Archive for the “Islam” Category

Muslims and their religion

Slovakia Christian asylum seekers: Syrian refugees wait for a train to take them to the northern city of Thessaloniki, in Athens, Greece, August 20, 2015. / Alkis Konstantinidis, NewsweekI assume most of my readers are aware that Europe is in the throes of a migrant crisis worse than any since World War II. The European Union has been working over the summer on a plan to take some of the pressure off Greece and Italy, which are the main entry-points for Middle Eastern refugees (WebCite cached article). It’s been bandied about by member states, many of which have balked at it and tried to evade having to participate. They’ve raised all sorts of objections, some valid, some not.

Little Slovakia, deep in the heart of eastern-central Europe, decided to take a religious tactic in its effort to avoid having to accept any of the 40,000 refugees who’re covered by the EU plan. As Newsweek explains, based on a Wall Street Journal report, Slovakia will accept only Christian refugees (cached):

Only Christian asylum seekers will be allowed to settle in Slovakia, according to a spokesperson for the country’s Interior Ministry, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, who has said that Muslim asylum seekers would not feel at home in Slovakia due to a lack of mosques.

The central European country is due to receive 200 migrants and asylum seekers who are currently living in temporary camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under an EU relocation scheme that will eventually see 40,000 asylum seekers settled across Europe, in an effort to ease the burden on Italy and Greece. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that in July this year 50,242 people, mostly fleeing the civil war in Syria, arrived in Greece compared to 43,500 for the whole of last year.

Slovakia’s Interior Ministry spokesman, Ivan Metik, told the BBC: “We could take 800 Muslims but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?

Metik makes it sound as though there are no Muslims in Slovakia at all. While it’s true that Slovakia is majority Christian by a large margin (with the single largest denomination, Roman Catholic, alone comprising over 60% of the population), it’s not true there are no Muslims there. This Slovak Spectator story, for example, mentions the small but intrepid Muslim minority there (cached). It explains the reason there are no mosques in that country … because they were forbidden to build one by the government. That makes the assertion that Muslims wouldn’t feel “comfortable” in Slovakia due to a lack of mosques, something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; the people using it as an excuse to keep Muslims out, are the very same people responsible for there being no mosques there the first place!

Furthermore, the idea that Middle Eastern Christians will automatically integrate into Slovak society without any problems, ignores the cultural and linguistic differences that will remain. Not to mention that most Middle Eastern Christians belong to denominations that don’t have much, if any, presence already in Slovakia. In other words … the hurdles to societal integration will be nearly as high for Christian migrants as they would be for Muslims.

I understand Slovakia’s reluctance to accept migrants. Other countries have simply refused to take in any migrants at all and have managed to opt out of the EU plan entirely. This religious objection is just Slovakia’s way of limiting its participation in the plan. But the excuse that Muslims wouldn’t feel comfortable in Slovakia due to a lack of mosques, so that only Christian migrants are welcome, smacks of Christianism. It also smacks of nativism, and perhaps a few other “isms” that aren’t very flattering.

Hat tip: Rational Wiki.

Photo credit: Alkis Konstantinidis, Newsweek.

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A woman, who said she was raped by Islamic State militants, in a refugee camp in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. Mauricio Lima for the New York Times.Most readers, by now, will have heard about a horrifying New York Times story. It seems the leadership of ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood has devised an explicitly religious rationale for systematic sexual slavery and rape — almost exclusively of Yazidi girls (WebCite cached article):

In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

Thus opens a blood-curdling story of what has rapidly become an institution within this savage outfit:

The trade in Yazidi women and girls has created a persistent infrastructure, with a network of warehouses where the victims are held, viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and a dedicated fleet of buses used to transport them.

A total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts. And the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden.

A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.

In an ancillary story — this one offered by ABC News — it turns out that American hostage Kayla Mueller had been the property of, and repeatedly raped by, none other than the savages’ leader (cached):

Before her death earlier this year, American hostage Kayla Mueller was repeatedly raped by the top leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to counter-terrorism officials.

Mueller’s family confirmed to ABC News that government officials have told them that their daughter, who would have turned 27 today, was the victim of repeated sexual assaults by al-Baghdadi.

