January 6

Arabs have short memories

13  comments

You would think I would have learned from my post about the Muslim lecture on wife beating to never write anything critical of our Arab friends in the New World Order. But an article on the front page of today’s New York Times tells a story that is, in my view, beyond belief. I’m going to run the risk of having to deal with numerous argumentative comments, but I just can’t let this pass. It exemplifies the huge cultural differences between Americans and Western Europeans and the denizens of the Arab world, and feeds into my bias as to why it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Arab Muslims to assimilate into the Western world.
Before I get to the Times article, I will admit that none other than P.J. O’Rourke may have hit the nail on the head in an interview published in today’s Wall Street Journal. I talk multiple times per week with my literary agent who is a good friend as well. She is of the opinion that the Palestinian situation in particular and the hostile Arab situation in general can be solved once these people make their way into the middle class and divert their thinking from ‘woe is me’ to ‘I need a bigger car.’ O’Roarke feels the same way. Maybe they’re right. I hope so.

“I have no idea if some societies, anthropologically speaking, aren’t really suited for democracy. I don’t think that’s true. But there certainly are societies that just love to fight. Northern Ireland, for instance. You couldn’t stop that problem because they were having fun — they were really, really enjoying themselves. It would still be going on full-force today if the sons of bitches hadn’t accidentally gotten rich. What happened was, more and more people started getting cars, and television sets, and got some vacation time down in Spain, and it wasn’t that they wanted to stop fighting and killing each other and being lunatics, but they got busy and forgot.

“So our job,” he says, “is to make the Iraqis get busy and forget. ‘You know, I meant to kill all those other people but, well, jeez, I had to get the kids off to school, the car was filthy and I had to take it down to the car wash, the dog got sick on the rug. Killing all those Shiites is still on my to-do list . . .'”

Based on the Pan-Arab response to Saddam’s execution, I suspect it will take a good long time before we get to the ‘killing all those Shiites is still on my to-do list’ state.
Remember, Saddam Hussein was the most heinous mass murderer of our generation. He was responsible for the brutal deaths of tens of thousands, no, hundreds of thousands of people during the course of his reign. The people he killed were not Americans, they weren’t Israelis, they weren’t Europeans: they were Arabs. They weren’t Catholics, they weren’t Protestants, they weren’t Jews: they were Muslims.
So countless Arab Muslims die at Saddam’s hand and because he showed some dignity and bravery before he dropped to his well-deserved death, these Arab Muslims embrace him as their new hero.

In the week since Saddam Hussein was hanged in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence of admiration and awe.
On the streets, in newspapers and over the Internet, Mr. Hussein has emerged as a Sunni Arab hero who stood calm and composed as his Shiite executioners tormented and abused him.

Praise came from all corners. From Egypt:

“No one will ever forget the way in which Saddam was executed,” President Hosni Mubarek of Egypt remarked…

In Lybia:

a government statement said a statue depicting Mr. Hussein in the gallows would be erected…

In Beirut:

hundreds of members of the Lebanese Baath Party and Palestinian activists marched Friday in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood behind a symbolic coffin representing that of Mr. Hussein and later offered a funeral prayer. Photographs of Mr. Hussein standing up in court, against a backdrop of the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem, were pasted on city walls near Palestinian refugee camps, praising “Saddam the martyr.”
“God damn America and its spies,” a banner across one major Beirut thoroughfare read. “Our condolences to the nation for the assassination of Saddam, and victory to the Iraqi resistance.”

In Jordan

long a bastion of support for Mr. Hussein, many are lionizing him, decrying the timing of the execution and the taunts as part of a Sunni-Shiite conflict.
Another Jordanian journalist, Muhammad Abu Rumman, wrote in Al Ghad on Thursday: “For the vast majority Saddam is a martyr, even if he made mistakes in his first years of rule. He cleansed himself later by confronting the Americans and by rejecting to negotiate with them.”

Even the Saudis, our supposed friends, got in on the act.

