#BringOurGirlsBack – Where is the Outrage for Our Nigerian Sisters and Daughters? – UPDATE

We had a lot to say and rail about when Mipsterz releases its “Somewhere in America” video with hip hijab-wearing ladies. We talked about slut-shaming and music being haram (or not) and everything in between. Then on International Women’s Day when  Sheikh Abu Eesa Niamatullah made extremely inappropriate jokes towards women, the global Muslim community rose  to fire opinions back and forth on that too.

And when the Honesty Policy released its “British Muslim” video for “Happy,” we had a lot to say then, too.

And yes, those issues are important in their own rights. There is growth to be had, stereotypes to be unpacked wrongs to be righted.

But can we be fired up as well over the April 15 kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram – 276 of whom still remain in captivity? Girls whom the leader of Boko  Haram is threatening to sell into slavery? (“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.”)

Maybe hashtag activism is all we have right now. Maybe that’s a crock. But maybe that’s where it starts. And international pressure builds, and then pressure will be put on the Nigerian government, and then someone will do something to help those girls. Staying quiet isn’t getting us nowhere, and it certainly isn’t doing squat to help 276 girls held by a terrorist group.

As friend and colleague Professor Omid Safi says in his blog , “What Would Muhammad Do,” to the leader of Boko Haram:

The time comes to put aside intellectual exchange:

You repulsive vomitous excuse of a man. Human beings are not for sale.   The girls belong to their own selves, belong to their own families and communities.   You are nothing short of a thief.

This is a bastardization of Islam, of decency, of liberation, of all that is good and beautiful.

We are dealing with people’s children here.  If we were dealing with property, it would be akin to someone breaking into another person’s home, stealing their property, and then stating that they are willing to sell the stolen material.

Except that we are not dealing with property.  We are talking about human beings.

Boko Haram stands for “Western Education is haram (forbidden).” You know what’s haram? Stealing people’s children…Trying to sell human beings. You, Boko Haram, you are haram. You are vile and repulsive, the very antithesis of all that is beautiful and merciful. Your action have made the lives of 276 school girls a living hell, and brought untold anguish to  thousands of their family members.

And there is this – my friend Sarah Cochran’s (of Oneblue.org) status update:

Wake up “Muslim” World. Jog yourself out of Jahilliya. Boko Haram’s ideology is akin to the Taliban’s – girls and women should not be educated at all/especially get a Western education?? Really?? Well FYI- the Quran demands we be educated, the prophet (saw) said to travel as far as China to gain knowledge, the religion itself encourages critical thinking . Yet Boko and its equivalent encourage mindless rote learning and limit the beauty of a woman to her sexuality, which she must be fixated on by obsessive covering, so she isn’t even noticed. Well, a woman’s beauty is her mind, her talent, her desire to make the world a better place, to be a smart mother, a strong partner to a man. Where is the outrage from Muslim countries, why aren’t they addressing this as a global pandemic? Too threatening to the patriarchies? Too disruptive to the fatwas of the ignorant mullahs who’ve never ventured beyond their little villages and cities yet who are in charge of interpreting religious texts to serve their narrow minded agendas? Well getting an education is our Islamic right as females. And the pillar of any good society is to have strong and educated women to be good leaders in and out of the home, to be equal partners to men and live in dignity and enlightenment.

Boko Haram is a politically motivated terror group that uses a distorted and ignorant view of Islam for its own propaganda. It can kidnap all the women it wants for now, but it will never win in advancing its fear mongering agenda.  Wake up “Muslim” World!

So what do we do next to help those girls? Social media campaigns have been extremely effective to bring injustices to light, to rally people to protest (Tahrir Square) and to affect change. But how do we help these girls? We condemn the action of Boko Haram. We condemn them in the name of Islam – because what they are doing is so far from Islam.

But how do we get the girls back? As Omid says, “I call on every Muslim, every father, every mother, every African, every decent human being left on this Earth to call for immediate action and intervention to free these precious children.”

We start there. And then? Someone please tell me how we can help.

