The battle for Muslim hearts and minds?

Category: Americas, Life & Society Views: 7045
7045

Is this the way to win the battle for Muslim hearts and minds? 

Pundits and leader writers in the West appear genuinely perplexed by the stunning Muslim response to Quran desecration reports. They don't say it in so many words but it's clear that the intensity of expressions of outrage across the Muslim world from Morocco to Malaysia has really left the West bewildered and wondering: What's wrong with this community? How can a passing reference to a small incident involving the Book make it so angry? Trouble is the secular West can never truly understand or empathize with the Muslim approach to faith. The majority of Muslims continues to believe that their all-encompassing faith should and must guide in all aspects of their life as it's sent by Allah Almighty for the benefit of all mankind and to serve as the eternal source of guidance for all times to come. 

On the other hand, the West or Christendom has developed a robust skepticism, or contempt if you please, for all things religious. Nothing viewed as sacred by the rest of the world is sacred anymore in Western eyes. 

If the majority of the Christian West has over the centuries developed a disconcerting disillusionment with their faith and today sees faith in general as the private affair of an individual which at best should remain restricted to the four walls of local church, the Church itself is to blame. 

The Church's excessive control over its flock during the oppressive centuries leading up to the European Renaissance (remember the Spanish Inquisition? Or how the Church persecuted Galielo Galilei for his scientific beliefs?) and its unreasonable opposition to all scientific inquiry and quest for knowledge generated a popular backlash. As a result, the Western society banished the Church forever from their lives and day-to-day existence. More importantly, this hopeless conflict with the Church left a deep distrust and contempt for all religions in Western mind that remains far from shaken. 

This is why the Western society is not appalled when its religion and all that symbolizes it is openly ridiculed, and lampooned. No eyebrows are raised in the West when Jesus or his mother Mary are derided by new prophets of pop culture. No one feels offended if a semi-clad Madonna flaunting a Cross writhes on the floor suggestively begging to be taken. There were no protests in the Western street when movies like The Exorcist showed the devil worshippers defiling the Cross and mocking Jesus. These things are ignored in the West as part of the so-called artistic freedom or freedom of expression. 

In the Muslim society though even suggestion of such rude references to faith or those who preach it would amount to sacrilege. 

The West can never truly comprehend how much pain and anguish an irreverent reference to the Prophet, and the Book he brought can inflict on the faithful. Reverence for faith and all that's associated with it is an essential and fundamental part of Muslim belief and psyche. And this respect is not limited to the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, but extends to all Messengers of God and all scriptures sent by Him. 

Unless the West seeks to understand this aspect of Muslim psyche, it can never appreciate why Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses brought Muslims out on the streets around the world. Or why the Afghans braved the police firing this week in Kabul to protest the Guantanamo Bay outrage against the Quran. 

But even assuming the brave American soldiers at the Guantanamo Bay were not aware of the Muslim sensitivities, it is hard to interpret the Quran desecration as a careless act of ignorant GIs. I mean how callous and how indifferent can you get? And how many times the US authorities will blame such outrageous acts on a 'few rotten apples'? From Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay - there is an endless trail of rotten apples. The whole basket, it seems, is affected by the rot. 

Whatever Washington's explanation for these indefensible acts, this is certainly no way to win the battle for Muslim hearts and minds. If this is what the US President George W Bush had in mind when he promised "human liberty and democracy" to the people in Muslim lands, the Islamic world would be better off without America's gifts. Thanks but no thanks. 

