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Liana Whitehead

Tolerance now a foreign concept

Liana Whitehead

In the days following the intentional, ill-willed attacks at the U.S. embassy in Libya, violent anti-American protests continued outside the doors of many U.S. embassies, including our headquarters in Yemen and Cairo. As most of us may know, the initial attack on our Libya embassy left four Americans dead, including our ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

These four lives were taken in the name of Islam as overseas Muslims found offense in an independent film, “Innocence of Muslims.” The film openly mocked Islam and its Prophet Muhammad by portraying him as perverted and piggish. It was produced and introduced by a California resident, Israeli-American Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, according to Al Jazeera, the English version of an Arab news company.

In midst of the absurd violence, Americans were not the only people killed or injured by Islamic protestors. In a New York Times article, it stated that 500 Iranians screaming “Death to America!” were reported outside the Swiss Embassy, which deals with U.S. diplomatic interests. Protests like these resulted in the deaths and injuries of civilians in places such as Yemen and Cairo.

In an article published Sunday by Reuters, it said that the extremists have spread to Europe. It stated that an Iranian religious foundation increased the reward for the capture and murder of British novelist Salman Rushdie. Rushdie has no involvement in “Innocence of Muslims,” but was targeted by Muslims in 1989 for his book, “The Satanic Verses,” which faced the accusation that it was anti-Muhammad. Today, because of the recent events, the reward for Rushdie’s murder is $3.3 million – $500,000 higher than the 1980s bid. Rushdie even described the video as “idiotic” and “a piece of garbage,” but this was not enough to please those who, if given the choice, would do away with a nation of nonbelievers.

America’s response to these terroristic protests should be one of relentlessness and disgust, for our country is indeed under attack. Though the rocket blast that mercilessly took the lives of innocent people happened overseas, it was done with cruel intentions and in genuine hate toward the Americans and those who openly denounce Islam.

I watched the film in its entirety, and while I admit it was degrading and distasteful, it does not represent American values and ideals as a whole. Individuals who simply could not keep their hate to themselves created it in poor taste.

This is something that continuously occurs around the globe, yet receives little or no attention. Every religion faces persecution in light of what we, as individuals, believe to be true. Apparently, Christianity is a widely accepted belief among Americans — so why am I persecuted and judged on a daily basis for following Christianity? The religion on which our country was founded is now hated by many, and is openly criticized in the media and in schools and government. People from all faiths are condemned and criticized in every society, so why did this film strike such a nasty chord in the Middle East?

This is why we call for religious tolerance in America. Free will is an innate right that, unfortunately, isn’t recognized or practiced by the entire world. But in the United States, we realize that a country led under one religion is bound to cause chaos comparable to the catastrophe overseas.

I want to emphasize the word tolerance. Tolerance is rooted in Latin and Greek, and literally means to bear or endure something. Religious tolerance does not equal religious acceptance. It seems Americans today often blend the two together, as if we have to admit that a different religion could also be true. But this is not so. Tolerance is necessary to “keep the peace,” and the Constitution only states that we shall be free to choose what we believe — not that we must like or agree with others. We are simply called to respect the fact that they share the inherent rights — but we do not have to accept, believe, acknowledge or support another religion.

Similar discussions have raised questions concerning the Islamic faith and what it truly entails. Now, because I am not a Muslim, and I have little knowledge of what present-day Muslims actually practice, I cannot validate or disprove anything. And, due to the said differences between regular and radical Islam, I am often confused by what the religion involves.

After Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush “characterized Islam as a religion of peace,” according to an online article from National Public Radio. “But others,” NPR stated, “counter that the roots of Islam include violent leaders, teachings and Scripture.” Because of this, it is difficult to comprehend the grounds on which Muslim terrorists justify themselves.