“Prepare the gun that will avenge Saddam,” a poem published in a Saudi newspaper warned. “The criminal who signed the execution order without valid reason cheated us on our celebration day. How beautiful it will be when the bullet goes through the heart of him who betrayed Arabism.”

I find this attitude unbelievable. It simply shows–to me, at least–the wide cultural divide between the Western world and the Arab one. And makes me believe it will be a long, long time before the Arab Muslims will be able to assimilate into Western society.


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  1. At risk of being argumentative -; what’s your point?
    We have already agreed have we not the timing and manner of Saddam’s execution was both appalling and guaranteed to inflame those on all sides, particularly the Sunnis. Of course Saddam was/is never going to be a hero to the Shiites and Kurds but executing him, especially without a proper trial into all of his undoubted heinous crimes – was always going to make him a martyr or at least a rallying point for anti western sentiment and just like Abu Ghaib it will be used for a new wave terrorist recruiting. Perhaps if the full extent of his complicity with his former allies in the West had been exposed, there would be less question of his being seen to have ‘cleansed himself’ from earlier “mistakes”.
    Those in charge of the coalition forces surely new all this (or in Hichens’s words should have paid someone to be aware of it) – but chose to hand him over for the inevitable lynching none the less, one would suggest at least partly so that the answers to embarrassing questions died with him.
    But what has this got to do with short memories? – many Muslims (and Christians alike) are driven by collective ‘memories’ of the Crusades. Sure he was a genocidal maniac (although he’d have some very stiff competition as being the worst of the last century), sure most of his victims were Muslims (although the Kurds were slaughtered for ethnic not religious reasons) but is it any wonder his supporters see the manner of his execution as another reason to hate both the executioners and the occupying nations for their tacit support? Still you won’t find Shiites erecting statues in his honour, you won’t find Kurds promising to avenge his memory – their short term memory is unimpaired (in any event their betrayal/abandonment in recent times gives have plenty of good reasons for anti western sentiment and rhetoric).
    And assimilation? Again I can’t see how this impacts on ordinary Muslims living or wanting to live in the west. I did a bit of a search for other surveys and the one extraordinary facet that they all seem to have in common is the large percentage of Muslims who think greater integration/assimilation with the communities in which they live is a worthwhile goal. It is just a guess but I’d be surprise if this sentiment is matched by many other religious or ethnic groups. Surely it is conceivable that the vast majority live in the west precisely because of the freedom and relative safety western democracies offer?
    BTW I did find another earlier UK survey where the majority (61%) did favour the introduction of sharia law but in this case the question asked was more specific – finding ‘a clear majority want Islamic law introduced into this country in civil cases relating to their own community …(they)wanted Islamic courts – operating on sharia principles – “so long as the penalties did not contravene British law” – which suggest my earlier comments about how much of what sharia law offers is acceptable may have some validity.
    Hi Malcolm–
    I agree with you that the hanging of Saddam couldn’t have been handled worse from a Pan-Arab PR perspective.  HItchins hit the nail on the head; it was disastrous.  And it typical fashion, instead of trying to make amends for circus atmosphere at the gallows, those in charge are going after the guys who filmed and exposed it. 
    But your point about the majority of Muslims living in the UK wanting to have Sharia to adjudicate disputes within the UK makes my point about how they don’t want to assimilate.  They want to have the peace and prosperity of the UK, they just don’t want to live as citizens of the UK.  They want to live under religious law instead of civil law.
    Were I to move to France (to ,say, enjoy the wine, the food, the slower pace of life in some rural area) and insisted on living under US laws, I would be trying to have it both ways.  Or if I went there because I could make a better income and insisted on living in an American commune, refused to learn French or learned just enough to get by, maintained all my customs from the US, eschewing those that were French would I be trying to assimilate?  I doubt it.
    I have some very close friends who are Orthodox Jews.  Growing up where I did in the Midwest and the South I had no exposure to Jewish culture.  In fact, I had no real exposure until I met these people.  Anyone not familiar with how observant Jews live can’t believe it.  The rules and regulations that they abide by are mind boggling to those not reared in that culture.  They couldn’t be more different than the vast majority of non-Jews in this country, yet they have assimilated just fine.  The point is, that people with bizarre cultural traditions can assimilate if they want to.  I just don’t think most Muslims want to.
    And, in case you think my views on Muslims originated from my friendship with Jews, nothing could be further from the truth.  These particular Jews are pro-Arab, and I have many of these same arguments with them.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  2. I read thru your comments and responses to the other post.
    Sadly, I tend to agree. This is a completely different society. The fact that religion and government is so closely related….and the attitude towards women….and other factors, I also fear for the whole situation.
    Hi Cindy–
    Thanks for the support.
    Best–
    MRE 

