violence is brought to US soil as well. It’s the inevitable outcome of these choices, and that’s not because Islam is some sort of bizarre or intrinsically violent and uncivilized religion. It’s because no group in the world is willing to sit by and be targeted with violence and aggression of that sort without also engaging in it…
I think we should be very precise about what we mean when we say “Muslim.” There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. There are 148 million in Bangladesh. There are 23 million in China. Over 28 million in Ethiopia, 177 million in India, 204 million in Indonesia. Six million Muslims in Libya. They constitute less than a half a percent — 0.4 percent — of the world’s Muslims.
It should be clear from this catalog of atrocities that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem. No, the violence isn’t centrally planned or coordinated by some international Islamist agency. In that sense the global war on Christians isn’t a traditional war at all. It is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities.
Instead of falling for overblown tales of Western Islamophobia, let’s take a real stand against the Christophobia infecting the Muslim world. Tolerance is for everyone—except the intolerant.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, contrary to other prominent “new atheists,” is a political conservative. The statements you see above, excerpted from Ali’s recent Newsweek article, sound fairly close to the kind of arguments New Gingrich or Rick Perry might make if either of these men knew nearly as much about the world as Ali does.
It is hard to say Ali is wrong when she lists one example after another of tens of thousands of oppressed and persecuted Christians living in the Muslim world. It can be said, however, that this is a very odd point to make and it’s a point that appeals directly to religious conservatives in America.
Most nonbelievers would probably look at these examples and shake their heads, dismayed at the extraordinary ability of religion to turn entire societies mad. But Ali interprets these examples not as symptoms of organized religion, but as a Muslim war against Christianity.
I think it’s time to start recognizing that Ali is a deeply conservative person and that even those devoted to the Enlightenment can still fall victim to political ideology and bias.
Muslim Housewife Disguised as Emperor Palpatine from “Star Wars” Argues Against France’s Burqa Ban
In the above debate, Empress Palpatine argues that ordinary women, not enthusiasts of dark robes, are oppressed because they are judged by their bodies and thus objectified. Of course, everyone, not just in contemporary society but throughout human history, is judged to some extent by their appearance (a practice that is not totally irrational, as studies show that us smart people tend be healthier than all you dumb slobs). It is not a problem that people are judged by their appearance, but of course it is a problem if their appearance is the only trait they are judged by. Having said that, you can pretty much tell that Michele Bachmann is mentally deranged just by looking at her.
It would seem to me that Eliot Spitzer’s argument against the ban, from a legal perspective, is sound. Whenever a societal ill befalls us, it is always tempting to take the easy route and simply ban what we don’t like. This approach is both lazy and, in the long term, ineffective. Such bans, like prohibition, typically breed resentment of the law and the banned practice usually occurs anyway, thus turning relatively harmless citizens into criminals. It is difficult to argue that burqa wearers are trespassing on anyone else’s rights…even if they do go around looking like they got tangled up in Marilyn Manson’s curtains.
What perhaps needs to occur, instead of a ban, is a cultural backlash against the blatant anti-feminism that burqas symbolize. I suggest, whenever coming across a burqa wearer, loudly and creepily exclaiming “Whoa, whoa, lookin’ good there sugar tits!” If burqas are supposed to protect women from being judged on their looks, I say we judge them on their looks anyway. The more disgustingly inappropriate the remark, the better. Take that, Empress Palpatine.
P.S. Wouldn’t it have been great if Ashley Dupre was under that burqa and at the end of the segment she just rips it off and Eliot Spitzer is all like, “Oh shit man, it’s that hooker!”