WHY KID OURSELVES? Harvard is not the ideal center of reason, sensitivity and tolerance that Dean Jewett claims.
Don't worry. This is not another tedious, anti-liberal diatribe from a disgruntled, conservative Crimson writer. It is, rather, a complaint by a practicing Muslim at Harvard--who simply happens to be a dis-gruntled, conservative Crimson writer.
Distaste for free discussion is no longer the sole province of lunatic leftists. It has now permeated every facet of collegiate life, including my last haven at Harvard: the Harvard Islamic Society.
There is an Islamically correct agenda at Harvard. Those who deviate from the agenda are humiliated in front of their Muslim brethern. And worst of all, the primary forum for indoctrination at Harvard is at the holy Friday service.
BEFORE I EXPLAINmy gripes, I should offer a cursory description of Islam for non-experts. Muslims, including myself, unambiguously recognize Muhammad (May peace be upon him) as the final and principal messenger of God. He delivered fundamentally the same message as the prophets Jesus and Abraham before his: the unity of God and the need for Man to bow before his creator as decreed in the Holy Koran. The word "Islam" itself means submission, and Muslims have historically found their strength in this common purpose of sub-servience to God, or Allah.
Islam was always more than just a religion. In the time of the prophet, it heralded a new era of intellectual curiosity, encouraging Muslims to engage in political discourse. Outside of the mosque, Muslims debated issues with ideological fervor.
But when it came to religious matters, Muslims were instructed to put aside their political differences for the sake of Islamic unity. While politics was not a taboo subject for a sermon, it should always be subservient to religion inside the mosque. And any religious factionalization on account of individual political beliefs was condemned in the final sermon of the prophet.
I ATTENDED a Friday service at the Harvard mosque in the basement of Memorial Hall before this semester began. The Khatib, the person giving the sermon, audaciously declared that the current Allied anxiety over Iraq's developing nuclear capabilities is, in actuality, a concern over the Islamic renaissance. The true objective of the Gulf war, he continued, was not the liberation of Kuwait, but a strategic check of increasing Islamic dominance.
Not once did he quote a passage from liberation of kuwait, but a strategic of increasing Islamic dominance the Koran.
The sermon fit in perfectly with the new brand of politically correct Islam, the tenets of which include: 1. Islam is the means to all ends. 2. Anything not Islamic is"Kafir" (infidel) 3. Anyone not Muslim is"Kafir." 4. Americans are especially"Kafir." 5. President Bush is the most"Kafir" of all, an anti-Muslims, Zionist Jew. 6. The sheiks in Gulf nations like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and their followers are "munafiqueen" (hypocritical Muslims, infinitely more detestable than kafirs 7. For the sake of Islam, Iraq needs a nuclear bomb. 8. So does Pakistan. 9. And Yassir Arafat, too.
Not wishing to be subjected to further radical political dogmatisms, and still quite shocked, embarrassed and offended by the khatib's indoctrination sessions, I proceeded silently out of the mosque and trekked my way to Northeastern, University. At Northeastern, I knew, there was a sizeable contingent of Gulf Arabs with whom I could share the solidarity that the Friday service strives to achieve.
"But aren't you trying to stifle free speech, too?" you might ask. In a sense, I am. But only during the Friday service, which has always been a time for unity and fellowship. As the Holy Koran says, "The believers are but a single brotherhood." Today's Middle East situation is too divisive a topic for discussion during services.
If this were a matter of free speech, any Muslim could invoke the right to counter the khatib's declaration. This would hardly serve the causes of unity. In the words of Dean Jewett, this is simply a matter of sensitivity.
So, to air my concerns, I asked to meet with some of my Muslim brothers in the Harvard Islamic Society.