“We were told Kayla was tortured, that she was the property of al-Baghdadi. We were told that in June by the government,” Kayla’s parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, told ABC News today.…

The new revelations about Mueller’s long ordeal — which involved torture since the beginning of her one-and-a-half years of captivity, her family has been told by the FBI — shatter rumors spread by some officials that she had cooperated or was a willing spouse, which has deeply upset her family and many inside her case.

Yes, folks … this means Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who leads the world’s largest and most powerful terrorist organization and who’d like Muslims to embrace him as their new caliph, is nothing more than a rapist, pervert, and sexual deviant. In other words, he’s even more of a fucking bastard pig than we already thought.

The Times story explains that having forcible sex with kafirah (“infidels”) is — perversely — a form of worship, according to these savages. Now, the story also explains there’s a more mundane, even mercenary reason for this policy, which is as a recruiting tool to attract men who live in a society which is otherwise puritanical and sexually repressive. It gives them an outlet for sexuality that they couldn’t otherwise avail themselves of. Thus, a lot of kneejerk defenders of Islam will say, “You see? It’s not really a ‘religious’ thing. They’re just trying to attract guys who like the idea of being able to freely rape women.” That misses the entire point. First of all, if this had been an entirely-non-religious policy, it would not have been couched in religious language at all. Second, the fact that this systematic sexual slavery is limited almost exclusively to Yazidis — who according to Islam don’t follow a “religion of the book” and therefore are afforded no protections whatsoever — definitely points to a clear religious impulse behind it.

Most importantly, though, this defense misses the truly salient lesson here, which is that it’s possible to use the sacred texts and teachings of nearly any religion to craft policies which are convenient and utilitarian — not to mention self-indulgent. In other words, it’s possible to use and even abuse a religion in order to get whatever it is one wants! This tends to undermine the credibility of the religion in question, since if it were truly of divine origin, one would think it couldn’t be abused in such a way.

Lastly … by posting this, I am not saying all Muslims everywhere support this savage outfit’s policy, or consider it consistent with Islam as they practice it. By no means! As I said, all I’m doing is pointing out the harsh, unpleasant reality that a religion — indeed, almost any kind of metaphysics at all — can readily be twisted to suit one’s purposes. This is no less true of Islam than it is of Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism or Shinto or anything else. The solution is not to get offended at this observation, or whine and bellyache that one’s religion has been “attacked” by pointing this out. Rather, the solution is to work to ensure this kind of abuse of a religion is not tolerated, and is stamped out as soon as possible. In the case of ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood, there’s been a little “stamping,” but they continue attracting adherents — both in their own theater of action and elsewhere — which tells me there has to be a whole fucking helluva a lot more stamping.

Photo credit: Mauricio Lima / New York Times.

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A photo frame displaying portraits of blogger Niloy Chowdhury, 40, with his wife is placed inside their room in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Assailants believed to be Islamist militants entered an apartment building posing as potential tenants and killed the secular blogger in Bangladesh's capital on Friday, in the fourth such deadly attack this year, police said. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)Unfortunately, there are a lot of places in the world where being a non-believer is dangerous, and being an outspoken non-believer is undeniably deadly. Bangladesh is one of them. Just this year, four secular bloggers have been killed there. Agence France-Presse reports via Yahoo News on the latest such slaughter, which took place earlier today (WebCite cached article):

A gang armed with machetes hacked a secular blogger to death at his home in Dhaka Friday, sparking protests in the capital over the fourth such murder in Bangladesh this year.

Niloy Chakrabarti, who used the pen-name Niloy Neel, was killed after the gang forced its way into his apartment, according to the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, which was alerted to the attack by a witness.

“They entered his room in the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death. He was a listed target of the Islamist militants,” the network’s head, Imran H. Sarker, told AFP.

Police confirmed Chakrabarti, 40, had been murdered by a group of half a dozen people at his home in the capital’s Goran neighbourhood who had pretended they were looking for somewhere to rent.

