12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2007
Never before have I been so moved by an author and her work, to find myself compelled to the point of obligation, to post this review. My very first. Many authors have written fine observations, some from first hand experience, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her book "The Caged Virgin". Ms. Gabriel, an Arab Christian, will take you through her life as a little girl, growing up in South Lebanon, then thrust you suddenly into the true horrors, of what we all know happened during that time. If you are a parent, read what this child endured. If you are a compassionate soul, you will be moved to tears. If the sound of your child, screaming in distress for your help, rips your heart out, then find out why this happened to this little girl, and thousands more like her. Ms. Gabriel reminds us all, of what we should already know, but refuse to acknowledge. As of this reading, I know of no other author, who qualifies more to set us straight on this very simple question, who is the victim, and who is the aggressor? This strong, courageous women has survived what we cannot possibly imagine, and is now sharing her truth, to help us find ours. Regardless of your politics, we all owe her our respect. Please read her book.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2014
I am the same age as Brigitte Gabriel. I remember being baffled at the war in Beirut during the ‘70’s when I was a kid. It is no wonder that I was to remain puzzled for years about a conflict that was featured nightly on the news. The news was not as honestly covered on my three channels as it is in this book. While I sat on the couch trying to fathom the spin that was being put on the war, Brigitte Gabriel was living through the war that she would eventually spin out the truth of for my benefit. The trouble in Beirut, I now learn, was caused by the influx of Muslims into Lebanon who were bent on waging ‘holy war’ against the professing Christian populace there (pp. 35, 125.) “Lebanon was the first country to fall to Islam in modern times” (p. 124.) Lebanese Christians, according to what the author was taught and which she does not question, are of Phoenician descent. They are of Aramaic origin, meaning Canaanite, not Arabic (p. 10.) The majority of these are Maronite, as is the author (p. 11.) The Maronite religion is a Catholic sect whose focus is ritualistic and moralistic rather than theological (pp. 15, 114.) It seems a religion that one is born into, not ‘born again’ into.
Brigitte Gabriel grew up with a strong sense of purpose. This was due to her surviving the war in Lebanon as an only child born to aging parents in a culture that looks upon the birth of a girl with disdain. By adulthood, having lived like a rat in a bomb shelter for seven years, she emerged a determined woman destined to effect some change for the good. An act of courage got her her first job (p. 95.) An act of kindness led to her second job (p. 99.) Chance took care to hand her the third one (p. 104.) It was thus that this woman came out of obscurity all of a sudden as a young reporter of world news.
Where does the courage come from to walk right up to a general to ask for a job? It comes from having practiced courage before. Asking a general for a job is not that daunting for a girl who had to crawl through ditches to avoid bombs on the way to school. “Come shells or high water in the shelter, we were going to continue our education” (p. 55.) Where did her kindness come from? It came from the example of her parents: her mother taking care to make the weeds taste good that they had to eat (p. 45), and her father scavenging wire from blown up telephone poles to provide his daughter with working material for crafts (p. 70.)
When it became apparent that English language skills were necessary to her improvement in the world, Brigitte taught herself English by studying television programs that she accessed from the bomb shelter (p. 62.) Shows like Dallas and The Love Boat are not completely without merit, then, to my surprise. Brigitte Gabriel is all character. Too bashful to say that she hadn’t eaten in five days (p. 81.) Entering the war zone on a regular basis to help her parents who were stuck there (p. 104.) Ensuring to bury them, not in backward, racist Lebanon, but in enlightened, respectful Israel in order to ‘honor them and their legacy’ (pp. 122, 123.) I marveled at how this woman I saw on youtube could be so articulate, correct, confident, and fiery in the face of any opponent. Now I understand. She had cultivated her character and mind before coming on the scene. She is not average. It is understandable that a woman escaping a culture that views girls as having nothing to offer but virginity would disparage her own chastity (pp. 94, 194.) In the world that nearly swallowed her up, Muslim men rape girls in order to convince them to become bombing ‘martyrs’ for the recovery of their honor (p. 197.) In consideration of the evil that surrounded and oppressed her, it is easy to forgive this woman her faults.
