Monday, July 09, 2007

WingNut Christianity and "Terror"ism

Well, that didn't take long, did it. A few short days after a handful of loonies in the UK attempted a series of car bombings, we find the wingnuts out in full force spreading fear.

We begin with whatever oozed out of Michael Coren's fetid imagination this past week:

Commentators were incredulous that people of science sworn to do none harm should apparently act thus. Fools. The doctors' unions in Egypt and Jordan are dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, a fascist group that preaches jihad. The second in command of Al Qaida is a pediatrician and one of the founders of Hamas a surgeon.

The idea that poverty and oppression produce psychotic mass murderers has always been a patronizing illusion. Egyptian universities churn out fundamentalist fanatics, the Saudi middle class is riddled with extremism.


The brush used here is so broad as to be borderline racism on Coren's part. More or less, he's arguing that anyone who is a Muslim Arab is dominated by what the fearmongers have dubbed Islamofasism (cue evil sounding music here).

Besides being Coren's usual near-hysteria over Islam, it shows us something of the ugly underbelly of Coren's idea of "Christian". Tolerance and respect for others is based on whether he thinks you are doing the "right things", and doesn't for a moment take into account the long term history of Christians in the Middle East. (and it's not real pretty)

I'm sure that in Coren's mind there's a big difference between Car Bombing a city and Carpet Bombing a country. Apparently, one has a moral justification in his mind.

Then, we turn around and find a slightly more literate form of stupidity over at Mercatornet, the headline blaring at us: FOCUS ON TERROR: Those who cure you will kill you

This piece of insanity proceeds to attempt to convince us that Muslim doctors are inherently bound to the whim of radical Islam:

The oath of a Muslim physician asks Allah to "make us worthy of this favoured station with honour, dignity and piety so that we may devote our lives in serving mankind, poor or rich, literate or illiterate, Muslim or non-Muslim, black or white with patience and tolerance with virtue and reverence, with knowledge and vigilance, with Thy love in our hearts and compassion for Thy servants, Thy most precious creation." And it cites an eloquent verse of the Qu'ran's fifth sura: "Whoever kills an innocent soul, it is as if he killed the whole of mankind. And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind." Most Muslim doctors abide by these ideals.

Obviously the doctors currently under arrest, who, by all accounts were model citizens -- quiet, friendly and hard-working -- had a blind spot for this ideal. They paid more attention to a verse which follows shortly afterwards: “Those that make war against God and his apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain . . .” Their rigid, unforgiving ideology interpreted the Qu'ran to exclude unbelievers and depraved night-clubbers from personhood and therefore from the mercy of the Almighty -- and theirs.


The writer's insane hysteria mirrors Michael Coren in ways that I can only be appalled by. He goes on to try tarring an entire population based on the actions of a few:

Other Muslim doctors have been terrorists. Osama bin Laden's top deputy is Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian who trained as a surgeon. Mahmoud Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, is a surgeon. Another leading Hamas figure was Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, a physician and geneticist. He was killed by an Israeli gunship. The founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fathi al-Shikaki, was an Egypt-trained doctor who was assassinated in Malta in 1995. Back when the terrorists were freedom fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan, a number of mujahadeen were doctors and engineers.


The radical insanity of a few over years is supposed to tell us something about the majority? Please.

Of course, being slightly more intellectually sophisticated than Coren, Mercatornet's writer tries to turn things back on the ills of "post Christian" Western Society:

Terrorism clearly violates the traditional Hippocratic Oath. However, few realise how much the Hippocratic Oath has changed. Today nearly every American medical school administers some sort of oath, but heavily bowlderised. Reflecting the confusion of contemporary values, many young doctors swear not to discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, sex, religion or sexual orientation and to protect patients' autonomy and ensure informed consent. Inspiring stuff, but it shines a weak light on what makes a person worthy of life. The original oath invoked Greek gods. A 1993 survey showed that only 11 per cent of US oaths invoked any kind of deity. Nowadays the ancient pledges never to participate in euthanasia and abortion are often omitted. As of 1993, only 14 per cent of US oaths prohibited euthanasia, and only 8 per cent abortion. The original oath forbade sexual relationships with patients, but only 3 per cent of oaths administered by US medical schools did so.

What this demonstrates is the not so much the moral equivalence of terrorism and abortion or euthanasia, but the existence of a shared moral crisis: both the Muslim world and the post-Christian technology-obsessed West have lost sight of what constitutes a person. Muslim extremists regard unbelievers as unpersons, and many doctors and scientists regard human embryos, foetuses, and the terminally ill as unpersons. Muslims, perhaps because of a flawed understanding of God as altogether distinct from reason, and Westerners because of an arrogant reliance on the autonomy of reason.


The twist of logic here is astonishing, and it hardly mitigates the blatant bigotry of either side of the story. Instead, it confirms in my own mind the complacent intolerance and bigotry that runs through the hard-line "Christian" world. (I put the term in quotes, because I believe that these people have so badly distorted the meanings of "Christian" so as to make it unrecognizable).

The arrogance of presupposing that there is some moral justification for invading and occupying a foreign land is amazing. To expect that such actions would not be met with retaliation of some form is simply beyond credulity.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

My psychiatrist when I was living in Red Deer was a Muslim from Egypt. He is the one who diagnosed me with gender dysphoria and start me on transitioning. It was kind of cute how he always pronounced "gender" with a soft g.