Thursday, June 4, 2009

When did "pretty sound" become synonymous with "I hate America"?

President Obama described the Arabic call to prayer at sunset as one of the prettiest sounds on earth. I have found a couple of right-wing nutjob blogs that I read as sort of my barometer for crazy. (I would share a link, but they are seriously crazy and I don't want them finding me.) This innocuous statement by the president has got people on one blog calling for revolution. I'm not kidding. The mere fact that he thinks the call to prayer sounds pretty has some people (about 5 or 6 actual commenters) fearing for our country and plotting revolution.

Well, I share their fear for our country. I did not know any of our population was so unhinged that they would think revolution is necessary because our president identified a sound as pleasing to the ear.

This reminds me of a misunderstanding my sister and I once had while on the phone. I was watching Wimbledon while we chatted, so she turned to the tennis as well. At the end of most points, the spectators clap.

I remarked, "I love that sound."

My sister rebuked me. "That's an awfully arrogant thing to say!"

I was taken aback by that unfounded accusation. It took me a few seconds to realize that she thought I had meant I loved hearing applause when it was for me. But all I had meant was that the sound of 12,000 people politely clapping was a very pleasing sound to my ear. It was a soothing sound, not harsh or jarring. Especially at Wimbledon. There is something about the acoustics at that particular tennis stadium that gives the genteel clap a soft edge. It is simply a sound I like to hear. Happily, once I explained this, my sister no longer thought I was arrogant. Maybe a little weird, but not arrogant.

I certainly didn't take Obama's statement to mean that he is a closet Muslim, hell-bent on destroying this country, converting us all to Islam, and killing the infidels who resist. I think he just meant what I meant about the clapping: the call to prayer is a pretty sound. Isn't it ok for the president to think it's a pretty sound? Are we really such enemies with all of the Islamic world that anyone who says any kind word about the religion or its people is a threat to our national security? Seems a little nutty to me.


BellsforStacy said...

I'm kind of taking this off topic ... but I'm interested in your thoughts.

Here's my issue, it's with this line:

"And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."

This is NO WHERE in his job description. In fact, the constitution expressly separates him from this.

He made several good points - that we would fight against extremism, that we, and most sane people, are against the murders of innocents. But this line above ... it bugs me.

Because he would never say it about Christianity.

Also, when he said I'm the Christian son of a Muslim. I understand what he was saying, you understand, people in this country to who religion is like a favorite color (I'm red, I'm blue, I'm Jewish, I'm Baptist, etc) understand. But in Islam, religion is very different. And in Islam, you are Muslim if you are father was Muslim. You can not change that. I just think the speech writer should have been more careful with that. It shows a lack of understanding of the region and the principles of the religion.

That's nit picky ... but it's true.

And listen I have no problem with him going over there and trying to make friends. Bush did it and said a lot of the same stuff. I just, like I said on my blog, hate that so many developed countries go there and paint over the atrocities committed upon women (mostly) because they'd rather get along.

BellsforStacy said...

Let me clarify on the Muslim dad thing ... to be Christian all you have to say is I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God and died for my sins. And you're Christian.

To be recognized as Jewish or Muslim, you have to be born into a Muslim family (or Jewish family). Jew's have a name for people that convert and they are considered differently.

Anyway ... I don't know why I wanted to add that. Sorry for such long comments!

S said...

I totally meant to come back and respond on Friday, but I got all distracted with the big workload. Sigh. I really need to finish this case.

I don't have any problem with that line from the speech. I definitely don't see it violating the First Amendment in any way for the president to think the executive branch should lead the way in fighting intolerant attitudes and negative stereotypes of entire groups. I do think he would say the same thing about Christians in the right circumstance.

Anonymous said...

BellsforStacy, the process to convert to Islam is very straightforward - essentially you declare your faith and belief in one God and prophet Muhammad as his final messenger. 3 times, in front of witnesses.

bada-boom, bada-bing. I am not sure where you have sourced your information, but if you could provide authentic Muslim sources on conversion that show the contrary, it would be appreciated.

And in Islam, you are Muslim if you are father was Muslim. You can not change that.

False. There are apostates in Islam, just as there are in Christianity. You can leave the religion. Again, can you quote the Islamic source for your statement? I am curious to see where you have done your research.

Islam is not passed to you through your father. Muslims believe that you are Muslim unless/until you decide not to be. This is similar to the concept in Christianity.

paint over the atrocities committed upon women (mostly) because they'd rather get along.

I think it's really important to separate religion versus state here. If you don't, then it becomes valid to say "Christians decided to fight in Vietnam" as opposed to "Americans", or "Christians are responsible for the murder of Jews in WWII" instead of "Hitler's policies".

Just a thought.

I like how you raise some questions, and urge you to do additional research.

With peace,

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