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February 18, 2007
Op-Ed - You Should Be Humiliated
By Fred Taub President, Divestment Watch
   One re-occurring theme among Palestinians complaining about Israel is the phrase "You are humiliating me," which has been used as a justification for terrorist murder. The claim is largely laughed at by non-Muslims because of its blatant absurdity, yet that very claim was recently used on Fox News by Hezbollah supporter Imam Husham Al-Husainy, the Dearborn, Michigan Imam who delivered an invocation at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting 2007 in which he called for the end of "oppression and occupation," presumably referring to the US.

   The Al-Husainy statement raised many eyebrows in the US, and the heat was turned up by conservative columnist and Detroit-area native Debbie Schlussel who has went undercover to several radical Islamic events in Dearborn, risking her life in the process.

   When interviewed about his DNC statement by Fox News host Sean Hannity, Al-Husainy was asked if he felt Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. In response, Al-Husainy pulled out the humiliation card to deflect a question for which a truthful answer would not be in his best interests. This is significant because the "humiliation" claim is now being used outside of Palestinian Authority controlled areas, so perhaps it is a good time to look at the claim a little closer.

   From the Islamic standpoint, there are no prohibitions regarding humiliating statements. Rather, there is a cultural superiority complex. The Arab world feels superiority over all other religions and that Arabic is the divine language, thus all other people are inferior and infidels. As part of this, they feel that non-believers do not have the right to question or contradict them. Moreover, by questioning an Imam publicly, the infidel is humiliating the Imam by questioning the Imam's authority.

   The humiliation and authority factor is not limited to non-Muslims. While a Muslim may ask questions to learn from an Imam, he may not question the Imam's authority or criticize the Koran without expecting physical retribution. Non-Muslims, for example, may be criticized for non-flattering comments about the Bible, yet people like Salman Rushdie have had their life threatened for criticizing, or as Muslims say humiliating, Islam and the Koran.

   The reaction by Al-Husainy is indicative of Muslim religious leaders in non-Muslim countries who do not respect the cultural values of their host country. While a dinner host, for example, may accommodate the needs of the guest, the host does not adapt to the guest. A respectful guest will gracefully adapt to the customs of the host. Recently, Imam Fawaz Damra was deported from the US for, in essence, outwearing his welcome.

   One thing is for certain though. There is nothing wrong with asking a question to better understand someone's stance on issues, which is what Sean Hannity did. Considering Al-Husainy's immediate claim of humiliation, one must conclude that the actual humiliation Al-Husainy would be achieved is in the answer he refused to give. I say, if one does not want to be humiliated, one should not adopt humiliating stances.

   Yasser Arafat too used the humiliation claim, but not in the US. Arafat once stated "[Israeli Prime Minister] Barak tried and failed to assassinate me…he is humiliating me." Similar complaints were waged against US troops in Iraq for using Israeli-made bullets. That complaint was not in killing terrorists, but rather that shooting at terrorists using Israeli bullets was humiliating.

   Placed in perspective, these statements have an entirely new meaning. Arafat's complaint against Barak was actually that Barak, as a non-Muslim, did not have that stature to kill him. Similarly with the Israeli bullets, the complaint was against the US for using bullets which in their eyes have no right to kill Muslims. The application in their eyes was, therefore, humiliating.

   It is important to understand the humiliation factor as more than just a complaint. It is, in reality, an insult levied by Muslims to those they call infidels and therefore have no right to question them. If I am ever told 'you are humiliating me,' I will stand for my own dignity and I will simply respond, 'You should be humiliated because you and your religion are not superior to me or mine."

Fred Taub is a boycott consultant and is the President of Boycott Watch which monitors and reports about consumer boycotts, and Divestment Watch which exposed the illegal nature of the divest-from-Israel campaign as well as why divestment is bad for the US and is anti-peace.
© 2007 Divestment Watch