UPDATE: 

Muslim organizations have issued statements of condemnations against Boko Haram and their kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) today condemned the repugnant actions of Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for kidnapping over 300 teenage schoolgirls from a school in Nigeria three weeks ago. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the oldest and largest American Muslim organization, also issued a statement condemning the actions of Boko Haram.  ISNA Vice PResident Azhar Azeez said, “We condemn wholeheartedly, the disgusting and un-Islamic actions that the terrorist group known as Boko Haram has committed.  Kidnapping and threatening to sell the over 200 Nigerian school girls has no validation in the religious tradition of Islam and we urge the Nigerian authorities to find the missing school girls and bring their captors to justice.  Also, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., condemned the kidnapping and threat to sell the schoolgirls as “un-Islamic and obscene.”

Finally, ABC News, Time magazine and other media outlets are reporting that the White House has said Nigeria is accepting an offer from the U.S. to assist in recovering the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls:

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday morning to discuss the plan to send a “coordination cell” to Abuja to assist in locating the girls, who were taken by the Boko Haram militant group in April. The group’s leader recently boasted in a video that “I will sell them in the market.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the team “could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiations, help facilitate information sharing and provide victim assistance. It would include U.S. military personnel, law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations, as well as officials with expertise in other areas that may be helpful to the Nigerian government in its response.”

Psaki didn’t say how large the team will be, nor would she confirm if the Nigerian government has explicitly accepted the U.S. offer to help.

“I think [Kerry] came away from the call with an understanding that this is something we’d work with the Nigerians to implement,” she said.

Alhumdullilah, it’s a start. More pressure, everyone. More pressure. Again, if anyone knows of anything, please comment below on how we can all help. As always, please keep these young girls in your du’as (prayers).

 

About Dilshad Ali
  • Ambaa

    I do hope we see what next step there could be soon! I definitely am seeing the outrage. My FB feed is almost nothing but articles abotu this situation. I keep heading that we’re not outraged enough, but I’m seeing the outrage. Now what? How can we leverage the pressure of social media outrage towards actual action?

  • Jekyll

    Ignoring the Omid Safi, a progressive burnout, this is beyond belief, that in 2014 something like this happening. Everyone should condemn this!

    • badtooth

      jekyll, you should go read his blog. you will like the part about how if these where white girls more would be being done. that was of course before teh US, UK and France all sent teams to help. strange that muslims don’t seem to be able to do anything?
      i got an idea. why don’t y’all see if the gulf states will sponser a muslims quick response team tht can go into countries when unislamic things happen. that way the dirty booty of the infidels won’t defile the soil of the lands of the believers.
      “everyone should condemn this” that is the big limb you have gone out on?

  • Robin Kouvaras

    Dilshad, I thank you for using your voice, speaking out, and requesting
    action, justice for inhumanity. It is nearly beyond my capacity to
    imagine the pain and suffering of not only the girls but also their
    parents. While I have only practical experience in #hashtag activism
    (love your term) and cause based online mediation, it seems to me that
    we need to get more personal. The woman, featured in almost every BBC
    photo as well as your blog needs a name, a personal story of what she is
    grieving for – who she has lost. Who are these girls we are fighting
    to return. To me, tears run down my face each time I look at her. For
    sure, it is easier on our hearts to look away when we have no story, but
    far different when we know her plight. Malala Yousafzai is the prime
    example. Do you think you could help investigate this woman? Perhaps,
    we can all try to get the stories of every woman and child – track each
    of them and get them reunited. For anything less is simply a #hashtag
    campaign. Dilshad, thank you for caring and speaking out. -Robin

  • Robin Kouvaras
  • Guest1

    Thanks Dilshad..but I’d like to add that Loonwatch did an important piece on these loonies Boko Haram…and FIRST rule clearly ought to be to SHUN and expose them as they do NOT represent Islam…nor anything Qur’anic at all. They are shaytan. period. No more than Joseph Kony and his brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are the “devout Christians” he claims. In fact, point being, is that few if ANY MSM identifies KONY and LRA as “Christian” because they are as “Christian” as Boko Haram are Muslim…i.e., they are NOT. Assassins and murderers do not get to call themselves “devout” anything, except perhaps ‘insane’.

