Monday, September 14, 2009

What did we learn?

I saw something the other day that highlighted a coincidence. The Dow Jones stood at exactly the same level on September 11, 2009 as it did on that day in 2001.

Oddly enough, I also was in the same place. I had been camping in Killarney Provincial Park in Northern Ontario and was driving home when I switched on the car radio to be startled by the live broadcasts from New York and Washington. Fortunately, this time my drive home from Killarney was uneventful.

That caused me to consider the events of that infamous day and what has transpired since.

It was said that it was a day that will change the world.

At a personal level, it caused me to get off my ass and to get concerned about religion generally and Islam in particular.

I had been a comfortable, complacent atheist for decades and paid little heed to religious issues or controversies. Raised as a Protestant and church-attending until the age of 13, I knew my Bible as well as anybody who wasn’t obsessed with it, and did not bother to keep a copy of it. Indeed, there was not one book in my reasonably extensive personal library dealing with any matter concerning religion or non-religion.

Eight years on, I have a good thirty works on the subject and have both a Bible and a Koran. I regularly scan websites devoted to these issues, as well as reading or watching anything that crops up in the mainstream media.

I not only schooled myself in religious issues, I joined and promoted organizations devoted to spreading science, reason and secularism as a counter to religious deference that seems to permeate our North American societies. As well, I started this blog partly to convey my thoughts on these matters. So, I am not just a passive reader and TV sponge.

If you had asked me on September 10, 2001 to tell you what I know about Islam, I probably could have come up with about 6 things of the most general nature. Now I feel I have a very good handle on that pernicious creed.

At a country level, I think not much has changed in Canada. I correspond regularly with several Canadians and I get the impression they think radical Islam is all somebody else’s problem.

They are not concerned that home grown terrorists are being convicted in their own backyards, that the recently convicted plotters in the U.K. were planning on blowing up Canadian airplanes, or that imams are permitted to spread hatred in the mosques of Canada while critics of Islam are subject to prosecution by government agencies, or that there are signs of apparent honour killings of females.

If you raise the danger inherent in Islam, you are met with a torrent of statements of moral relativism about “state terrorism” on our side. We are the problem, not the religion, according to these folks. If only we behaved in some non-aggressive fashion, Neville Chamberlain-style, we would be left alone by the Islamists.

Mainstream journalists regularly employ the term “Islamophobia” as if it were a real mental/emotional condition and not a propaganda ploy which they have uncritically swallowed.

Left-leaning bloggers decry the raw deal Muslims get in this country from the authorities, naming less than 10 Muslims, out of 800,000 Muslim citizens, who have been subject to scrutiny in one fashion or another by the security apparatus of this country. One wonders whether the “at risk” Muslims of Darfur, Somalia or Iran would prefer Canada to their countries despite this leftist-manufactured “hostile” climate of persecution. Jews still maintain the top billing as the victims of most of the hate crimes.

At the international level, what baffles me is the inability of western officialdom to define exactly what they are dealing with. They spend their time being apologists for this “great” religion of Islam, assuring everybody that the problem is not the religion of peace; President Obama being just the latest politico to join in this parade.

During the 45 years of the Cold War I don’t recall the same reluctance to name communism as the evil doctrine which must be defeated and to which all our efforts were devoted.

There were apologists for the practitioners of communism, like Fidel Castro, of course, but nobody except fringe players ran around defending communism as a preferred political/economic model.

Now the reverse is true, almost nobody wants to say a bad thing about the ideology of Islam, but only bad things about some of its practitioners, like Osama bin Laden.

On balance, I guess the world has changed, but not for the better, I suspect.

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