Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NRO Scribbler Misunderstands Pamela Geller's Call for "Secular" Muslims

Oh, he's quite the latter-day Voltaire in his willingness to defend her right to speak freely. Where he parts company with her is in how she defines a "moderate" Muslim:
I disapprove of what Geller did in Garland, Texas, though I like much about her larger mission. She aims to galvanize opposition to Islamists who try to pressure us, Americans and other Westerners, to treat Islam with greater delicacy and deference than we accord to Judaism, Christianity, or secularism. Of those three systems for organizing public life, secularism is what Geller expects Muslims to conform to: “I think a moderate Muslim is a secular Muslim.” The implication is that a moderate Jew is a secular Jew, and that a moderate Christian is a secular Christian. This is where my sympathy with Geller’s outlook begins to taper. Exactly what she means by “secular,” I’m not sure, although her apparent enthusiasm for Ayn Rand and her reported support for abortion rights and gay marriage give me an idea of where she’s coming from. With her cartoon contest, Geller asserted the secular value of free speech over the values of Islamic fundamentalism.  
Most traditional, devout Jews and Christians can still sign on to that much. In effect, though, the contest was also an insinuation of the message that, where secular values and those of organized religion conflict, the latter must yield. That aspect of her project spells trouble for any adherent of any religion (other than secularism — yes, see below)...
Wrong, wrong, wrong. That is not the implication--or the "insinuation"--at all. What Geller means when she says a moderate Muslim is "secular" is that that's a Muslim who does not go in for jihad/sharia/Islamic supremacism, the trifecta of belief that gives rise to Islam-based terrorism. Thus, she is in no way implying--and never has--that "a moderate Jew is a secular Jew, and that a moderate Christian is a secular Christian" for the simple reason that neither Judaism not Christianity include jihad or an equivalent as a core tenet.

So there's no need to sweat her call for "secular" Muslims, fellah. It is not--I repeat, not--a plea for "secularism" in general.

No comments: