Saturday, November 07, 2009

Choose a God

Noor Almaleki is dead. Her father Faleh ran her down in his car as an "honor murder" because she was becoming too Westernized, and rejecting his Muslim "values."

If there ever was a time when I was glad my dad isn't Muslim, this is it.

I firmly believe that instead of referring to such acts as "honor killings," we should refer to them as "honor murders." The contradiction in terms is much more apparent, and the cruelty of the act is much more emphasized. This is not an isolated event, folks! As Mark Steyn points out, we in the West have not begun to understand the worldview guiding people like Faleh. We throw out terms like "radical Muslim" or "radical extremist." We try to convince ourselves that only a certain subpopulation of Muslims would actually engage in, or condone acts of brutality. But such smokescreens can't protect us from reality. At its heart, Islam is not about love. It's about submission. Those who cross Allah must pay the penalty.

Where's the emphasis on free will?

Sorry -- you're looking in the wrong religion.

What's curious to me is that while Islam has existed for millenia, those of us in the West are just becoming acquainted with its predictable-but-no-less terrifying atrocities.

Looking through Western literature, there are many glimpses of Muslim violence. Take, for instance, the Song of Roland. Or even Mark Twain's story of a group of tourists attacked by Muslims and violently told to convert to Islam. Or take this poem by Victor Hugo:

The Fallen Veil


What has happened, my brothers? Your spirit to-day
Some secret sorrow damps:
There's a cloud on your brow. What has happened? Oh, say,
For your eyeballs glare out with a sinister ray
Like the light of funeral lamps.
And the blades of your poinards are half unsheathed
In your belt -- and ye frown on me!
There's a woe untold, there's a pang unbreathed
In your bosom, my brothers three!


Gulnara, make answer! Hast thou, since the dawn,
To the eye of a stranger thy veil withdrawn?


As I came, oh, my brother! at noon--from the bath--
As I came--it was noon, my lords--
And your sister had then, as she constantly hath,
Drawn her veil close around her, aware that the path
Is beset by these foreign hordes.
But the weight of the noonday's sultry hour
Near the mosque was so oppressive
That--forgetting a moment the eye of the Giaour--
I yielded to th' heat excessive.


Gulnara, make answer! Whom, then, hath thou seen,
In a turban of white and a caftan of green?


Nay, he might have been there; but I muffled me so,
He could scarcely have seen my figure.--
But why to your sister thus dark do you grow?
What words to yourselves do you mutter thus low,
Of "blood" and "an intriguer"?
Oh! ye cannot of murder bring down the red guilt
On your souls, my brothers, surely!
Though I fear--from the hands that are chafing the hilt,
And the hints you give obscurely.


Gulnara, this evening when sank the red sun,
Didst thou mark how like blood in descending it shone?


Mercy! Allah! have pity! oh, spare!
See! I cling to your knees repenting!
Kind brothers, forgive me! for mercy, forbear!
Be appeased at the cry of a sister's despair,
For our mother's sake relenting.
O God! must I die? They are deaf to my cries!
Their sister's life-blood shedding;
They have stabbed me each one--I faint--o'er my eyes
A veil of Death is spreading!


Gulnara farewell! take that veil; 'tis the gift
Of thy brothers--a veil thou wilt never lift!

This is very first piece in the 1928 collection of "The Works of Victor Hugo." The publishers, Black's Readers Service Company, must not have anticipated the political correctness that would be so in vogue seventy-one years later. I wonder how many collections of Hugo's work include this piece today?

In Noor's case, her father, not her brother, was her murderer. What does her brother Peter-Ali have to say about her death? "Different cultures, different values. One thing to one culture does not make sense to another culture." That's relativism for you. No condemnation of his father's actions. From his quotes in interviews, he shows that he is understandably upset about his sister's injuries, but he still tries to cover for his dad! He reports that his sister was increasingly disrespectful to their father, and this is the ultimate insult that can be paid to a traditional Muslim man. Further, it's the people his sister was living with that triggered his father's anger. Evidently the real victim, in Peter-Ali's estimation, wasn't Noor, but Faleh -- the father.

