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November 30, 2006

Changing 2000yrs of religion over night?

After living in Iraq for 18 months with the Iraqi army I learned a lot about religion from another perspective. Could you imagine your whole life revolving around religion? I know I could not, but this is how it is there. There priorities are: 1. Religion 2. Family 3. Self. Where as I would say it is safe to say that many Americans prioritize 1.Self/Money/Success 2. Family 3. Religion. Almost opposites from each other. One of the things that I was suppose to train these men over there was to have no religious biases when working for the army. Imagine trying to tell a country with 2000+ years of history where religion is their driving force to everyday living that they cannot express it. This was hard for me and others to do since we would think to ourselves, "Who am I to tell these men when they can or cannot portray their religious beliefs."

Thinking back to class and the chart on multiculturalism, I don’t think that the US is all that multicultural at least in a single cohesive sense. I see it as a bunch of cultures that tolerate each other and accept a given set of societal norms or people would not want to come here. I see the U.S. as a religion refugee camp. Here people don’t go out and kill each other because they are one religion or the other. On the other hand the Iraq situation is just the opposite. Either you believe one or the other and you are considered the enemy or lesser people and if you are an extremist within your religion then you would kill the “non-believers?. One question I thought of when writing this is, How does one of the youngest nations in the world become a world expert on how an “ideal country? is run?

Mulitculturism and Veils in France

I was interest in todays class about the talk on Multiculturism and its role in the world. This intrigued me because I am in another class where we were recently talking about France and its decision to ban all conspicuous religious symbols including the veil worn by Muslim women, the Jewish Yamaka, and the Christina cross or crucifix. The French believe such a ban will eliminate multiculturism and will unite every citizen under a French symbol. They believe that by eliminating all of these symbols people do not separate themselves from other French citizens and these citizens are attempting to fit in with French culture rather than France adopting other cultures. Many French politicians along with Muslims themself believe that the veil is emasulating to women and further demeans them in the eyes of Muslim men. They believe that the secular notion that France has adopted should be understood and upheld for every French citizen not placing anybody's religious beliefs above anybody else. On the flip side, many Muslim believe they are wearing the veil out of free-choice and that they should be allowed to express themselves as they feel necessary.

I feel that banning these "conspicuous" religious symbols is ridiculous because I don't feel that people wearing a veil, yamaka or crucifix identify themselves as superior to others because of this religious symbol. They wear them because they are proud of their faith and they believe in their faith. A nation-state such as France will always be France because of its history and it has always been the same way. I do not feel they need to be worried that the nation will converted to a Muslim or Jewish state but rather they should be worried about the consequences of this ban and the uproar it will cause if people are banned of wearing something that is often times required of their faith. However, I realize that the French have a right to do whatever they like with their laws I just worry that the abolishment of such articles will further intensify distinctions between religious groups and will only foster more racist tensions.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3311485.stm

Recreation Center

The city of Duluth is in the running to receive funds from McDonald’s widow, Joan Kroc, to build a recreation center. The funds would be funneled to the City’s Salvation Army to expand. A citizen’s task force in Duluth worked out the building plans. The recreation center would be built in a low-income area of Duluth. Part of the stipulation in receiving the money is that the receiving city must come up with endowment funds for operating costs. The current debate is to whether or not the City Government can give out funds as this would be a conflict of church and state as the Salvation Army has religious affiliations. City officials were recently forced to remove the Ten Commandments from outside the City Hall building.
(http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/11/22/kroccenter/)

The benefits this recreation center hopes to provide to the surrounding community are great which makes it even more difficult to understand the opposition. This is a true example of the difficulties of the separation between church and state. One can only respect Duluth’s government in trying to honor the First Amendment but this isn’t necessarily respected by all governments and government officials. Our currency has the saying “In God We Trust?. A lawyer brought in by City Officials suggests that the Salvation Army refrain from using religious symbols or names when decorating the recreation center. The Salvation Army has made the point that the government has supported them with funding for years so government has been walking a fine line with the separation. So now Duluth has taken a firm stance but at what expense? The community is obviously in need such a center since Duluth the widow’s selection from all the other cities in Minnesota. Salvation Army’s mission may not be offensive to me, but other citizens religious objections need to be respected. This debate reminded me of our recent class discussions on Mulitculturalism and how unique our situatiion in American really is.