As an American citizen, I am understandably horrified and deeply repulsed by the recent events in the Middle East. I am out to prove one thing: Americans are the immediate targets of the religious war that has unfolded. Protestors are chanting with animosity in their hearts and with the conviction that America has collectively shunned Islam. It is vital that our country bands together in a time when we are targeted as hateful because of an amateur video, which was apparently offensive enough to kill and die for. And, as for our Cairo embassy’s letter of apology to the perpetrators, it was weak and unnecessary. The statement released by the United States on Tuesday, the anniversary of Sept. 11, read:

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

In this statement, our representatives apologized for our abuse of our right to free speech, and for hurting the feelings of Islamic followers — outrageous, to say the least. Not only was the film created by a few select individuals, but it the subjective opinion of those involved, which is protected under our Constitution. Cairo’s statement implies that America, as a whole, is apologetic for our ignorant and “misguided” individuals. It is almost as if the statement was released in hopes of curving the protestors’ hate and preventing another attack. So, our embassies were under siege and our representatives were killed due to hurt feelings? It is all part of a bigger picture.

Tactless expressions of ignorant opinions don’t kill people. People kill people.

  • Greg

    While I agree with pretty much everything you are saying here I must correct you on your view that the United States of America was founded as a Christian nation, it wasn’t, in fact there is no mention of Christianity or God at all in the Constitution. The Constitution if your not familiar with it is the founding document of our country.
    Here is a video that explains it in more detail:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQrD1ty-yzs&feature=share&list=UUeYP27qLtfUMY1b1Cyy3WdQ

  • William S.

    I keep hearing this same argument from people like Greg concerning how America was founded. The fact of the matter is America was founded by a majority of Christians who refused to impose their beliefs in the constitution, thus making room for all religions and all non-believers. People like Greg are in good company. When the 44th president declares America is not a Christian nation, when in fact we are overwhelmingly Christian, he is speaking of secular governance, not the people. Of upmost importance is the first amendment, which states in part “”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the second part of which has been prohibited in public places. Where we have failed as a people is removing “all religion” from public places, clearly not the intent of our first amendment.

  • Ravi Ranjan Singh

    It is Murder of Humanity and Rape of Trust
    Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods Humiliated, Disgraced, sexually assaulted, brutally tortured, murdered mutilated in attack in Benghazi by thankless followers of cult of doom, destruction, and death.
    As a member of Hindu Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha my organization & I join their family, friends and folks in the grief.
    America could have saved them but politically correct Americans did not save, rather provided created facilitating circumstances for their murder by weakening security of embassy, now they are disseminating message you kill rape Americans and be happy. By Now Hole called Libya should have been turned into a History page not worth reading, but act of finale of mercy killing of the Jihadi burrow as lesson.
    -But alas!-

