All Religions Face Criticism

According to a recent editorial in the Vermont Cynic, the “Mohammed cartoons” are offensive because they connect Islam to terrorism. The author, Mr. Sultan, implied that it is invalid to make an association between the two. Why? In the past century, can you think of a religion that has been the stated cause of more suicide bombings? How many Christians have yelled, “Jesus is great!” while blowing up innocent civilians? There is a direct connection between Islam and terror. In schools across the Muslim world, students are taught about the honor of suicide bombing. Every week, one can read about suicide bombings in the Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip . . . and how many plotters from September 11th celebrated Christmas or Hanukkah? The author does make a semi-reasonable point about freedom of speech. It does seem strange that a Holocaust denier goes to jail for his words while the cartoonists receive praise for their work. (It’s not a perfect comparison. I believe even the author will have to admit that there is a slight difference between the Holocaust and the “plight” of Muslims in modern Europe.) That does not mean, however, that the cartoonists should join Mr. Irving in jail. Though I find David Irving despicable, and a truly atrocious “historian”, I don’t think he should be imprisoned for being a bigot and an idiot. Freedom of speech applies to all speech, particularly that which we find odious or distasteful. If a newspaper were to run a cartoon of Jesus as a pedophile (as the author suggests), what would happen? Americans would be offended. Fox news anchors would probably have strokes. There may be a boycott or two. And there would not be riots, murders, or bloodshed. There is evidence for my theory. In 1989, American photographer Andres Serrano produced a piece of art called “Piss Christ”. It included a representation of Christ, on the cross, sitting in a vat of urine. Public debate raged, but there was no violence. Imagine what would happen today if someone were to create a “Piss Mohammed”. Do you think the Muslim world would be satisfied with heated discussion? I think not. In his conclusion, the author made one of the most outlandish statements I have ever read in the Vermont Cynic . . . or anywhere. Mr. Sultan wrote: “Muslims . . . could not insult Christianity or Judaism any more than they could insult Islam.” This is such a patently false statement that I am not even mad; I am impressed that the author had the bravery to write it. Here is but a short selection of evidence that disproves his contention that Muslims could not insult Christianity or Judaism. Even before the recent controversy, the Muslim media had made it a habit of providing their readers with a daily dose of anti-Semitism. I found a lovely little cartoon published by our friends from the United Arab Emirates. Adolf Hitler is saluting Sharon, saying “Hi Hitler!”. The following statement was broadcast on an official Palestinian Authority televison station. “Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them and those who stand by them.” I’m sure Mr. Sultan would agree that advocating the murder of every Jew one meets could be construed as “insulting”. And, finally, this excerpt is from the Hadith, which is widely accepted in Islamic doctrine as an essential supplement to the Koran. “The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'” (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176) In recent years, Muslims have made horrible, slanderous statements about Jews and Westerners. They have also murdered civilians all over the world in the name of Allah. Now they’re angry about some cartoons, and protesting about racism? There is a remarkable disconnect between their public concerns and their private deeds. Muslims should be less concerned about Western “racism”, and more concerned about bringing their religion into the modern age. Those who live in glass houses (opulent palaces) should not throw stones (become suicide bombers).