Diversity in the West Bank Neighborhood

I went to a neighborhood organizations meeting organized by Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) here at the University a few weeks. Days later, Chris, one of the organizers of the event invited me and my friends to discuss how immigrant students in colleges and universities can be utilized as cultural bridges between their communities and organizations such as CURA which aims to encompass immigrant groups into the mainstream community organizations. My friends and I, and other immigrant students here at the University met with four to five CURA members in a small gathering. This was an informal discussion about our immigrant experience and what we think should be done by both immigrant communities and organizations that help such communities in order for immigrants to participate in neighborhood organizations and other community/civic activities. One topic that dominated over the others was the invisible division between the immigrant community on the west bank and the rest of the University of Minnesota.

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November 29, 2006

Vatican laws on headscarves

In an article in the Star Tribune today, I read about a law the Vatican City has banning all headscarves and veils. The reasoning behind this is that people simply "must respect the traditions, the symbols, the culture, the religion of the countries they go to..." However, the article ended with the sentence, " The pope lately has lobbied for the right of Christians to worship openly in countries like Saudi Arabia, which forbid that.

The fact that the Vatican is asking people to remove their headscarves, no matter what their religious beliefs, is enough to cause debate. However, the fact that they are ALSO pushing to be able to pray in states that forbid is is complete hypocrecy. If you make a law regarding one person's religion, and say that following that law is only being respectful of your country's ways or traditions, there is no reason to not follow those laws when you enter other countries. Although praying is different than headscarves, it is still part of your religion that someone does not agree with in the other country, and they really aren't that different. This is a prime example of why issues of ethnicity and religion are still relevant in countries, even those that declare themselves to be enforcing rules to equalize everyone.

Turkey Comes with a Package: Religion and Culture

Last fall semester, I remember listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition? on the topic of the Armenian massacre in Turkey, during the Ottoman Empire's rule. Turkish visiting professor, Taner Akcam was interviewed on the program. He is the first Turkish intellectual to pioneer in excavating the truth behind the massacre, as well as challenging the Turkish government to acknowledge the killings as genocide which they have been denying for ninety years. The professor made historical analysis of the Armenian Christian minority in Turkey at the time of the genocide, what exactly led to the genocide, and why the government of Turkey is denying the atrocity. He was asked what it means for Turkey if it does not acknowledge an important part of history that took the lives of over a million citizens. His answer was that if Turkey wants the world to view it as a democratic nation- state, then the very basis of democracy is to acknowledge what has happened. To deny the event is to deny democracy, and without the acknowledgement of the genocide, he said, Turkey cannot move forward as a democratic nation-state that wants to join the European Union. A year later, the Turkish government has not acknowledged the killings of over a million Armenians in 1915-1923 as genocide, and its membership to the European Union is still pending. In addition, Taner Akcam won the Nobel Price for peace and has published “A Shameful Act?, a book on the Armenian massacre.

Continue reading "Turkey Comes with a Package: Religion and Culture" »

Clash of Civilizations

Reading the second chapter of Wolfe’s One Nation and the discussion we had in class on Tuesday about cultural/religious ‘wars’ have made me think about Samuel Huntington’s controversial book, The Clash of Civilizations. In this book, Huntington argues that the world will inter a new era, after the ending of the Cold War. In this new era, the world will not be divided into camps based on opposing political and economical ideologies as it was in the Cold War. Instead, culture and religion will divide the world in which the new conflict will be between different civilizations. Huntington writes:

“It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future?.

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Religious symbols banned

Recently, in one of my other classes, I watched a movie entitled “Le Haine,? or “Hate.? This film took place in the suburbs of Paris, France, and was about the recent rioting going on in that city. The movie was about 3 older teenage boys who were very passionate about the same things, yet physically, completely different. One was white and full of rage, another was Jewish and rather timid, and the third was black and had a lot of common sense. During the movie, the writer ties all the characters together through where they live; the suburbs. Even though they are obviously very different, including their religions, they share the similarity of being from Paris.

This film gave me a much better perspective about the articles we spoke of in class on Tuesday. The articles were mostly tied together through religion. One article in particular struck me as almost amusing, and that was the article about Paris, France. For the past 15 years, France has been trying to bad headscarves in schools and even hospitals; they finally banned it. Not only did they band the headscarves, but they banned Jewish skullcaps, and large Christian crosses. To me, it seems absurd how a democracy can throw freedom of religion right out the door. Chirac thinks that Muslims will be less isolated if they do not have the scarves covering their heads. If a person of a non-Muslim religion wears a scarf on their head, what will happen then? Will they be expelled from school like the 3 girls who refused to remove it? Chirac needs to take serious consideration as to the kind of message he is sending the rest of the world.

