Friday, November 30, 2007

It's time to stop taking Islam seriously

I used to be a flaming liberal, always ready to defend the rights, freedoms, and thoughts of anyone. I felt that all cultures were equally valid and no one had the right to criticize anyone else's culture. Our Muslim friends and neighbors have finally convinced me I was wrong. (Oh, the irony.)

I thought the whole Danish cartoon scandal was rediculous, but those sympathetic to the over-reacting Muslims did have one good point: the cartoonists were deliberately poking fun. Now most people can take a joke, and even those of us who can't will usually just sulk for a while. We certainly don't go around calling for the public decapitation of the person who made the unwelcome crack. And yet a bunch of "extremist" Muslims did just that.

But this time, this time there is no excuse, no defense, no justification for the insanity. The cartoonists may have sparked riots, but the fact is they did intend to be insulting (that is the point of a satirical political cartoon.) Mrs. Gibbons plainly had no such intent. Hers was a well-intentioned, if slightly (and only slightly) misinformed act. (I say 'slightly minsinformed' because apparently the ban on using the name isn't universal -- for several months kids took the teddy home before a parent complained. Clearly the parents of all the other kids were as blisfully ignorant of their religion as Mrs. Gibbons.) And now there are riots calling for her execution.

I refuse to resepct any culture/religion/ideology/whatever that suggests death (or even 15 days in prison) is an appropriate punishment for an accidental insult. Mrs. Gibbons harmed no one. She hurt no one. No property was damaged, no lives or reputations unraveled or destroyed. This is out of all proportion, and we are under no obligation to respect it.

I'm sure that the government and some other prominent individuals will be reminding us shortly that this isn't the majority of muslims, it's just a crazy "extremist" minorty. But is it really? Where are the protesters telling the protesters to shut up, chill out, and go home? Where are the MUSLIM voices crying out that this is nuts? They are conspicuous by their absence.

Ben Macintyre of the The Times would like us to believe that the Sudanese government is using Mrs. Gibbons as a pawn in their political games. That's probably true. But if it were only a few corrupt and nasty government officials who were making a scapegoat of Mrs. Gibbons, the incident would be much smaller in scale. The problem is that thousands of people agree with the goverment. The Sudanese people are not crying "Our corrupt goverment is using an innocent woman to maniuplate our support! They are shit and we will oust them!" No, they are crying "Death to the infidel! They are as happy to make Mrs. Gibbons a scapegoat as the government is, and that makes them just as crazy and just as extremist.

And this isn't just a few nutters in Kartoum. There is slilent complicity all over the world. Middle Eastern nations should be condemning this for the insanity it is, repremanding the Sudanese government for making Muslims the world over look bad. Where is the outrage from other Islamic nations?


Now, before you go and delcare a fatwah on me (oh hell, go ahead and delcare it anyway; nothing I say to you will make any difference if you're of the fatwah-issuing mindset), I'm not saying that every Muslim is a crazy extremist. Just the majority of them. Why? Because Islam itelf it inherently irrational. Built into the very fabric of the relgion is intolerance, over-reation, extremism, impatience, suspicioun and contempt. No rational, thinking being would view the reaction to Mrs. Gibbons faux pas as appropriate. End of. The people calling for her death or imprisonment are not rational and they don't think. Furthermore it appears that this is the majority of Muslims.

If you do not behave in a reasonable manner, I am under no cultural obligation to accept you as a reasonable person. And if you follow a philosophy that condemns reason, thought, and rationale, I will dismiss you as unreasonable, thoughtless, and irrational. Political correctness be damned.

33 comments:

The Spangly Dragon said...

Quite right. It's awful and it's ridiculous. Period. (as you delightful americans say ;) x

ziggi said...

it's all complete bollox isn't it?
But nevertheless very frightening that this kind of bollox is actually taking place. is it mass hysteria? or brainwashing? what makes such ingrained intolerance??

can't wait till monday - can't you let us know sunday night???

Henry North London said...

Personally I think we should all name a few teddy bears Jesus and send them to Sudan...

It wasnt even her that called the teddy bear Muhammad anyway it was the kids

Rimshot said...

CB: Where does it say in any religious doctrine that tolerance of that which goes against that religion is required? And for that matter, tolerance is bollocks anyway!

I can easily see where your atheistic views would leave you incapable of understanding when it comes to matters of ones very soul.

What rational thinking being would allow their eternity to be jeopardized without then taking action to protect it? It seems perfectly rational to me that FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, their future (read: forever and ever) is being put in peril.

At least we can both agree that tolerance (as you've kindly proven with your post) is nothing but lip-service.

Rimshot said...

...which is not to say that I agree with WHAT they're doing...but I can understand WHY their doing it...if that makes any sense.

Rimshot said...

...and didn't you already dismiss all world views that included a deity as unreasonable, thoughtless and irrational?

jd said...

if she was killed for this, would you miss her? I wouldn't.

mind you, i'm still pissed off that the war in iraq hasn't reduced the cost of buying fuel for my car.

fuck the entire lot of them*.

*them being everyone.

Geosomin said...

I can't believe it ever went to court.
I mean I live in a country where when I am amazed I am free to exclaim "Sweet zombie Jesus!" when I'm amazed at something and noone's taken me to court yet. Why not take the kids to jail too...it's just silly.

Chester The Bear said...

Rimshot, the foundation of civilisation is tolerance.

Jesus, Moses and Mohamed play a central role in their respective religions. One is believed by his followers to be the Son of God. The other two are considered by their followers to be Prophets of the Word of God. I'm neither Christian nor Muslim, but I respect the beliefs of those who are, and I expect similar respect in return.

If a teacher in an Islamic school here in Australia, or anywhere else in the Western world, named a teddy bear "Jesus", would that teacher be arrested, threatened with a flogging, imprisoned and then deported? I don't think so.

There would be a small minority who would get upset, talk back radio switchboards will be jammed with people calling in to vent, and there'd be lead stories on the six o'clock news about insults, but that's about as far as it would go. Most of us would just take a deep breath, exhale and get on with our lives. There certainly wouldn't be raging mobs on the streets calling for her execution (as there was in Sudan today).

And if the they named a teddy bear "Moses", which would be a roughly Jewish equivalent, no-one... not even the most religious Jew, would even blink.

Islam needs to chill out and get a sense of humour. They need to get rid of that big chip on their collective shoulder.

And the double standard is breathtaking... Sudan is a country where a cleric can stand before his congregation and sprout the most vile antisemitism (go HERE with impunity, even though, technically, this would place him in breach of the same Article 125 of the Sudanese Penal Code that's put Ms Gibbons in deep doo doo.

The so called religion of "peace and tolerance" has a great deal to answer for right now, and I, for one, would like to see them walk the talk.

Frobisher said...

Death to people who critise Islam, the religion of peace!

jd said...

death to aslan!

err...

Rimshot said...

Chester: I tend to think that civilization was and is borne out of the opposite of tolerance. That is to say when like-minded people gather in a commonality.

FirstNations said...

widespread extremism has different roots. you could put the name of any ideology in the space that 'moslem' occupies in this instance given the right social climate.
i'm pretty suspicious of the amount of attention the press is giving this story at this stage in time. this kind of idiocy and worse happens all the world over. but this particular story now? what about intolerant christians forcing moslem people to convert before they give them a job or a payraise? happens every day right up the road from where im sitting, in Lynden. remember...the media is a tool of government. history 101.

Rimshot said...

"the media is a tool"


:-)


*runs giggling, hiding the crayons*

GreatSheElephant said...

In fairness, the British Muslim community has actively condemned what Sudan has done to Mrs Gibbons - witness yesterday's demo in London and the visit by the 2 Muslim peers to Khartoum.

womblebee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jd said...

bollocks, they wanted a holiday to go see some of their family...

Murph said...

Well said, CB!

Chester The Bear said...

I will say this though, and I've said it before... the opposite side of this ledger is that if you read an article critical of Islam in just about any newspaper in the western world today, and substitute "jew" for "muslim", you get a very scary picture.

Not all criticism levelled at Islam is warranted, and not all Muslims are illiteate extremists.

That said, much of the trouble in the world today can be laid squarely at the feet of the Extremist Warriors of The Religion of Peace and Tolerance.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

awesome comments, everyone! (I knew this would get the mental juices going and the keyboards clicking. I bet in all the excitement you almost forgot about me and the Pirate, didn't you??)

I can't take the time to respond to everyone, but I would like to say in response to Rimshot's comment that I've "already dismissed all world views that included a deity as unreasonable, thoughtless and irrational." While it's true that i do consider such world views as inherently slightly rediculous, there is a big difference between what sort of worldview you have and what you choose to do with it. Pirate is a devout Christian, for example. But he is also a thoughtful individual who thinks things through and behaves reasonably. Key word: BEHAVES. It's what you do that counts, less what you think. (I realize those concepts can't be completely separated from one another, but bear with me here.) In a free society you are allowed to think whatever you want, but there are laws to govern your actions. It's your actions, not your thoughts, that the rest of the community has to live with. So if you're Muslim and you're all huffy and offended by the name of a fucking teddy bear, fine; that's thinking, and that's your perogative. But you don't get to kill anyone over it. That's doing, and it's not ok. Everyone see the difference?

Rimshot said...

Actually there is very little if any difference between one's worldview and what one "does with it". There may be a vast difference between the worldview one CLAIMS to have, but if it doesn't match what they do, then they're just lying to themselves.

You're making a value judgement by saying what they did/do is 'not ok', but it's perfectly ok in their worldview.

There's nothing wrong with you not liking what they did/do, but your claim that it's 'wrong' is fallacious

オウム said...

Yet again religion allows, indeed incites, otherwise good people to call for and commit awful acts against other human beings.

As rimshot says, the way all religions indoctrinate people from mere babies means that they feel it in their "soul" that this is the right thing to do - when it plainly isn't.

Whether it's inhumanly slaughtering animals (i.e. halal), discouraging the use of condoms in countries where aids is rife and killing thousands, calling for teachers to be put to death, or demonising women who have abortions after being brutally raped; religion has a lot to answer for.

Rimshot said...

And yet another value judgement. "It plainly isn't" TO YOU.

I belive they're discuraging sex outsides the confines of a monagamous relationship (preferably marriage), if that was held to, there wouldn't be a need for condoms...

Ah, whatever...I'm not gonna change your mind so, yeah, they're all loonies who, in the end, won't make a whit of difference one way or the other and, according to your non-soul views, will be no worse for wear at the end.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

i've finally decided that value judgments aren't such a bad thing. everyone else makes value judgments; why the hell shouldn't i?

part of what religion gets wrong is that (to take your sex/condom example) it demands the impossible (a society with perfect monogamy) and punishes the INEVITABLE result. It creates lose/lose situations.

You're right, it won't make a whit of difference in The End, because when we die that's it; we've blown our only shot. but it DOES make a difference in the Here And Now, and that's important. One of the other major problems with so many religions is that they're more concerned with the afterlife than the present life. Except there is no evidence of any kind that the afterlife even exists. But the present, physical life does. As such we should be far more concerned with the lives we're living now.

Rimshot said...

"Except there is no evidence of any kind that the afterlife even exists. But the present, physical life does. As such we should be far more concerned with the lives we're living now."

...and therein lies the problem. Perhaps one day you and I could discuss all the anecdotal and circumstantial evidence available and come to a consensus?

Rimshot said...

"Except there is no evidence of any kind that the afterlife even exists. But the present, physical life does. As such we should be far more concerned with the lives we're living now."

...and therein lies the problem. Perhaps one day you and I could discuss all the anecdotal and circumstantial evidence available and come to a consensus?

Rimshot said...

I don't know why that posted twice, sorry.

llewtrah said...

Christianity doesn't exactly have an unstained conscience when it comes to peace (lack of) and tolerance (lack thereof). When you go to work in a Muslim country you really need to bone up on "what not to do" - you're in another country so for goodness sake abide by the laws of that country, don't expect them to make an exception for a foreigner. It was an overreaction and the Sudanese were criticised by Muslims of other countries (in case you missed that fact).

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Rimshot: i'd love to, but keep in mind there's a difference between anecdotes and anecdotal evidence.

Llewtrah: i'm not sure if you're addressing your comments to me or The Rimmer, but in case it's me, I just want to clarify that I hold Christianity in only slightly higher esteem than Islam. I'm well aware of its history and culture (grew up steeped in it). Don't think of me as anti-Muslim. Think of me as anti-religion.

K said...

I personally found the comic funny, and yes Im a muslim.. Well WAS..im taking an atheist holiday from islam for the past year and maybe for another couple of years ...

I can understand being upset with the whole thing, but there is a BIG difference between being upset and calling for someone's execution.

ERh, so what am i trying to say here, ....that I wish i can wirte that piece myself !

K said...

Okay, try again...when i say piece i meant your post...
And well maybe the cartoon too !

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Holy Muhammed on a pogo-stick! I was expecting death threats, and instead I get ex-Muslims agreeing with me. Will wonders never cease? Maybe there's hope for the world after all...

homo escapeons said...

Khartoum is desperately trying to be the Jihad capital and trying to act tough. Bin Laden and his cronies had conventions there before he had to hide his sorry ass in caves.

This political correctness bullsh*t is killing us. For f*ck sake give the Sudanese Government 1 f*cking hour to put her on a plane with a $100,000 severance package or we will create a new gigantic lake where the Blue and White Nile meet.

Can you believe that a little piece of crap government that has been supporting the genocide of it's non-muslim people in Darfur for years can threaten the Western World over a f*cking Teddy Bear.

Screw 'Em. Enough is enough...Blue Leader do you copy...you are good to go..acquire target and engage I repeat engage.

PPPPPUUUUULLLLLLAAAAMMMMM!!!

I feel like Chill Wills riding the Bomb down in Dr Strangelove. Gawddam that felt good.
I am so sick of this pussy footin around.

Patton was right. He was ready to take on the Ruskies in Berlin when they had the chance..instead we got the Cold War for 40 years.

This storm is coming..the longer we wait the worse it will be.