One of my Muslim readers and I went back and forth via e-mail over my coverage of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB). She criticized my blog, saying that I "seem to be obsessed by everything muslim that is happening here in New England." I disagree. My response to her was:
"I don't think I'm obsessed by everything Muslim in New England, just the ISB, the (Boston branch of the) Muslim American Society, and the two imams arrested on religious visa fraud charges. Sometimes those stories overlap. As you know, there's lots going on in dozens of different Islamic communities across New England, not just those two organizations and those two imams. Since there is very little coverage of these particular issues in the Boston newspapers, I blog about them."
The reader took issue with what's in my About Me page:
My concerns in the world are with coarseness of popular culture, the rise in Islamic fundamentalism and the decline in Christianity. I want to do my part to preserve and improve what is good about our society, and push back a bit against the barbarians.
My interests (include) preserving and bettering Western civilization.
Not in that order, I would add. My reader didn't like the implication that Western Civilization is any better than any other civilization. She wrote: "I am sorry to say that your comment that the western civilization is superior to other cultures is racist." No, my dear, it's not. Race has nothing to do with it. The basic tenets of a society are what's important: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, rules of law, democratic government, a functioning civil society. And Western civilization (warts and all) provides those elements in spades. Emigration patterns support the superiority of Western civilization, as many thousands of people continue to leave non-Western countries every year and flock to Western countries. Where would my reader prefer to live, in Mali or Canada? Bangladesh or Australia? Somalia or the U.S.? Ayaan Hirsi Ali recently spoke about cultural differences in a speech written for Dr. Martin Luther King Day:
If I allow myself to be inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., then my dream is that those lucky enough to be born into a culture of "ladies first" will let go of the myth that all cultures are equal.
Human beings are equal; cultures are not.
A culture that celebrates femininity is not equal to a culture that trims the genitals of her girls.
A culture that holds the door open to her women is not equal to one that confines them behind walls and veils.
A culture that spends millions on saving a baby girl’s life is not equal to a one that uses its first encounter with natal technology to undertake mass abortion simply because baby girls are not welcome.
A culture with courts that punish a husband for forcing his wife to have sex with him is not equal to a culture with a tribunal that decrees a young woman be gang-raped for talking to a boy of an allegedly higher caste.
A culture that encourages dating between young men and young women is not equal to a culture that flogs or stones a girl for falling in love.
A culture where monogamy is an aspiration is not equal to a culture where a man can lawfully have four wives all at once.
A culture that protects women’s rights by law is not equal to a culture that denies women their alimony and half their inheritance.
A culture that insists on holding open a position for women in its Supreme Court is not equal to a culture that declares that the testimony of a woman is worth half of that of a man.
What she said! I do defend our Western Civilization against its enemies without and within, and that doesn't make me a racist. If anything, that makes me a humanist, since Western Civ offers the greatest rights, protections, freedoms and opportunities to all humans of all races, men and women, old and young.