Before Beirut was overrun and ruined by the jihadists in the ‘70’s, it was one of the more fashionable, advanced cities of the world (pp. 13, 14.) The reason why these Muslims went about massacring Christians in Lebanon decades ago is the same reason why their descendants carried out the attacks of 9/11: ‘because they hate’ (p. 33.) They hate the Western way of life, democracy, freedom, Christians, Jews, infidels—everything that, and everyone who, does not conform to their interpretation of the Koran (p. 145.) This hatred is more widespread among Muslims than most people are willing to admit or even consider. Case in point: after being tenderly treated by Israeli doctors and nurses, a Muslim woman has nothing to say to them except, “I hate you all. I wish you were all dead” (p. 80.) We saw the same spirit all around the Arab world on 9/11, dancing and celebrating to the mass murder of innocent ‘infidels.’ ‘Because they hate’ is the reason for the ‘holy war’ we are in. If you ask me, the reason why certain journalists cover war in an unfair pro-Palestinian fashion (p. 85) is the same: because they hate. These mainstream journalists blow into a war zone looking for a shot that will toe ‘the network editorial policy line’ (p. 119.) But why do they choose to toe that line by portraying the instigating Palestinians as victims? Because of love of money, career, and fame; but at bottom, it is because they hate. That is my, not necessarily Gabriel’s, opinion.
Since the Koran commands its faithful to ‘kill the infidels,’ the Muslims who flew planes into buildings on 9/11 are the faithful Muslims (pp. 202, 203.) The Muslim ‘fanatics’ are the ‘devout followers of Muhammad’ (p. 205.) I don’t agree that a large percentage of Muslim Americans unwilling to back America’s war to protect Kuwait from Saddam Hussein proves anything though (p. 207), for a war could be opposed on many grounds by many voters. But because of what the Koran commands, I agree that every level of the Muslim community at home should be profiled (pp. 214, 215.) Just as Arabs ‘envied and despised’ Lebanon when it was free (p. 13), they envy and despise the free nations that they emigrate to. They are determined to cling to savage, primitive rituals (pp. 194, 195) and to import them. Their ‘honor killings’ now happen in North America.
The Arab culture, even that one in Lebanon before the war which included Christians and Muslims living together in some sort of peace, exists under a pall of ignorance and misinformation (p. 88.) Arabs are fed hatred for Jews from birth (p. 105.) Without a free press (p. 106) they grow up believing outrageous, bizarre lies about those they have been tutored to hate (pp. 171, 191.) Example: “For ritual purposes, Jews use the blood of Muslim (and Christian) children in Passover matzoh and Purim pastries” (p. 170.) An uneducated person will believe a tale like that. How backward is the Arab world? It claimed a total of three technological patents in 1998 as compared to the 779 that were claimed by the little Republic of Korea (p. 187.)
The most striking differences between civilized people and the Arab culture come from the author’s experiences with both. She was taught to hate Jews while a child in Lebanon (p. 15.) As she began to circulate in Israel more and more, it dawned upon her that that people had been misrepresented. She observed that, unlike Arab men, Israeli men respected women (pp. 82, 98, 99.) In her six years living in Jerusalem, Brigitte often observed adults reading books, but not once did she see this done by a Muslim man (p. 103.) She saw that Israel was generous with health care services (unlike the Lebanese driver who had taken a fee even though the ambulance that he drove was a gift from Israel, pp. 61, 76.) She saw Israelis providing medical care even to ‘Palestinian and Muslim gunmen’ (p. 77.) An Arab is safe in a Jewish hospital. You can’t say, though, that a Jew is safe in an Arab hospital. A Jew would never make it to an Arab hospital. Arabs can live safely in Israel; Israelis are targets when living among Arabs. I say, if you don’t love Israel after reading this book, you must be an anti-Semite who deserves to live among the Muslims under a mullah.
