Religion is everything in the Middle East and social justice irrelevant


Image by roberthuffstutter via Flickr

Matters of faith | Michael coren | Columnists | Comment | London Free Press.

Last week, as we remembered the mass slaughter of innocents on 9/11, I watched incredulously as the CBC ran a small feature on a Canadian woman who had been denied entry to the U.S. because she once attempted suicide and the police had been called to her home. She had suffered from mental illness, it was all very sad and the order has now been reversed. It was a mildly unfortunate but entirely understandable error, given our neighbour had just suffered a co-ordinated terror attack and lost more than 3,000 people.

Why it was pertinent to the 10-year commemorations, I do not know. Hold on, of course I know. Just as I know why BBC Radio on the same weekend aired a long, patronizing documentary on the merits of converting to Islam, refusing to ask various underachievers any challenging questions about their choice of religion.

Even on some private radio stations in Canada, from the reporting on what happened, it may have been Mormons or Mennonites who committed the massacres. “Whatever you do, don¹t mention Islam or Muslims.”

Just to make it worse, Toronto played host to a conference of self-abusing fanatics who claimed 9/11 was an inside job. Let¹s make a few things very clear — 9/11 was about Islamic jihadism. Anyone who thinks the attack concerned poverty or injustice needs to spend some time in the Middle East.

The planners and perpetrators were products of a super wealthy and profoundly racist society.

Saudi Arabia is a slave-based culture where Muslims from South Asia are exploited in an animal-like fashion, woman are subjugated, other religions banned, dissent destroyed. Elsewhere in the region there is systemic discrimination, of the genuine variety. Ignore the hysteria of Canadian radicals, this is the real thing.

Blacks treated with contempt in Syria and Iraq, Palestinians officially denied jobs in Lebanon, Jews expelled from almost the entire region 50 years ago, Christians in Egypt attacked, gays hanged in Iran.

Poverty? Please! The wealth in the Gulf states makes the Victorian Raj look penurious.

Yet the idea of giving even a fraction of this unearned income to Islamic brothers in Gaza, for example, is greeted with horror. It took years of pressure for any aid to come from Saudi Arabia to starving Somalia; the Somalis are black and thus assumed to be slaves.

We in the West downplay the importance of religion and assume everybody thinks like us. Religion is everything in the Middle East, and social justice comparatively irrelevant.

We also have no idea of the significance of 1924 — the year the last caliph left Turkey and the international caliphate, the Ottoman Muslim Empire, evaporated.

Usual types

We see that as a progressive, enlightened thing. Those who murdered us on 9/11, and those we still fight in the Islamic world, see it as the great catastrophe. They want a new caliphate, where the Muslim faith dominates, and all of the so-called humiliations of the past are reversed. The usual types in Canada think that if Palestine becomes a reality, if we are really nice to people in hijabs, all will be OK.

Back to the CBC, I suppose, and leave your brains at the door.


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