    • badtooth

      the loons at loonwatch. i imagine they will now be upset about the ‘narrative of the WHITE WESTERNER to the rescue’.
      http://www.loonwatch.com/2013/10/malala-yousafzai-and-the-white-saviour-complex/
      my bad WHITE SAVIOUR COMPLEX.
      maybe the first rule should be to get rid of the rules of jihad that say you can take people as war booty. that you can have sex with women you capture.
      so they killed 300 people on monday in a village, where’s the hastag. teh day before taking the girls as booty, they blew up buses killing 70 and the day before that they shot 130 people? something like that. were is the hastag for teh 14 year-old nigerian girl who was forced to marry a 35 year-old and in desperation poisoned him. in 2010 a nigerian senator paid an egyptian family $100,000 to marry their 14 year-old daughter. nigeria has a minimum age of 18 for marrying. he said show me in sharia where this is not allowed and i won’t do it. until then, i will. so nigerian “law makers” don’t even follow nigerian law instead of sharia.
      the main problem is the belief that sharia is perfect and “god’s law”.

      • Dale

        “Perfection” has two meanings. Christ admonished his followers to “be ye therefore perfect.” In context it means “complete, whole” not terribly one sided. In the Islamic theocracy, Shiria law acts to keep the more radical members of society in line. By Western standards, that seems inappropriate. We are indoctrinated with the idea of separation between church [theocracy] and state. I would not get too wrapped up with the harshness of Shiria Law. My faith would sanction those whose actions are inconsistent, but would not mandate strict obedience at the pain of civil law. But I respect that other societies view things differently. If I lived in or visited Saudi Arabia, I would adhere to the principles mandated by Shiria Law. And in order to get a passport to Saudi Arabia, that is a requirement.

    • jeny jhon

      check this …..

  • Dale

    News of the April 15th kidnapping in Nigeria is horrendous. Let us all press forward until such acts are stopped and those who perpetrate them are stopped. How best to press forward and how best to stop are the questions. I understand that following 9-11, the Saudis had success in educating the more militant citizens on how the Koran would address the subject of militancy. Perhaps this forum could teach those of us who are nearly totally uninformed about what the Koran says on the topic of women’s education. I understand that the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah are nearly silent on this topic. But the Koran is much more informative. I understand that some mullahs advocate it, but some do not. This is a topic whose timeliness and suitability have become obvious. We are listen. Fill our ears with the Word of Allah.

    • badtooth

      “But the Koran is much more informative.” where does the koran say anything about women’s education?

      • Dale

        Are you saying it is not? I have heard fo disputes arising among the Muslim community about women’s education and understood that some mullahs citing to the Koran supported that education. But I have never heard the opposite. So you tell me.

        • badtooth

          I don’t recall reading anything about women’s education in the Koran. I could be wrong, it’s not like I memorized it. “so you tell me”…I can’t quote a non-existent verse. please show me where the Koran says anything about female education? chapter and verse? the fourth surah, ‘the women’ doesn’t? it does clearly say women should inherit half that of a man, 4:11. you may be confusing hadiths with the Koran? and even the most cited that says all muslims should seek knowledge does specifically say women.

          • Dale

            So perhaps the best we can do now is to show that the Koran advocates good treatment of women. Where fatwas in support of women’s education have issued, as many appear to have, we need to criticize those who reference Islam for their positions that women should not be educated. I am a bit disappointed that only you and I are talking about this.

          • badtooth

            the koran and some of the hadiths do advocate good treatment of women. and the koran better than the old or new testement. the problem is that it was written in the 7th century so it doesn’t come close to the level of treatment and equality that we strive for today. and unfortunately most muslims believe sharia to be perfect so they lack innovation.
            http://www.minhaj.org/english/tid/8535/Women-Education-in-Islam-article-by-dr-raheeq-ahmad-rahiq-ahmed-abbasi-nazim-e-aala-mqi-minhaj-ul-quran.html

          • Dale

            Yes, the same logic and reasoning do apply to the Old and New Testament. Times have changed. Yet Boko Haram seems to deny this. I would suppose that those fatwas I have heard about were issued by more progressive Immams. Is that how you see it? Catholics have a Vatican that is capable of issuing doctrine and decisions with world wide impact. But Protestants, Jews and Muslims seem to be more fractured. Perhaps the solution is to have all denominations, all sects, all faiths take strong stands against what we see as mistreatment of women and see if that can be filtered down [over] to these so called fundamentalists. There is nothing fundamental about the way Boko Haram treats women.

