Friday, February 17, 2006

Yet another great article from The Brussels Journal. It is long but well worth reading.

Banning the Quran
"The controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad has generated plenty of hypocritical commentary from politicians and other public figures in attempts to convey an impression of moderation and neutrality. In most cases they do so by taking up the quarrel in the middle and condemning both the “insensitivity” of the cartoonists and the “overreaction” of the Muslim world, both alleged instances of “extremism.” They expect us to believe that there is a moral equivalence between the exercising of a fundamental right (freedom of expression) and the attempt to abolish this right."

"[...]A well-known Belgian novelist (Kristien Hemmerechts), a noted feminist and cultural relativist (who has spoken in favour of female circumcision), stated that since the Muslims are so sensitive to the cartoons, the latter should not have been published. Typically, the liberal sympathisers of Muslim “sensitivities” do not seem to notice how childishly selfish the Muslim position is. For centuries and until today, Islam has ordered the destruction of everything that is sacred to other religions, starting with the 360 idols in the Kaaba (including Jesus and Mary) smashed to pieces by Muhammad himself, down to the Bamian Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, the weekly vandalising of Hindu temples in Bangladesh, or the destruction of Christian churches in Iraq during the last couple of months. In many cases, moreover, not only the places of worship but the worshippers too have been assaulted. What an arrogance for Muslims, with their heritage of iconoclastic insensitivity, to put up this show of indignation for a handful of harmless cartoons. And now we are being expected to feel pity for those poor touch-me-nots?"

"[...]Fortunately most Muslims do not take the Quran literally. Their common sense, as well as human inertia and immediate self-interest make them focus on their own life’s business rather than on the struggle against the infidels. When pressed for a Quranic justification of this Islamically lax conduct, they may invent some conveniently soft and non-literal interpretation of the more militant verses, or even (before ignorant Westerners) deny their existence altogether. And so they get on with their lives much like their non-Muslim neighbours do."

"[...]However, this does not render the Quranic injunctions against the infidels innocent. Of the hundreds of dedicated Muslims who committed acts of terror in the last couple of years, a handful may have been temperamentally violent and predisposed to committing such acts regardless of their religion. They may be the “evil people” whom President George W. Bush blamed for the 9/11 attacks in his bid not to implicate Islam. But many others have crossed the threshold into terrorism through the teaching of the Quran and the example set by the Prophet. After all, they understand the Quran as nothing less than God’s own revelation. Unlike the ephemeral cartoons, which have not motivated a single act of violence against Muslims in the months since their publication, the Quranic injunctions are intended to be taken seriously."