August 14, 2006

Gay Rights, the Clash of Civilizations, and the Danger of Moderates

By Julian Dunraven

After my last posting, I received a few comments telling me that I am underestimating the importance of the clash of civilization between the Islamic world and the West. I beg to differ. Though my last posting may have carried a whimsical flavor, I am well aware of how deep the differences go.

This November, the people of Colorado will vote on no less than three ballot issues dealing with gay rights. In this country, in this state, that means we will argue over the minutia of various legal rights possessed by married couples and whether to extend those legal rights to gay couples. Members of the GLBT community are, arguably, the most disenfranchised citizens of the United States, and yet the most important issue affecting that group at the moment is the bundle of property rights that go into making a legal marriage. If a country’s level of civilization can be judged by how it treats its underclass citizens, than I would say the United States is doing fairly well.

Now, let us compare U.S. civilization with that of Iraq. There, gay rights do not even begin to contemplate the nuances of various property claims and marriage contracts. In Iraq, those who support gay rights ask only that homosexual people be allowed the right to live at all. Jennifer Copestake reports in The Observer that Shia death squads now roam the land executing gay men. “Gays flee Iraq as Shia death squads find a new target.” Barbaric as that seems, it is made worse by the fact that these death squads also target and execute young boys who have been forced into prostitution.

One might think the new Iraqi government and law enforcement would be appalled by such behavior. But one would be wrong. You see, under Islamic law, or Sharia, homosexuality is so reviled that to kill a gay man is no crime at all. Rather, it is considered an honor killing and will actually increase the killer’s chances of getting into heaven. Anyone who doubts this has only to visit the Middle East Research Institute’s TV Monitoring Project and view its collection of clips from Arab networks on homosexuality. In one notable clip from MEMRI TV, Saudi cleric 'Abd Al-Qader Shiba Al-Hamad, a teacher at the Al-Nabawi Mosque in Al-Madina, elaborates on the proper means of killing homosexuals: by flogging, beheading, or rolling down a mountain until dead. Under Islamic law, the underclasses of society have no rights, and should count themselves lucky just to survive.

I am well aware that this barbaric view does not dissipate merely through interaction with our Western culture. Many terrorists, dedicated to the absolute destruction of the West, have received their educations here in the United States or in the United Kingdom. Yet, they do not see our successes and freedoms; they see only our ‘sinful’ opulence and the riches their own nations do not have. I stand by my previous statements that, in the end, our trade and cultural exports can succeed in willingly seducing the Islamic world to our way of life. However, I also reiterate that those demanding that all people either follow the strict dictates of Islam or face death must themselves learn the meaning of fear and terror. Those who would force this barbarism on others must be met with merciless opposition.

This is not a politically correct view at the moment, I know. In this past week, I have heard the media bleat endlessly about the dangers of offending moderate Muslims. This, however, seems utterly ridiculous to me. Moderate Muslims should be offended. They should be shocked and appalled by the behavior of their fellow Muslims and the barbarism of Islamic law. I am beginning to agree with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his low opinion of so called ‘moderates.’ In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” expressing his frustration with white moderates, he states that, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” Similarly, in the current situation, it is far more difficult to understand the ‘moderate’ Muslims who see the evil and barbarism of their fellows and do nothing than it is to understand those terrorist Muslims acting under the delusion of righteousness. Those who see evil and do nothing are more terrifying to me than those too stupid or deluded to see the evil in the first place.

Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.

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