Da’wah is one of the three arms that operate the Islamic strategy, together with Jihad and Hijrah.
Among the three Da’wah is the most dangerous, just because Western culture does not understand. It is the stealth devise, a means to deceive and to mislead the infidels about the essence of Islam, its operational aims and strategies, introducing the nice face of Islam as a religion of peace and compassion.
The motive of Da’wah is religious: the strengthening and expansion of Islam, and it is based on the Qur’an commandments, which can be observed as Jihād al-Da’wah, the spreading of Islam among the infidels by peaceful propagating means. It is intended to changing the infidels’ minds and behavior and to subverting their mode of thinking. It is a cultural coercive strategy aimed at toppling Western democratic liberal regimes by eliminating their freedoms and by infiltrating Western technology and society’s fabrics and destroying them from within. Where Jihad works on the body, on the material structure, Da’wah works on the mental–spiritual side as a persuasion means; where Jihad operates to terrorize and intimidate, Da’wah aimed at deceiving, confusing, and misleading; where Jihad acts to submit, Da’wah paves the way to Islamize.
According to these lines, Jamal Badawi, one of the known Muslim propagandists in the US, wrote an e-mail to Robert Spencer, on February 14 2005. The aim was to prove that all verses of the Qur’an are peaceful, and that Islam promotes peace and it is against violence and wars:
“The Qur’an prohibits compulsion in religion [2:256]. It teaches the Oneness of God, acceptance and respect of all prophets [2:285], broad human brotherhood [49:13], acceptance of plurality [5:48; 11:118], universal justice and fair dealing [4:134, 5:8]. It demands just, kind and respectful treatment of those who co-exist peacefully with Muslims [60:8-9]. Peaceful dialogue with the People of the Book and the emphasis on common grounds with them is a repeated theme in the Qur’an [3:64; 29:46, 5:5].
This list sums up most of the contemporary Islamic propaganda in plenty internet sites and various publications. It is distinctive and highly definitive that Muslim propagators purposely quote verses from the Qur’an that were written in the early days of Islam at Mecca, where Muhammad was weak and his followers were few and vulnerable. These passages make Islam appear a bit compassionate and peaceful. However, the Islamic propaganda that claims that the Meccan verses are dominant in Islamic teaching, is either ignorant of actual Islamic doctrine and tidings, or it practices a sophisticated deception of Da’wah.
Well, the question is are these verses quoted above really mean what Badawi says? It is easy to refute his claims as a pure propagation by introducing the real meaning of the verses.
As about verse 2:256, “no compulsion in religion,” La Ikrāh fīl-Dīn. Probably there is no verse more frequently cited by contemporary Muslims propagators to mislead the infidels. Let’s read verse 2:256 in entirety:
There is no compulsion in religion. Truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in Satan and believes in Allah, indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off.
This verse was given after the Badr War, in March 624. According to the most authoritative Muslim exegetes, there are the following explanations to the verse circumstances:
First, the cause of this verse was the expulsion of the Jewish tribe of Banu al-Nadir, and it has nothing to do with tolerance towards the other. The women of Ansar, Arabs who joined Islam in Medina, used to make a vow to convert their sons to Judaism if they lived. When the tribe of Banu al-Nadir was expelled from Medina, some children of the Ansar were among them, so their parents could not abandon them; hence Allah revealed: “There is no compulsion in religion…”
Second, according to Ibn Ishaq, in his Sīrat Rasûl Allāh, narrated Ibn Abbas: it was revealed with regard to a man from the tribe of Bani Salim whose two sons converted to Christianity but he was himself a Muslim. He told the Prophet: “Shall I force them to embrace Islam as they insist on Christianity”, hence Allah revealed this verse. But, continue Ibn Ishaq, it was abrogated by the verses of “fighting” the infidels, in Sûrat al-Fath, 48:16; Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:73; and Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:123.
Third, according to Ibn Kathir: Allah says: “There is no compulsion in religion”, meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam, because it is clear and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides and blinds his heart cannot embrace Islam by force. Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizyah, they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of “compulsion.”
