by Ali Gharib (Daily Beast)
Harold Rhode’s Muslim problem may have just turned into a Harold Rhode problem.
Rhode, thankfully, no longer serves in the Pentagon, where he once headed up an in-house think-tank that played a role in cherry-picking and over-emphasizing shoddy intelligence in favor of attacking Iraq. These days, Rhode is relegated the Gatestone Institute, a spin-off of the Hudson Institute where right-wingers (along with Alan Dershowitz) champion hawkish, often “pro-Israel” policies and, not infrequently, rattle off Islamophobic blogposts. (Rhode also serves as a board member of the Islamophobic film production group, Clarion Fund.) In his latest Gatestone posting, Rhode goes on at length about what he thinks is a quirk more or less unique to Islamic cultures, and one that proves how violent they are. Here’s a long excerpt, with my emphasis:
Would we name our children Warrior, Conqueror, Sword, or Holy War? These are the meanings of personal names commonly used in the Muslim world, and may give some insight into Muslim values, especially regarding violence. Violence has been endemic to Muslim society from its inception more than 1,400 years ago. [...]
Western societies almost never give their children names which denote violence. The Protestants who settled America often gave their children names indicative of their values, such as Felicity, Charity, Prudence, Hope, Faith, Joy or Chastity. Other Christians gave their children names that reflect similar values, or names from the Old or New Testaments: Miriam, Mary, David, Luke. As names can be an indicator of how a civilization views itself and the outside world, names parents choose to give their children are at least something of a guide to what they hold in high regard and what they wish for their children. And as Muslims often choose names related to war and violence, could those possibly be indicative of their values?
Got that? Parents give their children violent names because they come from inherently violent societies. Well, Mr. and Mrs. Rhode got some ‘splainin’ to do, as the kids say. According to one baby name site, “Harold” means “leader of an army“; according to another, “army ruler“; another says it’s a “compound name composed of the elements here (army) and weald (ruler, power, control).” You get the idea. Surely this militarist outlook is exactly what Rhode’s parents wanted to project to the outside world, “indicative of their values,” values of violence and war. What does this say about Rhode’s civilization?