Tag Archives: racism

Fischer gives Muslims a Choice; Convert or Die

“The only thing that will give us a shot at building a democracy in an Islamic land is a mass conversion of its people to biblical Christianity.”

If you just watched the video above, I hope it genuinely shocked and saddened you.

Extreme rightism is a very scary thing and these days the US also seems to also be a scary place, speaking from a liberal European perspective. A radicalization of Islam has undeniably happened over the past few decades, but the ongoing radicalizing Christian conservative fear-mongering in the US is to me just as unnerving, expressions of it ranging from popular phenomena like the Tea Party and the ”Birther movement” to the assassination-attempt on senator Gabrielle Giffords in January. Another sad thing is, if Bryan Fischer was a Muslim instead of a Christian we would probably be using his comments to justify society’s paranoia of Islam instead of giving him money and equipping him with his own radio show. Christian and Muslim extremism are supposedly two opposites, yet the rhetoric and the hate is all the same.

I understand that the vast majority of Americans also distance themselves from extremism, just as only a very small minority among Muslims are extremists. But when I consider that there are in fact people who see the views expressed by Bryan Fischer as being just and blameless, I feel ashamed on their behalf.

When it comes to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, the conservative Christian group classified as a hate group by the SPLC, all you can do is brace yourself for the next time he spews out something offensive. He is certainly no stranger to criticism. No wonder, when you consider he has previously stated that “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler … and 6 million dead Jews”. Fischer has also claimed that the clause in the First Amendment of the US Constitution providing free exercise of religion only applies to Christians, making it a mystery why there is such a clause in the first place. In February he stated that the “savagery and sexual immorality of Native Americans” made them “morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil” as if the European colonizers were on a moral high ground, and only a month ago he made this ridiculously racial bomb comment:

“Welfare has destroyed the African-American family by telling young black women that husbands and fathers are unnecessary and obsolete … Welfare has subsidized illegitimacy by offering financial rewards to women who have more children out of wedlock. We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and it’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits.”

But let’s get back to the video at hand and the claim that Muslims must be converted to Christianity before democratization is possible. I have said before that I very much distrust the notion of Islam somehow being less compatible with democracy than Christianity. I simply see no fundamental difference between the two religions that can justify this view (you are welcome to argue against me). For some mysterious reason however, Fischer seems to take for granted that Islam and democracy are wholly incompatible. He seems to ignore the fact that there are several democracies, and successful ones, in Muslim majority countries. Did he decide to just skip Turkey, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Lebanon and Mali? Notice he at the same time failed to mention that there are Christian countries that have authoritarian or hybrid regimes as well, such as Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, Cuba, Ethiopia and the Congos, just to mention a few examples.

Perhaps someone should inform Fischer that with the successful revolution in Egypt in February 72 million Egyptian Muslims were cheering a new political order – not a new state religion.

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Some Common Misconceptions about North Korea

Love and hate

The regime in North Korea is not at all as unpopular as we would like to believe. The personality cults around Stalin, Mussolini and Mao may seem like a long time ago to the modern mind, but in North Korea it is still very much a reality. People really, really love Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. And they really, really fear the outside world. They are not some angry group of people secretly aspiring to freedom and democracy, holding their tongues out of fear yet crying for help. And if they are suffering materially they are willing to put up with it because they seriously believe in the righteousness of the ruling party.

Media attention

Media is all over it as soon as someone comes to say how they perilously defected from North Korea and how everything is so much better in the US or in South Korea. But why does nobody seem to notice how many defectors actually bribe their way back into North Korea? It is easy to say apologetically that “oh well, they are all brainwashed”, and to think of propaganda as something empty that holds no real meaning. But you can be damn sure that it means something to the North Koreans. Tragically little attention is paid to how the North Koreans actually perceive themselves, or what we can learn from North Korean propaganda.

Communism

You hear about “Communist North Korea” and the “Communist Workers Party of Korea”, but the idea of racial superiority is as far from Communism as it can possibly get. It is NOT like Marx’s idea of ”workers of the world unite” AT ALL. The North Korean ideology is a RACE THEORY. That means that the North Koreans view themselves as better than everyone else. They believe themselves to be inherently more pure and morally superior to any other races. They are better than the Americans, they are better than some of their only remaining friends in the world in Africa, and they are better than the Japanese (even though, paradoxically, the Japanese were the ones who introduced the race ideology to the Korean peninsula in the first place). To some degree they are also better than the South Koreans, who belong to the same race but are sullied by foreign influence and are now suffering under the yoke of the US. In that way the ideology in North Korea is actually more similar to Fascism – on the opposite end of the scale from the extreme left Communism. In fact, North Korea has altogether deleted the word ‘Communism’ from its constitution.

Long time view

The broader North Korean view over their own history is all about how their pureness and morality made them into sitting ducks to the evil forces from outside. Over the centuries the Korean peninsula has indeed been subject to invasions numerous times, but instead of focusing on their strategic geopolitical location as the reason why they have been invaded, the North Koreans tend to like to explain it by saying that the people are just too virtuous and too innocent to survive on their own in a harsh and evil world.

Arirang Mass Games

The perception in the West of the spectacular annual Mass Games in North Korea, which is one of the very few aspects of North Korean culture which many people know about, is that it is a sign of how the regime is trying to oppressively stamp out its people’s personal identity and independence. This is not so. The North Koreans feel pride in the homogeneity of their race as the source of its strength and unity and that is what they do to celebrate it, along with the birthday of Kim Il-Sung.

Juche

Juche is NOT the main ideology in North Korea. The Juche ideology was created by Kim Il-Sung, and is often translated as “main subject”, always placing Korean interests at the fore. But it does not contain any food for thought whatsoever. In fact, political analyst Brian Reynolds Myers goes as far as to say that Juche is just a “sham doctrine”, which enables North Koreans to place something on the top bookshelf and say “our leader Kim Il-Sung is just as good as Mao was”, and that it exists not to be read but only to be praised.

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Filed under East Asia, Religion & Ideology, The Hermit Kingdom