Fourth, according to Nahhas, with the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas: “scholars differed concerning 2:256. Some said it has been abrogated by Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:73, for the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and fought those that had no alternative but to surrender to Islam. Other scholars said that it has not been abrogated concerning the People of the Book. It is only the infidels who are compelled to embrace Islam, and upon them 9:73 applies. The Prophet said: I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. This Hadīth is taken from the words of Allah in Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:193. Allah sent Muhammad calling people to Him, showing the way to the truth… until the evidence of Allah’s truth became manifest … He ordered him to call people by the sword…”
Fifth, according to Suyuti, verse 2:256 was not abrogated by 9:73, but this is a case of delaying or postponing the command to fight the infidels until the Muslims become strong. This view exactly supports the issue: in Mecca Muhammad was weak with few followers, and he could not resist his enemies. From here the mild pronouncements concerning fighting his rivals. However, in Medina Muhammad became strong, and he ordered the Believers to fight the infidels.
However, most important to understand the meaning of verse 2:256, is by reading the following verse 2:257, which is connected to it. This sums up the entire issue:
Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light, and as to those who disbelieve, their guardian is Satan who takes them out of the light into the darkness. They are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide forever.
Concluding the issue, one has to look at the context, to realize there is nothing compassionate and peace-loving here. No tolerance and no accepting other religions as legitimate. Verse 2:257 confirms that 2:256 prove, by definition and along its entire Scripture Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.
As about 2:285, in which Badawi says it “teaches the oneness of God, acceptance and respect of all prophets.” Well, Badawi is misleading as a propagator. The verse says:
The Apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers. They all believe in Allah and his angels and his book and his Apostles. We make no difference between any of his Apostles, and they say: we hear and obey, our Allah (emphasis is mine).
That is, there is no pluralism and respect of the other. It is a firm belief in Allah alone and in Islam as the only legitimate religion. Moreover, this is the proof how Islam is compulsive and abusive. According to Islamic Din al-Fitrah, all human being are Muslims from the beginning of history to the end of the world. All Jewish and Christian prophets are Muslims and all submit to Allah. It is totally opposite from pluralism and tolerance. This is not exactly what Badawi says when he deceives the infidels with his pure propagation. Islam is in fact ethnocentric and racist.
As about 49:13, in which Badawi says “broad human brotherhood.” Well, it is not exactly as he says. The verse declares:
O people! We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another. The best among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous (emphasis is mine).
The verse refers to the Arabs alone. It is clear from the next verse (49:14):
The Desert-Arabs say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not believed; but say, ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered into your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish any of your deeds. Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
There is absolutely no “broad human brotherhood,” but submission to Islam alone. On the contrary, by definition and along its entire Scripture, Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.
As about 5:48 and 11:118, in which Badawi says “acceptance of plurality.” The analysis is far away from what he says: verse 5:48 declares:
And we revealed to you the Book [Qur’an], with truth, confirming the Scripture that preceded it, and superseding it. So judge [Muhammad] between them according to what Allah revealed, [meaning the superiority of the Qur’an] and do not follow their desires if they differ from the truth that has come to you. For each of you we have assigned a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He could have made you a single nation, but He tests you through what He has given you. So compete in righteousness. To Allah is your return, all of you; then He will inform you of what you had disputed (emphasis is mine).
It is also clear from the next verse (5:49):
And judge between them according to what Allah revealed, and do not follow their desires. And beware of them, lest they lure you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you. But if they turn away, know that Allah intends to strike them with some of their sins. In fact, a great many people are corrupt (emphasis is mine).
To be sure, verse 5:47 says:
So let the people of the Gospel rule according to what Allah revealed in it. Those who do not rule according to what Allah revealed are the sinners.
Verse 11:118 declares:
Had your Lord willed, He could have made humanity one community, but they continue to differ (emphasis is mine).