  3. Hello Mr.Eades I am saddened.
    I thought you were a bit more intelligent than that. You were able too look through the propaganda, exaggerations, corporate agenda driven bulls**t the health authorities and media were providing concerning obesity and heart disease. Here is an idea for you: that was only peanuts to the propaganda, exaggerations and corporate agenda driven bulls**t provided on all the other subjects (war, big-oil, Israel, Islam).
    And here only one link which tries to look through the fog:
    the best news site ever.
    Hello gallier–
    So, because I don’t agree with you politically you call my intelligence into question?  Because you read a far-right, Holocaust denying website, you have all the answers?
    Thanks for writing.
    MRE 

  4. I don’t think they will ever assimilate into Western society. The only thing they want to know about us is our weapons and communication technologies. This allows them to coordinate and control their people through force. If anything it’s the other way around. In time they will have enough unclear weapons to make a coordinated first strike on our major western cities and then assimilate us. Or at least what’s left of us. They have a dream. LOL
    Hi Ed–
    Sayyid Qutb, who attended college in Greeley, Colorado, certainly had a dream.  And the world has paid for it since.
    Best–
    MRE 

  5. No, I don’t think they want to assimilate either. I live in Australia but was born in Yugoslavia, Serbia. We moved to Australia in 1970 along with countless Italians and Greeks. We assimilated just finely. We all learned English, went to English schools. We kept our traditions but still became Australians. Just recently a Muslim leader in Australia was quoted as saying that rape victims were asking for it as they were like exposed meat!! We don’t need these kind of comments.
    Hi Sue–
    Amen.
    Best–

    MRE 

  6. >So, because I don’t agree with you politically you call my intelligence into question?
    I don’t know if we disagree politically, I only think you are misguided on the subject of Muslims and Islam. A threat much exaggerated (and I live in France and work for a Belgian company so I know first hand that your sheep slaying example is largely exaggerated).
    >Because you read a far-right, Holocaust denying website, you have all the answers?
    This proves you haven’t read the blog, Michael Rivero denies not the Holocaust, he questions why it is such a sensible subject that even the slightest interrogation on the details are met with fury and indignation. The same reaction when questioning the lipid heart theory (but even more hostile).
    The WSJ, NYT etc are part of the war party who want the so called “clash of civilization” to profit from or for whatever reason. They will promote hate against Muslims, its their agenda. And do not forget where the radical Islamists come from, they were all nurtured by CIA (look up for the CIA asset Tim Osman).
    But enough, I will not respond any more, it’s not the purpose of this blog.
    Hi Gallier–
    I don’t have a problem being called misguided because I probably am misguided in more ways than one.  Misguided is different than calling one’s intelligence into question, however.
    If you live in France and work for a Belgian company, you doubtless have a better insight into what is going on than I, who only visit there occasionally.  The sheep slaying scenario is not my example, it was from an article in the Wall Street Journal based on an interview with a Muslim trying to slaughter his sheep in accordance with Belgian law.
    I did indeed read Michael Rivero’s blog–not in its entirety of course, but enough of it to get the flavor.  A couple of his posts linked to a definite Holocaust denial site.  I agree with you and with Michael Rivero (assuming what you say about Michael Rivero is correct) that the Holocaust is an extremely sensitive issue, and that in any way investigating it or reporting it the least bit critically can get one labeled an anti-Semite.  I believe that the Holocaust did indeed take place, but I don’t believe that people who don’t believe it did and say so should be put in prison.  In the US we have a group of people (including academics at some major universities) who believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney were directly responsible for 9-11.  I think the people who believe this are misguided to say the least, but I don’t think they should be put in jail.  And I don’t think that David Irving should have been imprisoned in Austria.  I think that all subjects are fair game for serious inquiry.
    I think you are misguided in believing that the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are part of any war party that promotes the ‘clash of civilizations.’  I know too many people who work for those papers to believe that.  You may have better information that I, however, and you are more than entitled to your opinion.  And I find it hard to believe that the radical Islamists were/are nurtured by the CIA.  Why would our government do that?  It doesn’t make sense.  Part of our problem has been that the CIA has ignored the Islamic issue to the point that there are very few CIA personnel who could speak Arabic, and the total disinterest on the part of the Agency and the FBI resulted in the security lapse that allowed 9-11.
    And if the US wanted to promote hate against Muslims, why did we intervene in the Serbian slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia?  If we really hated Muslims, why not just let the Serbs ethnically cleanse the region of them.  We intervened for humanitarian reasons–there is no oil in Bosnia (which seems to be the reason everyone thinks we intervened in Iraq).  In fact, I can’t think of a thing the US gained by saving the Muslims in Bosnia–it only cost us money.  What was our return on investment?
    I welcome your comments anytime as long as we can keep it civil.
    Cheers–
    MRE   

