Posts Tagged ‘Islam’
What’s wrong with this picture? Yes, this picture is a bigot test. If you agree with the meme expressed, you’re a bigot. It’s that fucking simple. Bigotry isn’t hard to understand, it’s making wild generalizations about people based on things like their race, religion, gender, etc. In the case above, the generalization is so wild it’s almost breathtaking in its stupidity. The meme above comes out and says there is something so hateful and intolerant about Islam that it sets it apart from other religions. And I know damn well many people think that, even the majority of atheists think Islam is the “worst” religion, which shows atheists are just as prone to bigotry as anyone else.
OK, a few facts. It should go without saying that a religion with over a billion adherents is going to be all over the map, just like in any major religion. However, let’s look at specifics. Malaysia. 61% Muslim. Secular constitution, rights of religious minorities are guaranteed. And in fact most Malaysians are proud of their multicultural and multireligious society. Let’s go to Bosnia. Muslims are the majority at 45% of the population. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Third one I checked, Indonesia. Muslim majority. Religious minorities rights protected by the constitution. So factually speaking, the meme is already garbage. It’s safe to say that in numerous Muslim countries there will be religious rights for minorities in their constitutions.
Of course the bigots will claim that even though they have these rights on paper, there are still problems with some Muslims wanting to trample the rights of non-Muslims. News flash, all religions have tendency to trample the rights of minorities when they are the majority. In some countries, like the one I live in, a religious majority whines about having their rights trampled. Well, not all of them, just the holy rollers stuck in the Bronze Age. I’ve kind of had it with people who think their religion means they get to decide the law of the land for everyone. Even people who don’t follow their religion! Yes, dear readers, I’ve wandered near another point. And I’m going to make it. Many religions exhibit a nasty tendency to persecute minorities under the right conditions, it kind of comes with the territory. How is Islam different from, say, Christianity in this regard? It isn’t, Christians have a long proud history of suppressing the rights of those that disagree with them. To this day many Christians are working tirelessly to turn the USA into a theocracy and trample the rights of non-Christians. And sadly even Judaism, long a trampled upon minority, has shown a nasty tendency in this persecutory regard now that they are a majority in one country. So singling out Islam in this regard is hypocritical at best, bigoted and hateful at worst.
That’s another point that needs to be made about this image. How, exactly, is making this hateful generalization about Islam helpful? Will this encourage people in America to be more tolerant of their Muslim neighbours? No, the opposite in fact, it encourages fear and loathing. That may not be bigoted, but I sure think it’s evil. We’ve even got such paranoid dogmeat as state legislatures outlawing Sharia Law. The chances of any Muslims enacting Sharia Law anywhere in the USA are zero, so this is ridiculous on the face of it. And if some Muslims wanted to use Sharia Law to adjudicate civil affairs among Muslims, who gives a shit? We don’t care about Orthodox Jews, Quakers, or numerous other religious groups that chose to live by their religious code within the framework of secular criminal law, why the hell would anyone care if some Muslims did this? Hint: The answer starts with b. And no, I’m not suggesting we let Muslims stone each other to death, any more than we would let a Christian cult stone its members to death for blasphemy. (Lev. 24:16)
The sad thing about images like this is how effective they are. If one wants to have a bad view of Muslims (or anyone) in general, it’s easy to find all sorts of stuff on line to reinforce one’s prejudices. And the mainstream media as well as hordes of amateurs are only too happy to generate and spread hateful images. It’s by no means limited to the right or conservatives as well. I know I’ve pilloried some hateful images by atheists and liberals in previous posts, I find propaganda hateful no matter who is targeted. I think this is a terrible failing of the modern media and online world, it’s making people more divided, not less. I’ll expand on this train of thought in a future post.
Hope everyone is having or had a great weekend. I’m having a BBQ.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Pretty sure that unless the author actually took the trouble to file a copyright, images on Facebook are public domain, correct me if I’m wrong.)
