Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina, where the wonderful folks at the Dotcom Café have left their wireless working so that obsessed people can sit in the parking lot and do their email. As you can tell, we are in the Christmas travel season. So Young Master Pulliam is in Indiana, the Divine Mrs. MZ is out of jury duty and the Mattinglys are in (let's take this in order) North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and then home. Yesterday, the sky was so clear on the world-famous Blueridge Parkway that it took your breath away. At least, it still does that for me after all of these years.
GetReligion will stay open in the next week or so, but look for us to post only once a day, maybe twice, instead of the usual two or three times, with gusts to four. There is still news out there, including several stories from the past week or so that I will still get around to sooner or later.
And, down in Dallas, Rod "friend of this blog" Dreher (tip a glass in the GetReligion drinking game) has been hard at work giving his readers a stunning trip inside the tensions of modern newspaper work in the post-9/11 world. Dreher is a member of the editorial board at The Dallas Morning News, which has met several times with leaders of the local Muslim community. The local imams do not appreciate Dreher's attempts -- on the editorial-page blog and elsewhere -- to call attention to connections between this mainstream, red-zone Muslim community and more extreme elements elsewhere.
There have been a number of tough, tense meetings. The most recent one was conducted on the record and Dreher used a digital recorder. Now, he has transcribed a 7,000-word chunk of that session and posted it on the News website. Parts of it speak for themselves. Notice that Rod simply keeps asking the leader Mohamed Elmougy very specific questions and getting very general answers. This is the essence of journalism, folks. You keep asking about the pesky facts.
Read it all. But here is a key intro.
[Rod Dreher]: ... I think you had asked me why I find Sheikh [Yusuf] Qaradawi to be violent, and I said I went to his website, and he advocates that someone found guilty of homosexuality, that they could be killed. He advocates within certain limits Muslim husbands beating their wives. And I said to you I find that to be violent. And you said that actually, in the Muslim tradition, in the Koranic tradition, this is a form of Muslim society defending itself, and defending the family.
[Mohamed Elmougy]: OK, OK. We were talking about the family, and I can kind of repeat what we were talking about for a little bit of education. We were talking about where does Islam stand, and what is the purpose of some of these edicts and some of these traditions that someone like you would find, you know, to be violent. And I think I also talked about how in the Bible, you will find some of these things, the punishment for sodomy, you have stories in the same way, you can find the same thing in the Bible. It's no different in the Koran. The way we view it, we don't look at it as violent. We look at it as a deterrent.
. . . I think homosexuality in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and probably in many other religions, is something that many people and the religion itself has issues with. Nothing you or I can do to change that. We don't view it as violence. We view it as a deterrence.
The key question: Would it be good, from a Muslim point of view, to have sharia law in the United States?
Like I said, read it all and take a trip inside some important journalistic questions.