Cross posted from Fousequawk
This week, I was fortunate to be able to hear Nonie Darwish speak at UC-Irvine as part of the week-long celebration of Israel's 60th birthday. I have previously written about Darwish in my blog (Three Muslim Heretics). Briefly, she was born in Cairo and has lived in Gaza. Her father fought against Israel and was eventually killed by Israeli forces. Thus, she grew up hating everything about the Jewish state and Jews in general. Subsequent to 9-11, she rejected Muslim violence, broke with the religion and has become an active voice against Jihad.
She is the author of a book entitled: Now they call me Infidel. I wish I could say that there was a big crowd to hear her presentation (which was coupled with a film entitled: The Suicide Killers). However, the turnout was quite small-about 20 or so people-including her bodyguards. I was the only faculty member there.
Darwish began by describing her early upbringing in the Middle East and her feelings of hatred toward Jews, which she attributed to the death of her father as well as the way Arab youth were educated in Cairo to hate Jews. She also made some important observations about the general outlook on the part of Muslims that we in the West should be aware of. I will mention them below in no particular order.
The penalty for a Muslim who leaves the religion is death.
She quoted the part of the Koran that describes when Jews will hide behind trees and rocks and the tree will tell Muslims that there is a Jew hiding behind (the tree)-come and kill him).
In the Koran, according to Darwish, in 97% of the references to Jihad, it is the context of fighting against non-believers. Only in about 3% of cases is Jihad described as a struggle to be a better person, etc.
She described how in Israel, Muslims are free to practice their religion freely, unlike in Muslim countries, where a Jew would be killed if he walked down the street wearing a yarmulke or other item that marked him as a Jew.
She derided Muslim efforts to have American universities and airports install foot baths. In the Middle East, only Saudi Arabia has public foot baths to her knowledge. She also pointed out that many US universities receive fundingfrom Middle Eastern sources such as Saudi Arabia- a nation that promotes Wahhabi teaching among Muslims in the West. (note: At UC-Irvine, the MSU receives funding from the university-taken from student tuition fees.)
In regards to Saudi Arabia, she recounted how just recently, a top religious leader has issued a Fatwa calling for the murder of two Saudis who had publicly called for moderation within Islam.
She also spoke of so-called "Honor Killings", recounting the story of a young maid in her childhood home who had become pregnant as a result of being raped. After Darwish's family assisted the girl to find refuge with a social services agency, they learned later that the girl had been returned to her family. Her father and her brother then murdered her-for the shame of being raped-in accordance with Shariah law. In Muslim countries, such "honor killings" are treated leniently under the law.
Perhaps most alarmingly, she warned against creeping Shariah in the West, which would impose Muslim rules within our countries. In her mind, there is no real difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
Darwish noted how America has struggled for many years to overcome our own prejudices and cautioned us against allowing new prejudices to enter our country (i.e.: Muslim prejudice against Jews).
I am sorry that so few people turned out to hear the words of this courageous woman. As I stated above, I was the only faculty member present (and I am only a part-time teacher at that).
In contrast, fired DePaul professor and terrorist sympathizer, Norman Finklestein's anti-Israel monologue this week was attended by Dean of Students, Sally Peterson, who took copius notes and Dean of Judicial Affairs, Edgar Dormitorio, who tried to get a pro-Israel supporter, Jonathan Constantine, to sit down while he was filming. But they could not bring themselves to hear the words of a woman who has put her life on the line to oppose Muslim terror.
Dormitorio, for his part, was pacing outside the hall where Darwish spoke, yet would not come in to hear what she had to say. Why is this? Is it because they were unsympathetic to Ms Darwish's point of view? Was it because they were afraid to offend the Muslim Student Union? A combination of the two?
Ms Darwish's theme was a rejection of hate. Yet, that was apparently not of interest to those who teach and lead UC-Irvine. They would rather pander to a tiny minority of students who have brought national disrepute to their campus.
What a collection of empty suits.
Note from Radarsite: This is a beautifully written, deeply moving and ultimately disheartening article. Filled with genuine compassion and a quiet simmering outrage that is truly compelling. We are moved not just by Ms. Darwish's wisdom and insight, but by the symbolic drama of the scene itself. Only 20 or so people -- including her bodyguards, and only one faculty member --our courageous lone professor -- were in attendance. How disillusioning. How pathetic. Yet, thanks to our learned observer, we can all be a party to this fateful event.
How sad this all is. How disturbing is this all-too-typical academic scene.
Where have our universities gone? Where have our principles gone?
The needle on our compass is spinning wildly out of control, and we don't know where we're going.
God help us to find our way back home.