One of the bigger news stories today is that two of ‘The View’ hosts stormed off the stage in response to the ever-blustering Bill O’Reilly (video here). The daytime-TV controversy was over O’Reilly insisting that “the Muslims killed us” on 9/11, which made Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walk off the set in protest over his bigoted statement.
Now, since Behar and O’Reilly each have their own evening TV shows, I was curious how each would cover what happened today.
First I tried to watch Behar explain her side of things — but she had on guest Jesse Ventura who started in on a whole bunch of 9/11 truther bullshit, of which I have ZERO tolerance for, so I didn’t care to hear much more of that particular clip. (video here)
Then I watched a bit of O’Reilly’s response (video here) — again, I had to cut off my viewing of the clip after he had on the intolerable Laura Ingraham — but before I turned off the video, I nearly fell out of my chair when I found myself agreeing with something he said.
During his infamous “no spin zone,” O’Reilly defended his statement on the View by saying he’s tired of the “political correctness” of today that attempts to whitewash (or flat-out avoid admitting) the fact that the terrorists of 9/11 were Muslim.
And I agree. (!!!)
I’m just now finishing reading Aayan Hirsi Ali’s book Infidel, and I can honestly say that reading her book has really shaken me in how I view the Islamic faith and the idea of multiculturalism. Ali was born into a Muslim family, and lived as a committed Muslim woman for most of her life — including stints as a committed Muslim fundamentalist. She endured genital mutilation, forced marriage, and many other gender-based repressions under this faith system. The story of Infidel is how she was finally able to break free from that oppression, and fight for the rights of women who are still under its ideological thumb.
Ali writes about how the seemingly-respectful liberal guise of “multiculturalism” is one that allows the continued oppression of women in restrictive religious regimes. For example, when she was a member of the Dutch Parliament, Ali fought to have police records taken on how many Muslim women in her country were murdered via “honor killings” or were forcefully-excised as victims of genital mutilation. The Dutch were at first hesitant to take such records, particularly out of fear of being politically incorrect in their targeting of a specific religious group. Once she was able to persuade the authorities to take note of these women victims, her country was stunned by the number of women who were targeted by such acts.
In addition to my views being shaped by reading Infidel, this weekend I was also motivated by some of what Sam Harris had to say in a debate I witnessed. At one point he said:
“It’s an astonishing failure of compassion on the part of liberals to claim the sanctimonious high ground of being sensitive to someone’s religion, and not connect with the abject suffering, the abject and unnecessary suffering, of the millions and millions of people — disproportionally women — who suffer under Islam at this moment.”
That statement of being a “failure of compassion” really hit me square in the eyes. It’s not enough for me to look the other way and try to explain away unethical practices because I’m trying my best to be understandingly multicultural. No more.
But back to how I somehow found myself agreeing with O’Reilly — as I mentioned earlier, after he played the clip of today’s swaggering performance on The View, he had some commentary on why he said what he did.
He said that he’s tired of the political correctness that makes it taboo to mention that the terrorists of 9/11 were Muslim. And y’know, he’s right. It seems like more and more, people are straying away from the religious motivations of 9/11 and are trying to explain the attacks from a socio-economic perspective, or even from a Western-capitalist-you-had-this-coming-to-you angle.
So, yes, I sorta agree with O’Reilly here. I don’t think it does anyone any good to ignore the fact that these nineteen 9/11 terrorists — highly educated, not-in-poverty men — were indeed motivated by the uglier tenets of their faith system, Islam. Of course admitting this is not the same thing as branding all Muslims as bomb-wielding terrorists, but it serves no purpose to sugar-coat the fact that these attacks were largely motivated by religious ideology.
I’m still not entirely comfortable with how I feel right now. I still feel really shaken by Ali’s story, and awfully convicted by Harris’s statement. A part of me wishes I could crawl back into my previous space of fuzzy-wuzzy multiculturalism — but I don’t think I could ever go back. In fact, I don’t want to.