    America as a Nation is heading for suicide. For the reason that American people fail to understand and American Establishment hate to understand what I Slam and you stomach. How to do it, read.
    First, West must realize JIHAD IS A WAR, EVER-GOING; NOT AGAINST WEST, OR ONLY WEST.
    It is as much against East, if not more.
    Unfortunately, Jihad got attention of West only after, the heat reached the West. On other hand The East, especially Bharat that is India, bore the burnt for centuries.
    Dear Westerners please understand this clearly Jihad is not at against West, it is as much against East, in fact against humanity. Now human race has to fight it out, jointly.
    You need to know, how Jihadis overran India. How and why Sikhism was formed? Why & how were Sikhs tortured to death for not accepting Islam? Why Jihadis still consider Sikhs as enemy no.1 and Potential Danger/Death? To Stop Jihad, west should do what Sikhs did Centuries back, and remember that time Sikhs were outnumbered, out of power, had no Nation or State, they were on run, individual properties confiscated, having Price and Prize for their Head. Still, how handful of Sikhs overthrew Mughals the Mighty? Chased Jihadis right up to their burrows in Afghanistan, took over Kabul, Kandhar, Jalalbad, made them sign ‘Document of Repentance and Apology’ for their, and their forefathers deeds.
    Sikhs made Afghans wear Salwar Kamiz the dress of women (who were seen as lowly creatures/slave by Jihadis of that time and their thinking has not changed) and was against their tenet, considered as humiliation to great warriors. Why jihadists/Afghans were forced for wearing women dress is interesting. The Pathans mercenaries tried to escape disguised themselves as women by putting on Burqua and Salwar Kamiz under it. As the Sikh commander-in-chief Hari Singh Nalwa ordered his men ‘no rape, no molestation, no harm to women or children’. Too hoodwink Sikhs Jihadi men tried to feign and dodge as women, but Jihadis made comical fool of them as they were netted in their cowardly act. Like Head of Red Mosque did in Lahore couple of years back. Sikh C-in-C Nalwa gave them choice either to fight like a man, or to declare them self unmanly to avail concessions offer for women. But these concessions had a condition that this concession is valid only to those who dress like women. Afghans had to digest it, irony is, it latter it became part of their life, and now it is their ‘National Dress’. Arabs still taunt Afghans as women/unmanly, homos and Kafir on Salwar issue.
    Now what were military and other strategies and strength of the Sikhs? Besides what can we learn from Sikh history? Imagine how deadly the impact of Islamic Rulers was on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh; that a new religion/Panth came into being as retaliation. Sikhs suffered but never surrendered, again six decades back Bharat was tragically partitioned. Partition of India is a tragedy. But the greater tragedy is, it was not partitioned as Muslim India and Hindu India or Muslim India and Non-Muslim India, but as Exclusive Muslim India that is now Pakistan and Shared Secular India. In other words Muslims got one Muslim Monopoly or Darul-Islam Country Pakistan and other Bharat (India) where they are again equal Partners. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians & Buddhists got one country to be shared amongst themselves and Muslims as equal Partners. It was Victory of Jihad; that went unnoticed. And the Greatest Tragedy is that it was projected as win-win situation for both Muslims and non-Muslims, also by Gandhi and his sponsors, former Colonial Masters ‘The British’.
    Assume say after 50 years there are riots in US and it is decided that half of US is Islamic and other half is common, and termed this as Win-Win Justice to Islamists and Christian, Jews, aboriginals. Busy in celebrating or reconciling WW 2nd the west could not realize unique Jihad that has taken Place.
    An Independence that has been tricked into, at cost of Millions of life, transfer of 10s of Millions of citizens on basis of religion(in a very shrewd manner favoring Jihadis) and seeds of another Jihad/Partition left in Secular India(veiled in grab of Liberal/left Hindu culture/Secularism).
    It was Win-Win Situation in fact, but for Jihadis the new Rulers of Pakistan and their (natural Partners) Establishment of Secular India. Jihadis got a full-fledged Nation State Pakistan and another Nation State called India in which they became Equal Partners. India’s new and incompetent leaders also felt relieved and hence winners because (a) got rid of their competitors in power, especially Mr. Jinnah who could outsmart Indian incompetent, British bred Leaders of slashed India. The ringleader of these incompetent, imposed and bogus leaders wanted himself to be written as apostle of Love in history and he succeeded in it. He fooled the world that time and the world is still fooling itself by believing that agent, powerbroker, Jihad-Sympathizer and veiled Jihadi as SAINT. He was probably also aspiring for Noble Prize, his coconspirators’ new generation who are in still in absolute power in India are still trying get Noble Prize for him posthumously. As expected in six decades, population of Non-Muslims that was more than 20% in Pakistan diminished to less than 3%. The reason is Jihad, Convincing the