            And is there some reason you do not capitalize Koran and Muslims? Out of respect should they not be capitalized?And I usually use the Qur’an spelling.

            As you may have guessed, I am not Muslim. But I do belong to the one and only Christian Sect which soundly condemned that Florida pastor’s plan to burn the Qur’an. We characterized it as Holy Scripture, the same as other Holy Scripture. I would hope my denomination also takes a strong stand against Boko Haram. We have a presence in Nigeria.

          • badtooth

            that is why we seperate governance and religion. muslims do no such thing. at least most don’t, there is a small secularist muslim movement mostly in canada and america.
            what? capitalization? i’m a weak typist. i don’t capitalize anything?
            “all sects, all faiths take strong stands against what we see as mistreatment of women” but if you don’t take it as mistreatment, but war booty, then what?
            http://www.searchtruth.com/searchHadith.php?keyword=coitus+&translator=1&search=1&book=&start=0&records_display=10&search_word=all
            Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: that while he was sitting with Allah’s Apostle he said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interrupt us?” The Prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence. (Book #34, Hadith #432)
            [4.23] Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters ….[4.24] And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah’s ordinance to you, …
            so you can have sex with your female slaves, even if they are married.
            but some muslims don’t want to modernize, in fact they want to move back.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi
            i hope you strongly supported his right to burn the koran if he so chosed.

          • Dale

            Your response is a bit overwhelming. Thanks for the reference. I have added it to my pull down list. No problem with capitalization. I assumed as much. However I shall take the time necessary to show respect to all on matters of their respective faiths. That means I would never advocate or condone the burning of the Qur’an, allowing Muslims to dispose of those Qur’ans whose time has come as is customary.

            Yes, we are all aware that some Muslims resist modernization. If I recall correctly, that is the theme of “Wahabists” who some 250 years ago and in response to Western Civilization that had started to creep into the Arabian Peninsula, advocating returning to fundamentals, er go fundamentalists. Perhaps the answer to fundamentalism is to respect their culture and avoid tramping on it. If Boko Haram identifies with Wahabism, perhaps Nigeria needs to contact Saudi Arabia and have Wahabists come to northern Nigeria and take a position on partitioning it as Saudi Arabia is effectively partitioned. But I doubt Boko Haram can credibly pass as a Wahabist. What do you think?

          • badtooth

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petro-Islam
            i’m starting to think you are insane. and so worried about offending anyone’s ‘culture’ you are willing to turn a blind eye to atrocities throughout the world. if the muslims want to lash and stone people so be it. it’s part of “god’s law”. enslave people. so be it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60cQ2pO5884 that is what boko haram wants, to partition itself form the christian south of nigeria. to establish an islamic state. then they can raid south and take all the war booty they want.

          • Dale

            I suspect that my personal opinion on my sanity is not credible, nor is your opinion of your own sanity. But haven’t my ideas about how to approach Boko Haram demonstrated my concern for the welfare and human treatment of women? Regarding some partition of north from south Nigeria and Boko Haram’s objective to raid the south, seeing that my faith, a Christian denomination has perhaps 15,000 members or more in Nigeria, mostly around Logos, I certainly hope Boko Haram can be stopped. Aren’t we sharing ideas on how best to do that?

            And regarding any statements anyone would make about Islam or Muslims, consider parallel statements made about Catholics in Northern Ireland, etc. There is no single unified voice for Islam, like there is for Roman Catholicism. And the Holy See seemed not to speak out against Nazi war crimes. I suspect the record of people hiding behind religion, of people speaking for religion, of people taking statements about religion out of contact is not a good history. So I shall speak for myself. I have yet to meet a Muslim face to face that I did not respect. How about you? Met any face to face?

          • badtooth

            yes i’ve meet muslims face to face. and they smile and are very pleasant people. it’s called adab. read the koran, 4:86. allah accounts for all things. yet when you press them about the details of sharia, they become evasive.
            no need to repeat yourself about the pope. i’m well aware that there is no pope in islam. grand ayatollah in iran, grand mufits in many arab countries, imans, sheikhs, blah blah blah. or about this being your opinion or that you speak for yourself. short of quoting someone or stating facts, everything you say is your opinion.
            “But haven’t my ideas about how to approach Boko Haram demonstrated my concern for the welfare and human treatment of women?” not if you would partition a state under their control. or the saudis control. did you see the bloger sentenced to 10 years and 1000 lash in saudi arabia for “insulting islam”?
            15k in lagos? what are you with billy graham? or are there that many angelicans down there?

