Saturday, June 4, 2005

The Pentagon has acknowledged five instances in which guards or interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility handled the Koran in a way that would offend some who believe it the revealed word of Allah. Three cases are said to have been deliberate and two unintentional.

Amnesty International has put the United States high on the list of countries it says are guilty of prisoner and human-rights abuses because of its treatment of suspected terrorists. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers rebutted the notion of inappropriate treatment of detainees last weekend when he told Fox News Sunday these people would “slit our throats, our children’s throats” if they were set free.

Islamic countries apply a double standard on treatment of “holy books” and people who differ in faith and practice from Islamic dogma. While Islamic groups in the United States are engaged in “sensitivity training” sessions for non-Muslims that have included federal workers, the Ohio National Guard and U.S. Air Force Academy, there are no such sessions for Muslims to teach them tolerance for non-Islamic faiths. Quite the contrary.

The least verbal or physical slight of any Muslim in America is immediately condemned by activist groups and sometimes the U.S. government. But the denigration of Jews and Christians throughout much of the Islamic world is theological and political business as usual. Jews are regularly referred to as “apes and pigs,” mostly because that is what the Koran calls them.

According to the MEMRI-TV Monitor Project, which observes the way Jews, especially, are portrayed throughout the Middle East, a Jordanian produced program titled “Stories From Before the Verses Came Down” was aired in February on Saudi Iqra TV.

The soap opera included familiar anti-Semitic stuff, such as blaming ancient Jews for distorting their own Torah to make it seem Mohammed could not be the “true prophet” and having a Jewish character say, “We are the slayers of prophets, and we live off their blood. We live for destroying them.”

According to a report authored by former CIA Director James Woolsey for Freedom House, the Saudi government has made it a practice to disseminate propaganda about Jews, Christians and America through mosques in the U.S. and through schools, many funded by the extremist Wahhabi Islamic sect.

The 89-page report titled, “Saudi publications on hate ideology fill American mosques,” finds propaganda collected from U.S. mosques shows a “totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence.” Such mosques, it says, are in the minority. But how many are needed to train terrorists who might attack the U.S. with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons?

Throughout much of the Islamic world, the practice of Christianity and Judaism is severely restricted, if not outlawed. The Freedom House report said Saudi publications “state that it is a religious obligation for Muslims to hate Christians and Jews” and that, under Saudi law, Muslims who convert to any other faith “are to be put to death.”

In a column four years ago, The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen wrote: “The Arab world is the last bastion of unbridled, unashamed, unhidden and unbelievable anti-Semitism. Hitlerian myths get published in the popular press as incontrovertible truths. The Holocaust either gets minimized or denied…. How the Arab world will ever come to terms with Israel when Israelis are portrayed as the devil incarnate is hard to figure out.” Little, if anything, has changed since he wrote those words.

Despite the Western diplomatic talk about Arabs and Palestinians living in peace with even a geographically reduced Israel, the Arab world demonstrates no intention of coming to terms with Israel or the Jewish (or Christian) people, unless it involves their complete subjugation to Islam or deaths.

The State Department acknowledged for the first time during the Clinton administration that Christians — from China, to the Sudan, to the Middle East — have become the most persecuted faith group in the world. Yet those persecutors are not pressured into the kind of sensitivity training Muslim groups in America demand at the slightest slight, whether actual, imagined or concocted.

Acceptance of this Islamic double standard creates a significant threat to the United States.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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