  7. Two points: we cannot blindly equate Muslims (religious group) with Arabs (ethnic group) – many Muslims are not Arab, and vice versa.
    The other is we cannot make blanket statements about the intentions of Islamic peoples. We err when we assume that “Islam” is a coherent, unified belief system, though they would have us believe so, just as there are over a thousand “christian” denominations, many of whom have killed each other over points of dogma.
    Islam has no central leadership or governing body – their moral code is allowed to be interpreted by every and any person who wishes to call themself an Imam, or preacher. They are not bound by any single, “rational” code of ethics, except maybe that of conscience. The beliefs of any Muslim can legally change by the day and on a whim. We must therefore grant “Islam” in general, and every single Muslim in particular, the ability to make their own moral choices in the moment, and the accountability for that choice. This is hard for Western society to grasp, because we seek a single, understandable group focus or motive with which we can argue on our own terms.
    Our argument then is that we wish Islam would have more a centralized moral authority and accountability, but it will not happen. Islam is a “contrary” religion, and bound up with preserving a particular culture, which seeks above all, to be different from the West, and somehow feels itself to be a people inherently “rejected” by the West. It is not the actions of the US and Israel that insult them, but the very fact of our existences. It is only this collective repudiation of the West which gives them any unified nature. They will always choose to remain powerless, tribal and fundamentalist. They will always choose the way of greatest defeat and futility. Theirs is a perpetual “refugee” mentality, no matter how good their circumstances. Their frustration comes from their perpetual self-imposed poverty and ignorance. It was said of Yassir Arafat that “he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity” (for peace or material achievement). This is a fatalistic character trait of all Islamism leaving them always without, always contrarian, always doomed to contention with the West. Such a people is best ruled by a strong dictatorial hand, and cannot be expected to ever embrace or accept the Western concept of “democracy” in any serious way. The current US administration is guilty of an abysmal ignorance and naivete in this regard.
    It is merely realistic to recognize that such a culture will never willingly inculturate with the West, except in isolated, individual circumstances. We need to take this into consideration and not deal with them rationally, but as a special irrational case, with which we are forced sometimes to deal ruthlessly. We must not be lulled into blindness about their nature.
    Their very uncentralized structure makes it impossible for them to pose any real threat to Western culture, though they can occasionally do some sensational damage. This confronts the West with the uncomfortable reality that the “rule of law” does not always protect or serve us, and has its limits of effectiveness. Likewise, if we do not like the choices of Islamic extremists, we have no choice but to become ruthless in response, and this further grates against our sensibilities and self-image as “civilized”. These things having been said, Muslims are an unquestionably pious and devoutly motivated people, and are not wrong to reject the sometimes gross and horrific materialism of Western ways. Fundamentalism or tribalism cannot be judged as being inherently “wrong” ways to live, they are only different than ours. Mankind has spent 99.9% of our history being tribal and fundamentalist. It is the stable, basic social structure to which we must always ultimately return.
    On a historical note, Islam did not “rise up” in the Middle Ages, it is the West which collapsed, and Islam simply filled the vast, gaping void. The West seems to have an inherent periodic rythm of development, consolidation and catastrophic collapse. As the West now faces ever-dwindling resources, global competition and is forced to become more arbitrarily authoritarian, we are once again (I believe) beginning our long, downward, nightmarish slide into cultural darkness, and the ephemeral “Caliphate” of fundamentalism will return for a time.
    Hi Kevin–
    You are correct that all Muslims are not Arabs and vice verse, although I would say that most Arabs are Muslim, with certain exceptions, i.e. the Chaldeans, for example.
    I pretty much agree with your assessment of the situation, but I fervently hope we are not sliding down the slope of  the Fundamentalists abyss.
    Best–
    MRE 

