Saturday, October 25, 2003

throwing water into the boiling oil of Islamic debate

Bird Dog, a writer on the Tacitus site, posts the following:


Elaine Sciolino of the NYT writes about the high incidence of gang rape in France, referring to it as a ‘plague’, while completely dancing around the fact that most of the sexual predators are unassimilated Muslims, and so are most the rape victims, as Parapundit recounts. Sciolino writes that “many of the boys are from closed, traditional families and are hopelessly confused or ignorant about sex.” So what type of “closed, traditional families” are there in France? Jewish? Tibetan monk? Amish? Shao Ling? Italian mafia? Nope. The dirty secret that Sciolino doesn’t want you to know is that they’re Muslim.

Not once are the predators named. Could it be because the surnames are Arabic? We don’t know. She doesn’t say. And how about the victims? You don’t know until the sixth paragraph that, “many of the Muslim girls have donned head scarves—more for protection than out of religious conviction.” Why do Muslim girls, but not girls from other faiths, have to wear these protective scarves?

Is the whitewashing unique to the New York Times, and is this ‘plague’ unique to France? No and no. ABC News is just guilty by misreporting this story of a gang rape that occurred in Australia. Tim Blair, Janet Albrechtsen and Mark Steyn set the story straight. Denmark and Norway have similar problems with unassimilated Muslims. It could be worse. If you’re a married woman visiting Dubai, not only will the police not listen to your rape charge, they’ll arrest you for adultery.

Given the latest speech by so-called moderate Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, given the ongoing suicide attacks in Israel, given the above rape stories, given the indictment of a so-called moderate Muslim, I have several questions. Who are the real Muslim moderates, and why won’t they step up, expose and denounce this barbarity? Why can’t Muslim leaders reform and modernize their faith? Why do most of the conflicts in the world today involve Islamic radicals? And I haven’t even talked about the cancer that is Wahhabism.

Identifying and confronting these issues with the truth are the first steps toward solving the problem. Elaine Sciolino and the New York Times are miserable failures in that regard. They should be ashamed.

Bird Dog is being slammed by many commenters for conflating religious issues with socioeconomic ones. Some of the slamming may be legitimate if Bird Dog is somehow implying that Islam as a whole is a major factor in the French gang rapes. But Bird Dog's replies to his critics seem to indicate a more nuanced point of view.

I just posted the following comment in the resultant comments thread. It's a bit off-topic from the original Bird Dog post, but I felt it needed to be said. Will be curious what reactions I get.

Criterion for Muslim progress:

A film about Muhammad that depicts him, face and all, including at least one sex scene-- and which results in no death fatwas issued against the director, any of the cast, or any of the crew.

Show me the Muslim who would cheerfully watch such a film more than once (perhaps inviting Muslim friends), and I'll show you what I consider a moderate Muslim. Show me "moderates" who remain uptight about such depictions, and I'll show you Muslims who still have a long, long way to go before they're ready for the 21st century.

I doubt Mel Gibson will be the object of Christian death fatwas, just as Martin Scorsese wasn't. Some stupid Christian fundamentalists might want Gibson's blood, but their wish isn't supported by major modern Christian institutions. That's progress.

Yes, I realize this has little to do with the thread. Apologies.

Something a little more on-topic: I support the "confluence of factors" argument made higher up in the thread, and the other writer who affirmed that the NYT's omission of race and religion was glaring.

The deliberate glossing over of possible factors in a gang rape case is a refusal to view that case in its specificity. That specificity includes the religious backgrounds of the people involved in the gang rapes, and while it doesn't translate into a larger indictment of a given religion, one cannot make a simplistic pronouncement such as, "Religion has nothing to do with this." This is what some people in this thread seem to be arguing, or at least implying.


Let the games begin!

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