          • Dale

            How do we help Nigeria solve the Boko Haram quandary? I was surprised to hear you say that Boko Haran wanted to partition, then cross south and loot. That is not Islamic! And I speculate that if Boko Haram thinks of itself as being Islamic and fundamentalist, having the most fundamentalist Sunni faith, Wahabism, pay them a visit might shed some light on what I suspect is hypocrisy. Partitioning with mutual respect would seem appropriate. Wahabist Saudis do not bother anyone outside of the Peninsula. And sure, Shiria law is stiff. Yet I once had a near Wahabist ask me some very pointed questions about the way western society exploits its women. But that is a topic for another day.
            My estimate of 15K membership in Logos is quite unofficial and not especially well informed. We have what amounts to three “dioceses” there. That is not the correct term. But each group normally amounts to about 5,000 or more men, women and children. And each group is composed of about 5 or more congregations. 1% of the population of the capital city of Mongolia are of my faith. We are know for our proselyting. And we are also know for our mutual respect of other faiths. As a Christian faith, an Egyptian diplomat once opined that if a bridge of mutual understanding and respect between Islam and Christianity were ever to be built, it would be us who built it. At that time we were building a bridge into Israel.
            Christians believe in [hope for] the second coming of Christ and a reign of world wide peace.” No sense waiting” is my theme.

          • badtooth

            “How do we help Nigeria solve the Boko Haram quandary?” if you think we can help nigeria, you are crazier then you appears.
            “Wahabist Saudis do not bother anyone outside of the Peninsula.” true. at least so far. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/05/saudi-blogger-gets-10-years-1000-lashes-20145825916565359.html
            nor has boko haram done anything to anyone outside of nigeria. so just let them be. quandry solved.

          • Dale

            The question about “help”ing Nigeria is a complex one. I heard a discussion Saturday on PBS among a group of women, one of whom proposed we take troops into Nigeria. Elsewhere on a Disqus powered blog cite [or perhaps is was the Yahoo News site] I suggested that we limit whatever we might do to what Jonathan, the Nigerian President might request of us. Being seen as inviting a Western powers, especially if that power included former European Colonial powers, back into the country easily could spell the end of his administration. I was criticized for that observation. And we have no constitutional ability [thank God] for taking troops in mass into a foreign country. Absent a declaration of war, which only Congress can give, the best we can do is provide advisers and intelligence. And from a political perspective, that could be too much for Jonathan. But this weekend I see a feeding frenzy surrounding Nigeria and Boko Haram. It has become Islamocritical if not Islamophobic. And it is becoming third world critical. I favor doing only what the Constitution and Nigerian politics would allow us to do. Now is that crazy? You take what I say and run way to far with it. That sort of criticality does not serve you well. To takes wisdom to speak freely. You seem to lack wisdom. But selling young girls to neighboring countries is “outside” Nigeria. So think again, fella. Smart criticism requires intelligent analysis and wisdom. You may have problems with objective analysis when is come to Islam. And with regards to your views on the exercise of free speech, your wisdom may be lacking.

          • badtooth

            well socrates said, “i’m a wise man for i know i know nothing.” or as styx said, “if i claim to be a wiseman, it surely means that i don’t know.”

            facts you have wrong. america doesn’t need a congressioal declaration of war to send large number of troops into a foreign country. we have only declared war 5 times. the last being ww2.
            for some reason it is the former colonial powers that often send in troopps to help in africa. currently see the french in mali and CAR.
            but no doubt you are on the cusp of solving this. you keep on going and most importantly praying. between you and your all powerfull god, this will be solved within an hour.

          • Dale

            Glad to see you quoting Socrates. Did you gain any new incites from reading Ballad of East and West? Sure we have gotten away with waging war without a formal declaration, but each time the President has had to find some compelling national interest. After Afghanistan and Iraq, Nigeria would be a huge stretch, don’t you think. And Nigeria is particularly sensitive about its former colonial power. Re-read my comments. I do not pray for peace, I work for it. Nice sharing thoughts with you. Don’t bother to respond.

          • badtooth

            we will most likely not put any boots on the ground in nigeria. satelite and aerial imagery will probably be america’s biggest contribution.

          • Dale

            And rightly so!

          • Dale

            P.S. Secularism is a Western theme. In the West we seek to secularize government. My faith advocates a claim of “privilege to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, allowing all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what them may.” This statement of principle preceded the statement condemning that Florida minister’s plan to burn Qur’ans. I do not support such sacreligious actions, but oppose them vehemently. Such secularization, one respecting the religious practices of others, especially those others who also respect the practices of others not of their faith, is what is needed here. Boko Haram misses this point.

          • badtooth

            “P.S. Secularism is a Western theme. In the West we seek to secularize government.” yes i know. i’m all for it. do you think i’m a muslim? a non-westerner? i’m an american, a floridian and an atheists. so does islam respect freedom of conscience? do you?
            Narrated ‘Ikrima: Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”
            here is an interesting take..http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4263.htm
            so is it you who judges sacreligious actions?

          • Dale

            Speaking for myself, yes I respect freedom of conscience. That’s what is behind my faith’s respect of Islam. I hesitate to speak for Islam or for any individual Muslim. But I can say that of the hundreds of Muslims I have known over the years, I believe they do. Now, obviously not all Muslims do. And neither do all Christians or all atheists. Nor do I judge what is and what is not a sacreligious action. But out of respect to all faiths, I try to understand what is viewed as being sacreligious so that I can avoid being misunderstood. How about you?

          • badtooth

            so how about freedom of speech?
            you a brit?
            i don’t worry about what may or may not be judged as sacreligious. first there is no way to tell anymore what is going to upset someone. did you see the boxer suspended the other day for calling a mexican a mexi-can? second if people choose to be upset by words, then so be it. or books being burnt. or statues or drawings or whatever. don’t you think?

          • Dale

            No, I am a native born American. I have no problem with freedom of speech. One is free to make an ass of themselves. Isn’t that what the LA Clipper’s owner did? I don’t worry about discussing with you my views on Islam. I respect people of all faiths and people whose faith is yet to be defined, especially those who self identify as atheists or agnostics. I guess when it comes to religion, I am the ultimate multi-partisan politician. On another Disqus based blog cite, SurvivalJoe, I am trying to open the minds of those militia who are defending Cliven Bundy, that Clark County Nevada rancher who took on the BLM. I do my off site research, see where Bundy has been two faced, inconsistent, and down right wrong, and then I take on all comers. Funny thing is that Bundy supporters are Senator Harry Reid haters. And Cliven Bundy and Harry Reid share the same exact faith!
            I envision a world of Peace, as naive as that may be. But ya gotta have something to work for.
            With respect to offending others, where no offense was intended, taking offense may be inappropriate. But in non-secular societies, if you wish to work for peace, you had better first get understanding, and learn respect.
            9/11 was a very sad day for me. I expected a huge over-reaction and got it, one that was beyond my worst imagination. Before 9/11 I had had Muslim roommates, classmates, fellow workers in my year long stay near Istanbul Turkey, and Muslim acquaintances whose names and family I well knew. I know more Muslims than I know Jews. I find Middle East tensions depressing. I find the West to be uninformed and one sided.
            Bottom line, if I would intend no offense, I must be humble, teachable, and must listen more than I talk.
            It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote “East is East and West is west and ner the twain shall meet.” He was wrong, East and West met and the collision was disheartening. But read the rest of his poem. You will see Kipling was wise beyond his ear. At first his two main characters did not understand one another. But in the end one came to appreciate the honesty and dedication of the other. They met, settled their differences and departed with mutual respect. That would be my hope for the future.
            Now I shall skip down and answer you below.

