June 3, 2004
When Arab Means Never Saying Sorry
In Muslim culture, during the Daheyah (sacrifice) feast, Muslims bring a lamb into the home for a ritual slaughter accompanied by the invocation, "Allahu Akbar," in the presence of the family and the children.
Now we see the Daheyah of radical Islam to be Jews such as Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl who were beheaded with no mercy, accompanied by the same pious invocation. This is a perversion of Islam, but don't expect an apology.
To expect Arab and Muslim leadership to apologize for the barbaric murder of Berg is a reflection of the West's naievity and wrong expectations of Arab culture. In the Arab world to take responsibility and say sorry is taken as an unmanly sign of weakness that may get a person into more trouble.
Those who admit guilt, even if it is accidental, are given no mercy and may end up taking all the blame and being brutally punished. It is the norm for Arabs to deny a fact -- however blatant -- and blame others, rather than admit to the wrongdoing and apologize. Honesty is not rewarded.
President Bush apologized for the humiliation and abuse of Iraqi prisoners. His apology was taken by the Arab media and the Arab street as an admission of guilt and a sign of weakness. It was not appreciated as taking responsibility to find out the truth behind the events that happened due to the actions of a few Americans.
If 19 Americans had committed a terrorist act comparable to Sept. 11 and belonged to a terrorist American network against any nation on earth, the reactions on all sides would have been very different than what we have seen, due to our cultural differences. Any sitting U.S. president would apologize and take immediate action to stop the terror coming from America. Americans would be outraged.
In our politically correct, liberal culture, the media and academia would urge all of our citizens to a collective self-psychoanalysis to uncover the root causes of how we could have caused such evil behavior. They might find the American terrorists to be victims of the American culture that drove them to become monsters, and would blame themselves and everything American for their behavior.
A cultural war would break out, with each camp blaming the other for the creation of American terrorists. Money to fund studies would start pouring into college campuses and think tanks to get to the bottom of the issue.
This is not the case in the Arab world.
Terrorism is the direct result of the radical Islamist culture that is flourishing all over the Arab world and promoted by Arab media, governments, educational systems and religious leaders. Terrorists are given training camps, money, power and respect for doing God's work for jihad.
Arabs understand that they cannot win a war against the West, and all they can succeed in doing is to indoctrinate one generation after another for martyrdom. Their secret weapon is the anger and rage of the Arab street. It is a powerful weapon that they treasure, and they will not allow the West to unmask the lies of the daily dose of fear and anger fed to the beast on the Arab street waiting for the next explosion.
How can anyone expect them to apologize for a deep-rooted cultural and religious mission to defeat or kill infidels, especially Jews? Most Arabs still blame Israel for Sept. 11 and even March 11 in Spain. How can we expect these countries to sincerely cooperate with the international community to end terror and its barbaric brutality?
Americans should stop judging other cultures with the American value system and especially stop expecting Arab Muslim culture to respond rationally according to Western standards. Arab power is derived from oil, terror and manipulative public relations campaigns. They know it, and we know it, so let us stop kidding each other with false expectations.
Most Arabs do understand America's current dilemma in Iraq, and they do not want to sincerely help. They know we want to leave honorably after stabilizing the situation and a new Iraqi democratic government is in business.
We set a date in June to hand over power. You would think that if they sincerely want America to leave, they would be at their best behavior in order for the United States to have no excuse and leave, but the opposite is happening. They have increased their violence and attacks and brutality.
Many say, "We want a Vietnam with America" and can't wait for an excuse to exhibit rage and violence. Arab media and the power behind it are promoting a bloody scenario. They want to see America leave humiliated, even if Iraqis benefited by the removal of Saddam Hussein, and even if it is at the expense of the Iraqi people and the region.
Above all, they do not want to see America, a non-Muslim superpower, as the cause for Iraq's well-being, especially when all the Arab countries stood by doing nothing to stop Saddam's brutal regime. Only Arab leaders should be heroes in the Arab world -- not Bush. It is a matter of pride.
Arab media understand that America has no desire to occupy Iraq, but they never miss an opportunity to give the raging masses their daily dose of fear of America. "America Wants to Hand Over the Keys of Iraq to Sharon" was a recent headline in Egyptian newspapers. Arab games are exposed, and our leftist media should not cover up the game.
There are many reasons for Arab and Muslim silence. However, fear of speaking out is no longer a credible excuse. Day in and day out, all we see out of the Arab world is anger, revenge and a culture out of control.
The Arab street is afraid of Arab leaders, and Arab leaders afraid of the Arab street. And both can only get out their frustration on America, Europe, Israel and innocent victims such as Berg and Pearl.
Nonie Darwish is a writer and board member of the Mid East Education Team. Visit her on the Web at www.noniedarwish.com.