Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pamela Gellar's Hateful Advertisement

As with the slanderous movie against Prophet Muhammad (saw), the latest ads being put up in the NYC subway and now the DC metro by Pamela Gellar should not require a rocket scientist to show that they are hateful. She has made it clear she does not like Islam or Muslims and has allied with groups and people such as the EDL and Robert Spencer who are on a Crusade of a sort against Islam and the so-called "Islamization" of the West. Nevertheless, people are confused as to why they should be offensive and again their ignorance is both harmful to the people being offended and harmful to any effort of interfaith and intercultural harmony. Therefore, this rocket scientist will try to explain why they are hateful to him and many other people.

Here is the ad:

The first part is a broad insult to humanity. Throughout history, more advanced civilizations have eradicated and/or conquered lesser developed civilizations and/or different cultures by saying that they were "savages". Th Americas, Africa, and Australia involved long wars of aggression against people who already inhabited an area of land based on the case that they were Godless savages that needed to be saved. The so-called "civilized man" therefore resorted to slavery and butchery of millions of people over hundreds of years that have left deep rooted hatred and ill-feelings till this day and a mark of shame upon humanity. To then say that such conflicts are justified is insulting to our growth as humanity.

The second part deals specifically with the actual conflict between the Israelis and it's enemies or those who practice "Jihad". Those who support the ad say that it is obviously about the Israelis fighting groups like Hamas and Hezbollah but if that is the case, why does it say Jihad and not Islamists or terrorism and so forth? Jihad is an Islamic concept, yes, and Islamists are Muslim, albeit it pretty cruddy ones, but so are over a billion others that do not support Islamists and their methods of fighting and they certainly do not all support their definition of Jihad. This part is where the prejudice of it's author comes to light.

Because of this, the ad is made into a religious matter as opposed to a political one which is what it really is and in the process, the religion and its followers are made out as savages. The truth is that Jihad is a broad concept that is practiced by all Muslims and of which the majority practice it to better themselves and convey a message of peace on behalf of their faith and not violence. Jihad means struggle or striving in Arabic and not Holy War which is what opponents of Islam have propagated and Islamists have furthered through their wrong actions. There are 2 types of Jihad: the Greater Jihad and the Lesser Jihad.

The former is the Jihad which all Muslims practice in themselves and outwardly through their words and actions. They strive to better themselves as Muslims and also promote a message and image of Islam which shows it's true beauty. The latter is the Jihad which is practiced in defense of persecution when there is an active effort by an enemy to stop the worship of God not just by Muslims but people of all faiths. This too requires unity among the Muslims to carry out but as they are divided and their governments are of a political nature and not religious as some will push that they are, there is no legitimate use of it in modern times. It's illegitimacy is even more apparent when we see conflicts between Muslim countries being coined Jihad by both sides such as the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s.

Therefore, the practice of Jihad by the majority of Muslims at large is a peaceful one, not one of violence. Those who claim they are waging Jihad against countries like Israel and the US are misguided and it shows when they cannot form any unity with other Muslims on such fronts and when their methods involve targeting civilians. Israel and the US technically do not persecute people by law and the rights of all are technically guaranteed. There is no declared program to wipe out any particular faith though there are crazies who voice that sentiment from time to time, including leaders in the federal government. What happens inside the country can be and has been protested by many people but when groups like Hamas incite violence, those efforts are wasted.

So while a lot of Muslims might be sympathetic to the grievances of the Palestinians and have similar, stress on similar and not the same, views as Hamas or other groups, that doesn't mean they support their methods or their most extreme goals and they definitely don't agree with their definition of Jihad so they should not be grouped with them as savage. Furthermore, even if the Palestinian statistics show a majority who support Hamas and their efforts, its expected of the people that are in direct contact with the people they are at odds with but it doesn't represent all Muslims everywhere, even in the Arab world. There are many Muslims and some Muslim countries that have accepted Israel as a legitimate state and have been called tools of the West for it by the very fanatics who call for violence but those fanatics remain the minority, even if they threaten others to follow them through fear and desperation.

There are also non-Muslims who don't believe in Jihad or probably don't even support Hamas but many of them, particularly in Palestine and countries like Lebanon, are ardent opponents of Israel alongside their Muslim brothers. Even if they aren't believers in Jihad, many will fight Israel in a war with countries that are declared enemies of Israel and a Muslim majority. Therefore, the ad might as well call Arabs savages as a whole because it implies that more than it implies Islamists. Many Arab countries have sizable non-Muslim populations who share the same animosity towards Israel as their neighbors. Lebanon is 46% non-Muslim and Palestine 25% non-Muslim but both have joined in fights against Israel because they have been equally grieved by Israel's policies. There are Jews that don't even agree with Israel's policies in the West and in the MidEast.

In summary, the ad is an insult to the sensibilities of all of humanity in trying to disguise a conflict between political powers as a religiously motivated war between civilized man and savage where the latter is using his religion. Without any distinction, this is incorrectly being applied to over a billion people who have different views about its practices, majority of which are peaceful yet not stated as such. Specifically, it is people of the region which Israel occupies, the Arabs, who are called out as savages both by being a Muslim majority and opposing Israel and/or it's policies while disregarding that many non-Muslims also live in the MidEast.

It is therefore not only Islamophobic but racist. I hope that others do not fall for the naive and ignorant arguments that it targets only violent people where the vague language and background of the promoter clearly demonstrates that the ad is directed at a larger demographic.