Islam vs. Civilization: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Written by Raymond Kraft
Friday, August 25, 2006
To those Muslims, the silent and invisible majority, who truly are peaceful, or moderate, or liberal, and tolerant of others unlike yourselves, who are opposed to the deadly militancy of Islamic Jihad and Islamic Imperialism, whoever you are, wherever you are, I wish to make a pre-emptive apology for the broad brush with which I shall paint Islam. But a religion is what its believers say it is. In any age the nature and substance of any religion is defined by those who are most strident and assertive in saying what it is. And in this age it is the Islamic Resistance Movement, the voices of Puritanical Islam, the Islam of Jihad against the Unbelievers and Infidels, all the Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, the Liberal Democracies, and all the others, that define Islam for the world. Perhaps one day the silent and invisible majority of non-militant Muslims will become an outspoken and visible majority, and then the dialectic of Islam will change, the voice of Islam to the world will change, and Islam will become what it should be: a great religion. A religion of peace. I hope.
On December 10, 1948, with the devastation of World War II fresh in memory and many cities in Europe still in rubble, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (below) in the hope of spreading freedom, security, and peace, throughout the world. It was a most excellent hope. It is a most excellent aspiration, one that may never be perfectly realized anywhere, but one that is far better realized in some countries than others. It begins:
"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world . . . Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people . . . Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law . . ."
"Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
They should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. They should.
This document, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a useful blueprint for the description or definition of Civilization, the political, social, cultural, and religious congregation of people in a civilized, or civil, manner, which (according to Webster) is characterized by "courtesy, politeness," i.e., by respect for the rights, lives, safety, and liberties of others as memorialized in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "Civilization," summarized as succinctly as possible, is The Golden Rule: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Jesus, Matthew 7:12. This is the distilled essence of the ideal we call Judeo-Christian Civilization, or Western Civilization.
Most of the laws of America, of England, of Europe, are elaborations on The Golden Rule. We prohibit murder and theft, because we would not want to be murdered or robbed. We require the payment of spousal and child support, because we would not want to be a wife or child left indigent by a departing husband or father. We punish speeders and stoplight runners because we do not want to be endangered by speeders and stoplight runners. Crimes and torts are acts of wilful injury, or careless injury, that the perpetrators would not like to have done to themselves. We do not want to be hurt or endangered or cheated, and so we adopt laws to punish those who hurt, or endanger, or cheat others. We have constructed an entire edifice of law and public philosophy on the foundation in this simple idea: Treat others as you would want them to treat you. And that is the foundational, essential concept, or principle, that defines Civilization. Not just "Western Civilization," but Civilization, period. No nation, and no person, achieves this ideal perfectly, but some nations and some people and some religions and cultures do a far better job of it than others.
And that is the standard by which the existence, or non-existence, or quality, of a civilization can be judged. Does the nation, the culture, the religion, the non-state actor, the non-governmental organization, the political movement, treat others as it would like to be treated, if the roles were reversed? And does it aspire to treat others as it would like to be treated?
If it does, or tries to, and to the extent that it does or tries to, it is, or aspires to be, a civilization. If it does not, then it may be a society, a culture, a nation, a religion, a political movement, but it is not a Civilization. It does not practice or aspire to Civility. It is not Civilized.
Today, the Islamic world, that part of the world defined or characterized or dominated by militant Islam, by the Puritanical Islam that stones women to death for adultery while punishing men convicted of murder with only six years in prison (Iran, Cybercast News Service, August 24, 2006) and tolerates the "honor killings" of daughters for seeing a boyfriend unchaperoned cannot be recognized by civilized people as Civilized. We can ask of the judges who passed the sentence and the men who will throw the stones, Would you like to be stoned to death for adultery? Should that offense justify that sentence, if you commit it? I rather doubt they would answer, Yes.
In the same article, U.S. Strategy Blocking Mideast Peace, Arab-American Group Says (Cybercast News Service, August 24, 2006) it is reported that the National Council of Arab Americans is one of several U.S.-based Arab and Muslim organizations demanding that the United States adopt what they call a "more even-handed stance toward Israel," which is, rather obviously, to abandon its support of Israel against deadly Arab-Muslim and Iranian attacks. "As long as the United States continues to throw up blind support for Israel, there will be no peace and justice in the Middle East," Mounzer Sleiman said at the Palestine Center in Washington, D.C., blaming Israel for a "systematic campaign of destruction" in Lebanon (and ignoring, of course, the "systematic campaign of destruction" that Arab Muslims have waged against Israel for 58 years and Ahmadinejad's popular threat, promise, and call for the destruction of Israel).
