Sunday, October 15, 2006

Under the Anti-Jihad Radar

On Thursday morning, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Known for novels like Snow and My Name Is Red, Pamuk explores the conflicts and conflations of East and West in his native Istanbul, a place T.S. Eliot once called "the still point of the turning world."

Pamuk is an outspoken advocate of the freedom of speech and conscience, and supports Turkey's attempts to reach out to the West as a member of the European Union. In short, he is the quintessential moderate Muslim.

In an interview with the Wall St. Journal on the day his award was announced, Pamuk was asked about the role of the Muslim writer today.
The major issue is the idea that civilizations must clash. I disagree with that. My life is a testimony to the fact that civilizations can combine gracefully and harmoniously if you have the desire to do so. Turkish history, and my books, shows that this coming together is possible. Turkish culture is made up of East and West.
Surely, one of the world's most prominent moderate Muslim intellectuals being given a global stage with the Nobel Prize is a major victory for the forces arrayed against anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism in the Muslim world. The outspoken anti-jihad "where-are-all-the-moderates" blogs must have had a field day lauding Pamuk and all that he represents. A sampling:
  • Andrew Sullivan—No mention of Pamuk. This from the blogger who wondered less than three weeks ago whether the term "Muslim writer" was becoming an oxymoron. Surely anyone who feels qualified to opine on such a subject follows the world of Muslim writing quite closely. Or perhaps not. While not mentioning Pamuk, Sullivan did manage to get sucked in by a bogus story falsely claiming Muslims were upset over a new Apple store in New York.
  • Instapundit—No mention. Too busy with the Harry Reid "scandal", I suppose. Glenn did find time to blog about a YouTube Jihad, though.
  • Michelle Malkin—No mention. Much anguish over the bogus Apple jihad story and some anti-Pope coverage, however.
  • Little Green Footballs—No mention. Where to put it amidst wall-to-wall coverage of the religion of peace?
  • Jihad Watch—No mention. But, jihad closely watched, including even yet still more coverage of the bogus Apple outrage story.
  • Power Line—No mention. Scott did take a moment to write about an obscure Minnesota House candidate and his alleged ties to CAIR. The post was called, ironically enough, "Errors and omissions".
  • Captain's Quarters—No mention. In other news: Harry Reid, Harry Reid! Plus, Muslims bad.
All of these bloggers are concerned with radical Islam and the search for voices of moderation. Not a single one covered the Pamuk prize, preferring instead their facile daily diatribes against Islam. There's plenty to deplore in Islam today, and I'm glad people are talking about it. But to ignore positive stories and encouraging news in favor of more (and often inaccurate) fear mongering is to invite this question: Why should any of these people be taken seriously on the subject of Islam? It's one thing to ask where all the moderate Muslims are. It's quite another to actually open your eyes and look.
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