Friday, June 09, 2006

From Whence Did the Monster Spring?

The death of the mass-murdering Islamist thug Abu Musab al-Zarqawi at the hands of the US Air Force yesterday has prompted many in the media to ask what the effect of the monster's death will be on the current civil war in Iraq. Those still enthusiastic about US nation-building efforts in Iraq call it a "turning point;" detractors of the project, and even some it its remaining supporters, point out that Zarqawi had no control over the Sunni nationalist militias whose daily battles and vendettas against the Shia and their militias now accounts for most of the hourly carnage in Iraq, and that his death will not bring an end to the simmering religious/ethnic strife. However, in an article today on TCS Daily, Ralph Kinney Bennett makes an acute observation regarding the underlying reasons murderers like Zarqawi exist and continue to garner media attention.

...criminals like Zarqawi would be non-stories were it not for the over-arching credo of murderous hatred and revenge that continues to pour forth from spokesmen of "the religion of peace" all over the world. While the West has bent over backward to accommodate Islam and give it its due as "one of the world's great religions," a grim reality is emerging. No matter how many ways the scholars parse it, jihad always turns out to mean murder and destruction. The lessons being taught in Muslim schools are harrowing in their narrowness and hatred. The voices of tolerance in the Arab media and the intelligentsia are weak and rare. And the silence of the "peaceful" imams is deafening.

Residents of Zarqawi's home town in Jordan are reportedly mourning his demise as a "martyr" and suggesting that innumerable Zarqawi clones will spring forth to take his place. Doubtless this may be true. Islam seems to produce no end of young men who think it their religious duty to slaughter anyone who disagrees with them.

Too bad no one in the mainsteam media wants to ask exactly why that is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

From Bad to Worse...

So you think that America's immigration problem isn't as bad as Europe's because immigrants to the US are mostly Central and South American, and thus mostly Christian, whereas Europe has been flooded by Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, many of whom bring their hatred of the West with them? Think again.

Across the nation, thousands of Latino immigrants are redefining themselves through Islam, including a few hundred in the Washington region, according to national Islamic groups and community leaders. Precise numbers are not available, but estimates range from 40,000 to 70,000.

The conversions speak to a larger evolution of immigrant identity, as a new generation ingests a cultural smorgasbord of ideas they were rarely exposed to in their homelands. Today, it's easier than ever to learn about Islam from Spanish translations of the Koran, Islamic magazines and Web sites.

But as they embrace a new faith, Latinos face struggles, ranging from guilt to discrimination, as Muslims in a post-Sept. 11 America.

"Sometimes you feel like you are betraying who you are, that you are abandoning your family," said Avelar, who is small and round-faced with a soft voice.

The converts hail from throughout Latin America. In Islam, some say they see a devoutness and simplicity they find lacking in Catholicism. Like the tightknit Latino culture, Islam places emphasis on family, which can make it easier for converts to adjust.

Yet some are as motivated by feelings of alienation in a nation that is divided over immigration. Latino women find what most westerners rarely see -- a respect for women, unlike, some converts say, the machismo culture in which they were raised.

Well, isn't that perfect? Come to America and convert to the religion of its enemies!

Consider the truism that converts to a religion tend to be more devout than those born into the faith, mostly because of the passion required to change religions and by the desire to been seen as a true member of the new faith. If many Muslim-by-birth feel tempted by the call of Islamism, how much easier would it be to persuade a recent convert of the necessity of violent jihad? Especially a recent convert who as an immigrant is already culturally and ethnically displaced, and possibly feeling some resentment about his or her situation?