Rather obviously, the Arab-Muslim groups do not want Israel to damage or destroy any part of Lebanon, not even in self-defense. But they want America to abandon its support of Israel, so the Arabs and Iranians can destroy Israel without interference. They want to do to Israel what they do not want done to themselves. They declare their ambition to purge the Middle East of Israel and of Jews, which they say defile the lands of Islam, as clear a declaration of racism and religious bigotry as a matter of public policy, national policy, religious policy, as can be made. We are racists, and we are bigots, and we are proud of it, and we will kill and kill and kill and kill to spread our racism and bigotry throughout the Middle East, throughout the world. They memorialize their ambition in The Hamas Covenant, in The Palestinian National Covenant, in The Management of Savagery (all readily found via any search engine), but they do not want any harm done to themselves. They do not treat others as they want to be treated. One standard for us, another standard for you. We will kill you and eradicate your country, but you must not hurt us. They reject the Golden Rule, they repudiate the Golden Rule, and in doing so, the Islamic world in which militant Islam, Puritanical Islam, Jihadist Islam is politically, socially, culturally, and spiritually ascendant, where militant Islam is accomodated and accepted and supported, has placed itself outside the world of Civilization, in opposition to the world of Civilization, as defined by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Islam has made itself the antithesis of Civilization.
"Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
Islam today kills Jews and dedicates itself to the abolition of Israel. It sponsors acts of terror in New York City, in London, in Madrid, in Bali, in Besla, in Baghdad, in many other cities and towns around the world, and wars of terror, racial slaughter, ethnic cleansing, now in Sudan, and Somalia. Islam sends missiles into Israel by the hundreds, thousands, to kill and wound and terrorize civilians at random, just as Hitler once sent missiles into London to kill and terrorize the civilian population of England. It rejects The Golden Rule. It repudiates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is not Civilized.
"Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment."
Islam today is universally known for the barbarous treatment of its prisoners of war and victims of kidnapping, pictures of some of whom, their bodies burned almost beyond recognition and hanging from a bridge in Baghdad, are well known. Islam today kidnaps Westerners and cuts off their heads and broadcasts the videos on Al Jazeera television. Islam today accepts the mass murder of Iraqis by Saddam Hussein, some half million of whom have been found in mass graves, without criticism or objection from any Islamic state or nation or mullah. A Fatwah called for the death of Salman Rushdie for writing a book critical of Islam (The Satanic Verses), but no Fatwah called for the death of Saddam Hussein for murdering a half million Iraqis. A book, death. A half million murders, no problem. Islam repudiates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is not Civilized.
"Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public, or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance."
Islam today claims the right to manifest its religion and belief in terrorism and mass murder, in virulent anti-Jewish racism and virulent religious bigotry against Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and all others who are not Muslim. Religious freedom for us, but no religious freedom for you: our religion forbids it. Sunni Islam today claims the right to manifest its religion by killing Shias, and Shia Islam by killing Sunnis, as they have off and on for centuries, a blood feud that cannot ever be settled over who was the rightful successor to Muhammed 1400 years ago, his friend, or his son. Islam today punishes those who convert from Islam to any other religion with death, and those who do not convert to Islam from other religions with death or oppression. Islam today teaches and practices the exact opposite of "freedom of thought, conscience and religion." Islam today wants civil law throughout the world replaced with Sharia law, Islamic law, religious law. Islam today is diametrically opposed to religious freedom and intellectual freedom - it seeks religious hegemony, a theocratic Islamic empire, a region, first, and a world, later, of religious totalitarianism. It repudiates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is not Civilized.
Islam today, as it is manifest in the "Islamic Resistance Movement," which is merely a transparent euphemism for its religious war, its Jihad against everything but itself and everyone who is not Muslim, is a culture, and it is a religion, but it is not a Civilization. It rejects the one core principle, the one irreducible principle, the one necessary element of Civilization, the one idea without which Civilization does not and cannot exist: treat others as you would like them to treat you. Respect their freedom, their lives, their right to be different from yourself, to think and believe differently and live differently. This, Civilization does. This, Islam does not do.
Islam today, as it is manifest in the Islamic Resistance Movement, in the Puritanical Islam of Jihad, is to Civilization as anti-matter is to matter. When anti-matter collides with matter, matter is annihilated. Today, when Islam collides with Civilization, Civilization is annihilated. More precisely, when anti-matter collides with matter, both are annihilated in a great burst of energy. I hope that we will not see the collision of Islam with Civilization annihilate both Islam and Civilization in a great burst of terror and war. I hope.
About the Writer: Raymond Kraft is a lawyer and writer living and working in that center of pro-dhimmitude, Northern California. Raymond receives e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Islam vs. Civilization: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights