At the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, Young Muslims Coached to Handle the Media (Part 2)

Just imagine someone calling you a terrorist and telling you to go home,” Aissa Bensalem, 17, said during the class. “I had one of my friends say that they were scared to come to the masjid because they were afraid that they were going to be shot on.” [sic]

Yes, Aissa has unwittingly used the most apposite verb — “imagine.” For how many such claims by Muslims of being the victims of Infidel hostility, from the microaggressions of a fleeting look of disapproval at a hijab, to physical attacks, have been made up, imagined, to win sympathy? Apparently Aissa Bensalem wasn’t afraid of attending the mosque herself; it was “one of [her] friends.” Had there been other fearful Muslims, she would certainly have mentioned them. And why should we believe her report about her friend’s fear of going to the mosque, given how many dubious claims have been made by Muslims about manifestations of “islamophobia” that turn out out never to have occurred? In the case of microaggressions — e.g., a prolonged stare, an oath muttered under the breath — there is often no way of knowing if such claims are real, or are merely claimed so as to deflect criticism from, and elicit sympathy for, Muslims.

Their mosque underwent an active shooter training just the other week. It’s part of a bigger security plan that has involved conversations with the FBI and local police, according to Mansoor, who said security was beefed up after the mass shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

That “active shooter training” is meant to impress on readers the very real physical dangers that Muslims face. You need to remind yourself that attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims far outnumber those on Muslims worldwide; that Christians are the most persecuted (almost entirely by Muslims) minority today; that antisemitism has increased horrifyingly pari passu with the increase in Muslim migrants, and that this phenomenon is even more pronounced  in Europe than in the U.S..

But for Mansoor, a cardiologist by trade, a conversation about security is incomplete without talk of “changing the narrative.” After 9/11, he founded the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut to counter the anti-Muslim rhetoric that he says is perpetuated in the media. Years after the terrorist attack, some Americans still see U.S. Muslims as anti-American.

Why, whatever could have caused “some Americans” to “still see U.S. Muslims as anti-American”? What oh what could explain that? 9/11 was so long ago: Reza Mansoor complains that it’s been “years after the terrorist attack,” but some Americans are apparently harboring a quite unnecessary antipathy to Muslims. He refers to 9/11 as “the terrorist attack.” Has he forgotten all the other attacks since then? Could American worries about Islam have something to do with the attacks by Muslims since 9/11, in New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Fort Hood, Little Rock, Orlando, Chattanooga, San Bernardino? And could it be that Americans have also been alarmed by the spectacle of Muslim terrorists in Europe, where they have struck in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris (many times), Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Montauban, Magnanville, St. Etienne-du-Rouvray, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Malmö, Helsinki, Turku, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Beslan? Reza Mansoor wants Infidels to forget all that. Sorry, no can do. And from his point of view, what is even more deplorable is the increasing number of non-Muslims who have been educating themselves about Islam, and have been connecting the dots between these many acts of terrorism and what the Islamic texts, especially the Qur’an, inculcate. See, e.g., 3.151, 4:87, 8:12,8:60, 47:4 for verses about “striking terror” in the hearts of Infidels, and Muhammad’s boast in the Hadith that “I have been made victorious through terror.”

Mansoor tells his students that “islamophobia is driven by false information. So he encourages them to be media-savvy and to correct those misconceptions when confronted with them.

”Islamophobia” as a word and as a concept exists only to inhibit or shut down legitimate islamocriticism. We are supposed to believe that all such criticism constitutes an “irrational fear.” Mansoor offers no examples of such “irrational fear” of Islam, nor any examples of “false information” and “misconceptions” about the faith that are circulating. It’s enough, he thinks, that he makes the charge; evidence is not his strong suit.

He wants his students to be “media-savvy” — that is, to learn the art of dissimulation, so useful in correcting “those misconceptions” about Islam that islamophobes harbor. It’s a public relations effort on behalf of a single client — Islam.

“This is your job,” he said. “You are the next generation of Muslims to be able to show that Islamic values and American values are completely compatible.”

What are those American values with which Islamic values “are completely compatible”? It can’t be freedom of religion, for apostates from Islam are to be severely punished, even with death. Muhammad himself said in a hadith: “he who changes his (Islamic) religion, kill him.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 9:57). Historically, in Muslim societies, non-Muslim People of the Book, that is, Christians and Jews, could continue to remain alive and even practice their religion, as dhimmis, as long as they accepted a set of onerous conditions, most notably payment of the tax known as the Jizyah. Over time, many non-Muslims converted to Islam in order to escape from the dhimmi’s burden. This coercion hardly corresponds to the American value of freedom of religion.

Another American value, perhaps the one most important to maintaining our democracy, is that of freedom of speech. But where, in what Muslim country, is there anything like the American guarantee of freedom of speech? Journalists and others attempting to exercise free speech in Muslim lands are imprisoned (as in Turkey, which has the largest number of jailed journalists in the world), killed (Jamal Khashoggi), or driven into exile (the many Arab journalists now living in London and Paris). The despots of Islam are now, and always have been, hostile to free speech, and over 1,400 years, Islam never developed a culture of promoting and protecting free speech. The worst violations in Muslim lands of the right of free speech are the harsh punishments for “blasphemy” — that is, the perceived mocking of any aspect of Islam, and especially of Muhammad himself, which can result in a death sentence (the murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the attack on Lars Vilks, the threats to Jyllands-Posten and Molly Norris, the death sentence — commuted — for Asia Bibi). How can Reza Mansoor have the chutzpah to declare that “Islamic values” and “American values” are “completely compatible”?

The equality of the sexes is another American value incompatible with “Islamic values.” In Islam, women are treated as inferior to men. Polygyny is legitimate in Islam; one husband, but many wives, naturally devalues women. So does the rules for divorce: a husband need only repeat the triple-talaq to be instantly divorced; a wife who wants a divorce, however, must return her bride-price or mahr, and provide a reason for the divorce that is deemed acceptable. Qur’an 4:34 declares that men are “superior” to women and must serve as their managers. The same verse gives a Muslim husband the right to “beat” a wife if he even suspects her of disobedience. A Muslim daughter inherits half that of a son. A Muslim woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man. Muhammad explains this last rule in a hadith  where he insisted that it is “because of the deficiency in her [woman’s] intelligence.”

Another American value is the legal equality of minorities (this wasn’t always an American value, of course, but it certainly is now), which is enshrined in the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (invoked against the states) and incorporated in the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment (invoked against the federal government.) The equal treatment of minorities is not, however, an Islamic value. In Islam, Muslims are the “best of peoples” (3:110) and non-Muslims the “most vile of created beings.” (98:6). Non-Muslims in a Muslim state have restrictions placed on them as to the building of new religious structures or repairs to existing ones, and often they are required to be restrained in their religious observances. They can be punished severely for any attempts to proselytize, though Muslims may freely do so.

In  the Islamic world, severe restrictions on freedom of religion and on  freedom of speech, the absence of legal equality for women and for non-Muslim minorities, are sufficient to refute Reza Mansoor’s bizarre claim that Islamic and American values are “completely compatible.”

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