Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Muslim Tradition (by Phila)

Georgie Ann Geyer is shocked to the depths of her being that a Muslim man has beheaded his wife. You can tell from the serious and thoughtful opening paragraph of her latest column:
No, not Buffalo! Not our very own American city, where it snows all the time and where residents just oversaw the tragedy of the Continental Airlines plane crash. How much are they supposed to bear?
This, you'll agree, is precisely the right tone to take in regards to the murder of Assiya Hassan: an expression of grief and sympathy for Buffalo, where it snows all the time.

Some people would blame the religion of Islam for this act of violence. But not Geyer. She's a thoughtful centrist, not a bigot, so she blames Muslim culture instead.
[W]e see in the papers every day -- from India to Pakistan and sometimes to Egypt and to other Arab countries -- wives, daughters and sisters being horribly mutilated and killed, sometimes being burned alive or their faces disfigured by acid, by male family members for everything from marrying a man of their own choice to being the victim of village rape.
Of course, we also read in the papers about women being abused and attacked and murdered by their white, American husbands. But that doesn't count, because those cases are all aberrations, and would remain so if there were three times as many of them. These men are all individuals who went astray, whereas Muslim wife-murderers -- of whatever race, nationality, or class -- are part of an irrational, primitive horde that threatens "our" America.
Americans of Muslim faith and of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent will be judged by these events and changes (or non-changes) in their mother countries. It is simply human nature.

It is also time, then, not only for American Muslims to speak out against such horror -- how silent, so many of them have been! -- but especially for Muslim imams and other officials to cry out to the holy heavens against them. Where are their voices?

Ultimately, a death like Assiya Hassan's -- how many beheadings exactly have you heard of, even among the most violent of American men recently? -- will simply confirm to the rest of America that this is a Muslim tradition.
Indeed. Once Muslim men lay down the shamshir, and start shooting or bludgeoning their uppity wives instead, we'll be able to say that they've finally taken a tentative step away from the superstitious barbarism of the past. (At which point, we can get back to work on keeping their arrogant, America-hating women out of our private gyms.)

Incidentally, since Geyer asks, the most recent beheading I heard of was this one, which happened a little more than a week ago:
Hagerman said he killed his son on instructions from God out of fear that "the anti-Christ would take his soul." On his MySpace page, Hagerman - a former Marine now working as a school security guard - wrote of his struggles with schizophrenia but said he had overcome it through his religious faith.
Apart from that case, and a couple of others, I'd have to go all the way back to May of 2008 to find an example of an American (i.e., white) man hacking someone's head off.

In unrelated news, Newsweek purports to explain "the complex reasons seemingly ordinary men are driven to murder their families —- and why we may soon see more of these tragic cases." And an US Army medic who was convicted of murdering four Iraqi detainees says, "I made a bad mistake. I want to move on."