As one expects in a country with many Islamists, calls for help went unheeded before Chakabarti was hacked to death:

“Two of them then took him to a room and then slaughtered him there,” deputy police commissioner Muntashirul Islam told AFP, adding that his wife had been “confined to another room” during the attack.

Mahbubur Rahman, another deputy commissioner, told reporters Chakrabarti’s wife had been heard crying out “Save us! Save us!” but no one responded.

The AFP notes the 3 previous savage butcherings in Bangladesh, as well as the fact that the government there has taken the cowardly route of doing basically nothing about them:

Immediately after the murder, hundreds of secular activists joined a protest march in the city’s Shahbagh Square, which was also the venue for the demonstrations two years ago.

“We’re protesting a culture of impunity in Bangladesh. One after another blogger is being killed and yet there is no action to stop these murderers,” said protester Sarker of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network.

The problem here, of course, is that as long as these Islamist terrorists are going after outspoken atheists, the country’s Muslim government isn’t motivated to act. They don’t appear to care about atheists or their country’s nominal secular nature. Secular activists are dispensible, I guess. Once the terrorists have slaughtered or driven out all the secularists, though, their machetes will start chopping into other targets … i.e. other Muslims, of different sorts than they are. At that point it will have turned into a sectarian war, and the government will be forced to intervene; but by then, the terrorists will have had time to entrench themselves and will be more difficult to go after. As unpopular as secularists are in a country which is over 90% Muslim, it really is in the government’s best interests to start going after the Islamists now, rather than later.

But my guess is they won’t see the wisdom in this. They will, as I noted, keep acting like cowards and letting secularists die so they don’t have to get up off their sniveling little asses and actually do something. Cowardice is perhaps the single most common human trait — sad to say.

P.S. Edited to add: The Center for Inquiry offers a timeline of such attacks in Bangladesh, dating back some 16 years (cached). Hat tip for this addition: Friendly Atheist.

Ed. to add: As though to answer the question of why Bangladeshi authorities aren’t doing much of anything about the butchering of secular bloggers, they just made their position on the matter clear (cached):

Terming hurting one’s religious sentiment as crime, Inspector General of Police (IGP) has advised the free thinkers not to hurt religious sentiment in their writings.

IGP AKM Shahidul Haque said: “According to laws if any one hurts one’s feelings, he will be punished by the law.”

Advising the free thinkers, IGP said: “None should cross the limit.”

In the eyes of the government, then, the lives of any anyone who’s publicly atheistic are automatically forfeit. How wonderful! (Hat tip for this edit: Friendly Atheist.)

Photo credit: AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, via Yahoo News.

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Welcome to Farmersville, TX ... 'ceptin if yer wunna dem Mooslim types, den we can'ts let y'all inta our goodly Chrishun town / PsiCop original graphicPity the devout Christian folk of Farmersville, TX. Some horrible Muslim-type people seem to have moved in, and are trying to take over the town by building their own cemetery. They’ve only been living there for decades, and need one, but it seems this is just too much for the local Christian masses to take. As the Daily Beast reports, they’re not going to stand for it (WebCite cached article):

In the town of Farmersville, Texas—a far-flung suburb of Dallas 20 miles from Garland where the Draw the Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest was held—area Muslims have purchased a 35-acre tract on Lake Lavon for a new Muslim cemetery.…

Ever since the cemetery proposal was announced this summer the plans have been cause for controversy and outrage [cached].

Tuesday night, in a town of 3,000 people, between 300 and 400 people gathered in the Farmersville High School cafeteria/auditorium for a town hall meeting to discuss the plans: Every seat was filled and an overflow crowd lined the walls and filled the adjacent hallway, small children playing quietly in front of their parents and grandparents.

These devout Christians proceeded to express a lot of stupidity and prejudice in their effort to disparage and derail the project. For instance:

Muslims have been buried in the Dallas area for decades with no concerns about health violations or contamination, but in Farmersville those concerns were very prevalent.

The first written question was: “What is the Muslim burial process, and will there be seepage?”

What do they think … that “Muslim-hood” is going to leak into the ground and consume the town or something!? There was also this admission:

When the town hall was turned over to an open mic, the second person to get up was Darrell Moore, “Commander of Farmersville VFW Post 7426,” who represents WWII veterans still living in town.