  8. I might further suggest that the lack of a unified, centralized ethical structure is a characteristic of not just Islam, but of all Eastern/Oriental cultures, as compared with the remarkably unified, rationalized and individuality-affirming Spirituality of the West.

  9. Hi Mike,
    I think in my rush to be argumentative 😉 I may not have explained my position very well. It seems that you think that some desire to have minor civil matters which relate only to the members of local Muslim communities adjudicated by them, and only in so far as the remedies don’t impinge on existing UK law (as the survey I mentioned found) to either be an unacceptable indication of failure to assimilate, and/or an alarming sign that given the chance (through majority rule) the Muslim community would cancel democracy, impose Sharia law (including all its violent and repressive facets) for the whole country, to apply to all, regardless of religious belief … because (if I understand you) under the guise of every ‘moderate’ Muslim their lurks an extremist/fundamentalist.
    My view, simply is that while the first proposition is technically true (as it is for the Jewish community) and (as it is here) for the Aboriginal community, I don’t see minor variations in the way sub groups in our society resolve disputes as a serious challenge to ‘our’ way of life (a very difficult thing to define in any event).
    (Here is how it works now – I can’t see any big difference in Jewish assimilation but perhaps things are different where you are)
    While the desire for total assimilation is understandable in one sense, it can be a very dangerous concept that is frequently hijacked by all sorts of unsavoury elements with which I’m sure we both would vehemently disagree. Our countries have both been built on and enriched by all manner of cultural and ethnic diversity and recent proposals (here) to supposedly promote assimilation by seeking to restrict migrants and refugees on the basis of language and general knowledge of our history and traditions would have seen many of our most illustrious, hard working citizens denied access if it had been applied when they arrived, and at their heart these are proposals seeking both to alter the racial mix of new Australians and as an instruments of wedge politics.
    The second idea – that all, or a majority of Muslims are secretly harbouring a desire to fundamentally change our society to that of a fundamentalist Islamic state I don’t accept – maybe I am being naïve – maybe not, but I am much more concerned about the increasing impact that religious zealots already have on laws that apply to us all – and by this, of course I mean Christians. Perhaps this is selfish rather than tolerant, but I really don’t care what crazy things other people believe or what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes … any activities that don’t harm children, animals or the environment and don’t restrict my rights to enjoy the same freedoms, are fine. Yes, I realise that if Muslim fanatics really did take over, I would have a great deal more to worry about … but all that remote possibility suggests in my view, is that taking a less tolerant attitude to religious interference of any kind is if anything an even more pressing imperative.
    Just one perennial topical example is euthanasia – polls consistently suggest that about 75% of Australians support the idea that terminally ill individuals should have a right to seek and obtain assistance to end their life with dignity. One territory actually enacted a law to give effect to the will of the people but a despicable campaign by religious ‘leaders’ and religious fanatics from both sides of the political divide saw this law overturned by the federal parliament. Again, let me be clear, I don’t have any problems with anyone electing to end their own life in any manner they choose and for whatever bizarre reason, even if that involves unbearable pain and complete loss of dignity, that is their choice. I do have considerable misgivings about them making those choices on behalf of their children (when the law provides more protection for the welfare of pets), but on balance I think the state should not intervene. But for the lockstep of law and church to do just that, to dictate and restrict the options that I have and those of people that I care about solely on the basis of irrational, childish, dark age superstitions is intolerable.
    I went to wedding not long ago – rather than being welcomed as friends and family but not necessarily believers, we were subjected to a 20 minute sermon/tirade which far from being directed at the happy couple seemed solely for the ‘benefit’ of those of us who didn’t share the ‘true path’ and couldn’t therefore possibly understand what something called ‘love’ was all about. Over a much needed stiff drink afterwards I got to thinking, not for the first time, how unbelievably polite we atheists (as they call us) are and how our patience and tolerance for others’ chosen beliefs and life choices never seem to be reciprocated. Perhaps if we spoke up more we could achieve both of our aims, not only consistent law for all but a big step away from any form of fundamentalism and a true separation of church and state.
    Cheers,
    Malcolm
    Hi Malcolm–
    I understand your argument and, for the most part, I agree with you.  I don’t see any problems with religious groups (or any other groups, for that matter) setting up their own courts to dispense justice as they see it and having that ‘justice’ enforce by civil courts as long as involvement in the process is voluntary and all sides agree on the front end that the courts rulings will be binding.  We do that in the US all the time–it’s called binding arbitration.  If Muslims want to settle disputes in a Muslim ‘court’ I say have at it, again as long as all parties agree on the front end.
    The problem I have with your argument is contained in your last sentence. 

