Islam, however it may be phrased, is an extreme position to begin with. No human being can know that there is a God. And when such claims inevitably collide with their logical limits, it is far beyond the capacity of any human to claim, without embarrassment that the ‘lord’ of creation spoke his final words to a merchant in seventh-century Arabia. This is the apex of nonsense, but some people will kill for such beliefs. Those who utter such wondrous braggings, however many times a day as they care to do, by definition, have no idea what they are talking about. (Before some very sensitive people take objection, I’ll wearily add that those who boast of knowing about Moses parting the Red Sea, or about a virgin with a rather huge tummy are in exactly the same position.)
Unless my research proves wrong (and believe it or not I have done some), a sincere Muslim need only affirm that there is one god and that the ‘Prophet’ Mohammed was his messenger, consequently bringing the final words of God to humanity. Certain practices are supposed to follow this affirmation, including a vow to pray five times a day, a promise to visit Mecca if such a trip is possible, fasting during Ramadan, and a vow to give alms to the needy. An obligation of jihad is sometimes mentioned, some state that jihad can be viewed as ones internal personal struggle. However, no real Islamic authority exists to decide this question, and those for whom the personal is political, have recently become rather notorious to say the least. A caveat of this is that it turns out, unfortunately, to be impossible to determine whether jihad means more alms-giving or yet more zealous massacre of, say, evil westerners who promote and spread those ‘evils’ such as: the freedom of expression.
If we take the life of Mohammed himself one may ask some serious questions as we can see he took: child brides, beheaded Jews and was a violent warrior himself. Not a good role model. For balance, perhaps I should add that Jesus did trash a temple, (but we’ve all done that.) Should we be surprised that Islam has inspired such fascistic actions? The left (or at least a certain strata of it), say we should be surprised, and in fact they seem to think that such opinions as mine are not worthy of serious debate, and furthermore their contempt ascends to such a degree that my view is not even esteemed as an ‘opinion’, it is actually a because I dared criticise a seventh-century Arabian, what tolerance.
Why, I ask, should we be commanded to ‘respect’ those who insist that they alone know something that is both unknowable and unfalsifiable, how can such a premise be one of peace? (Likewise this is an accusation not just reserved for Islam.) Something, furthermore, that can, as we all know too well is not just an opinion, but can, and does, turn into a license for rape, gender segregation, the stoning of women and suicide murders. We seem to be in the odd position where we believe that all of these heinous acts are committed without there being any relation to Islam, if you ask the perpetrators they certainly feel an affinity with that book.
The Charlie Hebdo incident was, I sadly say, not a surprise to me. Once again citizens of a free country are ruthlessly murdered for asserting their right to free expression. Sinisterly, rather than run to the defence of the freedom of expression which is under threat, some in the left-wing media feel more obliged to assert Islam is in fact a peaceful religion and the atrocities committed in the name of it are un-related. The overwhelming majority of anti-religious acts committed in France are ones directed against Christians, as this report from the Assemblee Nationale demonstrates, so then, why are Christians not committing massacres of innocent people in western countries in the name of their religion? Hide your head in the sand all you like there is problem within Islam.
If I wish to draw mocking cartoons of Simon de Montfort, Genghis Khan or Elizabeth Fry that is entirely my business. Why do we not freely make this distinction in the case of Mohammed? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation. Sky News decision to not show the Charlie Habdo cover which mocked Mohammed is pathetic they should be ashamed for acquiescing to fascism.
Not happy with burning copies of The Satanic Verses, Islamist mobs demanded the death of its author as well. The ex-head of the Muslim council of Britain; Sir Iqbal Sacranie actually supported the fatwa on Mr Rushdie, and he’s supposed to be a moderate, he also has some nasty views on homosexuals but still we thought he needed a knighthood.
The advocates and bed-fellows of fascism, censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy, if we want a solution let’s be honest about the problem.
By Matthew Page
[Image Credit: Edward Musiak]
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