Aijaz Zaka Syed is Op Ed Editor of Khaleej Times


  Category: Americas, Life & Society
Views: 7045
 
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Older Comments:
HUDD D'AELIA FROM GREAT NORTH said:
You can't give up Observer(0,1,2,3,etc), you just can't help yourself but display your demagoguery on this Muslim website. Let me inform you of facts:
1) Observer you are not the West and you can't claim that your opinion is mirroring the state of mind of the average American. You mentioned Rushdie? I mention Waco TX and the massacre of 4 students and the wounding of 13 at the State University Ohio, 1970, when the National gards opened fire on unarmed demonstraters, students, against the barbarism of the American government in Cambodia! You want more? Get it into your bonehead, there is no any other country in the world that has such a tremendous violations of human rights like US. On Amnesty International report on human rights violations, USA is head of the list. Whom are you trying to fool, tripper?
2) You bicker,"I'm a bit tired of hearing that we have to show some profound respect for this faith, more than for any other faith." Again you choose to be stupid. Since when are you using the pages of the Bible as toilet paper? Since when you use the Bible to pee on it? Why would you do that to the Quran? You see clown, we Muslims demand the same respect for our holy things as you would have asked for yours. The Quran was not shreded and disposed in dignity the way is done to the Bible in Saudia(a totalitarian kingdom, not a western democracy)but was flushed down the toilet with the words added by the military,"It goes where it belongs" I would say that your brains and the brains of the military that did it belong to the toilet. Observe that, Observer!
3) "Learn to live and let live"? What is this supposed to mean? USA entered a sovereign country, Iraq, on the lies furnished to Britain by whoring Israel! So the saying goes to you, clown:"Learn to live and let live!!!!"
So long!
2005-06-07

NASIR FROM CANADA said:
Salam,

This article makes numerous references to "the West," as does other articles on the site, as well as comments from others. Someone needs to define what "the West" truly means or whom it includes. If "the West" is simply the United States, then make reference to that but I think to lump all Western democratic nations into one, is a huge and ignorant mistake!

I think the huge backlash from Islamic societies re: the desecration of the Quran examplifies the backwardness of such societies. I truly believe Islam needs a reformation or a renaissance, so to speak. There needs to be emphasis that will push the majority of Islamic societies towards educating the masses, that will spur a revitilization in the arts and sciences.

As much as I am not a big fan of Irshad Manji, I do agree with her thoughts on the fact that Muslims need to look at themselves before they start pointing the figure. Honour killings are perfect example! I can not believe that such a practice is even tolerated in many Islamic societies, it is truly barbaric.

And while the United States has committed atrocities within the regions of Afghanistan and Iraq, I do believe the warlords and freedom fighters need to step back. They have killed far too many people themselves (i.e. the freedom fighter in Iraq) in their 'jihad' with the U.S. and its military. Killing innocent Muslims in the name if Islam is not acceptable, no matter what some cleric, Imam or scholar says!
2005-06-02

HUDD D'AELIA FROM GREAT NORTH said:
Kerry says,"What ticks me off is the "religous fanatics" who massacre each other in the name of God, Allah, etc."

Wow, Kerry, you present yourself as a teacher but your general knowledge and interpretation of the world's affairs is below that of a N.Y. Taxi-driver. Something is definitely wrong in US if Taxi-drivers have more general knowledge than Ph. D. teachers! It's sad, relly, think about it. "Religious fanatism" is thriving due to the very prolific environment US and her whore partner Israel are creating in the region. Look at Iraq or Afghanistan, did ever such horrific things happen before US invasion? US created chaos and havoc in these very volatile countries. Since US brought everything except what promised, e.g., "democracy"(who needs it),"freedom"(for whom?), "relief"(yeah, thinning the population through methodical bombing of civilians). In a nutshell, US brought her lies to the table and expected the Arab world to fall on her face and worship America! Are you serious, Kerry, you make me laugh!
Wow, is this what you teach your asian students? "Enjoy your life, but if you want to live in the West, do not expect us to change our laws to suit your religion." Who on earth demanded that, you little confused mind? All Muslims demanded was, that which they hold holy not to be desecrated! Is there in the US law a clause that would say that you must respect all religions, but with the exception of Islam? What are you trying to say? You want to bring the victim as an aggressor? Are you so Zionist that common sense is totally absent from your reasonings?
Really,"we do not agree that God's laws supercede the law of the land." Tell that to your Jewish rabbis, the Christian fathers and maybe to the Mormon elders. See what an answer you get and then opine, OK?
You say,"what about the fact that many Middle-Eastern governments give second class status to nonMuslims?" They ain't democracies, they are known dictatorships and fought on by the fundamentalists.
2005-06-01

