Yasser Abdel Said, an Egyptian immigrant and Muslim pictured on the right, recently shot and killed his two teenage daughters, in the Dallas, Texas area. It is suspected that these were "honor killings." An "honor killing" describes an act wherein a male kills a female relative who has, in his view, brought reproach upon their family, usually by breaking a taboo governing sexual behavior or gender roles. Dating Western boys, wearing Western clothing, or generally conducting oneself according to Western standards might constitute cause for an "honor killing." After the male perpetrator vindicates his family's honor, it is apparently permissible for him, as the righteous arm of Allah that he considers himself to be, to abscond like a coward to parts unknown. That is precisely what Said has done.

You may be thinking that this type of conduct is rare. Well, not among Muslims. Several years ago the Jordanian parliament defeated attempts by human rights activists to end honor killing, which accounts for the deaths of 20 to 30 Jordanian women each year. Those men who are accused of the practice typically receive lenient treatment, because their actions are viewed as necessary to protect Islamic social mores against Western ones. A columnist in the Yemen Times has recently argued that violence against women is necessary to "preserve the morals and principles with which Islam has honored us." We know what happens to single women in Iran who have sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage. They are, as the photograph on the right shows, placed in a hole, covered with dirt up to their neck, and then stoned to death. The stones, which are used, are of a size that assures death, but brings it on slowly.

When I read of facts such as these, I ask myself, "How could a person like Yasser Abdel Said ever have been allowed entry into this country?" Or, better still, why does the United States Congress naively and, yes, stupidly, continue to assume that America is able to accommodate peoples of every type ethnicity and religion? It cannot! Should that fact come as a shock? Is it realistic to hope that the United States of America can be all things to all people without, in the end, being nothing to anyone?

The rude fact of the matter is that some cultures do not meld with ours. This is difficult to overlook, unless you just happen to think Americans are "neutral" toward practices such as breast-flattening and female genital mutilation. When people from third world cultures are encouraged by multicultural fantasists "to come to this country just as you are," digesting them into American political and civil society becomes an arduous  challenge. Throwing down a carpet in the middle of a teeming American airport and praying to Allah is a case in point. Demanding that taxpayers install foot baths in such airports in order to accommodate Muslim religious ritual is another. Insisting that one's son or daughter in public school be excused from square dancing class and from showering beside classmates of the same gender following physical exercise are still others. And threatening to decapitate anyone who is perceived as insulting Islam is certainly, let us say, a conversation-stopper!

There is no reason to focus only upon Muslims. There are Southeastern Asian peoples, like the Hmong population, who conduct themselves in many ways as if they were fresh from the Stone Age. Anne Fadiman's book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, relates the riveting story of a Hmong family and their epileptic daughter who felt victimized by the medical, social, and legal systems in America. The story underscores that light-years of cultural distance separate the Hmong people  from the West and that bridging this distance involves too many transactional challenges to be productive for anyone. 

I do not make these observations as a sweeping indictment of peoples from other cultures, but only to construct a critical backdrop by which to ask the following question: Why are we in the United States of America continuing to genuflect to the goddess of diversity? Someone please tell me why accepting someone like Yasser Abdel Said to be a United States citizen is moral or even remotely intelligent. Because this man's daughters were assimilating to Western ways, he murdered them!  His son, Islam, who continues to reside in this country, has defended this act of terror against his sisters. His response to the killings is "F--- America!"  Well, three cheers for the liberal fetish of diversity! 

A large population, in which people of radically diverse habits, traditions, customs, and faiths are expected to respect and to honor one another and to live together in peace, is a utopian pipe dream. Opposing cultures make war against one another. They have done that from the beginning of time, and there is little reason to think that special pleadings from politicians, clergy,  academicians, and other Don Quixotes, routinely tilting at windmills, can or will stop it.

Arnold Toynbee once observed that the world's great empires were not murdered, but committed suicide. By attempting to be everything to everybody – specifically, by refusing to honor American public faith in accordance with which this country has enjoyed solidarity for four centuries – is a pathway to national suicide. We Americans had better start asking ourselves some tough questions about the requirements of citizenship; otherwise, historians will be speaking of the "great American experiment" in the past tense and in connection with a historical autopsy report.

July 28, 2008