A Modest Proposal
for Reform in the West.
by Sal Rosken
October 25, 2004
A Modest Proposal for Reform in the West
The intelligentsia of the Islamic world has repeatedly accused America of applying a double standard when it interacts socially, politically and jurisprudentially with the many Muslim populations and their political organizations around the world. Islamic intellectuals and, in particular, many perspicacious Saudi journalists, writing for government controlled newspapers, have constructed very profitable careers for themselves by scrutinizing every nuance of American culture, politics and foreign policy to expose the damnable “double standard” used by the United States in its interactions with Muslims.
These Saudi writers and their Sunni and Shiite compatriots in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Sudan, are, of course, absolutely correct. There is a blatant difference between the manner in which the United States treats Muslims and non Muslims; and the manner in which both groups are treated in the Islamic nations. That a second “double standard” of conduct is practiced by America is clearly evident to even the most casual observer.
If, in the future, America is ever to avoid the much deserved indictment of applying this infernal double standard, which has so hindered its relationship with the Muslim world, it will need to alter its policies and adopt the Islamic world’s much superior single standard of conduct. As painful as this may be to admit for those of us in the West, who suffer from an ethnocentric bias, and who are generally ignorant of the much older and superior Muslim cultures, it is we in America who must change. We, not the Muslims of the world, are the ones who must reform.
The Saudi Exemplar
The great and ancient nation of Saudi Arabia is, both by general consensus and by its own admission, the center of the Islamic world. Five times each day 1.5 billion devout Muslims, located in every corner of the world, turn and face Saudi Arabia, prostrate themselves upon their prayer rugs, and chant the words “Allahu Ahkbar”- words which, due to a perverse Pavlovian conditioning, are increasingly associated in the unsophisticated and inferior American mind with explosions, the sound of broken glass, bloodshed and sudden death.
This quintuple daily reminder of Saudi Arabia’s centrality to Islam is not the only claim that Saudi Arabia has upon the Islamic world’s soul. Every Muslim, no matter how great the distance his humble abode lies from Saudi Arabia, at least once in his lifetime, must engage in a journey of pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to visit the center of his belief. The spectacle of millions of Muslims converging upon Saudi Arabia each year to fulfill their religious obligation, despite the very real perils of succumbing to an epidemic of debilitating diseases or being crushed in a stampede of stone throwing worshippers, can only underscore the significance that Saudi Arabia holds for the many followers of Islam.
Whatever reservations one may hold about the position Saudi Arabia enjoys in the world’s current geopolitical balance of power, there can be no doubt that the 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the Islamic world look to Saudi Arabia as the center of Islam, and that what they see informs them of the meaning of Islam.
We in the United States, if we are ever to eliminate the application of the double standard of which we are rightly accused by the Islamic world, must recognize that we can have no better paradigm, upon which to model the much needed reforms we must undertake, than the center of Islam itself. Having two standards of conduct is confusing, inefficient, and counterproductive; it also leads to misunderstanding, distrust and the sort of clash of civilizations so lamented in the Arab press. Since Saudi Arabia has by far the older and wiser culture, we in the West could do no better than to adopt wholeheartedly Saudi Arabia’s single standard of conduct.
The Forbidden Cities
Saudi Arabia is the center of Islam, and the cities of Mecca and Medina are the center of Saudi Arabia – the very inner sanctums of Islamic belief. Saudi Arabia has for centuries forbidden non Muslims, known variously as infidels, dhimmi, and kafir, from as much as setting foot within these two great cities. Mecca and Medina both hold special historical and religious meaning within the Islamic world. Both cities epitomize and encapsulate the history, core beliefs and nature of Islam. The very idea of a non Muslim, an infidel, setting foot in Mecca or Medina is for the Saudis, and Muslims around the world, an unbearable defilement.
This Islamic devotion to the “purity” of its core values is a most admirable and noteworthy trait, and it is this pure devotion to its beliefs which America should seek to emulate if it is ever going to progress to the higher level of conduct exhibited by the superior Islamic world.
Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
America, like Saudi Arabia, contains two cities which represent the core values and beliefs of its unique culture – New York and Los Angeles. New York is generally considered the financial capital of the world with the greatest concentration of financial institutions and markets on the planet, while Los Angeles, no less important, is considered, by almost all, the entertainment capital of the world, producing the largest output of films, music recordings, and celebrities the world has ever seen.
As New York is the epicenter of world finance, and as finance is, simply put, the practice of lending money in return for the payment of interest, a fundamental and essential cornerstone of American business, but a practice forbidden in Islam; what better way then exists for America to rid itself of its double standard of conduct than to emulate Saudi Arabia’s devotion to its core values by forbidding Muslims from entering the city of New York? And since Los Angeles produces the world’s largest output of sexually provocative films, recorded music and outrageous celebrities – distinguishing characteristics of the American culture - and all anathema to the true believers of Islam; what better way exists for America to eliminate the double standard than to follow the Saudi example and ban all Muslims from entering the city of Los Angeles? By adopting the single Saudi standard of conduct America cannot help but be held in a much higher esteem by the followers of Islam.
The Saudization of the World
Nor should America be singled out for reform; the damnable practice of applying double standards, truth be told, exists throughout the democratic West. All of the Western Non Muslim nations are guilty, to varying degrees, of utilizing the double standard, and are ripe for reform.