KERRY FROM USA said:
Right, most of the West evolved from the violent cesspool blind faith wrought. This includes me. What ticks me off is the "religous fanatics" who massacre each other in the name of God, Allah, etc.

Enjoy your life, but if you want to live in the West, do not expect us to change our laws to suit your religion. That is, we do not agree that God's laws supercede the law of the land.

Also, what about the fact that many Middle-Eastern governments give second class status to nonMuslims? How about the fact that Saudis regularly shred Bibles in their airports? When the Middle-East respects other faiths, perhaps the secular West will respect Islam.

BTW: Many of my Muslim students have told me they feel more free here to practice thier faith than in their homeland. Keep your faith, enjoy it, but do not be hypocrits and espect respect when you do not respect other faiths.
2005-05-31

AHMED FROM UK said:
I think Paagle's attitude says it all, anti-Bush yet suffering from the same myopia which most Americans suffer from. As Hudd said, you are not the world. There was no rioting until trigger-happy yanks decided shoot up some Afghans for protesting the desecration of the Holy Quran as I stated earliar. Your troops did the same in Iraq to demosntrators who demanded your withdrawal....strange kind of democracy indeed. Muslims hold the Holy Quran as the word of God, you on the other hand believe in no sanctity or sanity, which may explain why so much of Iraq's history was destroyed by your troops, while the oil ministry was guarded.
Your comment on Muslim woman exposes your .. carnal personality...not much different from war criminals who enjoy torturing those who arent quite dead yet.
As for your darling Karzai, you obviously know nothing about the man, I cant say I'm surprised at your ignorance.
2005-05-31

PAAGLE FROM USA said:
I'm not sure this is supposed to be a chat board, but I feel like responding briefly.

Ahmed: The invasion of Iraq was based on a pack of lies, and is one of the things I was thinking of when I remarked (in the "Alternative View" section) that I'm ashamed of some of my country's international actions. Bush is idiotic scum, and many of Sadam's atrocities occured with US sanction and even US weaponry. But the invasion of Afghanistan seems just to me, although it has been poorly executed. This is to be expected by the Bush admin, which cares not a bit for anybody that isn't rich, corporate and Christian. The Taliban, however, was harboring the organization that did 9/11 and were never going to give OBL et al up. Karzai seems like a decent enough guy, really. What information am I lacking about him?

Hudd: If you said 9/11 was a wonderful thing I'd say you were demented, but would not call for your head. If you said you intended to do something similar to 9/11 I would.

Actually a more accurate reversal of my philosophy would be destruction of, say, the US Constitution or the collected work of Aristotle (my thanks to the medieval Muslims who had the wisdom and respect for non-Islamic learning to save his works). The destruction of copies of writings I hold dear would bother me not at all.

The point that the Koran was desecrated by US citizens acting in an official capacity is a good one. But these citizens are common guards. Reports of rotton treatment of these prisoners have been coming out for months. Why does the desecration of the Koran cause by far the biggest reaction? I believe ya'll should be rioting over many other aspects of Gitmo. The fact that you don't points to something troubling, as discussed in my first post.