This is not a declaration of plurality, but differentiation: those who are not Muslims continue to differ and that is why Allah has not made humanity one community. A proof comes from verses 11:117, and 11:119:
Your Lord would never destroy the towns wrongfully, while their inhabitants are righteous.
Except those on whom your Lord has mercy-for that reason He created them. The Word of your Lord is final: “I will fill Hell with jinn and humans, altogether.”
These verses do not show any pluralism. On the contrary, by definition and along its entire Scripture, Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.
As about verses 4:134, 5:8, in which Badawi says “universal justice and fair dealing.” It is important to show these have nothing to do with the subject matter.
Whoever desires the reward of this world with Allah is the reward of this world and the next. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
This verse has nothing to do with “universal justice and fair dealing.” It says: the Muslims loyal believers will receive Allah’s rewards in this world and the next. That is all. Moreover, the verses before and after clear the issue:
132. To Allah belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. God suffices as Manager.
133. If He wills, He can do away with you, O people, and bring others. Allah is Able to do that.
135. O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah takes care of both. So do not follow your desires, lest you swerve. If you deviate, or turn away, then Allah is Aware of what you do.
As about 5:8. It relates only to the Muslims.
O you who believe! Be upright to Allah, witnessing with justice; and let not the hatred of a certain people [not Muslims] prevent you from acting justly [to your fellow believers]. Adhere to justice, for that is nearer to piety; and fear Allah. Allah is informed of what you do (emphasis is mine).
The verses before and after prove this issue clearly:
And Remember Allah’s blessings upon you, and His covenant which He covenanted with you; when you said, “We hear and we obey.” And remain conscious of Allah, for Allah knows what the hearts contain.
Allah has promised those who believe and work righteousness: they will have forgiveness and a great reward (emphasis is mine).
Concluding these, by definition and along its entire Scripture, Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.
As about 60:8-9, in which Badawi says Islam “demands just, kind and respectful treatment of those who co-exist peacefully with Muslims.” One can only wonder how Badawi interpret these verses. The verses are as follows:
As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, Allah does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. Allah loves the equitable.
But Allah prohibits you from befriending those who fought against you over your religion, and expelled you from your homes, and aided in your expulsion. Whoever takes them for friends-these are the wrongdoers.
These verses prove that those who resist Islamic coercive religion and prefer not to become Muslims, their fate is to be fought. Islam is ethnocentric and warmongering.
As about 3:64; 29:46, 5:5, in which Badawi says Islam advocates for “peaceful dialogue with the People of the Book and the emphasis on common grounds with them is a repeated theme in the Qur’an.” However, Badawi reveals only a small portion of the truth. The verses are as follows:
3:64. Say, “O People of the Book, come to terms common between us and you: that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate nothing with Him, and that none of us takes others as lords besides Allah.” And if they turn away, say, “Bear witness that we have submitted.”
5:5. Today all good things are made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste believing women, and chaste women from the people who were given the Scripture before you, provided you give them their dowries, and take them in marriage, not in adultery, nor as mistresses. But whoever rejects faith, his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.
29:46. And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in the best manner possible, except those who do wrong among them. And say, “We believe in what was revealed to us, and in what was revealed to you; and our Allah and your Allah is One; and to Him we are submissive” (all emphases are mine).
According to these verses it is not a peaceful dialogue but a coercive one: if Jews and Christians accept Allah as their only deity, and associate nothing with him, then there is a cooperation. However, if they stick to their God then they are sinners. Even for women it is one-sided: Muslims can take Jewish and Christian women but not vice-versa. But the issue is much more complicated. Even in their prayer, in Sūrat al-Fātihah, verse 7, Muslims disassociate themselves from the Jews, who have gone astray and Christians, on whom there is the wrath of Allah.
Unfortunately, Judaism and Christianity are rejected and not acceptable to Allah, after he has sent his final messenger to the entire world. Jews are sinners and transgressors and have therefore forfeited their status as the chosen people. They are evil incarnate like devils, since they have killed all the prophets. They have turned into monkeys and pigs destined to suffer in Hellfire forever.
As for Christianity, it is a corrupted and distorted religion based on myths and legends. Jesus is a Muslim Prophet who asserts that the foundations of Christianity, like the Trinity, are false, and that Christ’s Divinity is a blasphemy. Christians are infidels and blasphemers and have invented lies about Allah by ascribing partners to Allah, which is the worst of sins. For that, they are condemned forever to Hell. Jesus will come back and destroy Christianity by breaking the Cross, and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them. Indeed. On the Day of Resurrection, Jews and Christians would take the place of Muslims in Hell.
For Badawi’s sake, here is an up-to-date version of Islamic behavior concerning the non-Muslims: fighting is prescribed upon the believers (2:216). It is Jihad in the cause of Allah (2:244 and other forty verses) against the powers of Satan (4:76), the infidels and the hypocrites (9:5; 9:73; 66:9), and the People of the Book (9:29). The order for the Muslims is to smite their necks (47:4; 8:12) and to strike terror in their hearts (3:151; 8:60), including the People of the Book (59:2), for the hereafter world (4:74). For that, the Jihadi Muslims will earn paradise (3:195: 9:72: 13:22-23; 47:4-6), and their reward will be black-eyed virgins (44:51-54; 52:17-20; 56:22-24), and the utmost tiding is that they are not dead, but alive, staying beside Allah (2:154; 3:169).
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. Stephen Covey
I remember him sitting after work in his olive-green Air Force flight suit at a high-top stool at our kitchen counter in Beavercreek, Ohio. My dadlooked down at me as I sobbed, trying to find ways to console me. You know, he said, Burma has tigers.
After coming home to tell us that he was taking the Air Force Attaché position in Rangoon, I thought my comfortable little world was crumbling. But hold up, tigers? Perhaps Burma wouldn’t be that bad after all.
As it turns out, it was the watershed event in my life.
In a country ruled by a military junta, what we were allowed to do and see was highly curated. At the time, I thought the constant presence of military guards meant we were special. VIPs. In a country that strictly limited tourism in the 1980s, we were special, but in hindsight, I know they were there, in part, to dictate our experience.
And even so, what we saw and experienced, was mind-blowing. But it wasn’t just the men who walked on coals or hung suspended with hooks in their flesh at the Hindu festivals – although those memories will forever be seared in my brain – literally and figuratively, it was the people. The day-to-day lives.
We had a Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu that intermingled in our house daily. The education I received in their presence was richer than any in the hallowed halls of academia.
In Burma (now called Myanmar), you quickly learn the squat. Even when stools and chairs were available most people would choose to squat. Gathered for an informal meal, you squat. Waiting for a bus, you squat. Taking a break to have a little conversation, you squat. I never really mastered the squat. Onebalmy day as our Hindu friendsquatted in the doorway trying to catch the elusive cool breeze, I went and playfully sat on his back. Given my awkwardness with the squat, I thought this arrangement preferable; I was just being a goofy kid.
That was the day I learned that in the East, and especially in Hinduism, body parts have a hierarchy. I cried all through the stern lecture on how I thoroughly disgraced my friend. Although I don’t remember the exact words, it pretty much came down to this – in what universe did you think it was ok to put your dirty bum anywhere near my heavenly head?
Ummm… I’m pretty sure that same fanny was dangerously close to my dad’snogginwhen he’d carry me on his shoulders. The idea of possible desecration was truly foreign.
These and many other similar lessons were my first real introduction to culture. It involved more tears (yes, I’m a big crier), but through all of these experiences, I became fascinated. Similar to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I quickly realized I wasn’t in Kansas (or Ohio) any more.
I returned to the United States with a new love of culture and diversity. And, a new respect for America, which I had previously taken for granted.
In comparison to many other countries we are a Multicultural Mecca. From my perspective, this is what makes us exceptional.
Unlike other countries that are struggling with immigration and diversity, we have a unique advantage. We are, after all, a “settler nation”. As Peter Zeihan explained in a recent conversation, almost every other country in the world was a government created by a specific ethnicity. The United States, as a settler state, didn’t have a dominant clan. This is unique. Our identity is not rooted in a singular ethnicity.
However, between WWI and WWII our state became more centralized. It had to be. These wars shaped a national identity. National institutions proliferated and mediating institutions – family, religious organizations and labor unions – created cohesion, and homogeneity, despite our diverse histories. Solidarity became a national virtue.
The statism that existed during this time, while it provided more cohesion, dampened diversity and individuality. All of this began to unwind mid-century and really started to pick up steam in the 1970s, as the pendulum swung the opposite direction. In many ways the Cold War, and the fight against the communist collective, helped to progress the mantra of individualism.
Individualism also shaped our economy.There were waves of deregulation, labor unions declined, and big state corporations gave way to more flexible, smaller private companies.The mid-century labor unions and large state corporations lead to the growth of the middle class. Once these disappeared, income inequality emerged more predominately, even as basic social equalities and civil rights were energized.
Meanwhile, mediating institutions responsible for, in large part, social cohesion – family, community and religious organizations – were also on the decline as individualism gathered momentum. The internet age was introduced in this new environment, and ironically, with social connections and a national identity already in decay, it divided us into smaller more homogenous groups – what we today call echo chambers.
This increasing polarization has a grave impact on policy-making. As Yuval Levin notes,
administrative centralization often accompanies cultural and economic individualism. As the national government grows more centralized, and takes over the work preformed by mediating institutions – from families and communities to local governments and charities – individuals become increasingly atomized; and as individuals grow apart from one another, the need for centralized government provision seems to grow.
As all of this is happening, our immigration rates have been on the rise. Although illegal immigration has been in decline recently, despite the uptick in the past few months, we witnessed a new wave of immigration started in the 1970s, that mirrored pre-war immigration levels.
However, without the same national solidarity that defined mid-century America, these immigrants weren’t enveloped into a national identity. Individualism diminishedthe national identity of solidarity. Further, low-skilled immigrant labor has fallen into the growing income gap in a divide that has already affected American workers as income inequality becomes more pronounced.
While our current employment rate is strong, what is masked in these impressive numbers is the number of American men and women who are dropping out of the labor force at a surprising rate, most acutely among those without a college education.
If you’ve ever traveled to the beaches on the East Coast in the summer, you may have noted retail employees have a strange accent. Last year, I bought an ice-cream cone from a Russian student in Cape May, NJ. And,I’m currently working with Vietnamese students who want to come to the United States for hospitality internships. Foreign students are coming in on J-1 visas to provide relief to retailers and the hospitality industry that is often painfully understaffed, especially during peak times.
If you talk to anyone in the agriculture business, you know they are hurting. As I traveled around Texas and Colorado looking for a meat packing plant to export beef to China, the options were limited. Outside of the big players, many smaller packers have shut their doors. For the ones still in operation, the primary language is Spanish.
Add to all of this, our demographics are in decline.Americans aren’t having more babies, and the only reason that we aren’t suffering the same fate as the “graying” population in Japan, and even Russia and China, is immigration.
Economic growth needs a workforce. Both high and low skilled labor is in demand, but I’m only going to touch on low-skilled labor as this is what is fueling the current immigration debate in America.
Despite the need for immigration, there are several problems that our embattled Congress has yet to address.
First, it has been shown nationally that unauthorized immigration has had a small net positive impact on our economy, but this doesn’t always play out at the state and local levels.
As income inequality is already an existing phenomenon in the United States, with the disparity seen most clearly between those with an education and those without, low-skilled immigration causes concern.While the United States is in need of low-skilled labor, our current economic situation has bifurcated, with the lower echelons in more need of some sort of state or federal support just to hover at the poverty level.
Second, while we’re trying to figure out solutions to growing inequality and immigration, we also need to keep in mind that our economyis, yet again, rapidly changing. With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a lot of jobs may soon become obsolete especially in low-skilled sectors such as retail. While we are not quite there yet, the trend is inevitable and will exacerbate income inequality as low-skilled labor is slowly pushed out of the market. This could have two related outcomes –the current demand for low-skilled labor diminishes, while those in these sectors are in increasing need for a social safety net.
