|February 18, 2007
|Op-Ed - You Should
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
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
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,
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.