Nobody made me the measure of all things, which is why I say live and let live. I don't mind sharing my streets with Islamic women in personal tents. (cont. in alternate view)
2005-05-30

AHMED FROM UK said:
Paagle, your attitude makes me understand why Americans have the sort of reputation they do. Who are you to be shocked by "violence" when its your people who start and engage in it.
I guess the Holy Quran is nothing but ink and paper to those who invade, murder, rape and torture others based on a pack of lies. The dead in Afghanistan were killed by trigger happy American occupation forces, along with the complance of the puppet Karzai regime. What a shock! People dont like having their nation invaded and occupied by terrorists who of "liberation."
I am frankly sick and tired of people who pretend that their actions have no consequences. I am weary of these American hypocrites and liars.
2005-05-29

HUDD D'AELIA FROM GREAT NORTH said:
Paagle, Paagle, you are not the world, what you personally think is irrelevant because it just mirrors your government's policies and that my friend is far from being freedom of choice. In other words dude, I am free to express anything the US governments approves with and the media endorses it. If I or anybody else differs then we are going to be stigmatized, marginalized and pushed aside from the table and off the stage. This, Mr Paagle is fascism and racist dictatorship.
You say:"If I do something that offends a Muslim sensibilities it appears Islam leaves no room for my actions and attitudes to exist side by side with it." Begging your pardon, doesn't it work that way in any society? Supposing I said on US air,"OBL is an all times hero? 9/11 was his utmost masterpiece of human endeavour!" Wouldn't this outrage the "good" Ameican public to acts of violence and a "fatwah" on my soul? In the same way I could say, "this is why I can't feel free with the Americans crawling all over Middle East!" Comprende Paagle? This is your philosophy in reverse!
You say:"I think the actions of the guards (I suspect the report is true) were insulting." Yeah, they would have been insulting if done by individuals not linked to an authority or in uniform! Definitely, If the Quran would've been desecrated by some punks, although a sad event, It wouldn't have triggered the same reaction, are you too mediocre to understand this?
You say,"It appears to me that Muslims demand respect for their religion, but because their sense of the sacred is so powerful cannot respect my beliefs. How am I to want to live amongst such people?" Muslims demand respect for their religion? Of course they do and so does the practicing Jew, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. You have no religion and no respect for religion and yourself. You ask everybody else to be like you? Who made you the measures of all things? What are you? A little jesus, a son of god? How conceited and egocentric you can be?
2005-05-28

YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
I understand what you're saying, observer, but much of the mockery reported was by members of armed forces with whom Muslims have allied themselves in the hope of frustrating the plans of other Muslims who happen to include a number of their own countrymen. This seems to be the primary reason why so many Muslims have found these reports so upsetting. What seemingly concerns other members of those same armed forces (and others among their countrymen as well) is that if your ally were to disparage your religion, country or way of life you would be much more likely to protest that alliance than if your adversary behaved similarly.

You seem to be hoping to help others keep events in the proper perspective. I hope that was helpful.
2005-05-27

HUDD D'AELIA FROM GREAT NORTH said:
What's up observer? Again you confuse the street lamp for the full moon. What has faith to do with getting mad over desecrating that which is holy? Whether one has faith or not, God alone knows, but even those faithless and atheists from among Americans would get pissed if a foreigner would relieve oneself on the American flag in front of the Statue of Liberty. Let's admit that this issue is one of honour and pride. You think only the Americans have the right to be proud and dignified? There is no free debate in Islam. Islam is God's religion and then what would be anybody's debate? Every debate is brought for reference to the Quran. Quran and Islam cannot be debated. Ahmad Deedat engaged himself in debates with other religions and successfully proved that Islam was free of error and God's religion designed for mankind. Quran as a book is a symbol. If somebody went and left a dump on the head of the Statue of Liberty it wouldn't mean that he hurt Liberty, would it? I wonder how would the American public at large react to it?
Right on, observer, me too, I am for the separation of the church from the state affairs. I am for an Islamic Khalifat though. This doesn't seem very feasible at this time, however when the oportune moment arrives it will happen. The world needs a stage of purification, we as a whole are so corrupted, nobody is an exception, I believe that good times are iminent, they are coming.
Peace out!
2005-05-27

PAAGLE FROM USA said:
The violent intensity with which Muslims love their holy book and their religion illustrates what makes me so leary about Islam. If I do something that offends a Muslim sensibilities it appears Islam leaves no room for my actions and attitudes to exist side by side with it. An all-important sense of the sacred leaves little room for those who do not share the same things sacred.