Israel is rational about the threat she continually faces. But in America, mainstream media and the politically correct politicians that they serve stand in the way of recognizing and opposing the very same jihad. Terrorist cells are scattered all across the United States, from Boston to San Francisco and from Boca Raton to Detroit (p. 134.) Mosques are seedbeds for terrorists (p. 146.) Muslim charities are connected to terrorist groups (pp. 132, 136-139.) If CAIR is not terrorist-related, why did it demand the removal of a billboard calling bin Laden ‘the sworn enemy’? (p. 140.) The deduction could not be more perceptible. Addressing grievances is ridiculous when the underlying grievances are freedom of religion, the democratic process, and the non-Muslim right to life (pp. xiii, 22, 214.) There are some reasons for soft-peddling the Islamic threat. (1) Reporting honestly could jeopardize the lives of journalists in hot zones (p. 108.) (2) Leading universities like MIT, Cornell, Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, and UCLA benefit from millions of ‘Saudi petrodollars’ (pp. 161-168.) Some, maybe all of that money, by the way, comes from the most militant wing of Islam: the Wahhabis (p. 161.) Canada’s national newscaster, the CBC, is as soft on Islamic terrorists as any group or agency that I’ve ever heard conversing on the subject. Its ideological heroes are the professors of such universities below the border. Thanks to Brigitte Gabriel, the reason why CBC leftists go easy on the Muslim extremism that would crush it if it could has come into view. Falling in line with their southern gurus who are beholden to Islam is not the whole answer. But it is certainly a partial one. CBC Radio hosts will not judge their ideological masters. These masters will not judge the religion of the country that their grubby gratuities come from. But “it is by not judging others that you end up with evil people like bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and suicide bombers” (p. 186.) Brigitte Gabriel goes so far as to say that the mainstream media’s handling of Islamic terrorism is treasonable, which implicates the political personnel that the media go to bat for (pp. 219, 220.) Multiculturalism means ‘multi-anythingism’ (p. 216.) It is that indiscriminate allegiance to anything but the truth that led a CBC host to vocalize his hope that the terrorist attack in Ottawa in October 2014 would serve to promote unity and tolerance. Translation: more politically correct blindness in the face of Muslims no matter what their stripe. That is what the practice of multiculturalism looks like. And this is how you apply a good book that you’ve just read. What Brigitte says in Because They Hate may be substantiated just by turning the radio on for a few minutes.
It should already be plain that even the moderate Muslims take a hit in this book. But that, for good reason. Though moderate Muslims are intimidated by their violent brethren, yet they should protest, especially in the West where they are just as protected as the rest of us who do speak up (p. 155.) Not all of them can claim to have close ties to persons overseas whose lives would be hazarded for their speaking out. Moderate Muslims won’t address the Koran’s teachings that call for ‘the killing of infidels’ (p. 157.) Almost without exception they won’t join a rally condemning terrorism, and are even defensive about being asked to participate in one (pp. 211, 212.) Their balky silence begs us to ask a legitimate question. “Are the majority of Muslims living in America today who practice Islam loyal to the United States or loyal to its enemy?” (pp. 206, 207.) When the moderates do speak up, it is to argue that someone like this author is ‘making Muslims look bad’ (p. xix.) There is a viral youtube video showing this. And I just ear-witnessed this claim for myself. During the Cross Country Check-up program about the recent attack on the soldier in Ottawa, a call was received from a Muslim woman. What input did she offer? She wanted the other callers to focus on other details than the salient fact that the terrorist had become a convert to Islam before executing his dirty deed. That was her chief, if not sole, reason for calling in to the show.
September 11th could be “the beginning of the end of the American civilization” (p. 135.) This reminds me of what the towers coming down suggested to me: the symbol of the imminent disintegration of the USA as the superpower of the world. Because of what she witnessed and lived through in Lebanon, the dire possibility of America as we know it coming to an end struck this woman the moment she saw the world trade center implode (p. 2.) What happened in Lebanon is eerily similar to what we may now observe in America. Lebanon was multicultural and diverse (p. 13.) Intolerant Islam gained strength there by steady degrees. Its border was open (p. 14.) Palestinian refugees poured in (p. 17.) The enemy exploited race issues and old rivalries (p. 18.) People pretended that tension caused by Muslims was imaginary (p. 19.) Terrorists shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before killing the infidels (p. 24.) The enemy ended up targeting its leftist allies (p. 20.) The American leftists are not spared for their support of Islam, for terrorists kill en masse. They were not spared on 9/11. Lebanon and America: “Different generation, different nationality, different continent, twenty-five years apart. Same enemy: radical Islam” (p. 33.) Moreover, ‘Islamic riots’ are common in Europe. “The U.S. is…not far behind” (p. 152.) Jesus told those who were having trouble believing on him to believe the works that he did. What the author says on page 221 reminds me somewhat of this. If you don’t know whom to believe, believe the ones who say they want to kill and who then follow through. Who the enemy is must be known (p. 218.) With that in mind, page 200 should be read as page one, and over and over again by those who are in denial. It’s the most important and convincing page of the whole book. Obedience to what is said there could change the course of this world war with terrorists that we are engaged in. Because They Hate should be one of the premier training manuals for every agency entrusted with protecting the nation.