The city of Paris has for decades been considered the Art capital of the world; and since representational drawings are forbidden in Islam, and as Muslims do not share the West’s veneration and respect for the contents of the Louvre; would it not be appropriate for France to follow the Saudi example, in an effort to eliminate its double standard, and forbid Muslims entry into the city of Paris?
For many in the West Rome is the fashion and designer capital of the world; and since Islam forbids the display of even the mere form of the female body; and as true Muslims do not share the awe and enthusiasm for the latest Italian fashions, should Italy not follow the Saudi example, to put an end to its practice of a double standard, and ban Muslims from Rome?
And did not Great Britain give the world both the Magna Carta and Parliament, both exemplars of man made law; and since Islam considers man made law a corruption of the only true sharia law; and as Muslims do not share the West’s respect for secular law, should Great Britain not follow the Saudi example, to cease its double standard, and ban Muslims from the city of London?
If the Western nations would only allow Saudi Arabia, the Center of Islam, and the focal point for over a billion Muslims around the world, to guide the way to the implementation in the West of a single Islamic inspired standard of conduct, surely we could not help but improve our standing with the many followers of the Prophet Muhammad.
A Single Saudi Standard of Conduct
The Saudis have no double standard – they make no concessions to outsiders, and expect all foreigners to adapt to their customs. Should their superior behavior then not be the basis for even further reforms in the West to eliminate the double standard of conduct?
It must be freely admitted that we in the West are inferior to the true believers of Islam, and that Saudi Arabia has much to teach the West. Like the 1.5 billion Muslims who look to Saudi Arabia for guidance, we in the West should do the same.
In Saudi Arabia the devotion to Islam is so great that the existence of non Muslim houses of worship are strictly forbidden; whereas in the inferior West a double standard exists which has permitted the proliferation of Islamic mosques throughout the Christian-Judaic nations. Should we not follow the Saudi example of a single standard and eliminate this double standard by banning all mosques in the West?
In Saudi Arabia Sharia law is the final arbiter of all disputes and the testimony of a non Muslim is considered worthless compared to the testimony of a Muslim; whereas in the West the secular civil courts have insinuated their insidious double standard upon the people in order to accord equal treatment to all regardless of creed. Should the West then not follow the Saudi example and rid itself of its double standard by denying Muslims any redress or appeal in the secular courts of law?
In Saudi Arabia, citizenship is denied to all non Muslims; whereas in the West Constitutional Democracies have contaminated the populace with a double standard which permits Muslim immigrants, and their children, to achieve citizenship. Should the West then not follow the example of Saudi Arabia and eliminate its double standard by refusing citizenship to all Muslims?
In Saudi Arabia, it is a criminal act for Muslims to convert to another religion; they are subject to prosecution by a Sharia court and, if found guilty, are subject to the penalty of death by beheading; whereas in the West the execrable freedom of religion has fostered a double standard which permits Non Muslims to convert to Islam without fear of retribution. Should the West then not follow the example of Saudi Arabia and eliminate its double standard of conduct by, dare I suggest, beheading Non Muslims who convert to Islam? Can the West even hope to aspire to the moral heights achieved by the Saudi Arabian executioners?
The Incorrigible West
Muslim writers like the government controlled Saudi journalists are right to insist upon a single standard of conduct to be followed throughout the world. One cannot help but be inspired and motivated by their wisdom, perception, and intelligence. It cannot be denied. There should be one standard of conduct and only one, and why should it not be the Islamic Saudi standard which the good Saudi journalists embrace and defend?
Unfortunately, the corrupting influences of democracy, freedom, constitutional law and individual rights have made the United States a particularly poor case for reform. These depraved precepts have become, after two and a quarter centuries of secular civil practice, so ingrained in the feeble minds of Americans that the average Neanderthal United States citizen is incapable of even imagining life under the single superior Saudi standard of conduct.
As much as we can admire, even aspire to emulate, the Islamic single standard of conduct, practiced by the incomparable Saudi Arabian citizens and journalists, we cannot escape the fact that in America we are plagued with a congenital double standard which the good Islamic journalists justly vilify – some have even gone further than the Saudi writers and have accused Americans of practicing triple, quadruple, even quintuple standards of conduct by allowing so many ethnic, religious and racial groups to coexist in such an Un-Saudi pluralistic society.
Saudi Arabia, Help us!
Despite the good intentions and avid desire of the author to find a viable solution to this grave injustice identified by the Saudi writers and their compatriots, it must be deeply regretted that, in the face of such an incontinent and recalcitrant American plurality, the recommended reforms are, alas, destined never to become part of America’s code of conduct.
But before we despair completely of ever eliminating this accursed obstacle of a “double standard”, which has caused such a rift between the Democratic West and the Islamic East, perhaps, in the spirit of Islamic peace and tolerance, the magnanimous Saudis could once again take a leadership role in world affairs and consider the very Western example of Dean Jonathan Swift, who, seeking a solution to the problem of the Irish poor observed, “ a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.”
If the Islamic Palestinians, who are but rank religious amateurs compared to the Saudis, have no problem sending their young children on suicide missions with explosives strapped to their frail bodies, surely the Saudis can muster up all of their considerable piety and religious fervor, in order to eat their young healthy children well nursed at a year old.
The resultant diminution in the young Saudi Muslim population over time would go a long way towards eliminating at least one of the two standards of conduct which are causing so much trouble in the world today.
And, with a modicum of luck, the Saudi example might very quickly be taken up by those in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Sudan who so admire the Saudi way.
One can only hope.
About the Author:
Sal Rosken lives, writes and votes in New York
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