I think the actions of the guards (I suspect the report is true) were insulting. The desecration of the Koran is also counter-producive. I understand that a few loonies exist in every community, and that perhaps the violent protesters were not expressing mainstream Islamic attitudes. However this article, and the comments of Muslims about it, suggest that mainstream Muslims share the depth of the protesters' rage.

So I'm one of the bewildered westerners wondering what's wrong with this community. The desecration of the Koran is certainly an insulting and disrespectful act, but the response is out of all proportion to the insult. I see a similar thought process in the second-class (albiet "protected") status of non-Mulsims in majority Muslim societies. Muslims find what I see as innocuous behavior offensive (e.g. booze, pork, dogs, my wife or daughter going for a jog in T-shirt and shorts), and because of their intense sense of the sacred are likely react in a manner which I see as over-reacting. Thankfully I live in a place where a Muslim cannot lynch my wife for going about in T-shirt and shorts, or smack me about for having alcohol in their presense.

It appears to me that Muslims demand respect for their religion, but because their sense of the sacred is so powerful cannot respect my beliefs. How am I to want to live amongst such people?

PS I've known numerous Muslims who have shown me great respect. Practically I know I can live happily amongst some Muslims. But the religion itself kinda freaks me out.
2005-05-27

AHMED said:
Observer, grow up. Why should I forgive war criminals who have violated every thing a Muslim hold dear ? You are not only insensitive but a snivelling charlatan joyed at the abuses by these scum. The ones who are really scared are the ones hide behind government authority and commit crimes, not to mentions trolls like you behind the monitor.
2005-05-26

OBSERVER FROM ENGLAND said:
Surely if your faith in Islam is as strong as you claim it is then someone 'defiling' a book or even the message within the book ought not to upset you or the muslim community .You ought , in fact, to feel sorry for them and to forgive them for if you are truly faithful you will realise that it is the revelations within the book not the book itself that are important and then the mockery ought not anger you but to upset you as this person is merely harming htemselves in gods eyes and not you.The only reason i see therefore for you outrage at the actions of people like Rushdie is that you are either scared of free debate on the issue (whihc can only be a good thing if your faith is 'right' as it will expose your detractors as ignorant)or that you are only concerned with defending a book becasue you have no true faith.
2005-05-26

SAAD FROM USA said:
This guy, abdullah hakim is probably a non-muslim posing to be a muslim. Which muslim says bismillah at the end of the post? ...
2005-05-26

GREG FROM USA said:
This whole thing is like teasing your little brother. It is fun if you get a reaction from him. When he stops reacting it no longer has the same enjoyment for you and you stop doing it. If you stop reacting to stupid things stupid americans( and others) do, they will no longer get the reaction they want and stop doing them!!
2005-05-26

NURAINI FROM MALAYSIA said:
Those who hold nothing sacred cannot understand how others may hold things sacred. Although it's true that sometimes religious followers of one religion may disrespect another religion, however if they grow less biased and prejudiced they will be capable of valuing what is sacred to another - because they feel it themselves.
2005-05-26

SUMAYYA FROM ENGLAND said:
the West can never appreciate the beauty of the Quran. they can mock Islam, they can insult the Prophet and they can desecrate the Quran. and after doing all of this, they can even stupidly believe that they have gotten away with it. but they haven't. Allah will bring them to account, Allah will humiliate them, mock them and punish them. who'll have the last laugh then?
2005-05-25

SHAB FROM CANADA said:
right on!!! i am with you all the way. thank you for the perfect article......jaza kallah
2005-05-25