    …not only consistent law for all but a big step away from any form of fundamentalism and a true separation of church and state.

    First, let me admit that I am not an Islamic scholar, so my opinions are based upon what I’ve read in publications about Islam and Islamic law. It is my understanding that Islamic law does not recognize civil law, and that the goal of Islam is to have the ‘church’ run the government as did the Talaban and as is now happening in Iran. The populace, Muslim and non-Muslim alike are governed by Islamic law.  This situation is the opposite of a “true separation of church and state.”  It is, in fact, a merging of church and state.
    Many commenters to this blog (on this subject at least) have tried to lump all fundamentalists together, and I don’t think that is accurate.  I believe that Muslim fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists are different animals.  The most rabid example of a Christian fundamentalist one could find might want to have fundamentalist Christians in positions of power in the government and might want to legislate morality as he (or she) defined it, but I don’t believe such a person would desire to have the government itself from the city council level to the Presidency run as part of the fundamentalist church.  One of Jesus’ famous lines in one of the gospels (since I don’t know which one, I guess you can figure my level of biblical scholarship) is to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s,” which more than just implies a separation of church and state.  Islam, on the other hand, demands that the church and state be one.
    Best–
    MRE 

  10. Here’s my question: Little ol’ me, a mid-westerner living an average life could’ve told the-powers-that-be that this execution was going to go off like a nuclear bomb in the Middle East.
    If I can figure this out, so can our government, but it seems to have strangely gone over their head. My question is, why didn’t they do more to ‘desensationalize’ his execution? It looks to me like they didn’t do a damn thing to lessen the political impact. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do have to wonder exactly what the goal was in the political chess game because it looks to me like they’re intentionally stirring the pot.
    Either that, or Bush really is as stupid as they say he is, which I think is even more frightening. At least with conspirators, they usually have some idea of what they’re doing and a plan. You know, there’s an actual _plot_ as opposed to sheer bumbling stupidity.
    M
    Hi Michelle–
    Many little ol’ mes living in the Midwest and other places can often see things that our rulers who are surrounded by yes men all telling them what they think they want to hear are unable to see. 
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  11. Folks perhaps y’all would like to take the Harvard Implicit Association test on race.
    Simply type those words into fave search engine and it should lead you there.
    Says much esp in moments where we have to make split second decisions.
    Hi Simon–
    Good to hear from you.  Thanks to your recommendation I took the Implicit Association Test on race, which told me that I had a “slight automatic preference for white people compared to black people.”  It’s an interesting test and kind of fun to take.  I have no clue as to its validity.  I would encourage everyone to give it a whirl.
    It can be found here
    Best–
    MRE 