A religion that requires "moderate" brothers and fathers to murder their sisters and daughters is a religion I want nothing to do with. What other religion requires brothers and fathers to do such bloodthirsty things? And lest you try to tell me that honor murders are not typical in Islam, let me remind you that this is not an isolated event! NPR has published a map that shows the countries where honor murders have been reported. Back in January this news agency -- which is hardly a bastion of "islamophobia" -- described four heinous cases of honor murders in North America. It demonstrates the Muslim way of dealing with sexual crime. Don't punish the perpetrator. Punish the victim. Rana Husseini has recently published a book on honor murders, documenting case after case where families valued supposed honor over the life. And Phyllis Chesler has detailed fifty honor murders that show that these intense, barbaric crimes cannot simply be dismissed as mere domestic violence. She also states that the common link in these cases is not culture, but religion.

(The one glimmer of hope I saw in Noor's story was that the mother was not complicit with the father, as sometimes Muslim mothers are. We're not told the mother's name, but when Faleh called her while he was on the run, she yelled at him and hung up. I was so, so glad to know that she did not support her husband in his decision.)

So what about the Muslim community at large? Do they condemn Faleh's actions, or are they filled compassion for women like Noor, deciding to change their attitude toward women who distance themselves from Islam? I searched the CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations -- anyone wonder why American and Islamic must be hyphenated? Is this a tacit admission that the two are mutually exclusive?) website for any mention about Noor's story. Incidentally, just below the search box is the phrase "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." Evidently Allah's compassion and mercy is only abundant to certain people in the world. The search function seemed to be disabled, but I could readily see that the CAIR home page and press release page carried no mention of Noor or her family. No, the mission of CAIR seems to be to protect Muslims from outsiders (dare I say "infidels"?), not to protect Muslims from other Muslims.

There's been numerous discussions about CAIR's silence. One apologist on the Talk Islam site said, "[T]he business about Muslim organizations having to sprint to the microphone to get at the head of the line for denunciations of honor killings is bosh, a bit piece of what is becoming a modern-day blood libel against Muslims about 'honor killings.' The targeting of CAIR – as opposed to any other American Muslim organization that hasn't yet denounced or commented on the Noor Almaleki case, is arbitrary and selective." "What's more, if one Muslim organization does denounce, then the Islamophobes go around to all the other orgs to bully them with it and hype the negativity." Evidently, the truth is far too uncomplimentary, so it should be buried as soon as possible. We don't want the facts to cloud the narrative.

Below this discussion was an ad for "The Muslim Matrimonials Site" -- The ad was complete with a picture of a stylish, smiling Muslim woman, and a button for "Browse photos now!" Anybody else creeped out?

The contrast I see in all this is how my Dad and Mom have handled my sister's decision to leave the family. My sister has no worries about brutal retaliation, because my dad isn't Muslim. He's a Christian. That's why he and mom had a police officer do a security check. They didn't do it so Dad could pinpoint her location and then show up with a gun, a knife, or a car. And they didn't do it so Dad could "sic" my brother on her to do the work for him. No, Mom and Dad genuinely love my sister, even though she's rejecting them. Dad doesn't hate my sister. He doesn't see her actions as a blemish on the family honor that can only be washed in her blood. Her rejection is disrespectful, heartbreaking, unthankful, and spiritually damaging. But Dad and Mom are not retaliating. They still love her. They still want the best for her.

Just thinking about a man murdering his own daughter is enough to make me puke. But thinking about the contrast in my own family, and the difference that Christ makes gives me hope. For which father is more forgiving and loving than our heavenly Father? This Father loves His children so much that even when all of us had turned away from Him, even when we'd spat in His face, demanded our inheritance early, left Him and tried to shake His love out of our lives, His love still followed us. He even sent His son to die for us while we hated Him.

He allows us to reject Him.

This husband is so loving that even when His spiritual wife Israel played the prostitute, He searched for her. Not with a knife in his hand. Not with a mob of other blood-thirsty men. But with an appeal. Come home. I still love you. I still want you.

He allows us to reject Him, but He still gives us a way to come back to Him, if we will.

God didn't send His Son into the world to murder us for honor's sake. God sent His Son into the world to show us His love, and give us a way to be reconciled to Him.

That's the huge difference between Allah and Yaweh. Allah kills those who reject him. He cannot give eternal life, yet he tries to destroy anyone who searches for life outside of his system of Islam. For Yaweh, he mourns over those who reject Him. He knows that He is eternal life, and He knows that anyone searching for life outside of Him will only find death. Yet Yaweh does not force anyone to accept His life. He only offers it for us to take freely.

It's your choice:
Allah, the god who values "honor" more than life, who requires fathers and brothers to murder their daughters and sisters, or
Yaweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who shows love even to those who reject Him, and who gave His Son to us so we could become right with Him.

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