Saturday, September 22, 2012

Such things are inevitable, really

Catching up on things, someone made a movie that's made a lot of people mad, (most of whom have little hope of seeing any more than promotional stills). It's the lousy little movie that everyone's talking about, but few have ever seen. An amateurishly made video by a less than reputable character who then changed the dialogue so that it became a smear job of the prophet Mohammed. I have not even seen the trailers, it does not come across as 'must-see' cinema. Now there are riots in Muslim countries, embassies have been attacked, and deaths are a result, most notably the American ambassador to Libya.

This seems to be what happens when Muslim sensibilities are assailed, from anywhere in the world. Just like with those Danish cartoons six years ago. They were not flattering depictions certainly, but any depiction of the prophet Mohammed infuriates them. That appears to be the problem, however, there are some dissenting voices (don't let the name Usama distract you from his message). Yes, there are some sane voices among the rage-filled calls for death to anyone responsible for this movie.

My own problem with all this (and I'm sure I'm not alone in believing this) has always been that some Muslims, unlike members of most other religions, seem to presume that their laws apply abroad to all peoples in all countries, that just because they don't allow their own people to make any images of the prophet Mohammed, that that applies to non-Muslims as well. What I would like to say to those people is simply this:  There are people who don't believe in Islam, or just won't. And some of those people just plain hate Islam and Muslims. The latter do not speak for me or any Western nation in general, just a few people out of any populace. Some people just don't like you, but so what? All groups when they get large enough are subject to hatred and derision, why should YOU be any different?

And for those images and works that make light of Islam without so much malicious intent, such as the novel "The Satanic Verses" or any cartoon image of the prophet Mohammed, they do not fall under the category of hate speech and thus, are not subject to any legal sanction in countries that profess to be free. You can feel insulted all you want, but blasphemy is not now, and hopefully will never be, illegal here.

So what should we do?

I have written on the subject on censorship in the past, and I like to think that I made my views clear on freedom of thought, but I should summarize that we should 'dig in our heels' and make it clear that there are no laws against blasphemy of any religion, and we will not entertain any discussion of it. Whoever doesn't like it should be free to go to wherever their religion IS protected from insults. And the United States for its part seems to be playing the adult when insults are thrust against it. What we should not be doing what the United Nations is doing, giving time to people who want to impose anti-blasphemy laws internationally.

To Muslims living here and abroad...

"Muslim Rage" being the title of this week's Newsweek magazine, the cover story is from a prominent ex-Muslim talks about her own opressive past, but according to the Christian Science Monitor, it isn't nearly as bad as it seems, and contradicts some of the things she said. I reiterate, get over it. It's just a stupid video that will not make anyone any money or gain any kind of popularity here in the West. Some of you already have the right idea, if you have a twitter account, use the muslimrage hashtag meme. Take heed of Reza Aslan's quote.

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