Universal reasoning

In class on Tuesday, I tried to make the point that there was obviously a bias in our religious objectivity in America, though the example used was not extreme enough to properly convey my point. The fact still remains that in America we carry biases towards religiously ground policy that is based in a Judeo-Christian monotheistic practice. The best way to illustrate this singular theistic zeitgeist (that does stand in face of the first amendment) is to observe how the public applies ration when a religious practice that is not generally acknowledged infringes on a third party.

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Is Multculturalism bad for Women?

In this article Okin argues promoting minorities rights are antifeminist. Culture is defines as ideas or practices of gender roles. Many cultures put women down and their main role is to serve the men. Religions such as Christianity and Islam put female in a bad light. In the religion women is portray sinful and have little used except reproduction. In France it was okay to have polygamy, and then they banned it. People who are behind group rights are usually males and they promote what benefits them the most. In other culture girls are forced to married at a young age. The practice of clitoridectomy is in big debate right now. Male population wants to cut the women genitals to ensure their virginity and fidelity in a marriage. People are using cultural practices as their defenses in the court room to get their sentence reduce. Cases such as raping and murdering are being reduced. Japan let rapist free if they offer to marry their victims. In this case it is the “shame? of the family and the rapist can redeem himself if he gets marry the girl. Men killed their wife for infidelity, but when the men is having affair them women killed themselves and their kids. The women get blame for their husband affairs that is why she wants to kill herself and her children. As more special rights are being grant the gap between gender equality increases. http://www.soc.umn.edu/~smajda/polisoc/private/readings/okin_okin.pdf
When immigrants came over to another country in one hand they need to assimilate to their new culture, but it is also a good thing to keep their know culture. Okin made a good that most cultural put women in subordinate roles. Not only minorities have these problems, even in United States we have gender discrimination in the work force and other places. Trying to solve the problems of gender equalities are hard because these things happen in their private sphere. The practice of clitoridectomy of this article is similar to the article we discuss in class in Georgia. The father is also using cultural practice as his defense. Many people are abusing cultural practices as their defense. I believe when a person immigrant he or she have to accept the rules and regulations of the new country. Any practice that harms and degrades another human being should be banned and no exception should be allowed.

Kieth Ellison

A recent announcement from newly elected Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison stated that he would not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the Quaran. As one could imagine, this raised quite a ruckus since Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.
Leftists argue that since the Quaran is Ellison’s holiest book, he should be allowed to take his oath on that book. Those who oppose have begged the question of how far we would take it. Would we let Mormons swear in on the Book of Mormon? Could Neo-Nazis swear in on Mein Kampf? Would Atheists have to swear on any book at all? Could a congressman swear in on The Cat in The Hat if they really liked Dr. Suess?
This is a sensitive subject given the current global climate and the tension between Muslims and the rest of the world. My thought is that taking an oath on any book is simply done for traditional purposes because most congressmen break them anyway. So using the Bible is part of that tradition and use of any other book would be breaking that tradition. Some feel that allowing Ellison to break that tradition would help ease the tension between American culture and Muslim culture, those opposed feel it would only create more tension.

November 28, 2006

Hypersensitivity

I for one, am an advocate for diversity and acceptance of others, but don't you think that sometimes we take it just a little too far? After today's discussion in lecture, it got me thinking of how the original intent of an action can get so skewed in the execution. For example, I'm frequently complimented on campus for my "exceptional command" of the English language, and I'm always asked how many months have I been in the country for? When I ask them what in the world they could possibly mean by that statement, they apologize and speak slower and enunciate.

The original point is not lost on me, yes they are trying to make me feel accepted, but in the process, there are glaring deficiencies and assumptions. I've lived in this country for 20 years now and it's a bit disheartening to say the least when people come up to you with the pity eyes, trying to compliment your native English as passably decent. Perhaps if we quit antagonizing subjects pertaining to assimilation and acceptance into our culture then that would alleviate a lot of the tension. Sometimes a subject can suffer from overexposure and undermine what the originators set out to do.

November 27, 2006

Since when did everyone start taking comedians seriously?

