imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Monday, February 27, 2006
IN A COMMUNITY NEAR YOU
There is an Islamic Center in our community -- in Big Flats, actually -- between Corning (NY) and Elmira (NY). It's an unassuming looking building on the main street in a tiny village. It could have been a house. I imagine people pass it all the time without realizing what it is. Many of the local Muslims are professionals: doctors and scientists, plus many entrepreneurs. Like everyone else, most are nice and some are not. I worked with one, a teenager at the time, who was rather shy and had a quick wit.
This article appeared on the front page of our local paper.
Local Muslims explain why cartoons depicting Muhammad led to violence
Osmanzai said the ban on images depicting Muhammad was handed down by the prophet himself so followers of Islam would not worship him.
“We follow his teachings very closely. Islam has certain lines you can't cross,” Osmanzai said. “We don't say anything bad about the prophets, not just Muhammad, but others such as Moses and Jesus.”
“We want things to happen in a peaceful manner,” he said. “It's only a small number of people who are reacting violently, but the media is not doing us justice by the images they portray.”
But, Osmanzai said the reactions are indicative of how Muslims felt after seeing the images.
“I don't agree with the violence, but we all feel the same outrage,” he said. “Many people's frustrations have reached a boiling point.
“Some religions teach that if someone strikes you in the cheek, you turn the other one toward him,” Osmanzai said. “But our religion allows us to be outspoken. We will defend Islam.”
Local Muslim Naeem Parvez noted that most of the violent protests have taken place in the eastern part of the Islamic world, where there are more people with little or no education and where violent demonstrations are a part of everyday life. In Western nations, particularly throughout Europe, the protests have been more peaceful.
When I read that last line about the "more peaceful" protests in Europe, I figured our local Muslims are either ignorant or in total denial.
Needing to wake up, West just closes its eyes
In five years' time, how many Jews will be living in France? Two years ago, a 23-year-old Paris disc jockey called Sebastien Selam was heading off to work from his parents' apartment when he was jumped in the parking garage by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam's throat was slit twice, to the point of near-decapitation; his face was ripped off with a fork; and his eyes were gouged out. Adel climbed the stairs of the apartment house dripping blood and yelling, "I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven."
Is that an gripping story? You'd think so. Particularly when, in the same city, on the same night, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim.
This month, there was another murder. Ilan Halimi, also 23, also Jewish, was found by a railway track outside Paris with burns and knife wounds all over his body. He died en route to the hospital, having been held prisoner, hooded and naked, and brutally tortured for almost three weeks by a gang that had demanded half a million dollars from his family. Can you take a wild guess at the particular identity of the gang? During the ransom phone calls, his uncle reported that they were made to listen to Ilan's screams as he was being burned while his torturers read out verses from the Quran.
Useful links ...
8 Is there an Islamic Center near you? Check this enormous listing.
8 How peaceful is The Religion of Peace?
8 I posted this same article yesterday on L.com.