Time Magazine's Dhimmitude
This is one of my long posts, so be prepared for a lengthy read. All emphases are mine.
The day before Thanksgiving, the November 27, 2006 edition of Time Magazine arrived in my mailbox. Not wanting to spoil my appetite for the big feast, I decided to wait after Thanksgiving dinner to read this particular issue. But early on Thursday morning, as I was cruising the blogs over my first cup of coffee, I read this blog article by Pim's Ghost. She was all riled up:
...[I]t is their little timeline on pages 42-3 that really irked me the most....Being the trust-but-verify type, I turned immediately to pages 42-43. Sure enough! Pim's Ghost had exactly reproduced what Time passes off as "Christianity and Islam: A History of Interaction." Something else jumped out at me from Pim's Ghost's essay — the author of one of the commentaries which Time included in this edition. More on that author in a minute.
The timeline in question is simply pathetic. It is biased, it is poorly worded (to show perhaps the bias?), it skips several centuries, and is careful in its treatment of the beginning of Islam. This bothers me, all of it. The other thing that bothers me is that if you are going to write a "History of Interaction", you should add more than a handful of questionable views of historical fact. Maybe this is why I could not find this in the online version, only the print copy. Therefore, let me reproduce it for you here:
CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM: A HISTORY OF INTERACTION
589-632 Koran revealed to Muhammad; it shares stories with Judeo-Christian texts
711-718 Arabs conquer Spain, which becomes center of commerce and culture
1096-1291 Christian Europe launches the Crusades against Islam
1453 Ottoman Turks take Constantinople, capital of Orthodox Christianity
1492 King Ferdinand drives the Moors from Spain and next expels the Jews
1683 The Ottoman siege of Vienna fails, marking the end of its Islamic expansion
1965 The Vatican issues Nostra Aetate, which calls for interfaith discussion
2001 Pope John Paul II is first Pontiff to visit a mosque, in Damascus, Syria
Sept. 2006 Pope Benedict XVI links Islam to violence, igniting debate and protest
And that's it. That's the history of interaction. Never mind that it is merely belief that the Koran was "revealed" to Muhammad, a distinction usually not afforded to Christians or Jews, but instead given the common journalistic disclaimer "What Jews/Christians believe to be an event in their Faith in which.....". Note the conquest of Spain, simply put, but pleasantly wrapped up by the odd mention of the myth that it became a "center of commerce and culture" that somehow implies peace for the conquered. Then, oh heavens to Betsy, Christian Europe launches those darned Crusades! Why not mention the "interaction" that led to the call for the Crusades in the first place? Wouldn't want to anger guest writer Tariq Ramadan I suppose....
After some time of "European Christians" doing their Crusading against apparently placid Muslims, they somehow take Constantinople. No mention of how Turks come into Islam, nor of any Muslim activities that may have "ignited debate and protest" on the part of any non-Muslims. Skip to La Reqonquista, which was not glorious but involved "driving out", as of so much cattle. And note that the rotten Christian King also "next expels the Jews". Can't let that one slip, unlike the wholesale slaughter of the Jews of Granada in 1066. Am I being nit-picky? Pardon me, TIME. Skip quite a bit again to 1683, never mention the details of the Siege of Vienna, leave readers wondering just how anyone in Europe could have been hostile to the Ottomans while they've had a major city under siege and their failure brings "Islamic expansion to an end".
As long as I was thumbing through the magazine, I decided to read the lead story for myself. At that early hour with the first cup of coffee still in hand, what I read seemed to me to be blah, blah, blah. Then I came to the post-article commentaries in the "Viewpoints" section. The first viewpoint was "What the Pope Gets Right" by Father Richard John Newhaus. Excerpt:
By decrying the use of violence in the name of God, Benedict is challenging Muslims to confront hard truths....Then I came to the second of the "Viewpoint" essays, "Where He's [the Pope] Still in the Dark" by Tariq Ramadan. Excerpt:
Benedict XVI's journey to Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, is laden with the wounds of history both ancient and painfully contemporary. The Pope's controversial Sept. 12 lecture in Regensburg, Germany, quoted a 14th century exchange between a Byzantine Christian Emperor and a Muslim intellectual in which the Emperor made some distinctly uncomplimentary observations about Islam. The Pope admitted that the Emperor's statement was brusque. But his point in reaching so far back into history was to demonstrate that problems between the Christian West and Islam long precede today's "war on terrorism."