I believe it was Pen and Teller’s reality TV show Bullshit! where I first heard the full critique of the modern sense of profanity as a taboo. The most profound point that was made during this episode was that the words said are not what really matters, it is meaning that we put behind them. This point was again eluded to by Pinker in The Blank Slate through his Euphemism Treadmill. There is a barrier that causes society to not see that the real danger lies in the negative emotions associated with hate speech and that barrier happens to be the simplistic attitude carried by most people. The hate is not in the language, the hate is in the intention. The fact that we focus on fixing the language usually diverts our recourses from more fruitful pursuits (eg. Stemming the negative emotions or teaching people to control them).

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October 2, 2006

Modern Suburbanization

In Queens, According to an article written on Foxnews.com, African Americans are making more money than whites. This takes into account all of the immigrants, whom Wolf finds to make even more money than natives of the states. There has always been a major gap in the incomes of white Americans and African Americans, until recently when Foxnews.com did an investigation into the matter at hand and found that Queens is the only large country in the nation that is that way with the difference in income. In Manhattan, the median income of whites is much higher than that of other minorities. Professor Edward Wolff, of New York University, said the wealthiest whites may have left the city for the suburbs, altering the income balance.

I think this example relates well to the suburbia chapter in “One Nation After All,? because it contradicts what Alan Wolfe says throughout. According to Alan Wolfe in “One Nation After All, 'American housing patterns, notoriously color-conscious in the past, remain color-conscious in the present…'? Alan also states that African-Americans are more accustomed to “ghetto conditions,? which would make them want to move into the suburbs. He does go a bit against what he states there and says that many whom want to move into suburbs may choose to stay because of family and businesses. A main reason Wolfe points out, which I think is interesting is that fact that many African Americans fail to move to suburbs because of racism. I think Alan fails to include other minorities other than African Americans. He says very few things about Asian Americans, or Hispanic Americans. How do they compare to Whites or African Americans? I think Wolfe makes a good case, but he should add other minorities into his argument about suburbia.

White Privilege and Social Capital

Few weeks ago, I was listening to NPR on my way to school, when I heard about this survey the University of Minnesota Sociology department has done. The study looks at how whites perceive their racial identity, especially when it comes to the privileges they receive just for being white. An article titled, "The Meaning of White", which appeared in Time magazine also talks about this survey and how it examines the white-race identity and implications for other races, such as blacks, in this country.
So, what does it mean to be white? Does being white mean being fed with a silver spoon? Having an advantage in others’ disadvantages? Widening the inequality gab between whites and other non-white races? These questions address some of the concepts covered in the survey. “University of Minnesota sociologists shows that whites in the U.S. are far more conscious of being white--and the privileges it brings--than was believed,? according to the article. Furthermore, the study shows that black people would blame individual factors, for instance, not having a job, rather than blaming white privilege for being disadvantaged.

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Foreclosures in Twin Cities and racial implications

I read an article from the www.pioneerplanet.com entitled “These homes were lost . . . and that’s just the beginning.? from 09/24/06.

The article talks about the increased number of foreclosed houses in the Twin Cities area and that most of those houses are showing up in predominately minority neighborhoods. The concern is that home ownership is already low in these areas and it’s escalating at a rapid pace.
They say that racial minority groups are more likely to get “subprime? mortgages which seem like a great deal to begin with but end up being more expensive and risky for borrowers in the end. Two University of Minnesota studies examined this:

Professor Jeff Crump “estimated that African-Americans in the Twin Cities are 34 percent more likely to receive subprime mortgages than whites, and Latinos are 13 percent more likely.?
Eric Myott with the Institute on Race and Poverty, “concluded that African-Americans in the Twin Cities were 164 percent more likely than whites to get a subprime loan and that people of color in general were 78 percent more likely.?

These examples relate really well to our readings for this week. As Putnam points out homeowners seem to have more social capital because they are in a place for a longer period of time. It could also be argued that they have more of a vested interest in their community and therefore higher social involvement. He also says that the more highly segregated an area the less social capital there is. If families of color are less likely to own homes in their neighborhoods, and less families appear to be able to maintain home ownership then there will be less social capital in areas where, it could be argued, social capital is most desperately needed.

September 30, 2006

social capital and community integration

On NPR the other day, I heard a very interesting interview. The interviewee was relating lack of social capital between races as the reason for racial segregation in our cities and communities. He also stated that social capital was essential to making our communities a safer place.

According to the interview, creating social relationships between people of all different communities is a more important first step than simply being integrating communities, because integration should naturally follow once the social relationships are formed. If someone goes to their friends house in a different neighborhood than their own that may be racially different, they are exposed to a different environment than they are used to. Being immersed in that environment will supposedly show them that the neighborhood isn’t that bad and it will allow them to break down the previous assumptions they had about the neighborhood (ex: high crime, etc.). Therefore, you won’t have pre-conceived notions about why you shouldn’t move there, since you will no longer fear being in the racial minority.