My last post generated a number of thoughtful comments, so I thought I’d write a follow up post. Not to mention that my life has gotten extremely busy, I’m between Internet connections, and my main computer got an ugly virus. So I won’t have the time or the means to write dedicated posts in the near future. Add it all up and it equals more random posts on various things … in this case several thoughts inspired by the comments people left on the last post.
First, absolutely agree that the more people are certain they know what is going on in the world, the less they know. Most people couldn’t play a decent game of chess to save their lives, and they are going to tell me they have history and current events all figured out? Chess has 5 types of pieces and very simple rules, the world has millions of different pieces and people make up their own rules. This is why extremists of all ilks bore me, of course they are wrong. If there were simple answers, people and nations would all live in harmony and peace.
We don’t all live in harmony and peace, although times have been getting better in some respects. More on that later. Now, a pet peeve about atheists especially, but a lot of other people as well, including the religious. So so many atheists have cheesed me off by claiming that religion inspires a lot of violence, true … then claim that 9/11 was caused by religion, FAIL. Here in the USA we have been subjected to endlessly repeated propaganda about how the big bad Muslims hate us all because of their religion, but the reality is far more complicated.
Yes, jihadists and extremists like Osama Bin Laden aren’t nice people and they have done some very bad things, and no doubt their faith plays a big role in their motivations … as faith motivates people everywhere of all faiths. Their grievances though, the things that have inspired “Islamic” violence in the Middle East since 1948 … are purely secular. The situation in Palestine, western support for dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, American actions in Iraq, all inspired and inspire entirely predictable and “rational” violent responses in some quarters.
I’m not justifying violence, I’m pointing out that violence in response to violence is entirely normal. And the USA and Israel have killed a large number of people in the Middle East, killing that goes on today. And as General McChrystal said, every civilian we kill makes the US ten new enemies. Or more scientifically, several studies have shown that Islamic suicide bombers are not motivated by religion or a desire to sleep with virgins in heaven, they tend to be educated people making the ultimate sacrifice to defend their homes and families and way of life. And often they are people who have lost loved ones to an enemy. One of the first suicide bombers in Iraqi history was a women whose husband was killed in the US invasion. She walked up to an American checkpoint and set off some grenades. Made a BIG impression on other Iraqis I might add. Would there be American Christians who might do the same thing if our country was invaded and occupied by a “benevolent” invader? I sure hope so.
Moving right along, I just read this article which makes the claim that major state sponsored killing is down dramatically since the nineteen eighties, IE there are far fewer big wars going on today. It also makes the claim that 9/11 was an extremely unusual event wildly outside the norm for terrorist attacks, true … and that governments murder vastly wildly more people than terrorists, also true, and that in the twentieth century there have been fewer than twenty terrorist attacks that killed more than 100 people. I don’t believe that for a moment, unless the author is only talking about terrorist attacks in the west I suppose. The main point is that governments kill vastly more people than terrorists. And that here in the West, the threat of terrorism is trivial, and people shouldn’t buy into the permanent state of war and fear mongering that the US government in particular seems to be selling.
The article also makes the point that wars are down because outright conquest simply isn’t cost effective these days. And that I agree with, but it’s fodder for another day and anther post.
“Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.”
George Bernard Shaw
(The above image, being a faithful reproduction of a work that has long been in the public domain, is claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s by the sixteenth century Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel, it’s titled: Massacre of the Innocents. It shows Spanish soldiers murdering a Dutch village. In the original painting the animals and packages being tossed about and killed were children, but the first owner found the images too disturbing and had them painted over. The Spanish slaughtered all sorts of Dutch people, and yes, they used religion as an excuse, whole villages would be declared “heretics” and executed. The motivation was the same one all conquerers have though, greed. I don’t think I need to spell out why I chose this image, but just in case some wonder, it’s to show that nothing has really changed much since then, the cycle of war and violence is eternal apparently.)