The pace of events and issues seems to be forcing me to keep putting off the next article in the 1 Cron 12:32 report series, as we turn to the question of the Caribbean church moving on to a global spiritual initiative. As one step to keep up with that onward rush of events, I return to the "Matt 24 Watch" news watch series in light of the pattern of events. Thus, it joins the "Blog Visits" series as a means of monitoring and responding to events and issues as we seek to understand our times.
[BTW, if you want to see a recent activity, cf. here on my remarks on events in Iraq, based on a blog visit. I also shortly intend to pay a return call to the ID in the UK Blog, and in preparation, on discovering a key cite on the link from entropy to information from the famous physicist Brillouin -- who is as well arguably a founding figure in modern information theory -- I have updated my major briefing note on information, design, science and creation here. (Technically minded folks may wish to look here for the expanded and deepened Appendix on Thermodynamics and the origin of life debate.)]
Now, back to the issue of the day: a concern that what can properly be called Islamist supremacism is taking advantage of the upcoming World Cricket Cup events in Barbados to push a questionable agenda:
For, an alert reader has kindly provided links and excerpts to three recent articles in the Bajan media (, , ) that tell us a lot about the agenda of, and advances being made by, Islamist supremacism and separatism in that ever so vital country in our region. Let us take in several key excerpts:
1] From Article 1, lead: THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY in Barbados wants the assurance that its women, who withhold their identities by wearing veils, will not be made to show their faces to male police officers during the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007.
Now, first, this is highly revealing on attitudes to women in C21 in an important subculture in the Caribbean.
For, obviously, it is specifically women's faces that are here viewed as objects of shame, as if they were private parts. But, if women's faces are such objects of shame, why are not men's faces [or, children's faces] similarly regarded? That is, we are here plainly looking at oppressive discrimination against women that robs them of their faces -- that is, of a key part of what gives us individuality and dignity.
Second, there is a telling undue paternalism in the phrasing: "its women . . . withhold their identities . . . their faces." We do not here see women speaking up for themselves on a woman's issue, but the powerful male voices speaking for those they hold as wards or perhaps even chattels. Sorry, too much blood was spilt to liberate slaves in this region for us to now tolerate a rising tide of oppression of women. So, on issues that affect Muslim women, they must be free to speak their minds without fear of retaliation.
Third, let us see the context: security concerns in the situation of the upcoming WCC, joined to a fear that not only is there a terrorism concern but also the possibility of an embarrassing "scene" being made over an issue in front of the watching world, implicitly holding Barbados' vital tourism industry hostage. So, some sharpish points are more than in order, following the robust example being set by our longtime friends and Cricket rivals, the Australians, in the face of similar pressures:
a] There is a REASON why terrorism explicitly associated with Islam is a security concern all around the world. For, while not all terrorists are Muslims, a sufficiently high proportion of those who seek to advance their agendas by targetting innocents for violence are, that this is an obvious concern.
b] So, properly, peaceful Muslims and their leaders have an obvious duty to be specially concerned to eliminate such terrorism from their midst, and should go the extra mile in collaboration with authorities in that pursuit.
c] In that context, the exploitation of the implicit threat of a "scene" joined to the paternalistic, oppressive agenda just noted that lurks under the veils [and Hijab] issue, makes this a logical point for just such collaboration.
d] For, women's faces are not properly objects of shame (no more than are men's faces!), and they are key to identifying people for security issues. That is a non-negotiable, on the grounds of basic dignity and respect for ALL. Therefore, there should be no reason that such a demand should be made at this time -- one that would unduly stress the security forces, as women officers are relatively rare and may simply (and for excellent biologically based reasons) lack the raw physical prowess to act decisively with terrorists. [Let us note too that on occasion, Islamist terrorists have been noted to hide under the guise of Muslim women; sometimes even while carrying out acts of violence. Recall on this, Honest Reporting's telling observation, cited in this blog's comment on The Independent's “Mary the Palestinian” atrocity propaganda at Christmas story: “Nor does the Independent mention the 2002 arrest of a Palestinian terrorist recruited to carry out a suicide bombing disguised as a pregnant woman -- a graphic reminder of the depths that terror groups will sink in their efforts to bypass Israeli security . . .” ]
Fourthly, this imposition of a retrogressive step for Women citizens of our Caribbean, is also telling on the implications of the long-term Islamist-Mahdist vision of imposition of Islamic rule and law on the world, as has been discussed previously in this blog. (also cf here.) The foundation stone of true justice and liberty is mutual respect, so the lack of basic respect for half of humanity herein revealed should warn us as to the implications of such an agenda. Again, peaceful Muslims who wish to live a members of our free communities – societies based on the principle of mutual respect grounded in the Golden Rule of Moshe and Jesus -- should therefore take the lead on this matter.
2] From the third article: THE FOUNDATION FOR ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT INC. has previously gone on record as opposing the practice of multi-faith religious services in any form. The Islamic position on such matters is that no Muslim should worship in any manner not prescribed for us by our own religious teachings. The presence of Muslims at a Catholic religious ceremony is therefore an affront to the entire Muslim community in this country. Senegal is a country having 95 per cent of its population following Islam as their way of life; why then should the so-called leaders of the Muslim community consent to this disregard for Islamic practice? . . . . the funeral services which were held on January 31 for the Senegalese nationals was an insult to them as Muslims as they were not given the benefit of proper Islamic burials.
First, of course, when Muslims led in the initiative in recent years in Barbados to substitute "Interfaith services" for national church services, it was Evangelicals who took the brunt of public opprobrium for objecting to some implications. Now, we see a very interesting side-light from a significant sector of the Bajan Muslim community, namely that they are at minimum concerned about the implications of such an inter-faith conclave.
Second, since while reportedly "95%" of Senegalese are Muslims, that immediately means that one in 20 is not, so why then was there no evident concern on the part of the Foundation that Mr Abu Akil Mapp represents, to respect the faiths of those who may well not have been Muslims?
In short, again, in this guest editorial in Barbados' leading newspaper, we see -- in more strident form -- that telling lack of mutuality of respect and willingness to recognise that others have their own rights, too.
3] From the Second: Speaking during a specially invited meeting at the community's headquarters of the mosque at the Kensington New Road in the City last Friday, Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin said:"I think the Indian community can help us in our approach with dealing with Cricket World Cup (CWC) . . . . We don't have any person in the Police Force or the Barbados Defence Force who speaks the language. We don't have those skills; so we reach out to the Indian and Muslim community to assist us with that particular issue . . . . A lot of people dwell on the negatives and what makes us different, but there's a lot that draws us together - Christians and Muslims. For one, we face the same challenges . . . . how to deal with poverty, how to deal with desecration, how do we address crime, how do we address the problems in our families . . ."
First, observe the location of the relevant community "headquarters," i.e. "the mosque at the Kensington New Road," which immediately tells us something vital about Islam as a religion: there is a textually mandated integration of religion, religiously motivated ideology, community and politics that can make for serious problems when a significant Muslim minority emerges in any community.
This contrasts ever so sharply with the Christian faith which in the foundational teachings of Jesus, has him saying in answer to just such an issue of the relation between Synagogue and State, that we should render to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's; of course in the general ambit that the true and proper role of the state under God is justice for all. But observe, in the NT's major "sword verse," Rom 13:4, it is the pagan emperor Nero -- admittedly in the days when he was under the equally pagan Seneca's tutelage and had not yet gone utterly mad -- who is in view as God's sword-bearing agent of justice. [Similarly, we can see the example set by how OT heroes of the faith responded to the pagan kings of Egypt and Babylonia, even sometimes serving in their Governments with distinction.]
So, we must be alert to this key difference, and we must call for a clear reformation within Islam that publicly and unequivocally repudiates by both words and deeds the violent and oppressive imposition of discriminatory laws against non-Muslims in societies dominated or strongly influenced by Islam. In short, it is high time for a liberalising reformation in Islam.
Second, given the force of history and current events (including the just remarked on above), to highlight this is not to divide, but to recognise and identify a major source of the problem: the ideology of Islamism and its textual and historical as well as current links to the religion of Islam. That includes of course Islamist desecration and taking over of religious sites for other faiths [starting with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, going on to Hagia Sophia in the former Constantinople (now known as Istanbul), and including key sites of many other peoples across the world -- especially Hindus . . .]. Even moreso, it includes respect for the people of other faiths, and obviously, respect for women, including Muslim women.
Thus, while we indeed have to find points of commonality to make progress, we cannot achieve real progress unless we face key issues that are root-causes of major problems. Let us therefore trust that the Muslim community of Barbados will take up this opportunity to show global leadership in Islam in that long overdue peaceful liberalising reformation. END