In addition, social capital between communities will make communities safer because if something happens in a particular neighborhood, it will not be a problem just for the people in that neighborhood, but also all of their friends and social acquaintances who live in different neighborhoods. Therefore, all different communities will care about the well being of other communities, not just worrying about their own, while other communities are forgotten about and crime and other problems are ignored by the larger public. The example the interviewee gave was that the whole nation was upset about 9/11 even though not all of us are New Yorkers. He attributed this to the fact that a lot of people live in New York City and so many people across the country have social connections to people who live in New York or worked in the world trade center. Therefore, we should get to the point in our own city so that if there are a string of shootings in Northeast Minneapolis, it shouldn’t be a problem just in Northeast Minneapolis, but for the whole city.

It is also possible to take this argument a step further. Putnam argues that the reason why people in the poor neighborhoods can’t bring themselves out of their poverty is because they do not have the social capital required to get high-paying jobs. If we were to create more social bonds between communities, this would become less of an issue and it would be easier for the people in the poor communities to not be so isolated and have easier access to a wider range of job opportunities, therefore increasing the capital in that community, and pulling the community out of its economic rut.

September 25, 2006

Town Comes Together to Fight Ignorance

This story ran on the World News Tonight website on September 15, 2006. http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=2449483&page=1

In the town of Kalispell, Montana there has been much resistance to two new faces in town, a set of singing 14-year-old twin girls. You are probably wondering why two tiny little blonde girls named Lamb and Lynx Gaede have sparked so much controversy in a town in Montana. Lynx and Lamb have just recently moved from California with their mother April and their Stepfather Mark citing their reasoning for moving to Montana because “California isn’t white enough.? The twins sing in a band called Prussian Blue which is a white separatist group that sings the praises of Nazi leaders such as Rudolph Hess. When asked about their views and singing career the girls responded by saying, "We want our people to stay white. We don't want to just be, you know, a big muddle. We just want to preserve our race." The town of Kalispell learned about the family from a Primetime special done on the twins a year ago and have already formed together to raise awareness of the family. The town group doesn’t want the family to feel uncomfortable but wants to make sure that this family understands that form of “hatred and ignorance? will not be tolerated in Kalispell.

As we have learned from the Putnam readings civic participation is at a low point in American society. Very few people, in contrast to previous years, are participating in any form of social groups being formal organizations or informal connections. This story, however, makes me wonder if the lack of civic participation is not dependent on time or being too busy but rather people just not caring enough. The people of Kalispell have really come together over this family moving to town and many organizations and rallies have stemmed from it. The Montana Human Rights Network, which has more than 1,400 members, has already organized rallies in Kalispell in order to increase awareness on the issue. This article leads me to believe that even though people may have enough time to devote to many different organizations they only get involved in the ones they really care about and feel like they can actually make a difference. I believe in very large organizations, national groups, or elections, many people feel like they, as one single person, really cannot make a difference however in smaller groups that affect their community directly, they feel their participation has a much greater role. This town coming together shows how the community felt directly impacted by the situation and capable of doing something about it, which in turn increased participation.

September 17, 2006

Immigration raids in Georgia

Although I chose the topic “Race and Ethnicity? for this blog entry, I chose the article because immigration, especially today, is very much affected by globalization and the politics of globalization, more than ever before, and that is something discussed by Steger.

More than 120 illegal immigrants have been loaded onto buses bound for immigration courts in Atlanta, 189 miles away. Hundreds more fled Emanuel County. Residents say many scattered into the woods, camping out for days. They worry some are in hiding without food.

"This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up," Slater said.

It is interesting that in America, a country in which the social capital is greatly declining, as we are told by Putnam, and are able to see obviously by our own observations, that immigrants are now being targeted. Staying out of the political, constitutional, and human rights arguments on the issue of immigration, illegal immigration, and the practices of the market economy, I wish to focus on the social side of it, and relate it to our reading. Immigrants have historically been very tight knit, whether the immigrants of the America’s past, or the current wave of Hispanic immigrants, because of a history of racism that has permeated America’s white culture from the colonial period. So, because immigrants always have such a tough time fitting in and assimilating with a white Amerikan culture, which, usually wants nothing to do with them socially, they will build up the social links among themselves, and have a very healthy level of social capital.

