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View Diary: My Hero Jihad (271 comments)

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  •  heros... (none)
    It is very rare in the modern day that you hear about a man as heroic as Jihad Momani.  Too often our art and literature depicts man as weak against the evils of thugs and tyranny.  Too often we hear of the man who says, "I love my freedom, but I'll pass this one up so that i can keep my other freedoms."  Momani said no, and stood up for what is right.  The question is, how will we respond?  Are we willing to accept that a true hero can be crushed? Or will we rise to his aid, protecting the freedom of speech that we love so much?  I know this sounds like war-mongering, but why should we allow a theocracy like jordan to dictate what an honest man like Momani can say?
    •  I'm on your side... (none)
      ...but it is important to know that Jordan is not a theocracy.  It is a Kingdom, but not one which enforces Sharia.
      •  oh, good to know (none)
        they still don't seem to be holding up freedom as any standard though do they?
      •  It's an autocracy (4.00)
        The arrest of Jihad Momani isn't unusual, actually, except in the sense that the threats by the mukharabat, and arrests that keep citizens and news outlets quiet and in line, generally pertain to criticism of the Jordanian Regime and its policies, and most don't get much publicity.  Generally speaking, I wish more would pay attention to the repressive tactics of our allies, not just when the speech is the type "we" like.

        Human Rights Watch:

        Jordan: Editor Prosecuted for Posting Articles by MPs
        Authorities Revert to Silencing Critics Through Repressive National Security Laws

        (New York, January 26, 2006) - The Jordanian government should immediately drop national security charges against Jamil Abu Bakr for posting articles written by parliamentarians on an opposition party website more than a year ago, Human Rights Watch said today.
        Abu Bakr, the editor of the party's website, told Human Rights Watch that prosecutors at the state security court on January 5 charged him with "belittling the dignity of the Jordanian state."

        Jordan: Slander Charge Signals Chill

        Revise the Penal Code to Guarantee Free Speech

        (Amman, December 23, 2004) -- Jordan's charging of a political activist with slander is intended to chill legitimate political debate, Human Rights Watch said today. A judge in Amman charged activist Ali Hattar on Tuesday with violating article 191 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which provides criminal penalties for the "slander" of Jordanian government officials.  
        Human Rights Watch said that the government detained Hattar last Sunday after he delivered a lecture entitled, "Why We Boycott America." The government released Hattar from custody on Monday, and charged him the next day. If found guilty, he faces up to two years imprisonment.  
         "Yet again, the Jordanian government is using the vague wording of its penal code to crack down on free speech," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division. "These charges fly in the face of the government's pledges to reform the political system and protect basic freedoms for Jordanian citizens."  

        •  You are right, of course... (none)
          ...and I'm always thrilled to see your highly informative posts.

          I'd be similarly thrilled to hear your thoughts on the Tim Cavanaugh article linked in the diary.

          •  Thanks.. (none)
            ..I think :) Cavanaugh makes some good points, but  below is his weak spot.

            But the Islamic explosion over the cartoons has been interesting. While you can't call the reaction good, it has been less bad than we might have expected, ranging from the legitimate (open criticism, demonstrations, boycotts of the offending newspapers) to the outrageous (violence, rioting, murder attempts), to something that resides between these two poles

            Putting aside for the moment he is looking at the situation rather clinically (I'm pretty sure the families of the people who have died or have been directly harmed in the last few days feel a little less sanguine.) Fact is we have no idea what the long time result of publishing and reprinting these cartoons in Europe will be.  My feeling is this episode has convinced many (who weren't convinced already) that there actually is a War on Islam by the West, and Islam is being singled as an object of scorn.

            I read an interesting piece in Foreign Policy Magazine a few days before this controversy erupted, that points out that what fuels Islamist terrorism may not be what many believe. That poverty doesn't produce terrorists, a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict isn't a cure-all, and young Muslim men aren't the most likely to turn to terror, but:

            "Perceived Threats to Islam Create Support for Terrorism"
            There is tremendous hesitance to admit that Muslim populations, on whose behalf terrorists claim to operate, have grievances or concerns that need to be addressed as a means to minimizing public support for terrorism. For some, this is the moral equivalent of negotiating with terrorism. This is unfortunate, because these grievances matter.

            In some countries, including Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, and more than 70 percent of the population believes that Islam is under threat. Support for terrorism feeds on the belief that large segments of the Muslim world are victims of ongoing injustice.

            There must be a more productive and responisble way to provoke dialogue between the West and the Islamic world then sticking them in the eye with a sharp stick, and waiting to see what happens.

            •  Wow... (none)
              ...thanks for the link.  And I assure you, I meant what I said in the most complimentary of ways.

              I agree that there must be a better way.  But I also think that it is uncertain if that better way would be found, and at this point, I'm willing to take what I can get.  If this situation has demonstrated anything clearly, it is that we do not understand one another, and that we must come to find some level of greater understanding.

              A new thought: can traditional Islam survive the threat posed to it?  Traditional Christianity did not survive the Enlightenment, and has been virtually wiped out in the modernized world.  What does the status of evangelical Christianity in the United States have to teach us about the future of Islam?

              I don't have answers to those questions, but I'd like to start asking them.

              •  Well.. (none)
                I think I we should stop bombing, oppressing, and lecturing them. Try putting ourselves in their shoes.  That's what I do when I want to understand a situation, pretend I'm there, experiencing what others are experiencing.

                A consistant, fair, just, and respectful foreign policy in the region would be a start.  I don't see Islam as the problem, it will develop as it will; I don't have any predictions, other than radicalism will grow if our current policies continue. I see the cartoons as counter-productive, if anything.

              •  btw (none)
                congrats on making the front page and the recommended list.  Well deserved!
                •  A belated thanks... (none)
                  ...I certainly didn't expect it.  I'm just glad because maybe, just maybe, this sort of support will make a difference for these two men, and make a difference for the future of Jordan.

                  Jordan, btw, is the only Arab country I ever visited as a civilian.  They are a wonderful and generous people, and they deserve all the best things in life.  I think a free press is one of those things.  Maybe this will be a tiny step towards them getting one.

                  •  You're welcome (none)
                    It's funny, Americans have such a positive view of Jordan, I mean the regime, mostly I guess because Noor is American, Jordan has good relations with Israel, and the regime is pro-American - so it gets a pass in the US media and from our government.  But few appreciate the repressivness of the regime towards its people.

                    The solution there is complicated, but I doubt there will be much liberalization until the I/P conflict is resolved - and I think that's a long time coming.

                    But yeah, agreed, every little bit helps.

                    •  Oh, I don't have a positive view of the regime... (none)
                      ...just the people.  The people are good.  As for the rest of it, if I knew what would solve it, I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.


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