  12. I apologize ahead of time for not being able to source this, as I can’t even remember whether I heard it on the radio, saw it on PBS, or read it in a blog! I think it may have been a Charlie Rose interview.
    It regards a conversation between an Arab scholar and his interviewer, in which the scholar said that there are a number of Muslim Arabs that are distressed that most of the inventions of the modern world took place in Western Christian countries. The implication is, if Allah is so great and loves his people, then why was it not Muslims who got the initiatives, inventions, and wealth of the West? Let’s face it, without the oil found underneath the countries of the Mid-East, they would have essentially nothing, and at the beginning, they were dependent on Western engineers and scientists for development. Even today, Arabs get their educations in Europe, the US and Canada. There are few Mid East universities with world class reputations.
    So, back to the point, if Allah is so great, why did the West get all the inventions? I think this is really an undercurrent to the conflict that is rarely talked about.
    My strong personal opinion is, that that idea is what drives well educated, middle class young men to terrorism. It’s an idea that has no good answer if you follow it logically to a certain conclusion, and the only way to resolve what Allah wants is to engage in an extreme action.
    Others’ thoughts?
    Hi LC–
    Since this isn’t on the Cat Stevens post I’ll comment.  I agree with you.  If we ever find a substitute for oil, the Middle East will fall to pieces.
    There are no major universities in the Arab world, and, unfortunately, many of the brightest Arab students end up with degrees all the way up to Ph.D.s in Islamic studies.  I’m sure it’s a grueling course, with much debate and discussion, but it’s tantamount to the old Christian debates from the middle ages about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  13. I don’t see the reaction to the execution necessarily a cultural, Muslim, whatever reaction.
    What I see is, we have invaded a country for no reason, absolutely destroyed it, diligently hunted Saddam’s sons and treated their death as some trophy as well as display his capture as a humiliating one. We have inflicted death and suffering on many, many people and why?
    Now first off, I don’t mean any disrespect to the victims of 911, not at all, this isn’t about them.
    We all create a huge uproar regarding planes flying into a few buildings one morning creating a significant amount of destruction, death, suffering and horror.
    Yet, the suffering we have inflicted on IRAQ is on a much, much, grander scale and not only that we have been inflicting this on the people for how long now?
    We have taken the law into our own hands, enforcing our beliefs onto another country that has little to do with us. We setup prison camps, torture and the like as if we are the law…
    Now I didn’t like Saddam ever since I first heard of him in the Gulf War after he invaded Kuwait but this invasion sickens me… and when I heard about his impending execution I felt sick to the stomach…
    The fact is, this invasion was unjust, we accuse him of being a dictator, a tyrant and the like but what are we? We are no different infact we are much, much, worse except we call it “The war on terror” and get away with it!
    We had no right invading that country.
    That is why his execution is getting the reaction it is getting, that is why they think he is a martyr.
    How ever distorted his principles were, the man stood up to the US government that once supported him through his torturing dictator ship only to turn 180 degrees later, we used him. Thats why they respect him, because as powerless as he may be, he stood up for himself.
    All I see is hypocrisy, it is disgusting and in humane.
    I should state when I refer to WE I refer to our governments and anyone who supports these governments.
    Hi Sherrie–
    I share many of your sentiments.
    Best–
    MRE 

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