          • badtooth

            apearently you do have a problem with freedom of speech if you are worried about sacreligous speech.
            “you had better first get understanding, and learn respect.” so if i have understanding, but don’t respect the ideology, then what. would you respect the ancient aztecs’ human sacrifice?
            “9/11 was a very sad day for me. I expected a huge over-reaction and got it, one that was beyond my worst imagination.” seriously? we could have nuked kabul. your imaginationn is very limited then.
            “Before 9/11 I had had Muslim roommates, classmates, fellow workers in my year long stay near Istanbul Turkey,” great. call some of them and ask what would they do if jews in turkey had done a 9/11 attack. do you think a jew would be left in turkey. or substitute armenian christians
            kipling? you want me to reread kim? the charge of the light brigade? what are you talking about?

          • Dale

            I am not worried about other’s sacreligous speech any more than I worry about the LA Clipper owner’s racial speech. Each of us is free to say stupid things. I just prefer not to do so. I am free to criticize comments on this blog. Yet I try to reach a mutual and respectful common understanding. Refer to my Kipling example. Where I living at the time of the Axtecs, I would not be living with the Aztecs. When in Rome, if you do not like what you see, leave Rome, don’t criticize it or you will become a martyr.
            With respect to your points on Turkey and Armenia, or a 9/11 attack by Jews in Turkey, I expect we all know what would happen. Human beings tend to be inhumane. I am pleased to hear some retrenchment by Turks on the Armenian genocide issue. It was first explained to my by an Armenian student of mine when I was a teacher’s aid in Undergraduate School. In Turkey, my respect for Turks kept me from asking about it. But I did listen and know that the term genocide is rejected as being inappropriate and inaccurate. Turks tend to place some of the blame on Armenia. But that was a long time ago. The Turkish Ottoman Empire under whose leadership Armenia was nearly eliminated is gone. And today Turks seem to get along with Armenians just fine.
            So if you believe that free speech must become a universal law such that you can go into the down town square in Ankara and criticize the way Turks treated Armenians, I suggest that you are easily as naive about the future of free speech as am I about World Peace. Free Speech will not bring about World Peace, nor will World Peace lead to Free Speech.
            I suggest that in northern Nigeria, we need peace not free speech.
            We, meaning the US, could have nuked Kabul! Shocking! I never imagined anyone would envision nuking Kabul. We nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki and those were gross mistakes. I sure hope we have learned that lesson.
            The Charge of the Light Brigade is the wrong poem. Give me some time and I’ll look the correct poem up. The Charge of the Light Brigade was set in Crimea. The “East is East and West is West” quote is set in Pakistan/India.

          • badtooth

            yes it was in crimea. but did not the light brigade come out of the 2nd afghan war. anyway it’s not important. i don’t know how you came to kipling? or cliven or sterling?
            so if the armenians in turkey did a 9/11 style attack. what would be the unimaginable response of the muslims? or the copts in egypt?
            ” In Turkey, my respect for Turks kept me from asking about it.” that’s sad. why can’t you ask people about history?
            so you don’t think free speech should be a universal law?

          • Dale

            Here is a URL to the Ballad of East and West. The entire text is given. I hope you enjoy reading it. Have you any recollection of reading it before?
            [looks like I'll have to break the URL up. Otherwise the entire URL gets truncated.]

            http://poetry.about.com/od/
            poemsbytitleb/l/
            blkiplingballadeastandwest.htm

            [That's better. Ignore the color and use all three lines together without any spacing.]

            I expect the response to a 9/11 attack would be intense, hostile, excessive, over broad and misguided. That is human nature. Kipling’s conclusion in the Ballad hints at what a future might be if we learned the lessons of the two men in his poem.

            I don’t think that the right of free speech is necessarily always a wise thing to exercise. Sterling made a fool of himself by expressing his racism in private and the exposure may be disastrous for him, personally. Sure I can ask people about history. But with respect to “hot topics” it may be wiser to listen, read and not ask. I listened and learned. Had I talked in the town town square, I would have learned how cold and dark Istanbul prisons are. As a US Army officer, one of my potential duties was to take food to US soldiers imprisoned in Istanbul jails. My turn never came up.

            In a multi-cultural, non-secular society the right of free speech is necessary. But the wisdom to exercise it appropriately is the more difficult matter. Here in our First Amendment society, government does not lock people up for exercising this right. Not so in Saudi Arabia. After all, even Kipling understood that “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.”

            Have a good night. I am headed to bed!

  • Guest

    check this ….

  • jeny jhon

    check this ……


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