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The American Election and Islam By: Phyllis Chesler
Pajamas Media | Friday, February 08, 2008


This coming American election is not just about universal health care—it is also about the survival of the free world as we have come to know it. And therefore, it is also about Islam.

If we say we are for women’s rights or for human rights, then a candidate’s gender, skin-color, or age may not be as important as their ideas about Islam.

Do our candidates understand that we are really at war and that we cannot talk our way out of it? That charm, even of the spellbinding variety, is not enough, nor can we “take a meeting,” Hollywood-style, or Tammany-Hall style, to set things right. Nor is simple, old-fashioned heroics the answer to the kind of Orwellian propaganda and guerilla-terrorism that America and our allies will continue to confront in the 21st century.

Does our next President understand that we have to fight with everything we have and risk losing it all in order to hold onto any of it?

Does our next President understand that a western concept of human rights is a universal vision and that America cannot protect such rights only for American women and then turn our backs on women in the Third World? Isolationism is cowardly, interventionism is both dangerous and almost doomed to failure; we need a new dialectical method to resolve these two seemingly intractable opposites.

Certain burning issues require immediate, not gradual solutions. Our dependence on Arab oil (a tragic addiction) must end. Alternate sources of energy must be found in a very short period of time. (Watch the Israeli electric car project). We must enact effective legislation to combat human sexual slavery/trafficking—but this is a global, not merely a national problem. While we may not be able to do so for the whole world, America must, finally, ameliorate the terrible suffering due to economic disparities at home.

Here is a question that an American President needs to answer:

Is revealing the truth about a particular religion or about its followers—be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or Jewish, tantamount to insulting or reviling someone else’s religion? If not—or rather, if only one group experiences the “truth” or any criticism, both valid and invalid, as an insult, what is the remedy? Sensitivity training about Islam for the presumably “Islamophobic” or sensitivity training about western standards of tolerance for too-easily injured Muslims?

This particular question will (or should) play a major role in the forthcoming American election which is not only about two individuals or two political parties but is also about defending the free world from barbarism, intolerance, and apartheid.

Just recently, I wrote about Muslim taxi drivers whose private religious beliefs about wine, pork, and dogs led to behaviors towards passengers which were considered, at trial, to be crimes in North America. I also described a network of Muslim taxi drivers in the UK which, according to a government report, tracks and returns Muslim girls and women who are in flight from abuse and from being honor murdered. I did not indict all Muslim taxi drivers. Indeed, I was careful to write that many Muslim taxi drivers are also polite and courteous and that many non-Muslim drivers are not.

It wasn’t enough. The politically correct police turned out, not in droves, but with great passion. They accused me of saying things that I had not said. They were afraid that “people” would use my words to restrict Muslim immigration, profile or imprison Muslims, bar Muslims from working as taxi drivers, etc.

But I did not write any of this nor do I think it.

Here’s what you must remember when you fear that your most practical ideas in our culture and terror war might be branded “racist”: Muslims and people of color are also being victimized by Islamist suicide killers and tyrants. It is Muslims who suffer most from Islamic gender apartheid.

Thus, by telling the truth about various elements of Islam, we are not only defending our own civilization, but we are empowering the Muslim reformers who want to help modernize and democratize Islam -- and we are therefore coming to the aid of the millions of Muslims in the Islamic world who are victims of Islamic radicalism.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (2005). She has just published a new edition of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (2009). She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.


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