One thing that is offensive to me is when Americans employ a foreign or Eastern term to describe something that is a normal part of the Western Christian tradition.
The use of the term “hajj” comes about in an otherwise worthy article by Charles Krohn in today’s WaPo. Krohn’s thesis? We should honor our fallen brave; men who have died so that we don’t have to submit to foreign or alien ideologies. Such as Islam.
Krohn provides the basics as to what a hajj is:
Muslims are obliged to make at least one trip to the holy city of Mecca during their lifetime. This pilgrimage is known as the hajj. It is mandatory for men, voluntary but encouraged for women. A basic dress code ensures that there’s no visible difference between rich and poor, weak and powerful. This simple requirement unites the faithful.
This is, on its merits and as a stand-alone concept, neutral as to moral content. If there were a Christian requirement to do such a thing, perhaps the WaPo editors would’ve tarted it up, made it look like it was part of a new Inquisition. Perhaps.
Since there have been Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land since at least the fourth century, it is passing strange that the author did not pick up on that longer-standing tradition. But then, Christians have the liberty to go, or not go on such a pilgrimage.
But, oh no, it’s Islam, mustn’t ruffle their feathers. Let’s just compliment them on what appears to be worthy. Islam, however, which means “submission,” is about conquest; it is the antithesis of a person making a decision to do, or not do, that which his conscience dictates. It is the antithesis of what our soldiers died to preserve: liberty.
Krohn’s usage of the Islamic pilgrimage negates his otherwise worthy goal of honoring the dead who fought precisely to not have to submit to anything as oppressive as Islam.