A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
There is a strain of Islam loose on our planet which would like to take us back to the 13th century. Just the other day, some of these fellows shot a 14 year old school girl in the face in an attempted assassination in the Swat Valley area of Afghanistan. Her crime was advocating that women should have a right to education.
In their most extreme form, Islamic Fundamentalists would impose their religious police on us. They would reject the equality of men and women. They would reject the separation of Church and State. They would reject freedom of speech. They would reject freedom of religion. They would reject freedom of assembly and they would reject freedom of the press. They would force us to dress by their codes. They believe that they have a right to kill anyone who speaks out against Islam. Indeed, they think it is Islam’s right to rule the world and many of them think that this will be accomplished by the sword.
I’m not going to mince words here. They, and those like them, who would impose their faith-based belief systems on the rest of us by force are a cancer among us.
The Taliban are creating terrible havoc in the world today and I, for one, have lost all patience with them. And I have lost all patience with the multiculturalists who say we should tolerate them and turn the other cheek and hope that they will learn by our example.
The Western World
We in the western industrialized nations have spent centuries clawing our way up and out of a world of made of superstition, violence, disease, slavery, inequality, and religious domination. At the end of all that, our societies are not by any means perfect but they are vastly better than what went before.
Much of what drove people into a Diaspora from Europe and onto the American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand shores was a deep desire to get away from religious oppression and political domination.
So, here we are now in our comfortable western democratic societies enjoying the benefits of freedom of religion, speech, and assembly. Here we are enjoying our societies in which women have equality and the vote.
But what are these societies of ours?
Well, these societies we’re enjoying are secular societies which means that they are not exclusively allied to any particular religion.
This point is worth thinking about for those of you who are religious (and I know that most of you are). We live in peaceful country wherein those of us of different religious persuasions get along well because we live in a secular society in which we are all guaranteed an equal right to practice our faith.
But, unfortunately, in today’s world, some folks make the word ‘secular’ sound like it’s a dirty word.
Next time you hear someone say such a thing, stand back and reflect and ask yourself what that person wants to accomplish. You’ll find that most of them will be in favor of abandoning secularism in favor of being able to impose whatever their favorite religion is upon the rest of us; to make it into the state religion that we all have to follow.
And isn’t that just another way to take us back to the 13th century? Didn’t we just come from there not long ago?
Stories from the Islamic World
I started this article by referring to the 14 year old school girl shot in Afghanistan for simply advocating the rights of women to get an education. I could cite many more stories I have followed over the years from the Islamic world.
Did you know that they perform forced female genital mutilations on young girls in Egypt? This is done to remove their clitoris to ensure their chaste behavior. The idea being that these woman cannot not now feel sexual pleasure and thus will never be tempted to stray.
Did you know that there are honor killings carried out because young women in some countries have the audacity to think that they have the right to decide for themselves who they want to marry?
Did you know that women in many Islamic counties are required to wear garments that completely cover them? This is done so that they will not incite lust in men.
And did you know that in many places women have no right to vote, own land, drive a car or even go outside unless accompanied by their husband or a male blood relative?
These things go on in many Islamic counties in the world today. Countries which are members of the U.N., countries which are geo-political allies of the U.S. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt to name a few.
Someday, these different world views are going to collide; Islam’s and ours. There’s even an academic phrase for this likelihood. It is, “The Clash of Civilizations”.
If you look up Islam on the web, you will learn that 50 countries have Muslim majorities. 23% of the world’s population is Muslim. Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity. And, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
Islam in perspective
But before I go any further, let me point out in fairness that Islam is not all one thing.
There are fundamentalist Muslims and there are progressive Muslims. There are those who believe in women’s equality and those who don’t. There are those who are willing to live along side other cultures and belief systems in tolerance and there are those who are not. There are educated Muslims and there are ignorant ones. There are many Muslims in the world today that reject the violence of the few such as the Taliban. There are Islamic countries where women can dress as they like, get an education, drive cars and own property just as people in our countries can.
In the future, I sincerely hope that most of Islam will follow the same path that our western nations did and claw their way out of the darkness and into some semblance of the light to join us here in the 21st century.
We should all hope so because the world is getting smaller decade by decade and we are all being pressed up against each other more and more.
The current pressures and problems in Europe, which has allowed millions of Muslims to immigrate, illustrates these tensions. And where Europe goes now, we will all eventually follow.
I’m out of tolerance
Personally, I’ve run out of tolerance for the more extreme forms of Islam just as I’ve run out of tolerance for the more extreme forms of Christianity in the U.S.
Those Islamic Imams who call for the overthrow of the evil and corrupt western states and who want to impose their Sharia Law of us are no different to me than those Christian preachers among us who think that the Bible should trump the Constitution and that the U.S. should become officially a Christian State and all the decisions in it should be driven by interpretations of Biblical scripture.
All these folks want to take us back to the 13th century and I thoroughly reject them all. The freedoms we’ve gained over these last centuries in these secular states are far too valuable to yield to people whose convictions are all faith based and who think that their understandings and beliefs should trump our rights.
Let me step aside here, as I did with the Muslims, and strongly assert that the vast majority of Christians and Christian preachers are not radical fundamentalists bent on replacing the secular state and the Constitution and establishing a Christian state. Most Christians are steeped in tolerance and want to live and let live. They are the salt of the earth and the very bedrock of our western nations and they are not the people I am talking about here.
And as to the pointy end of the stick of Islamic Fundamentalism; the Taliban?
Frankly, my friends, I’ve lost all patience with them and their shooting of 14 year-old girls and I’d advocate a scorched earth policy on them where ever their shadow falls.
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– This article was updated on 18 Oct 2012 to reflect that nothing I say here should be seen as reflecting on the vast majority of Christians or Muslims. The vast majority are tolerance and quite willing to live and let live. I am only speaking in this article of those who would impose their faith-based belief systems on the rest of us by force. – dennis
– Private critique by David D. – much appreciated.