Posted by Megan Moulos in , ,

I went to see the controversial historian Daniel Pipes speak on Militant Islam yesterday. I admit in hindsight that I went with the intention of disliking the man and his views. His unflattering website is a vortex of bigotry and ignorance, propogating the hatemongering of Bible-belt dropouts who know little to nothing about the Muslim faith. For example, his weblog "Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men" was greeted with dozens of comments on the backward brutality and infidelity of Middle Eastern men as a whole.

So yes, I went in with the preconceived notion that this man was a Grade-A Douche. I still think he is a bit of an ideologue and a total bigot (AKA Mr. Douchebaggersons) when it comes to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, but he gave a rather moderate speech on "Islamism" that attempted to avoid as much backlash as possible. What really pissed me off was the fact that the fat Brooklynite (president of MEANS, who "act in the interests of American national security against the Middle East") who invited him to speak fielded all the questions that were to be asked to Dr. Pipes. She rifled through the basket of questions, carefully choosing which ones were appropriate. Bitch couldn't even read properly. The lecture, and the Q&A, were ultimately vague and lifeless. I did not come away with any new information, but I also did not "boo" the speech, because it also wasn't entirely untrue. What he said did not warrent a reaction in me. It was mostly air.

What really discusted me, absolutely appalled me, was the attitude of some of the people who came to see the talk last night. A group of Muslim students (one with an awesome sign that said Zionism = Racism, mad props) came out to protest. A group was handing out fliers with a letter on one side and a list of Pipe's quotes on the other. As a friend of mine handed a copy to a white haired woman plastered in makeup, she asked "is this for or against him?" To which my friend replied, "that's for you to decide, if you'd like to read it." So the Q-tip gets bitchy, suddenly and says "you can't sway me, I've already made up my mind and you can't change it. I survived the Holocaust." Vague. Irritating. Ideologue. Later I see her smiling coyly at Pipes, applauding furiously after the Q&A. You'd think that someone who experienced genocide first hand would abhor racism in any form. Then I realized when she had applauded again...when he gave the two "options" he saw for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict: 1. All the Zionists are murdered and Palestinians reclaim their land in an all out bloody war. 2. Israel is recognized. He plainly stated that there could be no diplomacy, no sharing. Ugh. The whitehair could have easily said "I survived the Holocaust, we Jews deserve our own state for all that we've been through (and ignore any atrocites we might concoct in our pursuit of it.)"

That was not the height of the hatred. If I believed in demons, the next woman would be one of the Devil's closest. A bugged out old woman with bright red lipstick smeared over her stroke-dead face screamed "Go home! Get out! Go back to your country and stop ruining ours!" Every fiber in my body was tense with the stress of not strangling this woman on the spot. The Muslim group stood, solid and quiet, not giving the bitch an inch. There were so many elderly people sneering at the Muslim men and women throughout the speech. Whispers of "terrorist" and obscene stereotypes were intentionally loud enough to be heard. So much ignorance. I hate it.

I may not agree with the Muslim faith, but I have no problem with the people who do believe. When I speak to a person of a different faith I ask questions about the religion to try and understand. If I have a moral problem, I do not attack that person, but rather try to rationalize the idea by asking specifics. Like all good philosophers say, "attack the idea, not the person." For example, I don't agree with the idea of wearing the Hijab, but I would never insult a person for wearing one. I might ask, if it is appropriate, why the particular person chooses to wear a headcovering. But I would never scold them, or berate them for their choice nor would I jeer at their reason. I could say the same for Christian men and women who choose to wear or display a cross, or an Orthodox Jew who decides to grow his hair a certain way.

Respect people. There should be no room for hatred in our lives. People have every right to be angry, but direct your anger at the ideas. As long as bigoted, uninformed, racist ideas are in existence (which, sadly, they may always be) there will be bigots, ignorance, and racists. If the ideas are eradicated, then people will follow suit. Forget tolerance, we need acceptance.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 10:12 AM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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