Join TJ Holmes weekend mornings in the CNN Newsroom, beginning 6am ET/ 3am PT.
Though bizarre headlines about "Jihad Jane" may grab our short-term attention, both US and European culture now face far deeper and more meaningful problems. Western culture, while imperfect in practicing its own ideals, never the less subscribes to values of individual rights and religious freedom. Islam as a religious system rejects the idea of individual religious or political freedom as a cultural value. Many Muslims regard non-Muslims as unbelievers, unclean, heretics, or agents of Satan. The religious conversion - or forcible subjugation - of non-Islamic social institutions is a foundation stone of all Islamic belief. While individual Muslims may argue concerning the appropriate means of bringing about this conversion, the ultimate moral validity of Islam is never questioned, despite its aggressive and punishing attitudes toward other religious or secular systems of social governance.
Though it will doubtless be considered politically incorrect to point this out, It is not accidental that many western Muslims find themselves isolated - both from their non-Muslim neighbors and from the relative prosperity which characterizes much of western culture. Significant numbers of Muslims in the west are immigrants from societies that failed to create an adequate standard of living for them. Where prosperity exists in the Muslim world, it is largely an accident of petroleum geology, and it is highly concentrated under the control of tiny social elites. Out-migration has become an alternative to permanent poverty and social inequality. But those who immigrate often bring with them, the belief systems which created their poverty.
Islam as a cultural system has not produced a single significant advance in the standards of living of common people, in the past thousand years of its history. With the possible exception of medicine, there are almost no graduate-level institutions of fundamental science anywhere in the Muslim world. Arguably, Islam flourishes primarily in societies of the dispossessed or disenfranchised. And to the extent that Muslims move into the western world, we may reasonably wonder how our societies are to carry the unproductive burdens created by the most devout.
Thus we should consider larger questions than the temporary sensationalism of a Jihad Jane. What is a viable conversion strategy for bringing practicing Muslims out of the dark ages in which their religious value systems keep them? How can Muslims truly join the larger Western culture, with its respect for the rights and choices of the individual, when they are taught to honor only the authority of their Prophet, as handed down to local Imams or Caliphs?
Gee!! How long did it take to figure that one out??
Dr. Lawhern, thank you for the learned words. I agree with pretty much everything you noted. A simple answer to the questions in your final paragraph would be that Muslims cannot be brought out of the dark ages or join truly civilized cultures until they are willing to forego their hatred of all other religions. They don't have to believe the other religions, merely accept the right of others to freedom of religious belief. I don't see that happening.
On another issue: homegrown or not, people like Jihad Jane and her ilk are terrorists and should be treated as such. They certainly don't belong in civilized society.
To TJ-Re:Your interview with Rep. Tom Price. You pushed your point of view on the subject of Healthcare Reform very agressively, and he answered each point that you made in a very relaxed way and the contrast in the way the discussion happened was very apparent. It was a very good and informative interview – TJ, please relax!
There are more home-grown terrorists than just the Muslims – think about Tim McVey and others. They all need to be watched, and their plots foiled. There are a lot of rabid Christians and Jews too, who believe that other religions are evil. This is just tribalism at its worst, and we all need to guard against it – in all its forms.
No Surprise Your New Facebook or Tweet Friend is the FBI !!!
The FBI, NSA and other nefarious US Govt. agency's are now flooding Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter with fake names, false public and private information.
U.S. law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with everyone they can to gather private information, according to an internal US Justice Department document that offers a tantalizing glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting. Think you know who's behind that "friend" request? Think again. Your new "friend" just might be the FBI.
A document, obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, makes it clear that U.S. agents are already logging on surreptitiously to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target's friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips. OFTEN the US Govt. agent will ask or suggest unlawful activity's. He/she will often brag of various unlawful activity's and then ask you if you can relate or respond with any unlawful activity's you have engaged in!
These nefarious US Govt. agency's check and record users alibis by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts. Online photos from a suspicious spending spree — people posing with jewelry, guns or fancy cars — can link suspects or their friends to robberies or burglaries. Your history, alibis, and stories are then stored and shared around the world in the attempt to entrap you, find out who you are and if you have ever engaged in illegal activity's.
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