I spent a long weekend in London meeting with a handful of prominent Iraqis, including two leading Shiite clerics. The group’s mission is to memorialize the brutality that existed under Saddam Hussein and to create a museum akin to the Holocaust Museum.
The Iraq Memory Foundation works to document the first-hand testimonies from Iraqi survivors of Saddam's regime. For nearly 30 years, Iraqis suffered from his brutality, but so many Americans say, "So what, that's their problem, they've been fighting for years and will always fight." Just look into the eyes of an Iraqi dad who had to watch with his wife, their eight-month old daughter fly a foot into the air as the current was turned on to an electric cable attached to their child’s wrist. Saddam should have been taken out even if his most serious weapon of mass destruction was a Red Ryder BB gun.
On a visit to Hyde Park's Speaker's Corner, I engaged a British Imam. Here are a few highlights of our exchange:
- Should leaving the Islamic faith be punishable by death? His response, "In Britain, no, but in an Islamic state, yes." In an Isalmic state, conversion to a different religion is considered synonymous with treason.
- Some people are concerned about Muslim immigrants not assimilating into the British culture. The Imam's response - "As Muslims we have fully integrated into British society, but we have no desire to assimilate to an inferior culture." Ironically, Britain today has "reverse assimilation" as exemplified by the fact that British police sniffer dogs wear "booties" with rubber soles so as not to offend Muslims.
- On the Muslim who was found not guilty of beating his wife in a German secular court because it did not violate Shari'a law, his response was, "Just as we punish our children to reprimand them, so too sometimes it is justifiable to reprimand our wives. It is our duty."
How does a multiculturalist embrace two cultures where one hangs homosexuals as they did the 14-year old boy in Iran last month, while the other protects and advances the rights of homosexuals? Similarly, is multiculturalism possible when we contrast Islam with Christianity? One says the Quran must dictate the function of government in a theocratic caliphate-type system of government. The western worldview embraces Jesus' comment, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God’s”... one of the earliest statements on the separation of church and state. How do multiculturalists justify the concept of religious freedom and a culture that kills those who leave the Muslim faith?
Dining at the House of Lords, graciously hosted by Baroness Caroline Cox and Lord Malcolm Pearson, joined by my friend Gerard Batten, who ran for Mayor of London, we discussed the impact of political correctness on British culture. A UK judge recently said that Shari'a law is permissible in domestic relationships, distressing women's rights advocates. Adding to this, the recent resolution passed by the United Nations, banning criticism of Islam and Mohammed, essentially making it akin to 'hate speech', drives all of us to discern what we can do, as private citizens on both sides of the pond, to maintain the free speech traditions we've enjoyed in western civilization, and for which so many have died.
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God Bless, Foster ****