Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pigs and the Culture Wars

Given that the "flesh of swine" is specifically forbidden to Muslims at least four times in the Qur'an it comes as no surprise that the pig is being increasingly mobilized as a weapon by those opposed to the the growth of Islamic communities throughout the west. Last week I noted that a man in Texas is planning to hold pig races on his property adjacent to a planned mosque and school. This week a video has appeared on the web depicting a few residents of a Copenhagen suburb protesting a planned mosque by drenching the site in pig's blood. While this video might be a hoax, it is consistent with other reactionary uses (or suggested uses) of pigs against Islam. The Muslim American Society reported on the 2003 suggestion of a state senator in Massachusetts that terrorist attacks could be deterred if convicted Muslim extremists were buried with pig entrails and blood so that they would not be able to attain paradise. [An aside: The senator's flier claimed that this tactic was used sucessfully by American General John Joseph Pershing in the Phillipines in the early twentieth century, although I've found no corroboration for this story, which circulated widely via the internet, always with this rhetorical question tacked on: "where do we find another Black Jack Pershing?" A full account of this possibly apochryphal story can be found here on the Urban Legends Reference Page. They note that this incident fails to appear in any scholarly account of Pershing's stint as governor of the Moro Province between 1909 and 1913.] Raeed Tayeh of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation noted that this notion that Muslims would be barred from heaven if buried with pig entrails is "a lie, a fable," adding "This is just a sad commentary on the ignorance of people who are entrusted to represent Americans, that they would pass around such offensive, distasteful and slanderous garbage." It's not surprising, then, that some inmates at Abu Ghraib were force-fed pork and liquor...

By the way, I decided not to include any images with this post given the nature of some of the ones out there that bring Islam and pigs together. Imagine Osama bin Laden wrapped in bacon, though...


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