Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's your attitude toward "dhimmitude"

Let me tell you about a disturbing email that I received ( well, actually my wife received it, it disturbed her and she sent it on to me for comment/further disturbance ). All future references to the sender herein refer to the originator who sent it to my wife, not to my wife. ( Just to be clear. )

The subject of the email: dhimmitude. Are you wondering, “What’s this?” So did I.

The email told me what it is ( “the Muslim system of controlling non-Muslim populations conquered through jihad” ). Whew! Controversy. Muslims, non-Muslims, Jihad, conquer, control.

The email said further:
  • It is embedded in the health care law
    ( Which I am going to refer to herein as the PPACA, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. )
  • It is embedded by explicitly exempting Muslims from the tax requirements of PPACA
  • We ( non-Muslims ) are thereby subsidizing Muslims for their health care
  • We ( non-Muslims ) are getting screwed because we ( as Christians ) face all kinds of sanctions if we don’t pay the tax or sign up for the insurance and they ( those Muslims ) get it for free
  • We ( non-Muslims ) need to make sure all ( non-Muslims ) in the United States know about this
    ( The actual wording, in big bold lettering: “Keep this going. Every non-Muslim in the United States of America needs to know about it”. )

I was both flabbergasted and skeptical. I could not believe our PPACA would be written as claimed. The email struck me as a classic “we good, they bad” message intending to stir all members of “we good” against everyone else ( they, bad ).

I thought I’d better check it out on Snopes ( the Internet rumor-checking site )  and found the email itself had a link to the Snopes site. Tottering between anger at our government for kowtowing to Muslims and anger at the sender of this email for just stirring the pot, I clicked the link.

The message of this email: FALSE. 

According to Snopes
  • The PPACA does not explicitly exempt any particular groups
  • The PPACA does contain language which allows for the possibility of an exemption
  • The groups which may be exempt have not been determined
    ( and likely will not be for a long time )
  • Such groups would have to be adherents of a group or sect defined in the IRS code which governs the exemptions to the Social Security tax on self-employment income. One requirement for such inclusion includes that the group teaching the individual is opposed to the acceptance of benefits.

In summary, if there were a general exemption of the tax for Muslims ( which there is not ) it would be, in part, because Muslims are willing to forgo benefits.

It is appalling that people are circulating email containing this kind of ... what? To call it “misinformation” is, I think, to be kind. It’s the “big lie” of the Nazi era ( for which I was not around ). It’s based on the idea that the bigger, the more egregious, the more appalling the lie, the more we are willing to believe it because nobody would lie that much, that largely, about so many things all at once.

Everything about the email is controversial:

  • Muslims. Yup.
  • The PPACA. Check.
  •  The mandatory insurance requirement of PPACA. Absolutely
  • The PPACA needs improvement. Very likely.

Riling people’s emotions, especially with what I’ll call the “Muslim card,” with “big lie” information, information that would make the most rational among us livid, not only makes a rational conversation about the PPACA impossible, it exacerbates the gap that already exists between Muslims and non-Muslims ( which gap may exist in the first place because of similar lies, innuendo and the “big lie” ). This behavior does great violence to everyone ... e – v – e – r – y – o – n – e.

What did I do with the email? I replied to the sender, showing the portion of the Snopes page giving its summary FALSE judgment of the email. I expounded – briefly – on anyone’s getting an exemption would forfeit the benefit. I also said that, just for fun, I checked and found essentially the same thing Snopes said. I closed with the suggestion that it would perhaps be a good idea to check Snopes before forwarding email on controversial topics.

I say it is not enough to merely delete this sort of thing; people who send them should be told we know the truth, and we do not want to participate. Hard to do? Yes. Going to cost friendship? Dunno. Worth doing? I hope so. ( For a possibly more effective response, REPLY TO ALL. )

By the way ... about dhimmitude: per, this is an academic concept, not a tenet of the Muslim faith. “For an email to present dhimmitude as an established Muslim value rather than a scholarly concept ... is misleading.”

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