And I don’t mean the movie. “The Stoning of Soraya M.” is a remarkable feature film about harsh Sharia law twisted by a husband against his wife. The film is brutal, honest and unflinching. Based upon Freidoune Sahebjam’s 1994 novel, the film straddles the world between fact and fiction, present and future.
“Soraya” epitomizes a woman’s plight in the Islamic world and reaches across the globe into communities which welcomed Muslim immigrants into their secular societies. But the question left unasked by these societies - face to face - is this: Will you accept the strictures of our society based upon Freedom and mutual respect?
Some Muslim immigrants (not all) refuse to embrace their adopted country’s mores and behaviors. They choose isolated communities. In France, a friend told me that many third-generation Algerians still don’t speak French. News reports about “disaffected youth” riots veil the source of burning cars in Paris - radicalized Islamist youth. Herein lies the question about enforced societal acceptance of multiculturalism and freedom.
Freedom is a tough concept to sell. You know it when you have it. You can see when it’s absent, i.e., Iran, Zimbabwe, socialist left-wing dictatorships like China, etc., But it’s taken for granted in America. Unfortunately in our ADD, media-centric world of flash, celebrity and shock, the world’s impression of freedom is excessive violence, sexuality and degradation. Freedom is confused with approval. The best definition I ever heard for Freedom was “The right to do what you want and the responsibility to take the right course of action.”
The left’s misguided sense of multiculturalism is part of the problem. Ask somebody to define “Social Justice.” You won’t get specific policies but slogans and dogma. To me, multiculturalism means living your life with acknowledgement and respect of your ethnic and religious heritage - learning the language, honoring holidays and remembering history. Irish history is not just drinking green beer once a year or getting tossed out of a bar on St. Paddy’s. It’s remembering the struggle for Irish rights and freedom, contributions to literature and the promises of opportunity and freedom in America.
Some of Europe’s Muslim immigrants (not all, but an influential number), hold fast to their “multiculturalism” as in Denmark’s immigrants experience:
- Muslims who left Islam have been murdered.
- Jewish leaders and citizens are openly threatened in a country that hid 7,000 Jewish citizens from the Nazis in World War II.
- Forced marriages with an unseen fiancee from the native country are common - and fulfilled upon pain of death.
- A $30,000 bounty for the death of prominent Danish Jews.
Denmark has taken steps to counter-act the isolated Muslim immigrant communities with welfare reform (Muslim immigrants constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.), language classes and restrictions on automatic family immigration and marriage. Denmark’s Minister of Immigration and Integration, Rikke Hvilshoj, paid the price for these reforms. When a prominent Iman demanded that the Danish government pay blood money to stop a revenge-bent family, she refused. Her house was torched. She, her husband and children escaped. The Danes remember these tactics. They happened once before between 1940 to 1945.
I believe this could happen in America. In Britain, Sharia is now used in civil cases. The British stopped Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who speaks out against radical Islam, from showing his film there due to “security concerns.” AIG, the company receiving a massive government bailout, developed a Sharia compliant financial division. Remember: Shariah is not just a system of cultural or religious beliefs, but a religious and political structure. Some American politicians have no problem embracing Sharia Law. No less than Yale Law School Dean, Harold Koh, suggested that Sharia law might be applicable in the U.S.
Would that include ‘Honor Killings,’ unimaginable horrors of electrocution, stabbings, rape and more? They have happened in America:
- Atlanta: A Pakistani immigrant allegedly strangled his 25 year old daughter with a bungee cord because she wanted to end an arranged marriage.
- New York: A man stabbed his 19 year old sister because she went to clubs, wore immodest clothing and wanted to live in New York City.
- Texas: Two sisters, 17 and 18, were shot numerous times by their father upon him learning that they had boyfriends.
Immigrants deplore the hyper-sexualized exports of America. Decency and manners demonstrate that not all Americans support these abuses of freedom. But this is the image of our freedom, our human rights, our Constitution. Media trumps reality.
What can be done?
1. Realize that this entire business - Shariah, laws, media - is incremental. Tiny blips repeated a million times. Change it with your dollars, your votes, your conversation. Every day over and over.
2. Oppose the import of “trans-national” law from neurotically corrupt and pathetic organizations like the U.N., Sharia and any other international law. The law comes from democratically elected representatives and our Constitutions. Keep it that way.
3. Forget everything I’ve said. Don’t do a damn thing. Turn up “American Idol” and vote. Oh, and don’t worry about stones hitting your window. Your children and grandchildren will. And just be honest enough when they ask, “Why are we slaves and why did you do nothing?” to look them in the eye and say, “It wasn’t my problem” or “I didn’t have the time” or “I was a coward.”
The fight is on. The fight is now. When you watch “Soraya,” imagine a loved one. Your sister. Your daughter. Your granddaughter. I hope that it’s painful for you. That’s usually when humans decide that enough is enough.
Soraya never had that chance. You can give that chance to the next generation of Sorayas.