7.23.2005

Hate from the pulpit in London & a worthwhile solution

The Christian Science Monitor has a very good article on Islamic radicals and their preachings. It's paints a scary picture:

Young, independent, and streetwise, they are preaching in urban slang outside the confines of Britain's mosques. They are helping teens and 20-somethings beat drugs and alcohol. And they are inspiring a new pool of impressionable young Muslims to consider killing their fellow Britons.

But tempers it with this:

These radical bands constitute a small fraction of London's 1 million Muslims. But their freewheeling ideology - hardened in the jihadi echo chambers of cliques like Abu Osama's - is creating a new subculture within Britain's Islamic community. So far, the growing influence of these informal, maverick groups has gone largely undetected - and unchecked.

Also, see this section that describes the behind the scenes action from the reporters.
As they observed the street sermon and spoke with those in the crowd, they found the comments chilling. "In the Middle East, you often hear a lot of bravado about jihad from young Muslims," John says. "But these men were older. The Iraqi talked about his children. Another wondered if his father's work visa contractually obligated him to protect Britain. There was a specificity about their discussion about striking at Britain or Iraq that was particularly worrying."
Meanwhile Jeff Jarvis has a solution (inspired by a Tom Friedman editorial in the NYT). Let's shine the spotlight those who spew ideas that attempt to inspire hate and murder or make excuses for such things, and show them for what they are. Here's Friedman's take:
Sunlight is more important than you think. Those who spread hate do not like to be exposed, noted Yigal Carmon, the founder of Memri, which monitors the Arab-Muslim media. The hate spreaders assume that they are talking only to their own, in their own language, and can get away with murder. When their words are spotlighted, they often feel pressure to retract, defend or explain them.

"Whenever they are exposed, they react the next day," Mr. Carmon said. "No one wants to be exposed in the West as a preacher of hate."

We also need to spotlight the "excuse makers," the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow "understandable" is outrageous. "It erases the distinction between legitimate dissent and terrorism," Mr. Rubin said, "and an open society needs to maintain a clear wall between them."

There is no political justification for 9/11, 7/7 or 7/21. As the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen put it: "These terrorists are what they do." And what they do is murder.

Jarvis has a variation on this idea; use bloggers to take on this task:
A fine idea. But I don't think the State Department is who should do this.

Bloggers should. News organizations should follow. And I'd be delighted to see religious leaders join in.

This seems like a fine project for Global Voices or such a group.

Why not create the Digg of terrorism: We all get to nominate examples in each of Friedman's categories and we all get to vote them up to the home page.

We all link to the worst of the worst to turn the spotlight on it.

Those who can volunteer to translate the offending material.

We convince news organizations to get RSS feeds of terrorism Diggs and report on those who are inciting and supporting the terrorists.

We pepper those associated with these inciters and excusers -- their governments, their religious leaders, their media outlets -- with protests:
The whole world is watching.

The point is not to stop the speech. The point is to expose the speakers. And why rely on a government body, especially the U.S. State Department, to do this. Rely instead on the civilized citizens of the world.

Why, it even comes with cute slogans suitable for T-shirts: Digg out terrorism! Digg terrorism a grave! Digg dirt!

I couldn't agree more.

2 comments:

Joe said...

I like this approach, too. I mentioned something similar in a previous post, when George Stephenopolous interviewed Pat Robertson, not making him look stupid, but allowing him to make himself look stupid.

Fundamentalism thrives on insularity, so exposure is indeed a good approach.

Andrew said...

I also think the media needs to put their money where their mouth is. We’re just supposed to accept the PC line present in every terrorism story at face value -- that most Muslim’s are moderate and don’t condone violence – without ever seriously covering events such as these:

(http://www.avpress.com/n/23/0723_s1.hts)
(http://powerlineblog.com/archives/011111.php)
(http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2005/07/more-good-news-from-denmark.html)

I think truly moderate Muslim’s would have much greater influence over the direction of Islam if they would get some media support. Right now the Islamist wack-jobs are the only ones getting access to the media echo chamber.