gullible, concession/ indulgence to willing, terrorizing the sensible, forcing upon challenger the killing the defiant. Population of Bangladesh a State that had latter fallen apart from Pakistan, had more than 35% Hindu Population, now has less than 7% Hindus. Whereas Muslim Population of Bharat (India) that was <10% after Partition, is now anything between 15 to 25%. The Game of Demography Jihad, lost by Bharat (India) and followers of Indigenous Dharam/Panths (Religions) and other foreign originated Religions as Christians (of course now these religion are as much part of India as Indigenous Religions/Panths) against followers of Doctrine of Death. Furthermore, Zoroastrianism is condemned in its country of origin, Iran and is respected in Bharat. Taking advantage of its religious tolerance, the gesture was and is exploited by Jihadis.
    Off course some Christians Missionaries are also doing the analogous acts, but its overzealousness of some Christian denominations, Churches and individuals behind it. However, Holy Bible cannot be held responsible for acts of these Missionaries. No Christian Governments are budgeting the conversion racket actively or remotely promoting it. By any iota of imagination Life of Jesus cannot be associated to present Christian-Hindu gaps. Problems are there between communities and also within families, so action or reaction of Christians or Hindus should not be blown out of proportion. Both communities have good and bad elements; neither justifies rape or loot referring their scriptures. The damage done by these Missionaries to Indigenous Dharma/Religion are:
    1. The converts are uprooted from their roots, cut of from their folks and there is mistrust between neo-converts and parental community.
    2. They identify themselves with alien faith, that they hardly understand but they are alienated from motherland. These neo-Converts in turn convert more aboriginals, Tribals, poor, disadvantageous victims. They use every method from 'planted miracles' to glorifying false stories about Jesus to draw analogies with Hindu Gods. Animal, fallible gods of primitive, lowly, colonized Hindu Race. I Pity on these neo-converts.
    3. Once the neo-converts are anti-Hindu, they identify Jihadis as a lesser enemy or even friends or as discriminated cousins.
    4. The neo-convert in turn are extremely dedicated, carried away, sometimes because of own reasons and most of the time to prove their loyalty to their White/brown Masters. New converts they keep inventing Christianity and have created an Indianized Pagan-Christianity thus are corrupting Christianity.
    5. So the false Christianity is doing harm to soul of Christianity and the genuine peace loving Missionaries also get maligned are looked as mischief monger by Proud others so the harmony is disturbed.
    6. Much of Christian and Hindu force is spent contending each other, like Jews and Christians or Catholic and Protestants often do. This dilutes their energy to fight Universal Evil the Jihad.
    Back to History:
    The slaughter on Bharat (India) started much before that of West, Right from 714 AD. Though 'Test Fire' Skirmish took place decades before major onslaught. Now how did Bharat Survive, and is still going strong is a study case for West. The struggle of the Hindus to resist the Jihadi aggression into India was spread over a period of 600 years from 715 AD. Up to 1328 Ad. This contrasts with the swift Muslim victories in Persia (Iran) over the Zoroastrian Sassanians and in Mesopotamia, Egypt and North Africa over the Romans (Byzantines). The Muslims could not subjugate India with ease. And even after subjugating different parts of the country, they were never able to rule it entirely. The next 400 years from 1328 up to 1720 was marked by a valiant and ceaseless struggle for independence by Hindus to deliver India from Muslim tyranny. The Hardest hit was blown to Jihadis by Sikhs, when Muslim power was at peak. When they were a superpower and believed to be invincible. Rajputs and Gujjars opposed them first as they were attacked first. Latter Jats opposed them, Tribals and almost every community opposed them in India. But the role of Sikhs is a special study case and source of inspiration.
    As Sikhs did not just fought Jihadis for themselves and by themselves only, they were especially created, to end the tyrant. The Sikhism Started with Guru Nanak, He opposed the mighty aggressor Babur single handedly. He called him 'Jabbar 'meaning tyrant/cruel right at his face. Later Guru Arjun Dev was tortured to death for not accepting Islam. The story of Last Sikh Guru Govind Singh begins as Aurangzeb the Emperor was most intolerant Sunni Jihadi for him Sufis and Shias were also infidels. Enjoying intoxication of his power, he was killing Hindus on refusal to convert to Islam. Kashmir being the Centre of learning and Land of learned (Brahmans) was his special area of interest as he believed converting intellectuals is more useful and easy. Disappointed, helpless Brahmins of Kashmir met Guru Teg Bhadur father of Last Guru with a hope. After discussions with them Guru Teg Bhadur sent a message to Aurangzeb that "all Hindus especially Kashmir Brahmins will embrace Islam willingly, provided you convince me and convert me". This was a heartening development for Aurangzeb. By just converting one man he will get paradise, 72 Virgins. Guru visited Delhi; he was made to converse with Quazi. Kazi said Idol worshiping and ringing of bells to please God is a sin. Muslims don't do it, and we must finish these idol worshipers. Guru said I don't worship Idols nor believe in bells and I am against this ritual. Kazi asked why you are siding with them, if it is so. Guru said I don't have right to kill someone if does not believes in what I believe. I am for freedom first. Not being able to convince Guru , his companions were brutally tortured before him to terrorize him. But he did not budge an inch. Finally Guru Teg Bhadur was also put to Death.