Although the West, and most notably Europe, may be less Christian today, Muslims still view it as the Christian West. For a thousand years, from the days of Muhammad in the 7th century, Islam enjoyed a run of triumphant conquest, interrupted only momentarily by the Christian Crusades. The time of conquest lasted until the failed siege of Vienna in 1683. After Vienna, and most dramatically under 19th and 20th century Western colonialism, Islam was sidelined from history--one of the main sources of the rage and resentment of today's jihadists.
The jihadists believe their time of resumed conquest has come. Through terrorism and the mass immigration of Muslims in Europe, the jihadists are pressing for the reversal of the military outcome of 1683. This is the context in which Benedict attempted to make a larger point at Regensburg....
The violent responses to the Pope's speech reflect the belief of jihadist groups, such as al-Qaeda, that their religion mandates the use of any means necessary, including suicide bombers and the mass killing of civilians, to bring about the world's submission to Islam. In an Oct. 12 "Open Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," 38 distinguished Islamic religious authorities, including Grand Muftis in Turkey, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Kosovo, Bosnia and Uzbekistan, wrote that "jihad ... means struggle, and specifically struggle in the way of God. This struggle may take many forms, including the use of force." The signers delicately criticized some acts of Muslim terrorism, such as the killing of a nun in Somalia, but failed to address the relationship between religion and politics in Islam, or whether the "maintenance of sovereignty" includes, as radical jihadists claim, the violent reconquest of Western lands that were once Muslim. Whether out of conviction or fear of being targeted by terrorists, the 38 did not frontally reject the linkage between violence and the advance of Islam....
Since delivering the speech in which he quoted a 14th century Emperor who said the Prophet of Islam had given nothing positive to humanity and had commanded followers to use violence to spread their faith, Pope Benedict XVI has been subjected to bitter Muslim reaction around the world. Benedict has responded by saying he regretted the consequences of his misunderstood words, but he did not retract his statement--perhaps rightly so. After all, he had simply cited an ancient Emperor. It is Benedict's right to exercise his critical opinion without being expected to apologize for it--whether he's an ordinary Roman Catholic or the Pope.And who is this Tariq Ramadan? According to Time,
But that doesn't mean he was right. Muslim attention has focused mainly on the lecture's association between violence and Islam, but the most important and disputable aspect of it was Benedict's reflection on what it means to be European....
As I have written before, this profoundly European Pope is inviting the people of his continent to become aware of the central, inescapable character of Christianity within their identity, or risk losing it. That may be a legitimate goal, but Benedict's narrow definition of European identity is deeply troubling and potentially dangerous....
What the West needs most today is not so much a dialogue with other civilizations but an honest dialogue with itself--one that acknowledges those traditions within Western civilization that are almost never recognized. Europe, in particular, must learn to reconcile itself with the diversity of its past in order to master the coming pluralism of its future....
Selective about its past, Europe is becoming blind to its present. The European continent has been home to a sizable population of Muslims for centuries. While visiting Turkey, the Pope must acknowledge that he is encountering not a potential threat but a mirror. Islam is already a European religion....
Rather than focus on differences, the true dialogue between the Pope and Islam, and between secularized societies and Islamic ones, should emphasize our common, universal values: mutual respect of human rights, basic freedoms, rule of law and democracy....
Tariq Ramadan, a research fellow at Oxford, is the author of several books on Islam, including To Be a European Muslim.Before including Ramadan's commentary, did Time consider this information about Tariq Ramadan? Excerpt from the first article in the above link, an index to several articles at FrontPageMagazine:
The most vocal advocate of Wahhabism in France is Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss philosophy teacher who happens to be the grandson of Hassan Al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramadan has been very active in France during the past ten years, spreading his extremist views and becoming the unofficial voice of French Islam. He has now become a "star," appearing constantly on French prime-time television.Excerpt from the third article in the above index:
While claiming to be “against these acts of terror,” he immediately qualifies the reasonableness of those who advocate for terrorism against Israel. This position is taken straight from the American leftist playbook: “I’m personally opposed to suicide bombings, but I would never prevent someone from exercising their right to conduct one against the Zionist oppressors.”Excerpt from the second article in the above index:
Ramadan identifies these Western policies as the cause of the rise of extremist Islamic political groups and the source of the “us-and-them” worldview of the “four young” (and it should be noted – Muslim) 7/7 London suicide bombers.