AHMED FROM UK said:
The phoney poster "abdullah hakim" is at it again pretending to be a Muslim. I'm really begining to dislike this right wing troll always supporting terrorism against Muslims with his retarded pro-US propaganda.
How many Muslims out there spell Qu'ran like "koran" anyway. What a spineless coward.
2005-05-25

MURTAZA ALI FROM USA said:
This is the love for Muhammed and Ale Muhammed that Muslims are ready to give away their lives. This love has to be strengthened among Muslims in the form of better education and more 'ilm' about our religion.
To win the hearts of Muslims you need to create some one like Prophet Muhammed, some one like Imam Ali, is it possible ?
Yes, a false Prophet is possible a false Imam is possible, so now wait till they create one, and also wait for the one who has to come.

Insha-Allah
2005-05-25

NISA FROM ASIA said:
yes, it's not just a book. Quran it's the words of Allah (God). & how can anyone be so heartless. i'm muslim, & i won't do that to the Bible. i can't even comprehend doing that to any book. when they do that, it shows their deep hatred & contempt towards Islam. as muslims, we are right to be offended.
2005-05-24

JABRIL ALEXANDER FROM USA said:
As Salaam Alaikum

Well said! I read a comment on another site earlier today where the commentator was identified as a Christian. Their comment concerning the desecration of the Holy Quran and the subsequent reaction by Muslims is as follows; "It has been said that someone flushed a book (the Koran) down a toilet. Why are there riots and people being killed because of this? I just don't understand. If I (as a Christian) had heard one Holy Bible had been flushed by someone. It would make me sad and I would pray for whoever did it. Do Muslims worship a book or do they worship Allah? These riots over this make no sense to me at all." {Unquote}

Of course it does not make sense to this person; as Br. Aijaz stated, "The West can never truly comprehend how much pain and anguish an irreverent reference to the Prophet, and the Book he brought can inflict on the faithful. Reverence for faith and all that's associated with it is an essential and fundamental part of Muslim belief and psyche."

I do not think the West cannot comprehend the love that a Muslim has for Allah (SWT) and for his word that was brought to us by His messenger (SAW). It appears that most Westerners do not understand the purity of The Quran and they confuse Taqwa, reverence and obedience to Allah (SWT) as strange.

We as Muslims must continue to strive to educate our youth, present them with proper role models (by being obedient to Allah (SWT)) and being aware of the battle being waged against us, for our hearts & our minds.

Ma'Salaam
Jabril
2005-05-24

ABDULLAH HAKIM said:
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STOP THIS MELODRAMA OVER THE ALLEGED INCIDENT INVOLVING THE KORAN AT THE
GUANTANAMO DETENTION CENTER. THE OBVIOUS MOTIVE IS TO USE ANYTHING TO EMBARRASS THAT GREAT AND BENEVOLENT COUNTRY - THE US OF A. FOR GOODNESS SAKES, SUNNIS BURN SHIA MASJIDS AND SHIAS BURN
SUNNI MASJIDS EVERY OTHER MONTH IN PAKISTAN. HOW COME THERE ARE NO PROTESTS OVER THIS. CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ARE ALSO BURNT IN PAKISTAN WHEN A NEARBY MASJID CANNOT BE FOUND. YET NEVER A PROTEST.
WHERE WERE ALL THE BLEEDING HEARTS WHEN SADDAM WAS BUTCHERING MUSLIMS IN IRAQ? OBVIOUSLY AN ARAB CAN DO NO WRONG. SUNNIS AND SHIAS ARE SLAUGHTERING ONE ANOTHER IN IRAQ BUT HAS ANY ONE HEARD A WHIMPER OF PROTEST?? OBVIOUSLY NOT.
IS THERE ANY PROTEST AGAINST SYRIA FOR CONTINUING TO SEND TERRORISTS INTO IRAQ TO FAN THE INSURGENCY
THAT KILLED MORE THAN 400 MUSLIMS IN THE PAST ONE MONTH?? HAS THE MUSLIM UMMAH LOST ALL SENSE OF PROPORTION AND DECENCY?? ALSO, HOW CAN A THICK KORAN BE FLUSHED DOWN A TOILET?? IT WOULD BLOCK THE TOILET AND CAUSE AN OVERFLOW AND IMMEDIATELY IDENTIFY THE CULPRIT. ENOUGH TO ALL THIS TESTESTERONE-DRIVEN MADNESS. LET THERE BE PROTESTS AGAINST TERRORISTS KILLING MUSLIMS ON A SCALE NEVER BEFORE SEEN. BUT CAN THE UMMAH EVER THINK RATIONALLY?? YOU TELL ME. BISMILLAH.
2005-05-24