Sadly, in this era of extreme polarization, hate and racism has taken the place of sane debate and policy-making. As David Brooks recently lamented in a New York Times piece, our administration is not populated with conservatives, but “anti-liberal trolls”.Similarly, the #resistance movement has become so entrenched as to make compromise or dialogue impossible. Just resist. It’s no longer about the people, it’s about winning at all costs.Too often, the pawns are innocent children – children inhumanely separated from their parents on the border, and children in the inner cities, on the brink of homelessness.
The Left is right to be concerned that part of the anti-immigration trend is a push-back from white America, as white America is soon to become a minority. A recent National Geographic issue on race illustrates, in less that two years, white children under 18 will no longer be the majority.
While it is right to resist racisttrends, we must not do so at the expense of understanding complex economic issues. The news cycle is constantly in search of the next topic we can use to beat each other over the heads. Meanwhile, as the mid-terms loom, our politicians are consumed with the next policy issue they can use to ensure re-election, at the expense of making a real difference.
The United States has the ability to harness its immigrant history and multiculturalism to a great global advantage, more so than perhaps any other country. However, in our individualistic society, we remain tigers locked in cages of our own construction, separated from competing realities that promote understanding and compromise.
While we need to address immediate emergency issues on the border, the discussion doesn’t stop there. We must agree on a flexible immigration policy that is constantly reviewed against our changing economic dynamics.A more robust guest-worker visa is perhaps a start – the number of visas evaluated each year depending on the economic climate, with adequate enforcement.Better education for both new immigrants and citizens in poverty-stricken areas that allows economic mobility and a growing middle-class. A new national identity that embraces diversity, but finds novel ways to generate social connection and cohesion amidst the reality of individualism.
Without these discussions, we fail to Make America Great (Again). While I think we should lock politicians in cages to fight it out until sanity and rationality is regained, it is incumbent on us ordinary citizens to join together in (diverse) community to model these necessary discussions in every day life. To #resist the insanity, and break the cages that have imprisoned our country and our lives.
The Unreal, the Real and the Vaccine Scare
In a few weeks time, school will resume in many countries, and quite a few parents now worry about the dangers of vaccination. Are they real or false? What are the facts?
First, a word on what we can believe to be real. Some might remember Ripley’s Believe It or Not? We are all fascinated by the odd, the unusual, even more so when science with its mundane explanations takes away the mysteries of life. So it is that reasonable people begin to believe in the incredible. We want to.
Take the case of chemtrails — a theory that trails left by jet airplanes high in the sky are chemical sprays. Why would anyone do that? The reasons vary. They want to change the climate, control our minds, lower life expectancy, reduce fertility or cause sterilization for population control, spread aluminum that causes Alzheimer’s but Monsanto profits from a GMO seed designed to grow with it, and so on.
The physics experts tell us it is relatively simple: Jet engines exhaust water vapor which condenses in the cold of higher altitudes. Called contrails (a contraction of condensation and trail), an acute observer will note they correspond to the number of engines on the airplane. Numerous scientists, scientific bodies, the Environmental Protection Agency and independent journalists have investigated and debunked chemtrails without eradicating the idea.
The results of a nationally representative 1000-person poll published last October finds that only 32 percent believe chemtrails are ‘false’. A good 25% percent are ‘unsure’ and 15 percent, think they are ‘somewhat false’. The rest consider them somewhat true’ (19 percent) or ‘true’ (9 percent). Note that just a one-third minority categorically rejects a complete hoax despite the efforts of scientists and government agencies. Perhaps a natural skepticism of officialdom doesn’t help. Of course, the blame rests squarely on some internet sites and social media (with its echo chambers) where chemtrail discussion, instead of debunking the idea, favors it and propagates conspiracy theory.
But there is another belief worse than chemtrails germinated by fake science. It has led to actual harm. For one reason or another, people known as anti-vaxxers (Trump among them) are refusing vaccinations for their children; thus an alarming global increase in measles — an illness that can cause hearing loss and, in rare cases, even death.
Developing countries have their own unique problems with vaccination. Pakistan trying to eliminate polio has experienced deadly violence against vaccinators because Taliban leaders have proclaimed it a means of sterilizing Muslims.
But there are problems in developed countries also: A survey in Australia showed one in three parents having concerns with vaccination. In response, some health facilities are refusing to treat unvaccinated children. Australia is not alone; the U.S. too has a vaccine dilemma and Europe is not exempt.
As preparation for the school year often requires vaccination shots, here is a brief review of what we know about vaccines, the origins of the anti-vaxxer movement and the available facts.
The prophet of anti-vaxers is Andrew Wakefield, whose origins are in the U.K. He is a doctor, who was barred from practicing medicine there following his fake study connecting autism to the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Several later studies have proven Wakefield dead wrong.
A refusal to vaccinate has been a key driver of recent measles cases in the US. A disease once considered eliminated here has now returned, and in 2014, 667 cases were recorded, though numbers have declined since then. Often the cause is a holiday trip contact and transmission to someone who has not been vaccinated; appalling to think about when the two-dose vaccination regimen renders 97 percent immunity.
For anti-vaxxers, there are two other troubling reasons: Some believe the injection of attenuated, that is weakened, viruses can cause harm. Then also there is anxiety about thimerosal in some vaccines as it carries traces of mercury. But thimerosal has not been used in child vaccines for nearly two decades. And while the MMR vaccine uses a combination of attenuated viruses, it has been in use without causing harm since 1971. It has prevented an estimated 52 million cases of measles and over 5000 fatalities.
Belief and miracles have been a natural companion for humans. About 2000 years ago, there was a miraculous virgin birth. Now, some scholars contend it was all a translation error misinterpreting the word for ‘maiden’ as ‘virgin’. Others argue that ‘maiden’ in the culture of the time automatically implied virginity because unmarried young women were expected to be chaste. Who is correct? Heaven knows!
Analysis of Alon Confino’s “A World Without Jews: Interpreting The Holocaust”
Following the period of moderate engagement with the Holocaust between 1945 and 1975, Holocaust perception from the mid-1970s to the present has been characterized by two simultaneous trends. The first trend is prominent in miscellaneous fields such as history, philosophy, the arts, and the literature has involved a strenuous attempt to acknowledge as well as realize the Holocaust and to cope with the difficulty of representing it. The second tendency might appear to stand in opposition to the intense discussion of the limits of Holocaust representation, is manifest in the massive cultural production of the Holocaust in history books, novels, comics, plays, films and other artistic vehicles. In general, taking into consideration of Nazi policy towards Jewish, there are three overriding notions:
The Holocaust, according to Saul Friedlander, was determined by the centrality of ideological-cultural factors as the prime movers of Nazi policies in tandem with the Jewish issue, depending mainly on circumstances, institutional dynamics, and essentially… on the evolution of the war… The anti-Jewish drive became ever more extreme along with the radicalization of the regime’s goals and then with the extension of the war… The context of the war has been viewed as the breeding ground for the extermination and annihilation of Jews. Germans in occupied Eastern Europe… were living in a context in which the expulsion, even the extermination, of entire peoples was publicly discussed, a readiness to indulge in brutality and fanaticism was ubiquitously demanded, and the actions of individuals were legitimized by history and politics.
The war in general but especially the war on the Eastern Front, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, was fought as a racial ideological struggle for life or death, whose prime enemies were the Bolsheviks and Jews. The barbarization of war on the Eastern Front, a cumulative result of the scale of the fighting, geographical conditions, and ideological indoctrination, led to killing and extermination. The notion of the radicalization of racial ideology has been important for capturing the contingency that ran through the making of the Holocaust. The radicalization is no longer understood as a realization of long-term plans or as inherent in the system, but rather as the outcome of plans for the deportation of the Jews that were always being revised and extended. Holocaust is squarely placed within the context of the regime’s overall racial ideology. The ‘current scholarly consensus, writes Herbert, is that those who organized and carried out the extermination were committed ideologies who wanted to build a better world through genocide. Was there a master plan on the part of Adolf Hitler to launch the Holocaust? Intentionalists argue there was such a plan, while functionalists argue there was not.
