Tag Archives: taliban

The rape of reason

19 Jun

I just finished watching Agora, the story of the famous female philosopher (and possibly Atheist) Hypatia of Alexandria.

In case you don’t know about Hypatia of Alexandria, here’s a quick bio: Born sometime between 350 and 370 CE, was a Greek woman living in Roman Egypt, was one of the first notable women in mathematics, also taught philosophy and astronomy. She was also a neoplatonist.

In March of 415 CE, a mob of angry christians attacked Hypatia and dragged her to their new Caesareum church. There  they took tiles and broken clay pots and proceeded to cut the skin off her body. When she was  completely flayed they burned her alive.

This was all condoned and encouraged by “Saint” Cyril of Alexandria. Under his reign all non-christians were persecuted, murdered, and imprisoned. The great bastion on knowledge, the Library of Alexandria, was pillaged and burned. The murder of Hypatia is considered by some to mark the end of classical antiquity.

Why is it that so often throughout history mobs of religious fanatics feel they have to burn books and destroy art?

I know why, but it just makes me sick. When I see art being destroyed, any kind of art, I just want to vomit. When people do it for religious reasons it makes me want to kill them. For instance, in the movie Agora, when the christian mobs go running through the library burning and destroying the greatest collection of knowledge in the world, all in the name of religious ignorance, nothing would give me more pleasure than to walk around them with a chain saw and calmly disembowel them all. Same is true for anyone who destroys art or books.

What is with this urge to make life as shitty as possible? Just watching those mobs sack the library, they’re like mindless insects infected with a virus. They scurry around killing and burning, compelled by this bullshit they’re infected with. They must destroy all that is good a beautiful in the world because it does not fit with the truth they have decided upon. How I wish I could kill them all.

It’s a power thing really. There is a reason why whenever a dictator takes over the first thing he does is persecute the intellectuals. Uneducated people are easily controlled. They don’t question, they don’t think, the dogma of religion suits them perfectly. Books and art are a threat to those in power. They compel people to think. When you are certain beyond all doubt that you, and only you, have knowledge of absolute truth, destroying art that disagrees with you is no shame. It just shows your insecurities and lack of faith by destroying art. What do you have to fear from a book or painting if you have the truth? Shouldn’t your truth be strong enough to stand on it’s own without the help of book burnings? It’s true that religion hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

Where are the moderate Muslims?

26 Apr

Where are the moderate Muslims? By “moderate” I mean the Muslims who don’t wish to live under barbaric Sharia (Islamic) law,  the Muslims who don’t believe in the subjugation and dehumanization of women, the Muslims who might disagree with someone who criticizes their religion, but none the less respects that person’s right to do so without fear of reprisal.

Pretty much all the news we hear about Muslims these days deal with human rights atrocities, be it another suicide bombing in a crowded cafe, the execution of a young couple seeking to elope, the whipping of a 74 year old woman for having bread delivered by an unrelated male, the refusal of a divorce for an 8 year old girl from her 47 year old husband, or another stoning, just to name a few things that have actually happened within the past few weeks.

When I bring up these stories, people often tell me “Oh, relax, those are just the extremists, Islam is a religion of peace and love!” Really? I can’t tell you how fuming angry I get when I hear this. If those are just the “extremists”, the “radical minority” then where the hell are the moderates decrying them!?!?!?!?!?!

No, I strongly disagree. I feel as if those extremists are the majority. It sure as hell seems like it. The moderate Muslims we actually hear from are so few in number it is ridiculous. Have you ever heard of the theory of Tacit Consent? For example, if you are a slave, and you do not attempt to gain your freedom by whatever means possible, you are tacitly consenting to being a slave. Unless you make your disagreement to something know, you tacitly consent to it. This is what the moderate majority of Muslims are doing. By not being vocal in their disdain for what the extremists are doing in the name of their religion, they are tacitly consenting to those extremists.

In that case it doesn’t really matter what the moderates say Islam is. They have effectively lost control over their own religion. A religion’s tenants are defined by the beliefs of the majority of observers. If that majority is silent to the corruption of those tenants by a fundamentalist minority, that minority effectively has control over the religion. Of course the moderates will say “Well no true Muslim believes X” but by this point they have become a small and irrelevant sect.