SOHAIL ASHRAF FROM INDIA said:
Brilliant piece. However, it is wrong to believe that the US is fighting for Muslim hearts and minds. It's nothing to do with winning the Muslim public opinion. It's old fashioned imperialism and part of established US policy to control the world. It never bothered about the Muslim sensitivities or for that matter any other people's sentiments. Remember Vietnam?
2005-05-24

RASHEED FROM U.S. said:
We, as a Muslim community need to get a grip. Freedom of thought and religion is a fundamental aspect of Islam. What harm does Salman Rushdie, Quran haters, or Prophet Muhammad detractors do to those who understand their religion? Allah knew people would disagree and even be hostile to His truth and His prophets. Is that not the history of all prophets? We as Muslims look pretty petty getting all radical and going to extremes all the time over stuff like this when as an Ummah we should address it as a wrong, but not flip and start talking about killing people because they disagree with Allah and his Messengers. We need to worry about cleaning our house and establishing a real model of Islam as individuals and as a legitimate Islamic country as their is no real example today, and let that speak for us, let that speak for the teachings of Muhammad and God's revelation not whining about what other people do and say all the time. The ingorant will be ignorant anyway and swayed by false reports but the enlightened and fair will distinguish what is true from what is false.
2005-05-24

YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Perhaps winning Muslim hearts and minds is simply expecting too much. How about coming out of that spider-hole for five minutes and saying nice things about the Qur'an? It's an easy way for a commander to lighten the load on the troops. That is of course if you think you have what it takes. Either way may peace be upon the troops and you too.
2005-05-24

MICHAEL FROM USA said:
You mention that Westerners have no problem when Western
religions are ridiculed, and you seem surprised. The West has
been in that situation, when blasphemous remarks meant the
offender was put to death. And we have moved past that
barbaric part of our history. Instead, I ask you why the same
Muslims who are rioting and protesting the desecration of a
collection of bound papers -- however significant the words on
the paper may be -- sit quietly when Muslim extremists behead
journalists, or murder policemen and civilians in Iraq, or kidnap
and kill construction workers? HUMAN BEINGS! When the Islamic
world moves past its dark ages and starts showing the same
amount of indignation at the taking of human life as they do a
book, THEN the West will start to treat Muslims as the people of
peace they claim to be. Every time a bomb explodes in Iraq or
Afghanistan or Israel or Spain or the U.S., every time an unarmed
civilian is captured and killed on camera, every time a soldier is
taken prisoner and beaten, his corpse dragged through the
streets -- I want to see Muslims in the Middle East, Asia, Europe,
Africa and the United States rise up in anger and protest at the
barbarians who perpetrate these acts of tyrany against
humanity. THEN you can complain that the West does not
respect you when it desecrates your books. Until then, until the
protests for fellow humans is deafening compared to the protest
over a holy book, us Westerners will not understand or respect
your views. I am well aware that many Muslims are peaceful, law
abiding people citizens of their respective nations. But it is time
for those people to stand up and let your brothers in religion
know that their actions are pure evil and will not be tolerated by
the rest of the Muslim community. And I have yet to see that
happen anywhere, much less on a global scale.
2005-05-24