Tag Archives: Islam

Monument colouring and other absurdities

So the world is attacked by islamists again, and what do we do in response? We light up monuments around the world in the colours of the French flag. I despair…

And as for those saying ‘pray for Paris’? I think the situation is bad enough without even more religion being thrown at it. Have some sensitivity, please.

What’s my take on the latest atrocities? I think enough is enough. The western world has allowed islam to flourish within its borders, and this is the result. I think it’s time that islam was treated as a dangerous and violent cult rather than the religion of peace that it rather ridiculously claims to be.

But don’t mistake me for an islamophobe – though you can call me a religiophobe if you like. I have similar problems with christianity – in particular right wing American christians that think they have rights over a woman’s uterus, and catholics who think they have rights over what people do in their bedrooms. And Judaism – have you actually read the old testament? Murder, rape and slavery are the order of the day, all sanctioned by the bloodthirsty and vicious abrahamic god that is shared between judaism, christianity, and islam.

Anyway, when something like this happens, it’s all very well saying #JeSuisCharlie or adding a red, white and blue overlay to your Facebook profile picture. What is needed is action. Islam has proved time and again that it can’t (or rather, won’t) co-exist peacefully with the rest of the world. So what is the rest of the world going to do?

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Blasphemy under threat again (kind of)

A recent ‘Jesus & Mo‘ cartoon referred to renewed attempts by Saudi Arabia to push for a GLOBAL law against blasphemy:

Well, the Saudi Arabians and their deity can fuck off. The reason I added ‘kind of’ to the title of this post is that I don’t think anyone elsewhere in the world is stupid enough to think that this would be a good idea.

But this is what we can expect from a country that defines atheism as terrorism. I kid you not. Wild, huh?

One of the fundamental tenets of freedom of speech (which, as you know, I support without reservation or qualification) is that ideas and beliefs must be subject to criticism without fear of penalty. That includes religious beliefs of any and all kinds.

If you have the right to believe in a deity (and you do have that right), then I have the right to criticise and, if I choose to, ridicule that belief. You don’t have a right not to be offended. And after all, blasphemy is simply about being offended by something. No more, no less.

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Burn those books

The planned burning of copies of the koran this weekend has been put on hold, for now at least:

US Koran burning event on hold, says pastor Terry Jones

It seems clear that Jones was put under pressure from various quarters, not least the FBI, though it also seems that the “agreement” which ostensibly led to the stay of execution for the books is based on fairly shaky ground, with officials of the “Ground Zero Mosque” project saying that they knew nothing of an agreement to move the building.

Condemnation of his stunt came from many quarters, across the American political spectrum as well as inevitably from muslim commentators.

However, all that the American authorities could legally do was “urge” Jones not to go ahead with the burning, as his right to carry it out is enshrined in the first amendment of the US constitution.

Freedom to offend

To my mind, this right is vital in order to prevent the kind of oppression we see in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malta, Malaysia, etc., where speaking out against religious dogma can and does get people into very hot water.

Fundamentally, nobody has the right not to be offended by another person’s words or actions. A catholic might be offended by seeing two men kiss – but that doesn’t give them the right to prevent it. Likewise, I might be offended by someone telling me that I will go to hell (actually it amuses me but I was struggling for another example) – but I have no right to stop them saying it.

Personal responsibility

I’m sure that muslims the world over were offended by Jones’ initial decision to burn the books – and some of the more inflammatory muslim responses clearly prompted the requests by Obama and Palin for Jones to cancel his plans, out of fear that US troops in muslim countries would be targeted.

However, any muslim response, whether it be the burning of US flags or the killing of US soldiers, could still not be laid at the door of anyone else except those muslims carrying it out. Obnoxious and deluded pastor Jones might be; but we are all responsible for our own actions, and if someone reacts violently because they are offended, it is their own choice to do so and they cannot blame anyone else.

Books don’t have rights

Just for the record, I would have quite liked to see the burning go ahead – followed by the burning of copies of the bible, the torah, and assorted other works of fiction that worsen man’s inhumanity to man. The fewer of these books that exist in our troubled world, the better.

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Serious setback for free speech

The Danish newspaper Politiken, which published those famous cartoons of Mohammed in 2006, has apologised for reprinting one of the best cartoons in 2008 (the one showing Mohammed with a bomb as a turban).

This is really disappointing, and sends a message to religious extremists of all kinds (but especially the three most violent ones – islam, christianity and judaism) that if they make threats when they feel offended, those offending them will give in.

Freedom of speech has to include the freedom to offend, otherwise it is not truly freedom. No-one has the right not to be offended – if they did, nothing would ever be achieved and the whole of society would be in a permanent stalemate.

So, for those of you who missed them first time around, and also just because I feel like it, here are those famous cartoons in all their glory. Click for the full sized version.

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