    This was the turning point in the history. After beheading him Kazi announced ‘in this land of Kafirs anyone who calls himself a Hindu, may come forward and pick your Kafir Guru's head’. There was crowd of thousands and most of them were Hindus. But no one dare to come forward. That was assumed & declared end of Hinduism. Incidentally, there was a dust storm, taking advantage of it one man cleverly managed to smuggle out his head. He took his head straight to Punjab after traveling for nearly three days. He narrated the whole story to Guru Teg Bhadur's son and the next and last Sikh Guru. "No one could dare to affirm himself Hindu though they were thousands of them". Son of Beheaded Guru and the last Guru of Sikhs Guru Govind Singh said 'If Hindus cannot dare say publicly that they are Hindus that really means Hinduism has now ceased to exist. Private, in house rituals done secretly are not going to last long. One must have courage to affirm his or her faith openly otherwise let's disown our respective faiths. Timid should be turned into Soldier'. So Guru Govind Singh gave Sikhs a sign, bearing which, he cannot shy away from the fact that he is a follower of his faith. And that sign is his "Hair'; a turncoat cannot be a Sikh. If you are a Sikh, you are a thorough Sikh, Sikh inside and Sikh outside. No scope escapism. Your enemy knows you, be ready to face it; otherwise you don't be a Sikh rather you can't be. That is it.
    This boldness and direct challenge is the only answer to Jihad, to radicals, to oppressor, to mad lunatics.
    No double-mindedness, I am what I am. I am here to save humanity, old or young, sturdy or fragile but I am bold and strong; I am a Sikh. Sikh Slogans and addressing forms are 'Chardikala' meaning 'in high spirits'. Sikhs chant it even when injured or dying or even as captivity. 'Sat Sri Akal' meaning Truth shall prevail. 'Raj Karega Khalsa, aaki rahe na koy' Pure shall rule (not oppressors with worldly power) and there is no impediment in that.
    Now whole Human race needs same firmness and zero tolerance against Jihadis. Guru TegBhadur did not die for his faith; he was not an Idol worshiper: he died for others faith and his principal and that is 'not to oppress and not to be oppressed'.
    Know Sikhs, Support Sikhs, adopt their strategies. Many opportunist Hindus also sided with Jihadis against Sikhs. As nowadays many opportunist Westerners are supporting Jihadis. The Jihadi Propaganda was so strong that at one time of time even Hindus started feeling that Sikhs are to inhuman to Jihadis, without realizing Human Rights for Right Humans only. Recently Hindus started feeling Sikhs are no more their well-wishers and some Sikhs also started distancing them self from their Hindu brothers. But in fact the bond between two communities is so strong that nothing can separate them. So Sikhs just did not fight Jihadis, just for themselves but for Human Race. Sikhs realized the time bomb has not to be just neutralized, but diffused and dismantled and destroyed. Sikhs also did not fight just by themselves. From the very beginning they were extrovert, developing new relations and maintaining old ones, seeking new techniques, seeking and providing help from and to everyone who can defeat Jihadis. Here continuing the Sikh Tradition I appeal to Whole Human Race to unite against Jihadis.
    On 11September1897 little fortress of Saragarhi that was in fact just a signal tower was besieged by 10, 000 Afghan Jihadis. 21 Sikhs posted there were not prepared for battle; they were there just to pass signals between two forts by flag waving, fireworks etc. They were asked to barter their life by betraying their army and send wrong signals. There reply was they have already pledged their life to loyalty and God. On 12th September attempt to take over began. On 15th the fortress fell in hands of Jihadis only after last man was killed, four thousands of Jihadis were killed and almost every raider was wounded.
    Pleasing, Surrendering, U-turns, Image building, fallout, politically correct is words which are going to make modern States enslaved Nations. One question some people ask me is, are Sikhs Hindus?
    No, they are not. I counter question them, is Butter Milk answer is here. Butter is no milk but enhanced milk, but it is not milk. Yes, butter is milk because it originates from milk. Butter is not possible without milk. Why I am writing it to Christian West, You need Sikhs (Sikh type-Christians) to be raised to counter onslaught of anti-human evil cult.

  • Arafat

    Many historians believe that up to 80 millions Hindus were killed by Muslim jihadists. It is unfathomable that this happened and that we know so little about it.

    ^^^^^^^^

    “Islam is a religion only to the extent that a wolf in sheep’s clothing is a sheep.”
    Anonymous