Chatting With My American Friend Over The Paris Incident

07 January 2015

By Khalid Amayreh

The following is an exchange of views with an on-line American friend who got understandably upset over the terrorist attack in Paris. The text is published unedited for the sake of objectivity:

The American friend: The answer is no. Emphatically no! The answer to your question is deadly radical Muslim attacks, like the one earlier today on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 and injuring another seven. Christianity grew up hundreds of years ago in a process we call the Reformation. Islam needs to do the same. (My American friend was alluding to an earlier article by me suggesting that Israel might be behind the anti-Islam marches in Germany."

Khalid Amayreh: Dear Friend: Can you dare tell me the number of victims of Muslim and Christian wars? Do you know that 96% of war victims in the past 2000 years were killed by Christians? This is according to Western, not Islamic, sources.

As far as I know, it is "Christians" that are now waging wars on Islam in numerous countries, including Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Mali, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc.

So, I fail to understand why is it mundane to murder millions of innocent Muslim civilians by the Western especially American war machine whereas it is so unacceptable and so outrageous to kill 12 French people, some of whom were allegedly involved in smearing and mocking the Prophet of Islam?

The ethical attitude is to reject and condemn murder, whether perpetrated by individual terrorists or by powerful states.

Terror and murder can't be dismissed as war just because it is carried out by F-16 and F-15 fighter jets.

As to Israel, it did it in the past, it can do it anytime. I really wouldn't be surprised if the Mossad stood behind the Paris attack.

As to Islam, it doesn't need reform. You can't reform or change what you believe is from God.

Besides, what is exactly that which needs to be reformed in Islam?

The American friend: Khalid, The attack in Paris yesterday has added much fuel to Europe's small right-wing fringe, and recent election results have introduced new right-wing parties to European politics. For example, France's National Front, immediately seized the attack as a means of promoting the group's anti-Islam agenda. But perhaps more dangerously, the attack comes amid of a wave of immigrant violence and anti-immigrant incidents across the continent. Europe clearly continues to struggle with the perceived safety of isolationism and the opportunities, as well as the risks, presented by multiculturalism.

You, my friend, have intellectually and emotionally, crossed over the Rubicon. The 96% number you used has absolutely no basis in fact. A simple search of the Internet will provide corroborated sources that clearly show the largest pogroms of the last 100 years have been carried out by either atheist or Eastern religion states. The Chinese have eliminated more than 40 million people, Stalin another 10+ million, and the wars of the last century come after those horrific events. Further, much of that state sponsored killing was Christian on Christian / atheists. I have also found references that show that more than 11 million Muslims have been killed by other Muslims in the last 100 years. Saddam alone is credited with over 1 million, and the Pakistan / Bangladesh war killed at least another million. 

Reference the Reformation, it was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered what was then Catholic Europe, eventually setting in place the structures and beliefs that define the West in the modern era. Yes, there were wars and persecutions but people of all faiths ultimately learned hundreds of years ago to respect the religious beliefs of others while continuing to freely practice their own beliefs. You surely know that Islam has been largely accepted in Europe and the United States although recent events have stained our mutual commitment to multiculturalism. However, it is not too late. Islam in the greater Middle East should join the West in our mutual step forward. Muslims should freely practice their religion, and allow others to freely practice theirs.

In summary Khalid, I am saddened by your recent correspondence. While I believe that we both agree that there has been way too much killing and injustice, I no longer believe that the benefits, history and facts I have recounted will cause you to change your mind.

Khalid Amayreh: Dear friend, you know I don't mince words.

I do agree with you that what happened in Paris will help Right-wing groups in the West.

As to crossing over the Rubicon, I believe the west, eg, Christians, crossed over the Rubicon a long, long time ago. You know well the west didn't prevail because of its moral or even religious excellence, but rather because it outmatched others in the use of violence and terror.

"You" murdered millions of our innocent civilians recently, you stole our ancestral homeland (Palestine), destroyed our homes, bulldozed our fields, and expelled millions to the four winds, and you still accuse us of crossing over the Rubicon!!!?

The depleted uranium you left in Iraq will kill and deform Iraqis for 50,000 years to come....and you have the audacity of accusing Muslims of crossing over the Rubicon!!!?

This is too much, coming from an educated person. That is why I believe you need to exercise some rectitude or intellectual honesty.

As to reforming Islam, I believe Islam doesn't need to be reformed. The Quran, like the Bible, cannot be changed. Period. But what is exactly that which you think needs to be reformed.

The concept of religious persecution has always been alien to our faith. So what is it that needs to be reformed in Islam? Religious diversity? We are probably the only religion under the sun whose scriptures teach "there is no compulsion in religion...." and "to you be your religion and to me mine." Compare this with Talmudic texts that don't even ascribe humanity to non-Jews.

Secularism is an in-built part of Christianity, but not of Islam. And the West wants to impose tyrannical secularism on our societies. That won't work. It will only lead to an implosion or even an explosion.

The real problem is that Muslim societies need some democracy but the west has been and is hell-bent on supporting and sustaining Muslim tyrants in Egypt, the Gulf and elsewhere. The west just wants to keep Muslims to be thoroughly tormented by their own leaders who are answerable to the west but not to them.

Who other than the west has been supporting the Shah, Saddam, the Assads, the House of Saud, the Sabahs, the Hashemites, Mubarak and Sissi? The tyranny you supported has produced religious extremism.

Religious extremism can only be neutralized by true democracy. But the West dreads true democracy in the Arab world lest it produce Islamism. That is the crux of the matter.

That is why I am convinced that the terrorist act in France is at least in part a reaction to western embrace of tyrannical anti-Islam regimes in the Arab world, as in Egypt.

We don't forget what happened at Rabaa. 

The west has too much to atone for.

Khalid Amayreh is an American-educated Palestinian journalist and political commentator living in the West Bank




Add Comments

Comments & Debates :-: التعليقات والمحاورات

:-: Go Home :-: Go Top :-: