Sep 30, 2004
I have known about Dr. Habib Siddiqui, identified in the Pakistani Times as “a Pennsylvania-based noted analyst”, for some time now. His commentary about me has been circulating on a number of Middle Eastern and Asian websites and his admirers have sent me its text. He learned about me by reading my commentary, “The Decline and Fall of Islam”, posted on my website for The National Anxiety Center and widely posted on other news and opinion websites.
“He helps to foment anxiety among people through negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims,” says Dr. Siddiqui. I don’t think I have do anything to promote negative perceptions about Islam and, in particular, the fanatical Islamists responsible for 9-11, the slaughtering of children in Beslan, Russia, and other acts of barbarism one can read about daily in newspapers or learn about from television news. Christians and Jews do not take hostages and behead them. What I do, however, is write about the way Islam encourages the worldwide holy war that so many nations have experienced.
Indeed, I am not the only commentator and analyst with whom Dr. Siddiqui has a problem. Another is Dr. Daniel Pipes, arguably one of the best analysts of Islam and the problems of the Middle East. In a September 5, 2003 letter, Dr. Siddiqui described him with terms such as racist, spiteful, disingenuous, biased, and bigoted. Both Dr. Pipes and I support a strong American defense and a vigorous campaign, in cooperation with our allies, against Islamist terrorism.
In his commentary criticizing me, Dr. Siddiqui devoted most of it to a comparison between the Koran and the New Testament, citing the latter extensively to prove that Christianity too supports and urges violence against unbelievers, ending by saying “So much claptrap about Christian ethics!” Trying to justify the attacks on churches and synagogues by saying Christian and Jewish religious texts advocate violence while the Koran is devoted to peace and love is so ludicrous it defies comment.
Like all Islamic apologists, Dr. Siddiqui identifies America and Israel as the real enemies, citing the actions taken in defense of our nations. In a March 22, 2004 opinion editorial, Dr. Siddiqui wrote the following: “Caruba’s charge that Islam has been trying to conquer modern world is debunked by history. It is outright criminal and mendacious to the core. His analysis lacks scholarship and gives a bad name to journalism.” No mention is made of Osama bin Laden’s fatwa calling for the deaths of all Americans or the long history of attacks on Americans going back to when Iranian Islamists took our diplomats hostage for 444 days in 1979, culminating in 9-11. The attacks in other nations are a mounting list of atrocities.
Dr. Siddiqui dismissed my review of these attacks as I connected the dots with other attacks. “One has to be totally out of touch with reality to make such a silly and wacky observation,” said Dr. Siddiqui in his attack on “anti-Islamic hawks” in the Bush administration and “a brain-dead devotee, Alan Caruba is one such paranoid journalist.”
If I am paranoid, then there is clearly no need for the new US Department of Homeland Security, nor was there any need to attack the Taliban in Afghanistan or remove the threat of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein whose record of aggression is a very long.
Nor has Dr. Siddiqui been content with attacking Dr. Pipes or me. In a June opinion editorial published in the Pakistani Times, he wrote a long piece attacking former President Ronald Reagan, a week after he was laid to rest. “How will future (sic) measure Reagan? It is highly unlikely that it will look as rosy as it has been the past week.” Suffice it to say that Reagan’s policies were turned inside out as proof that he was anti-Islamic, “If America fails to learn the lessons from his failed policies, it is doomed to repeat them, something that has already become the hallmark of the current Bush administration.”
The pathetic history of Muslims since their brief period of scholarship, abandoned hundreds of years ago, the way they were driven out of Europe, and the end of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, speaks volumes for why Muslims submitted to the oppression and exploitation by the monarchs and despots who have ruled the Middle East and northern Africa. Islam has engaged in conflict throughout modern India, has encouraged it in modern times throughout Africa and the Pacific Basin, inflicted it on Spain and Russia, and continues to threaten the United States of America.
One hardly needs to be paranoid or anti-Muslim to examine history or respond to the Third Great Jihad the world is experiencing today. Whether Dr. Siddiqui will continue to quote this commentator and direct attention to my views is of little concern to me. He merely gives voice to the distortions of fact common to the media that ill-serves Muslims. One can only hope that the vast bulk of Muslims regard the current conflict to be the hijacking of Islam.
There are few Muslims who have experienced democracy and freedom with the exception of modern Turkey and, ironically, those who are citizens of Israel. When they do, as in the case of an Iraq that is struggling to join the modern world, Muslims may elect to practice their faith without the bloodshed that has been the hallmark of its history since it was founded in the seventh century. That said, I will continue to maintain that a religion that is unable and unwilling to respond to change, as both Judaism and Christianity has, is doomed to fade away over the centuries to come.
Alan Caruba is the author of “Warning Signs” and his weekly commentaries are posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
© Alan Caruba 2004
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