Thanks but No Thanksgiving

In the days after 9/11, President Bush exhorted America and the world that Islam was a religion of peace, and that the perpetrators of the attacks had violated the very tenets of the religion they claimed to be killing for.  Throughout the Iraq War, the Bush administration has made the case that democracy and Islam are compatible with one another, that they are not mutually opposing ideologies despite the reality that very few Islamic countries can be truly thought of as democratic.

Nevertheless, I and others have earnestly tried to believe that Islam does not condone the wanton killing of women and children, and that democracy can work in Islamic nations like Indonesia, Turkey, and Malaysia.  However, there are some Muslims in the West seem to be making the argument to the opposite, that Islam cannot integrate smoothly, or is entirely incompatible, with Western values and traditions.

A Toronto mosque called, National Post reports, The Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque says to "avoid participating" in dinners, parties or greetings on Thanksgiving because it is a kuffaar, or non-Muslim, celebration.  Not only is this surprising, but the term kuffaar is a derogatory one meaning "ingrate" that was once applied to slaves. 

It gets better,
"How can we bring ourselves to congratulate or wish people well for their disobedience to Allah? Thus expressions such as: Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, etc, are completely out," it says.

In 2003, the Khalid mosque, which mainly serves the Toronto Somali-Canadian community, apologized for a newsletter that compared wishing someone a Merry Christmas to congratulating a murderer.(link)
Happy birthday, happy Thanksgiving, and Happy New Year are "completely out".  Thus, I pose the question: can such extremism be compatible in Western civilization?  Certainly, this Somali mosque in Toronto is not alone in its views within North America's Muslim community.  The mosque also bans "watching sports or soap operas, walking dogs, family photos, wedding bands, western hats, mingling and shaking hands with the opposite sex".  Allah forbid...

Canada has a long history of multiculturalism, as do many other countries in Europe.  The United States has traditionally been more of a "melting pot" than a mosaic, encouraging its immigrants to adopt American values, traditions, and customs to a greater extent than in Canada and Europe.  Nevertheless, polls have shown shocking statistics that 25% of US young Muslim men support suicide bombings to "defend Islam" (source), and 5% have a favourable view of Al Qaeda (source).  Another poll of Muslims in Western countries found that 14% of Canadians, 25% of British, 14% of Germans, and 10% of French identified with extremists in the struggle between "moderates" and "extremists" within Islam.(source)

Another Environics poll of Canadian Muslims found that 12% of Muslim Canadians supported the foiled plot to kidnap and behead the Prime Minister of Canada, blow up the parliament buildings, and bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange.(link)  In Britain, 6% of Muslims surveyed thought that the 2005 7/7 bombings were fully justified.(source)

Fortunately for the West, the majority of Muslims are opposed to using violence to further Islam, and most are in favour of democracy and opposed to bringing in Sharia law.  Nevertheless, the statements made by the Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque are troubling and may point to a growing division between Muslims and the majority of the populace in the West.

Australia has, again, set an example for other western nations on embracing traditional Western values rather than apologizing for them as so many on the left would have it.  The Australian Treasurer Peter Costello has sharply criticized "mushy misguided multiculturalism", going on to state, "Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes. This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks don't enter the mosque. Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values don't come to Australia."(link)

Western Civilization is successful today because of its Judeo-Christian heritage, its commitment to the rule of law, its respect for human rights, its goal of providing equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender, or class, all grounded by the foundation of democracy providing government representative of the people.  Should we forget where we came from and compromise our values and traditions, we will be waiving the cultural white flag.

Jonathan D. Strong is proprietor of The Strong Conservative.