[ by Charles Cameron — on the paradoxes, double standards, accommodations and hypocrisies — whatever you call them, however you see them — that arise when religions overlap — or bump up against one another ]
That’s a juxtaposition of title and photo, straight out of my morning mail from Vision to America News a few days back.
As you know, juxtaposition is a particular favorite of mine, the rhetorical flourish I most enjoy — but it can manifestly be abused. Do you suppose the personnel in the photo were under orders to perform the characteristic Muslim five-times-daily prayers known as salat? Were they led, perhaps, by an officer or senior NCO? Isn’t that what this juxtaposition suggests?
Or is the photo simply a photo of Muslim members of the armed forces at prayer, in accordance with their beliefs?
Pamela Geller uses the same photo with the title you see here:
Her text, below, begins:
Our troops must adhere to the sharia during the Islamic month of Ramadan in Bahrain and other Muslim countries. Subjected to dawah (proselytizing) by an Islamic cultural adviser at the Naval Support Activity, soldiers are forced to sit through lessons on Islam. No eating, drinking, alcohol, smoking during the month of Ramadan.
This is what the Obama administration and the US military are obsessed with as armies of jihad tear through the Middle East.
By way of contrast, back in 2009 Army dot Mil datelined Fort Jackson, SC, FORT JACKSON, S.C., September 24, carried the same photo under the headline Soldiers celebrate end of Ramadan
with the caption:
Muslim Soldiers bow down in prayer during the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr Sunday at the Joe E. Mann Center. Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims worldwide.
and text that begins:
About 100 Muslim Soldiers gathered at the Joe E. Mann Center Sunday to celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to do this,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, who presided over the ceremonial part of the celebration. “We want (the Soldiers) to be empowered through the spiritual foundation that Islam provides. Eid-Al-Fitr is a culmination of the fasting during the month of Ramadan. As a result of that, we do the celebration traditionally for three days, but the biggest (part) is this particular day.”
And the truth shall set you free.
The fact is, though, that much as I think Vision to America and Ms Geller are playing dirty pool here, I do think we have a bit of a paradox going when we offer our troops in Dubai sensitivity training in Islamic traditions and ask them to be respectful of them…
— even going so far as to ban and burn Bibles in Pashto and Dari sent to troops in Afghanistan, because they might be used by enthusiastic evangelicals to evangelize the locals:
Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.
The unsolicited Bibles sent by a church in the United States were confiscated about a year ago at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan because military rules forbid troops of any religion from proselytizing while deployed there, Lt. Col. Mark Wright said. Such religious outreach can endanger American troops and civilians in the devoutly Muslim nation, Wright said.
“The decision was made that it was a ‘force protection’ measure to throw them away, because, if they did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims,” Wright told CNN on Tuesday.
Hey, I have to say I sympathize with that argument —
But I also sympathize with the Air Force kid who wanted to put a Gospel verse up on his personal whiteboard, and was ordered to take it down. As Onan Coca writing at Eagle Rising pointed out:
The truth of the matter is that no Christian would have complained had a Jewish or Muslim cadet placed a verse from their religious scriptures on their whiteboards.
I certainly hope that’s the case — Baruch haShem, and Allah knows best.