The Muslim world is on the attack, and from all accounts is doing exceedingly well. With election victories in Palestine and Iran, growing influence in Egypt and riots and demonstrations all over the world to list, the West finds itself questioning its actions, motives and policies seeking to mollify any and all that are inciting Muslim anger. The response of many westerners is to call for calm, to reach out to Islamic moderates, engage in dialogue, to ask westerners to be more considerate when they joke or criticize the Muslim religion or mores. Basically they are asking that people in the west practice self-censorship.
Self-censorship is not necessarily bad; we do it all the time. We don’t insult people at work, we don’t tell wives or girlfriends they are overweight. We don’t tell our best friends that something they did or are planning to do is not a good idea. We don’t tell people that many of their opinions are stupid, whites don’t use the word nigger, when many blacks do, and we usually practice a certain amount of restraint rather than make some dumb sexist, cultural remark or joke. I am sure you do this all the time. I know that many times when I work out at my pool I see many ways that other swimmers can improve their strokes. Do I criticize them, or even make a suggestion that they something? Almost never, I keep my mouth shut.
So one might ask how this is different? I think it clearly is. We are engaged in a war, both physically in Iraq and Afghanistan and culturally against Islam. You might think that this is harsh and extreme, but events would suggest otherwise. The publisher of the cartoons that started the latest row says they are his response to self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fear and intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. He was trying to “push back”.
Jyllands-Posten said that it would show — not tell — how Islam reacts. “The cartoons do not in any way demonize or stereotype Muslims. In fact, they differ from one another both in the way they depict the prophet and in whom they target. One cartoon makes fun of Jyllands-Posten, portraying its cultural editors as a bunch of reactionary provocateurs. Another suggests that the children’s writer who could not find an illustrator for his book went public just to get cheap publicity. A third puts the head of the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party in a lineup, as if she is a suspected criminal…. You can read the complete article in yesterday’s Washington Post.
One must remember that Mohammed was a warrior, leading armies, conquering and killing other tribes and cultures. He demanded subservience. Many times his opponents were killed. His religion was a means of control. Jesus did not lead armies, rule an empire or advocate killing, neither did Buddha. We are dealing with a different beast here. If you want to read some interesting analysis of Islam you might try “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” by Robert Spencer. Islam is not a religion of tolerance as we see by the reactions to the cartoons and the pressure more and more European communities feel. Modern Islam must condemn the calls for violence of any sort when anyone writes, speaks or acts in a way which “insults” the Muslim faith. That type of intolerance is completely unacceptable in a democratic society.
Unless truly moderate, modern Muslims accept secular societies where each individual is able to practice his own religion, we are in for a very bad time, we will truly have a clash of cultures. If you think this is overblown, think again. The Daily Telegraph reports that 40% of British Muslims want sharia introduced into parts of Britain.
Any religion that advocates killing someone for what they say, draw, paint, or write needs to disappear. Any religion that does not respect an individual’s basic human rights needs to disappear. Any religion that does not treat other races, or sexes as equals needs to disappear. Any religion that desires to subjugate or eliminate other religions needs to disappear. Any religion that forbids people from practicing any other religion needs to disappear. We do not need hate, anger, arrogance or power to be the controlling “drug” of any religious institution, whether it is Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, or whatever.
From a strategic perspective the West is on the defensive. If it is to survive this religious onslaught it will have to stand up and say no. No to intolerance, no to all the things that begin to restrict the things that make the West what it is, with all its dirty, messy, insulting, empowering, silly, wonderful acts of freedom. It should never, ever apologize, considering the nature of the opposition, where religion is way too often a tool of domination and war, where sexism reigns, and freedom of speech is severely restricted.