Did the initiative for the Holocaust come from above with orders from Adolf Hitler or from below within the ranks of the German bureaucracy? Although neither side disputes the reality of the Holocaust, nor is there a serious dispute over the premise that Hitler (as Führer) was personally responsible for encouraging the anti-Semitism that allowed the Holocaust to take place, intentionalists argue the initiative came from above, while functionalists contend it came from lower ranks within the bureaucracy. Christopher Browning coined the term ‘moderate functionalism’, in which the centrality of Hitler’s belief and the role was recognized, but without an original grand design to kill the Jews. Philippe Burrin’s notion of ‘conditional intentionalism’ recognized the centrality of evolving circumstance during the war but continued to emphasize Hitler’s intention to exterminate the Jews.
“Heimat” idea as a Nazi formula
The Nazis took the Heimat idea, radicalizing and using it for their ideological purposes. It can be argued that here is another example of the hegemony of race. It was perceived as essential to Germanness. The main point rather is that the Nazis identified their sentiment of nationhood, localness, and political legitimacy with the Heimat idea: the revolutionary idea of race was thus built on tradition, and the racialized Heimat idea fitted within the boundaries of the Heimat genre that existed before and after the Third Reich, as the Nazis articulated their Heimat in familiar, traditional rhetoric and images. It is not so much race that made sense of Heimat in the Third Reich, as the Heimat idea that gave meaning to racial sentiments, making them amenable, legitimate, and familiar. There are two main directions towards the Holocaust perception: local and central approach.
The local history of the Holocaust in the hamlets of Eastern Europe is possible once we rethink the interpretative framework of racial ideology, the radicalization of Nazi policy, and the context of war. The former one rearranges these categories in significant ways: it shifts the focus from the war conditions of the Wehrmacht soldiers to the communal relationships between Jews and eastern Europeans; from Nazi racial ideology to In Bartov’s words, ‘the obvious though long-underestimated fact that the Holocaust cannot be understood without tracing its imagery, fantasies, passions, and phobias, as well as practices and legislation, to medieval Europe and centuries of Christian anti-Jewish theology, incitement, and demagogy, from the radicalization of Nazi policies to the dynamic of social, political, economic, and cultural relationship on the local level.
According to the central approach, Germans, in the years following 1933, constructed a moral community based on anti-Semitic fantasies that made the persecution and extermination of the Jews possible by making them conceivable. At this historiographical juncture, we view the Holocaust as a problem of culture: the making of and believing in a moral community of fantasies. Third Reich was revolutionary but not as revolutionary as was argued by contemporaries and current historiography: it was a revolution based on continuities. It was a world made by a fusion of German and Nazi identities in a way that linked Germans in the Third Reich to pre-1933 traditions and forms of belief, and where the extermination of 1941 to 1945 was part of the symbolic universe of Germany between 1933 and 1941.
To sum up, ideology, in particular, racial ideology was a crucial point for Hitler’s Germany. In the case of radicalization of racial ideology, the main step was led to extermination and annihilation of Jews community within the context of war and the Nazi policy in order to reconstruct European society without Jews. Of course, the Holocaust is still a contemporary history. Survivors are still alive and their nightmare will never be over as long as they live. The attempt to exterminate the Jews is and will remain a moral signifier of Judeo-Christian civilization. In this way, we try to consider views of the Holocaust as a European occurrence, as part of a larger Nazi attempt to reorder European civilization, as linked to other Nazi persecutions and genocides, to colonial imagination and dreams of empire. Moreover, ‘cultural history, memories, methods, in particular ideologies in its contemporary sense’ has been a highly important component of Holocaust research from its earliest beginnings.
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