It’s not every day that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revokes a visa issued to a Swiss-national scholar scheduled to teach at one of America’s premier universities. But this has just happened, and it’s a good thing too.How sincere are Tariq Ramadan's efforts at interfaithing, the emphasis of his essay in Time? According to this October 13, 2006 article,
The Swiss scholar is Tariq Ramadan. He is Islamist royalty – his maternal grandfather (Hasan al-Banna) founded the Muslim Brotherhood, probably the single most powerful Islamist institution of the twentieth century, in Egypt in 1928. Tariq is a Swiss citizen because his father (Sa‘id Ramadan), also a leading Islamist, fled from Egypt in 1954 following a crackdown on the brotherhood. Sa‘id reached Geneva in 1958, where Tariq was born in 1962.
Thanks to his pedigree and his talents, Tariq has emerged as a significant force in his own right. Symbolic of this, Time magazine in April named him one of the world’s top hundred scientists and thinkers. And so, when Notre Dame University went looking for a Henry R. Luce professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding, it unsurprisingly settled on Ramadan....
Here are some reasons why Ramadan might have been kept out:
· He has praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi. Turabi in turn called Ramadan the “future of Islam.”
· Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris.
· Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian indicted for Al-Qaeda activities, had “routine contacts” with Ramadan, according to a Spanish judge (Baltasar Garzón) in 1999.
· Djamel Beghal, leader of a group accused of planning to attack the U.S. embassy in Paris, stated in his 2001 trial that he had studied with Ramadan.
· Along with nearly all Islamists, Ramadan has denied that there is “any certain proof” that Bin Laden was behind 9/11.
· He publicly refers to the Islamist atrocities of 9/11, Bali, and Madrid as “interventions,” minimizing them to the point of near-endorsement.
And here are other reasons, dug up by Jean-Charles Brisard, a former French intelligence officer doing work for some of the 9/11 families, as reported in Le Parisien:
· Intelligence agencies suspect that Ramadan (along with his brother Hani) coordinated a meeting at the Hôtel Penta in Geneva for Ayman al-Zawahiri (deputy head of Al-Qaeda) and Omar Abdel Rahman (the blind sheikh, now in a Minnesota prison).
· Ramadan’s address appears in a register of Al Taqwa Bank, an organization the State Department accuses of supporting Islamist terrorism.
Then there is the intriguing possibility, reported by Olivier Guitta, that Osama bin Laden studied with Tariq’s father in Geneva, suggesting that the future terrorist and the future scholar might have known each other.
Ramadan denies all ties to terrorism, but the pattern is clear. As Lee Smith writes in The American Prospect, he is a cold-blooded Islamist whose “cry of death to the West is a quieter and gentler jihad, but it’s still jihad.”
...One of Ramadan's interfaith partners, Fr. Christian Delorme, had this to say in 2001:A great many adults and students read Time Magazine. The publication has untold impact upon its readers. Would that the rebuttal to Neuhaus's article "What the Pope Gets Right" been penned by someone without the disturbing connections alluded to in the above articles from FrontPageMagazine! Then, again, anti-dhimmitude from the mainstream media is too much to hope for.I am today convinced--and it took me time to understand it--that Tariq Ramadan's thinking and actions are dangerous. I believe he is not at all a man of dialogue. He knows how to charm his audience, but in reality, he wants a total separation between Muslims and other communities. I am convinced that Tariq Ramadan deeply hates the West.For all his interfaith zeal, an examination of Ramadan's work fails to turn up any positive discussion of Christianity or Judaism. He calls Arabs "my brothers and sisters" while addressing all others as "madam," "sir," or without any honorific. When Ramadan faced off with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French interior minister and presidential hopeful, in 2004 on French TV, he repeatedly called the minister "Sarkozy" instead of the usual "Mr. Sarkozy" or, as the French say, monsieur le ministre. During this debate, Sarkozy pressed Ramadan to condemn the stoning of adulterers, a form of capital punishment endorsed by his brother, Hani Ramadan, head of the Islamic Center in Geneva. Tariq declined to go beyond his previous call for a moratorium on corporal punishment and the death penalty while Islamic scholars study the matter....