He said, “People, we have received a lot of phone calls. We have received letters from out of state, OK. I want you all to understand something. We are a veterans’ organization. We are not the police. We have been called on to do illegal activities.” (Moore didn’t specify what he meant, but presumably activities to somehow resist the planned cemetery.)

“It’s not gonna happen,” Moore continued. “I’m gonna save y’all a lot of phone calls and a lot of time. The position of the VFW in this situation is the VFW will support whatever laws, regulations, and ordinances set forth by the state and local government. We are not the police department. We are not going to take a stand on this either way.”

You read that right: People had actually been trying to get the local VFW to take up arms and prevent the cemetery from being built. Yes, the VFW. They didn’t take the bait, but this is how desperate the devout Christian folk of Farmersville (and elsewhere!) are to block this horrific Muslim cemetery.

The behavior of people at this meeting was juvenile and deplorable. Just read the article for all the details. They seem to have fallen for the too-often-believed lie that there’s no religious freedom for Muslims. It’s time they fucking grew the hell up and accepted the reality that there have been, and are, Muslims in their vicinity, and that they have as much right as anyone else to practice their religion … which includes burials. They may not like that, but too fucking bad for them, that’s just the way it is. The sooner they make their peace with it, the better off they’ll be.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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PZI 02In a bit of news I don’t find surprising coming out of Pakistan — teeming as it is with sanctimoniously-enraged Islamofascist idiots — the head of one of that country’s political parties called on his country’s military to attack a class of people he views as terrible enemies. As the New Indian Express reports, the enemy he wants wiped out, are — rather unbelievably — women wearing jeans (WebCite cached article):

During a press conference at a local hotel in Islamabad, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman asked the Pakistani armed forces to launch a military operation against women wearing jeans all over Pakistan.

According to him, the immodesty of women is the cause behind earthquakes, inflation and other kinds of disasters.

Fazlur Rehman went on to say that a woman who is not covered like a ‘sack of flour’ is a mobile weapon of mass destruction for her state and that Pakistan has multitude of such nuclear missiles in all its major cities.

Rehman then blamed ‘immodest women’ for the Baluchistan crisis, lack of energy supply and the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan.

Rehman’s misogyny here is just another example of what I call “disaster theology,” which here in the ‘States is a pastime of the Religious Right, as I’ve blogged any number of times. It’s really a childish way of making a point.

Photo credit: Jason Staten, via Flickr.

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SiegeOfAcre1291For years now I’ve blogged about a Right-wing movement in the US I’ve called “the Great Neocrusade.” It’s a modern incarnation of the medieval Crusade, during which western European Christians ventured to the Levant in an effort to drive Muslims out, under the principle that their presence there was an affront to their Jesus which couldn’t be tolerated. (At least, that’s what the Crusade became. Its origin was in Pope Urban’s approval for Latin Christians venturing east to assist the Byzantines, but that scenario didn’t last long and the Crusaders embarked on their own mission, distinct from Byzantium’s, soon after their arrival. And about a century after the Crusades’ launch it would become a campaign against Byzantium itself).

As it stands within the American Right, the Neocrusade is an effort to drive Islam from the new Christian “holy land.” Neocrusaders are predominantly Christians — most of them being of the evangelical Protestant sort — but there are some Jews who’re part of the movement too. Their effort is predicated ostensibly on the threat posed by Islamist terror, which to be sure is horrific and should be fought using every means at our disposal to do so. That said, the Neocrusaders’ main contention — i.e. that Islam is inherently violent and all Muslims therefore are potential terrorists — is quite simply not true. What’s really going on is that these folk view Islam as the chief rival of their own religion, are incensed that it exists at all, and want to get rid of it in order to show the power of their own faith. All the crap about terrorism is mere pretense. That’s not to say Islamist terror isn’t real — just that they know better than to stomp around claiming every Muslim is a terrorist; they just say that in order to rationalize what they’re doing.

For the most part this Neocrusade manifests itself in the form of rhetoric and occasionally votes (such as outlawing “shari’a law” even though it’s not now, nor will it ever become, the law of the land in the US).

