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The Talibanization of 6-flags

Reader comment on item: "Muslims Only!" Events
in response to reader comment: Wow

Submitted by Monte Gardner (United States), Apr 8, 2007 at 02:16

Ok, I understand that the theme park in question was not actually guilty of practicing some kind of discrimination. It sounds like their intent was not actually to create some kind of segregated 'muslims only' atmosphere. I've often heard of christian churhces shelling out a few dollars to a local them park so that their kids can have a 'day of good-clean fun'. In and of itself, there's nothing wrong with this.

When the ICNA promoted the affair as an exclusionary event, however, they crossed a line from simple 'good clean fun' to Islamism, an attempt and reforming the public aspect of society into a sharia atmosphere. First off, it was wrong to misconstrue what the theme park had offered them. It was wrong to promote the kind of polarization that they promoted.

I believe this kind of thing comes down to a core problem with Islam - that of ones surroundings. Islam seems to be very outward religion, one that is very concerened with the kind of environment that a believer lives in. If I understand right, Islam demands that is adherents not only transform themselves, but also the civilizations around them. Theres a verse in the Koran that goes something like "allow what is allowed and prohibit what is prohibited" (someone fill that in for me?). While Christianity also has its utopian elements, its generally understood that the transformation is to be achieved passively, by example: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven" etc.

I think this difference was also highlighted within this thread by the well meaning, but naive, Sarah who stated:

"It was a focus on how to ensure that Muslims will have a fun and halal day where they will be able to do all the things they couldn't normally do on a regular visit to 6 flags. Muslim pray 5 times a day, so there will be designated prayer days. Muslims eat halal food only , so the vendors will serve Halal food. Muslims don't gamble or drink and are not allowed to be in places where those things occur, so there will not be any gambling or drinking...."

Notice the premise-conclusion combination here.

Muslims believe it is wrong to drink and gamble --> In order to enjoy a day at the theme park, we must outlaw all such activities.

Muslims can only eat Halal Food ---> In order to have an enjoyable day of fun, we must transform the vendors into Islamic food vendors, rather then choosing those items from the generally available menu that fit our standards.

Muslims Pray 5 times a day ---> We need to appropriate our own "muslims only" prayer area in order to accomplish this.

Thus we see that Sarah, however well-intentioned she may be, is actually promoting the talibanization of this theme park, a rather dangerous precendent.

Now I know that Christians have also, at times, overstepped the bounds of reasonable democratic participation. The whole probhibition era beeing a prominent example of this. It just seems to me that Islam has a much harder time integrating into a pluralist society that doesnt always share its straightlaced view on proper behavior. I think this trouble may come from the historical fact that Islam developed its behavioral rules at a time when it dominated the world and could effectively dictated "what was allowed and what was prohibited". Now, Muslims immigrate to the west where they are relatively disempowered (only have equal rights with everyone else) and they still havent figured out fully how to deal with that new situation.

I would like to see Mr. Pipes or perhaps Emerson write an article on the theology/history behind these ideas of the external transformative goals embedded in islamic theology and history. I'd also be interested in what some moderate (non-Hizbulla sympathizing) muslim theologians have to say about this issue.


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