What also drives me up the wall is how willfully blind people are to the threat these extremists pose to our freedoms in the West. Now I’m expecting that some readers will sigh and roll their eyes at this point, and pass me off as some crazy neo-con racist or Islamaphobe, but hear me out. First off, race has nothing to do with it. “Racist” and “Islamaphobe” are just buzz words that people use to shut down and dismiss an argument without actually addressing it.

Also, I’m not against multiculturalism, which is another buzz word usually thrown at me in an effort to dismiss me. No, multiculturalism is wonderful in the broader understandings and experiences it offers people, but what’s going on with radical Islam is not multiculturalism, it’s cultural rape. One medieval and barbaric “culture” is moving into European democracies and demanding that those cultures submit. (Islam literally translates into submission) If those cultures do not submit to Islam, the fundamentalists will use violence, or the threat of it, to force their submission.

The Danish cartoon controversy is a perfect example. The cartoonists published cartoons, for which they have an inalienable human right to do, in their own country, (which is indisputable whether you feel they should have published or not) and it pushed the fundamentalists to riot. Thousands of these “minority” [sarcasm] fundamentalists rioted all over the world. In the end over 130+ people were killed because this extremist culture could not tolerate the core Western value of Freedom of Speech.

A major problem for those who say that radical Islam is only a minority is that that “minority” controls the governments of a large block of countries. Most notably the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC. (For the full list of the 57 member states of the OIC, and their abysmal Human Development Index rankings see my other blog post on it) The OIC recently is attempting to push a binding “anti-blasphemy” [read as “anti-criticizing Islam”] measure through the United Nations. (I have another blog post on this and how the passing of the non-binding version is a human rights disaster)

These fundamentalists are making real world gains people! Get you heads out of the sand! Just look around you and see where draconian Sharia law is spreading! It has gained a foothold in the U.K., and the fundamentalists are fighting hard to implement it in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Canada of all places! Even if they haven’t yet succeeded in fully establishing Sharia in Europe (and trust me, they’re trying their damnedest), they have succeeded in making criticizing Islam very dangerous.

Just as recently as April 25th,  in Finland of all places,  Jussi Halla-aho was charged with blapshemy against Islam! Also! In Germany, in 2006  Manfred van H. (name not published) was sentenced to 1 year in prison, 5 years probation, and 300 community service hours for insulting the Koran. Other people around Europe are getting into legal trouble for criticism of Islam. The danger is not just legal, it’s mortal. It’s no secret that there is an army of fanatics ready to kill anyone who insults them at the drop of a hat. Again, the Danish cartoons are a perfect example. So is the murder of Theo van Gogh, and the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. The ironic thing is, in reacting violently the extremists vindicated and justified the vary cartoons they were rioting over.

Another thing to watch out for. Pakistan. This country is a tinderbox.  I should mention that this country also holds that the only punishment for blasphemy is death, as stated in Sharia law. Just this week, the Taliban invaded that country and captured a city with a million residents, only 70 miles from the capital. In invading they stated that democracy was “un-Islamic”. They have since retreated after signing a deal with Pakistan to let them control the Swat valley and implement harsh Sharia law. This is a country with nuclear missiles on the verge of collapse. If the government does go under (which is a very real possibility) then we will have an Islamic extremist state with nuclear weapons.

So where are the moderate Muslims? They exist, but are being extremely quiet. That’s unfortunate given the state of the world, but you can easily see why they are afraid to speak out. The ones who do are courageous, people like Azar Nafisi (Johns Hopkins), Ahmed al-Rahim (formerly of Harvard), Kemal Silay (Indiana), and Bassam Tibi (Göttingen), Ahmed Subhy Mansour and Muhammad Hisham Kabbani. There are also some organizations like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, and Muslims Against Sharia.

These few groups need to raise hell. They need to make more noise than the extremists who are hijacking their religion. If they don’t then they will forever lose any chance of taking back their faith from the barbarians. They need to encourage other Muslims to speak out as well, to break their tacit consent. This is a large task, and an even larger problem that many people strangely seem ignorant of. Because of this, the moderates need all the help they can get in spreading the word. This is not something we can afford to fail at. The stakes are just too great.