So it’s rare that Neocrusaders actually take up arms against Muslims in the US, but it nearly happened just in the last few months. The Web site Heavy.Com reports a Right-winger and failed Congressional candidate from Tennessee named Robert Doggart admitted he’d planned to stage an attack on a mosque and schools in Hancock, NY (WebCite cached article):

A Tennessee man, who made a failed bid for Congress last year as an independent with extreme right wing beliefs, has admitted in federal court to planning an attack on a Muslim community in New York.

Robert Doggart, 63, was recorded on a wiretapped phone talking about his plan to travel along with members of a private militia to an area near Hancock, New York, known as Islamberg, to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria, while gunning down anyone from the community who tried to stop them.

“Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God,” Doggart said in a Facebook post, according to court documents. “We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”

Doggart was arrested April 10 by the FBI on charges that he solicited others to violate civil rights, attempted to damage religious property because of the religious character of the property and made threats through interstate communication.

Two weeks later, Doggart pleaded guilty to interstate communication of threats. A judge has not yet signed off on the plea agreement. He was released on $30,000 bond to home confinement after the agreement was made and faces between 0 and 5 years in federal prison, along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.

The Heavy article describes Doggart’s plot in detail and includes court documentation of the case as well as of Doggart’s background. There’s a lot of detail there and I can’t hope to do any of it justice; I’ll just suggest you check out the article and find out what happened.

There are two things about this case I find disappointing: First, the judge has let Doggart out on bond, in spite of the fact that he’d admitted, in court, to having planned a terror attack. That decision is mind-blowing. Had Doggart been, instead, a Muslim who’d admitted involvement in a terror attack, there’s no fucking way he’d be free right now. Second, the mass media haven’t picked up this story, not even (to my knowledge) news outlets local to Hancock NY or southeastern Tennessee. I hadn’t heard of Heavy.Com before finding this story, and ordinarily wouldn’t have used them as a source for a blog post, but primary-source material is included, so the report is substantive. The other outlets mentioning this are all Left-wing in nature.

Maybe all the good ol’ boys back in Tennessee would prefer not to mention this, so that might explain why Doggart’s local media are running silent, but I can’t imagine how or why the New York state or eastern Pennsylvania media don’t consider this news (Hancock is in Delaware county, abutting the Pennsylvania state line). Unless this story turns out to be untrue — which I admit is possible, but given the evidence contained in the story it seems extremely unlikely — the media are doing a disservice to ignore it as they are. Perhaps they’ll finally pick up the story … I certainly hope so. The reality of Christianism in the US is that it definitely is capable of terrorism, and this is one example of it (albeit one that was nipped in the bud). There have been other Christian terror attacks, such as the rampage in Austin TX last December by a member of the Phineas Priesthood (cached).

Hat tip: Raw Story.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Elton Simpson is shown here in a photo he appears to have taken of himself. Obtained by ABC NewsBy now I assume my readers will know of the shooting that took place in suburban Dallas during an event celebrating art depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad (WebCite cached article). It took some time for them to get around to it, but authorities finally managed to release the names of the (deceased) attackers. As CNN reports, one of them had connections with Islamist terror (cached):

A day after police killed two gunmen who tried to ambush a Garland, Texas, event [cached] featuring controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, details began to emerge about the shooters.

One suspect, identified as Elton Simpson by a federal law enforcement source, linked himself to ISIS in a tweet posted just before the attack.

He also was no stranger to federal investigators. In 2011, he was convicted of making a false statement involving international and domestic terrorism.

The other suspect, identified as Nadir Soofi by two federal law enforcement officials, was Simpson’s roommate in a Phoenix apartment.

Sanctimoniously-enraged Islamists threatening, attacking and even killing people over depictions of Muhammad is, unfortunately, an old story. It’s happened repeatedly, perhaps most famously in Paris earlier this year. Muslims’ reactions to such things are fairly predictable. Which, perhaps, explains why this event even took place at all.

You see, as the Washington Post explains, it was hosted by the sanctimoniously-enraged Neocrusader Pamela Geller and her outfit (cached):

For those unfamiliar with Pamela Geller, she was in the news a few weeks ago for sponsoring an ad campaign across major U.S. cities with anti-Muslim posters saying, among other things, “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah” [cached].

