A Stitch in Haste has an excellent, if pointed, series of articles on Islam, and whether it is a “Religion of Peace”. Given the current controversy, where the Islamic fundamentalists are denouncing the Scandinavian countries based on a series of a dozen political cartoons, and have resulted in Islamic attacks on some of the Scandinavian embassies, one has to wonder.
His most recent article, RoP: Burn, Embassy, Burn also says a fair bit about the state of our country’s government. I’ve quoted the relevant text here:
And the idea that our State Department, our diplomats, would have contemplated, even for a moment, siding with these hoodlums would be unimaginable, until you remember that we have our own intolerant religious fanatics running the country right now. Suddenly it ceases to be surprising.
The cartoons in question can be seen here. I will also be posting them to my blog shortly.
I believe that such claims are based upon the acceptance a false premise: The idea that it is a reasonable and predictable result of the creation of a cartoon that the people whom the cartoon offends will engage in acts of violence to gain revenge.
I will not accept that premise. It is not reasonable for people to react to cartoons with violence, and it is not reasonable for us to refrain from creating images out of fear that someone might start murdering people after seeing those images.
In short, it is not the responsibility of a cartoonist to avoid provoking fanatics to murder. When fanatics commit acts of murder in response to cartoons, it is they who bear the full responsibility of their actions.
Honor killings, suicide bombing, murdering a film maker, beheading women, desecrating a Buddhist temple, crashing planes into buildings, and blowing up trains are all actions Islamic fundamentalists have taken. Is it any wonder, that Islam is seen as a religion of terrorists, and not a religion of peace.
I doubt that Mohammed would approve of many of the actions taken in his name. I also doubt that the Koran has anything in it that justifies the killing of innocents, as the Islamic fundamentalists have done. The reason Islam has gotten such a bad reputation and is stained with the blood of innocents, is that the Moslems have allowed the fanatics to do evil deeds in the name of their religion without denouncing them. I do not believe that most Moslems are evil or fanatic, but the actions of a small minority has been allowed to shift the world’s perception of them as a whole.
If anyone can show me where in the Koran it states that the taking of innocent lives is justified by Islam, I would like to see it. I think the Moslem community as a whole has a responsibility to weed out those who use their religion to justify terrorism—if not, then they should not complain that Islam is being demonized unjustly.
A Stitch in Haste also makes a good point about the intolerant religious fanatics in our own country. The Christian neo-conservatives are almost as bad as Islamic fundamentalists. The Christian right is currently in power in the United States, and have committed their own acts of terrorism, both in the world at large and in this country. While their actions may not be quite as savage as those of the Islamic fundamentalists, they are no less deadly in many ways—killing via an unjust war is just as deadly to the innocent bystanders, as are suicide bombers.
Fanatics in any religion are evil.