The object of Because They Hate is to show, by experience, history, and facts, that Islamic fundamentalism will overwhelm America just like it overtook Lebanon unless American citizens wake up and act decisively against it (pp. xiv, 23, 36.) Islam ‘is awakening from centuries of slumber to reignite its wrath against the infidel’ in an effort to dominate the world (p. 110.) Islam’s initial spread was done by the sword (p. 151.) And it is spreading like that again. “In the Muslim world, extreme is mainstream” (p. xiii.) Whatever measures are taken against ‘Islamo-fascism,’ they must be gotten through in a democratic system where ‘dissent and protest’ will hinder an ability to win (p. 112.) Civilized people have obstacles to surmount that barbarians need take no thought of. Another formidable obstacle for America to get past is the UN, which has a history of favoring terrorist groups (pp. 54, 59, 71, 181, 182.) Brigitte Gabriel finishes her book with a list of measures that the average citizen can engage in. Monitoring college/university lectures (p. 230) may be best one. Spreading the word about what students are being taught has stopped radical professors before.
There are some faults committed that one could mention. The name of God is given out in exclamatory fashion a couple of times (pp. 52, 65.) I always note this because taking God’s name in vain is the great sin that everyone allows to pass without notice. Someone should take notice. I volunteer to be the policeman on that. Furthermore, that sin tells us something about the religion of the one who commits it, especially when it is done in writing, for in writing one must even pause and meditate on the fault that is being committed. She gives a nod to wind energy, which I do not like (p. 227.) The style mounts up above average just rarely (pp. 74, 75, 154.) But the spirit of this book is such that style is an unnecessary bauble. Her brand of dogmatism regarding the menace of our time (global jihad) is well backed up, and well gotten on its way, too, by a biographical preliminary that drifts off at about half way through.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This disturbing book is similar in structure to Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Now They Call Me Infidel by Nonie Darwish, being part autobiography and part warning to the West. The autobiographical section deals with the author's childhood in Lebanon which was happy and idyllic until the war broke out in 1975. Her family experienced seven years of hell as the political war soon became a religious war against Christians waged by the PLO and Lebanese radical Islamists.
It became a nightmare of murder, atrocity and destruction. She also witnessed at first hand how the terrorists manipulate the media, for example by launching missiles from Christian towns then blaming Israel for the retaliation that followed. They played the victim card very well, exploiting the clueless or complicit mass media at every turn. A good analysis of this phenomenon is available in The Other War by Stephanie Gutmann. When the Israelis invaded in 1982, the family finally managed to escape the horror by finding refuge in Israel. There they experienced kindness and compassion; she eventually became a journalist, married an American and moved to the USA.
The second part examines the history of the global jihad and how its hydra heads are sprouting in the West. The author considers Lebanon the early testing ground for the global ambitions of the Jihadis. In this section she delves into the Koran and compares the Western with the Islamist concepts of, among others: truth, life and human dignity. Pointing out the major differences, she shows how the radicals are using Western values like tolerance, the rule of law and free speech against the West. What happened in Lebanon is starting to happen in Europe and the USA while the demonization of Israel and the USA is getting worse in the mass media of the Islamic world. For gruesome examples of this, please see Peace: The Arabian Caricature Of Anti-Semitic Imagery by Arieh Stav.
Ignorance and political correctness are contributing to the escalating danger and the fifth column in our midst are those self-loathing westerners - mostly tenured termites in academia - who blame the democracies and talk piously of the "legitimate" grievances of the terrorists. The author says we must not appease but face facts: their grievances include our freedom of speech and religion, the democratic process, rule of law and the gender equality in our societies. She also claims that moderate Muslim organizations in the USA are not as moderate as they pretend. A very important point Gabriel makes is that although most Muslims are peaceful, Islam itself is not a moderate religion. Islamic Imperialism by Efraim Karsh and The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer explore the historical facts in more detail.
The book concludes with recommendations for policymakers in the West, such as the banning of hate education where it is occurring now, stricter border and immigration controls, security profiling of radical organizations and a serious effort to find alternative energy sources. Other warnings to the West include The Force Of Reason by Oriana Fallaci, Londonistan by Melanie Phillips, Unholy Alliance by David Horowitz, Menace In Europe by Claire Berlinski and While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer. On account of her first hand experience, Brigitte Gabriel's book is a must-read for all those who care about the future of our civilization.