Perhaps, I hypothesize, the continuing loss of social capital in America is due to the loss people’s immigrant roots. In most cities during the early to mid 1900's, neighborhoods were populated along ethnic lines. While today, many of these people live in the suburbs, and because they are no longer “ethnic outcasts? have no real need to form tight binds in order to get ahead or belong in this country.

Where the article comes into play is to show the irony about the declining social capital in this country. What does it say for the future of social relationships and social capital in this country when the segments of the population with the tightest knit communities are being dragged out of their houses at gunpoint to be deported or criminally charged?

September 12, 2006

2006 Racism in America

According to an article found on CNN, a Louisiana, white bus driver, was suspended due to the cause of ordering nine African American children to sit in the back two rows of the bus. Jarvonica Williams, age 16, was one of the children ordered to sit in the rear of the school bus, she stated, "..the bus driver allowed many white students to have seats all to themselves while some blacks were forced to stand or sit in others' laps." Why did this happen, and what were the words of the students as this event unfolded? Iva Richmond is the mother of 2 children who rode that bus, she says, "..they previously had a black bus driver, but their bus assignment changed this year. When school started this month, the white driver told them she had assigned them seats with the black children at the back of the bus." There were complaints brought to the principal and to the parish school officials but, apparently, the bus driver was only given suspention without pay. The investigation is still on going...

I decided to write about this article because it is very interesting that in this day in age there is a continuation of racism still being spread throughout the country even after the Civil Rights Movement. The United States of America is a country that is suppose to give all people, regardless of race, age, and gender, to have everyday freedom in their lives. America is called the "melting pot" for a reason. Every person in this country counts...If the Civil Rights Movement would had never of happened, as I see it, America would not be what it is today, a free and democratic nation, giving equality to all race, ethnicity, and gender. African Americans also make up quite a large percentage of this country and can have a great effect on it when taken to the voting poles, community meetings, or other decision making. In addition, racism may also lead to declination of public participation aswell. Today we can still see that everyone has their own clicks, for example, in schools you may see white mingling with their own, african american, latino, etc in their own group too. This is also occuring in chuches as well. There are still today, white/black churches giving these separations between communities. Racism obviously exists in the present day, as we can see from the article, and no one will be able to get rid of it. Keep an open mind about how strongly discrimination can affect a country and how great the influence race has on America.

September 11, 2006

"Submission" An alternate perspective to Muslim Religion

Back in August I saw a program on CBS 60 Minutes called "Submission". The program was about a descendant of the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, Theo Van Gogh who was a fiery film maker who touched on every religion and was not reserved in his opinion on anything. Theo Van Gogh was slain in broad daylight by a Islamic radical acting in the name of Allah. HIs film, "Submission", depicted images of a naked woman with passages from the Koran written on her skin and more images of a woman beaten severely by her husband. This film was aired on Dutch television and quickly created a rift between Islamic citizens within a generally very neutral society, Holland. The author, Hirsi Ali, has been subject to multiple death threats and is now under heavy security as an advisor to the U.S. government. She is firm in her belief that the Islamic religion is very sexist and holds restrictions on women as second-hand citizens. Her ideals hold strong for her but she has been subject to much scrutiny and many death threats; even her own parents do not agree with her and will not talk to her because they feel she is "misguided". Both Hirsi Ali and Theo Van Gogh are passionate in their work and both wanted badly to make this film even though they knew that their would be ramifications for their actions. The death of Theo Van Gogh has caused much turmoil in Holland in which the people are very understanding and caring for one another.

I feel that Theo Van Gogh did not die in vein, he stood up for what he believed in and stated his opinion whether or not it was asked for. His depiction in "Submission" is not entirely his own creation and it is not the first hotbed topic that he has chosed a side on and offended many people. His execution is very untimely as the Islamic religion and way of life is underneath the proverbial microscope as the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq rages on. This is a very tragic event but I feel that with the way society is on such high alert for any and all suspicious activity only adds fuel to fire that is a rift between the Islamic community and many thousands of Holland's citizens. "Submission" is a strong depicting image of one person's thought on Islam but it is just a thought. It seems very extreme to me that a person would feel compelled to openly slaughter another because of their opinion but it is the world we live in and it is sad. To know that people will ultimately be deterred from making or creating artistic pieces in fear of their lives, you know that it is a scary world that we live in but hopefully artistic freedom will never be limited because of the extreme instances of the past.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/11/60minutes/main679609.shtml