Recently, I posted a piece “Jihad This!” in which I stated that the time for political correctness had long since passed and that, at least so far as I was concerned, America’s entire Muslim population was suspect. For one thing, large numbers of them continued to wire funds to terrorist organizations even after 9/11, and instead of speaking out against their fellow Islamics or placing a reward on Osama bin Laden’s head, they bellyache about racial profiling.
Frankly, I expected that a lot of people were going to take me to task for denouncing millions of our fellow Americans. That didn’t happen. In fact, only one person, a Muslim living in England, took strong objection to the piece.
In the following exchanges, I believe he represents what we would regard as the moderate wing of his religion. As usual, I represent only myself. Michael opened with the following: “Your article was extremely ignorant, incorrect and inflammatory. It is clear that you are pleased to use atrocities being committed today by some wayward individuals to attack Islam itself. It is a great pity that men such as yourself should be given such a platform to express their prejudice and spread misinformation. Muhammad never converted anyone to Islam by the sword. This is not my opinion, but is established fact. Islam being the newest and most influential of the great world religions, is also the most accurately documented in history, so there is simply no basis for what you are saying.
“People like you would fan the dangerous flames that are threatening to engulf the world at the moment, without regard for truth or the consequences of your lies.
“What a shame that you have such a platform. What a shame. One wonders how many more there are like you, seeking to engulf the world in your ignorance. No wonder the world is in such a perilous situation.”
Burt: “Michael, please get a grip. The world is not in peril because of my words, whether or not you like them, but because of the disgusting misdeeds of your co- religionists. But you obviously prefer to direct your righteous indignation at me instead of at the people who are committing cold-blooded murder in the name of Allah.”
Michael: “How do you know that I have not already directed my ‘righteous indignation’ at my erring co-religionists? I’ll have you know that six or seven years ago, before September 11th, I spoke directly to one of the leaders of Hamas during a live BBC radio phone-in. I told him that he and his group were committing grave crimes in the name of Islam. He said they had the right to defend themselves. I told him that Islam laid out clear rules of engagement which Hamas and other similar groups broke, and I listed those rules on the air. I told him that I sympathized with the suffering of his people, but I believed that what he was doing was wrong and, as a Muslim, he did not represent me. He had no answer to any of that.”
Burt: “You sympathized with his suffering?! What suffering that hasn’t been brought on by the leaders of the PLO and the other terrorist organizations? Were you perhaps sympathizing with his having to exist in a world contaminated by the existence of 5,000,000 Jews in Israel?”
Michael: “So why don’t you get a grip? Instead of playing dangerous games with your lies and misinformation, why don’t you try to work to address the real causes of these problems, and I’m not talking about the Middle East.”
Burt: “So far you haven’t been talking about anything except what a bad man I am for writing what most Americans are merely thinking. If not the Middle East, what did you have in mind? Perhaps the Islamic killings that have taken place in Russia, Spain, the Philippines, Indonesia, Africa, France, Holland, New York City?”
Michael: “Whatever the cause, the inequalities that exist between those two peoples who inhabit the same land (Jews and Muslims) have led to suffering on all sides. Palestinians are living in (sometimes extreme) poverty and have to watch the luxurious living of the Jews. This leads to suicide attacks which means Israelis can’t enjoy their high standard of living with peace of mind. I think this is acknowledged by people of all persuasions.”
Burt: “So jealousy is your idea of a rational motive for mindless butchery? If poverty is the issue, why don’t the oil-rich Arabs help their brethren? How is it that Arafat died a multi-millionaire and his widow lives like a queen in Paris? Why didn’t the Arab nations welcome in the Palestinians instead of allowing them to rot in Gaza in “sometimes extreme” poverty for the past six decades? Why is it that when Israel gained statehood in 1948, the Arab nations immediately confiscated the land and property of its Jewish citizens, and sent them packing?”
Michael: “But this is not the point. The point is that the episode I described to you, my exchange with the man on the radio, demonstrated that true Islam and the actions of people like Hamas, Al Qaeda, etc., are not related. Instead of acknowledging this, you keep trying to provoke me with your pathetic cock-eyed reasoning, which I don’t even think you subscribe to yourself. You probably just want some inflammatory jihadist quotes from a ‘real life’ Muslim you talked to on line, for your unfortunate column.”
Burt: “Au contraire. My point is that it is exactly people such as yourself who provide aid and comfort and excuses for the actions of the terrorists. You even excuse suicide bombers who target school buses and pizza parlors on the basis of poverty. Would you be so quick to use the same reason to excuse poor Baptists, Jews and Catholics, in England if they suddenly began blowing up civilians?”
Michael: “The real cause of the world’s problems is that 25% of the world’s population (Britain, the U.S., Europe, rich Arabs who are their puppets, etc.) are living on 85% of the world’s resources. They would like it to stay that way, while the 75% of people living on 15% of the world’s resources would like a better standard of living.”
Burt: “Why so reluctant to mention jihad? Many people in the world are poorer than Arabs, but they don’t use poverty as an excuse to sever the heads of their victims. How exactly does blowing up school children raise anybody’s standard of living? Since most of the people that Muslims murder are other Muslims, your argument doesn’t hold even a thimble’s worth of water. And the fact is, America has gone to the assistance of Muslims more often than their fellow Muslims have….in Serbia, Somalia, Kuwait and, yes, even in Iraq, by removing Saddam Hussein.”
Michael: “That is the root cause in my opinion. If for example the West (for want of a better description) was seen as seriously addressing this by basically rejecting protectionism in all its forms, including wars for oil, then the problem of Arab/Mid Eastern inspired terrorism (which is really only a problem for the West and those connected to it; the rest of the world has other more serious problems that perhaps Americans don’t know about) would fade, I believe.”
Burt: “You have no basis for thinking that. Islamic terrorism is a concern of people all over the world. And what makes you think we went to war over oil? You’ve been watching CNN way too much. Apparently you failed to notice that we didn’t confiscate Kuwait’s oil fields in 1991. And we could certainly have done business with Saddam Hussein; we might even have wrangled sweetheart deals the way France, Russia and China, did.”
Michael: “Don’t reply unless you are going to say something serious and sensible. Also, as a Muslim, I would like an apology for what you said about the prophet Muhammad. I don’t expect one, but I think I should ask for one, and it would be sensible if you did so.”
Burt: “Apologize for what? For pointing out that he created a religion whose holy book dismissed non-Muslims as infidels, and referred to Jews and Christians as monkeys and pigs? So far as I am concerned, our discussion is at an end. You have written nothing thoughtful or informative. You have merely excused the barbaric acts of your fellow Islamics; you have not indicated revulsion at their butchery. At the same time, I suspect that if I had written a piece attacking England, you wouldn’t have been offended or defensive. Like most of your kind, you have no allegiance or loyalty to your homeland, only to Mecca, and then you wonder why your countrymen distrust you. Farewell….and try not to blow up any trains today.”