Thursday, February 16, 2006

Muslims are hypocrites! NOT!

It seems fitting to start a blog that will most likely deal a lot with religion and politics with a topic that spans both.

One comment one reads and hears a lot in right-wing commentary on 'the Cartoon Wars' are 'Muslims are such hypocrites!'

I'd like to take exception.

Devout Muslims, like devout Jews or devout Christians of any confession, take seriously their belief that their religion is true, a reflection of the one, existing God and grounded in His decisive self-revelation, the Qu'ran. I, too, believe that my religion--Orthodox Christianity--is true and grounded in God's decisive self-revelation, His Incarnation in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, even as Jews believe their religion is true and grounded in God's decisive self-revelation, the Torah.

The alleged hypocrisy of Muslims: that they happily produce and print really vile cartoons mocking Jews, visual presentations of the blood-libel and the like, while they explode into violence when Danish cartoonists, whose work is mild by the standards of American political charicature, hint at an arguable connection between their prophet and violence, is not hypocrisy. Rather, it is a colossal arrogance which stems from their self-assurance in their faith, and their religion's lack of regard for persons.

Muslims still believe that "error has no rights." Any other religion, being 'in error' according to their lights, is a proper target for mockery and vilification, while their faith, being 'true', must be defended against blasphemy at all costs--even, apparently, death and destruction of property of those whose only connection with the alleged blasphemers is being citizens of the same country, or even merely being other non-Muslims.

Westerners, of whatever religious tradition, secularists included, are inheritors of the anthropology of the Greeks, "Man is the measure of all things," of the Hebrews, "Come let Us make Man in Our image and likeness," and of Christ, "In as much as ye do it to the least of these, ye do it unto Me." The exalted status of the human person, whether conceived in pagan, Jewish or Christian terms, has no analog in Islam: submission to the will of Allah, the text of the Qu'ran is all. There is no symmetry between persons, no status worthy of regard, simply on the basis of their humanity: the Muslim is superior to the non-Muslim, period.

This is no hypocrisy: it is inhuman arrogance.

Alas, even guided by the commandment of Christ, "Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you," and His example of self-sacrifice, it took the horrible 'Wars of Religion' in the wake of the Western reformation before Christians generally came to agree with the words of the Surah Al-Baqara: “Let there be no compulsion in religion."

We must pray that a yet more horrible war will not be needed to overturn the centuries of triumphalist Qu'ranic interpretation by which the warlike Medinan surahs with verses like "When you meet the infidels, smite their necks," are used as the basis for creating compulsion in religion: compulsion which gave the Hindu Kush its name, compulsion which created the Jannisary corps, compulsion now being applied in hope of obliging Christians and secularists alike to abide by Muslim pieties regarding depictions of Mohammed.

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