On Sunday, she was in the news again for sponsoring a “Jihad Watch Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Garland, Tex., some 20 miles from Dallas, after which two suspects opened fire on a security guard before being shot and killed by police. Authorities did not immediately link the exhibit and the shootings, but Geller did, with vehemence.

She’s part of a movement by the Religious Right to get Islam banned in the US and maybe Muslims thrown out of the country. Now, most of us realize this is just not feasible, given the First Amendment of the US Constitution, but many of them don’t care about that, and of those who do, they think First Amendment protections don’t apply to Islam, because it’s “not a religion,” and instead is a political, economic, philosophical, judicial, and military system. Yes, they really think this … in spite of the fact that their own movement is all of these things, as well! (Yes, they’re hypocrites … but just like Muslims going on murderous rampages over Muhammad depictions is an old story, so too is R.R. hypocrisy an old story.)

At any rate, this event was clearly a trap that Ms Geller laid down for Muslims, and two of them tromped right into it. She can now trumpet to the universe about how she was right about Muslims, that they’re all dangerous fanatics, and that their religion must be outlawed.

As insanely counterfactual and delusional as she is — especially her paranoid conspiracy theory about some nefarious groups trying to “Islamicize” the country — the truth is that Ms Geller didn’t do anything wrong in this case. The US is a free country with free speech, and if people want to depict Muhammad in artwork, they can! It’s fine for Muslims to believe such depictions are forbidden. If it makes them feel better never to depict their prophet, more power to them! But … it is most certainly not rational of them to expect non-Muslims to obey that precept of Islam. Non-Muslims are never under any obligation to obey any aspect of Islam. They have no reason to do so, since they aren’t Muslims.

That simple statement seems so obvious that it almost doesn’t need to be said, but apparently, it does … because a lot of Muslims seem not to be aware of it.

The effect of this attack on other Muslims also seem obvious. What Simpson and Soofi did makes their religion look bad. As CNN mentioned, one local imam even admitted as much:

Shortly after the Sunday night shooting, a prominent Muslim leader in Dallas said tweeted that the incident was “just what we didn’t want.”

“The community stayed away from event,” wrote Imam Zia Sheikh. “Seems like a lone wolf type of attack. Just what we didn’t want.”

I’m sure they’ll do all they can to disavow these two, and insist their actions shouldn’t reflect poorly on Islam as a religion. The problem, of course, is that … well, it does, even if they’d prefer it didn’t.

My advice to them is the same advice I’ve given to American Christians who tell me the antics of militant Christianists shouldn’t reflect poorly on them, and that is: It’s your religion. You picked it. It belongs to you. If your co-believers are making your faith — and, in turn, you — look bad, then get off your asses and do something about it! Sniff out the extremists in your midst (after all, who else could recognize them as such?). Rein them in. Correct them. Discipline them. Control them. Stop them. Do whatever you must, in order to whip them into line.

Because after all, if you don’t respect your own religion enough to police it, you can’t rationally expect outside observers to respect it, too, or respect you for following it!

To think otherwise is like when “the Wizard” in The Wizard of Oz ordered Dorothy and company to “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” It didn’t work in the movie, and it doesn’t work in real life.

Lastly, because this shooting happened due to Islamists’ hatred of Muhammad depictions, I’m following my usual policy of adding one to this post. It’s the winner of this contest:

'You can't draw me!' / 'That's why I draw you.' / Bosh Fawstin, winner of contest in Garland, TX / via The Freethinker

‘You can’t draw me!’ / ‘That’s why I draw you.’ / Bosh Fawstin, winner of contest in Garland, TX / via The Freethinker

It would behoove Muslims who dislike these sorts of things to pay attention to what’s called the Streisand effect and not let their righteous indignation get so far out of control that it actually calls attention to things they’d rather no one ever saw. If they’d just calm down and shut up about Muhammad drawings, people might stop drawing him.

Photo credit: Top, ABC News; bottom, Bosh Fawstin via The Freethinker.

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