Thursday, January 04, 2007
AP: Praising Islam for American Youth
In apparent pursuit of their status as the chief news source for Islam in the west, the AP published a puff piece about how wonderful it is for young Americans to participate in the Muslim practice of the Hajj -- a required pilgrimage to Mecca.
Here is how wonderful and instructive it is...
The 20-year-old American tells his hajj pilgrimage stories ... and saw a man drop dead while circling the Kaaba.
Well, how "inspiring" it is to see a man drop dead at a religious function. Is that the sort of thing that should be praised as a civilized expression of religion?
"Dude, I saw it, the guy had the most peaceful smile on his face," (said) Adil Muschelewicz ... Muschelewicz didn't know the cause of the man's death -- exhaustion maybe, he said -- but it became one of the many powerful religious moments that have shaken him during the trip.
"I looked at his face and I looked at the Kaaba, and it was like he was happy, he'd gotten close to God. It just went boom, like this deep bass line in my heart," he said. "It was so emotional. I was by myself, in this wild place I'd never been before."
Isn't this somewhat shocking? Is it a western ideal to have people keeling over dead at religious services? Is it something we should celebrate for our children?
For the AP it is a great thing, it appears.
For young American Muslims far from home, the hajj pilgrimage is an awesome adventure that they say deepens their faith and connects them with the wide range of Muslim peoples.
The AP also seemed to have a multicultural orgasm as they praised the "soundtrack" of "languages" present during the Hajj.
It is also a sensory overload, with a soundtrack in languages from around the world -- Arabic, English, Turkish, Malay and Bahasa, Urdu and Hindi. Intense poverty collides with wealth, with some pilgrims sleeping on the garbage-strewn pavement and others staying in "five-star" tents with meals and other facilities provided.
Are we advocating for our children to go to Mecca and sleep on garbage strewn streets?
Just what the heck is so great about this and why is the AP celebrating it so? It all seems rather perplexing until you get to the AP's real message. A little later in the piece we see the AP's real point revealed. The AP is celebrating American Muslims distancing themselves from the west and gaining "connection to the Middle East" to give them a fuller expression of Islam.
But for American Muslim parents, it is also a chance to connect their children with a religious heritage they have only heard about growing up in the U.S. Some of the younger pilgrims -- children of immigrants from the Islamic world -- may have occasionally visited their parents' homelands. Others, whose parents are converts to Islam -- like Muschelewicz -- have less direct connection to the Middle East.
Obviously the AP is pushing the idea that one cannot be a proper Muslim in the USA and that one needs a "connection" to the Middle East to be a better observer of the faith.
But, it is doubtful that religion is what the AP is concerned about. What they are concerned about is furthering the proposition that the USA is somehow a lesser place. Lesser for Muslims or anyone else. The USA, in the AP's eyes, retards the proper development of a Muslim as it does development of anything else besides self-centered, consumer driven, halfwits that are not cosmopolitan enough to celebrate other cultures.
Yes, when all is said and done, this is just another excuse for the AP to bash the west and the USA and another way for the AP to advocate that our youth distance themselves from it.