A good friend, who tends to lean towards the Left, and I recently got into a heated debate about the attitude of the United States towards Islam and the rest of the world.
The debate was sparked off by a story that began at Michigan State University with a mechanical engineering professor named Indrek Wichman.
Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Student's Association. The e-mail was in response to the students' protest of the Danish cartoons that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. The group had complained the cartoons were 'hate speech'
Enter Professor Wichman.
In his e-mail, he said the following:
Dear Moslem Association,
As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU, I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians,
cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey ), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called 'whores' in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France .. This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile 'protests.' If you do not like the values of the West - see the 1st Amendment - you are free to leave.
I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option .
Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves
instead of troubling Americans.
I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
The above news item provoked an impassioned response from my friend, which is reproduced below.
This is a typical redneck right wing racist American propaganda ...
This Michigan professor seems to have a memory lapse not to remember the video showing torture and murder of Iraqi prisoners by US troopers? As a white American, he might have taken it as his birthright to torture and kill coloured people... after all his great nation was built upon the mass genocide of Native Americans.
Frankly what freedom of speech is he speaking about? After bulldozing millions in Vietnam... supporting brutal dictators like Pinochet, Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussain and Zia... Americans like him have some cheek to talk about Human Rights!!! Even today, Amnesty International cites the United States as the largest international supplier of electro-shock weapons to governments that practice electro-shock torture. $3 million worth of electro-shock devices were sold to Saudi Arabia in 1990.
Just as past American atrocities have created wars and conflicts, the current atrocities in the Middle East and Asia, will result in more conflict, loss of life and environmental destruction. The preparations for the war against 'terrorism' have been going on for at least 20 years. In partnership with the Saudi ruling family, the global ruling elite has radicalized Islam through mind control facilities disguised as religious schools. In these schools they create the 'terrorists' needed for an enemy. Without the CIA, Saudi 'schools' and Israeli abuse of Palestinians there simply wouldn't be a threat from Muslim 'terrorists'. If the US had not stolen democracy from so many countries in the first place, Muslim fundamentalism wouldn't have grown to the level it is now. Today their hatchet men have come knocking at their doors. What goes around comes around.
This was my response.
There is an old adage that two wrongs do not make a right. Therefore, while it would be unconscionable not to condemn the torture carried out by the United States, under the euphemism of "enhanced interrogation techniques", there is merit in the Professor's arguments too.
For someone with your Leftist leanings, it is natural and understandable that you would highlight the obvious flaws in American diplomacy over the past few decades. For sure, the US has made some incompetent and even disastrous diplomatic decisions in the past. It was a standing joke in the 1980s that any tin pot dictator of a banana republic could milk millions of dollars from the Americans by stating that he was against Communists. The misguided Iraqi adventure, too, was the result of one President's arrogance and messianic zeal. And it is no secret that US administrations routinely propped up the theocratic and dictatorial regime in Saudi Arabia to safeguard its oil supplies. As for Israel, it is true that nation was carved out of Palestine to assuage European guilt over the Holocaust, but that is part of history now. One does not condone some of the extreme measures taken by Israel to suppress Palestinian dissent, but the other side of the coin is that the Palestinians have made it their mission to harass and kill Israelis at every opportunity,
As for the Muslim side, some of their grievances against the West and Israel may be perfectly legitimate. That said, it certainly does not justify suicide bombings and indiscriminate slaughter of innocent men, women and children under the guise of jihad. Moderate Muslims do not realize how much damage they are doing to their cause by not openly condemning the brutalities committed by their fundamentalist brethren.
The professor may have shot his mouth off, but describing his remarks as "typical redneck right wing racist American propaganda" is unfair.
The debate is continuing, but in the interests of brevity, I shall stop here for the moment. Depending on the response to this article, I will be happy to publish the rest.
It is safe to assume that most Americans will side with my views. However, it would be interesting to learn if my friend would find support from anybody in America.