Monday, 24 September 2012

Mocking Muhammad

We were going to hold our counsel on the latest wave of violence by Muslims that has been sweeping across the Middle East and beyond, but not now. There are a number of observations we feel we must make. Our guiding principles on what we’re going to write about here come from two previous articles – ‘Survival of the Dumbest’ (http://bit.ly/NNg2E8 ) and ‘Strength in Belief’ (http://bit.ly/OPvJBC ).
The impressive mosque near the Djemaa el Fna square in Marrakech, Morocco
A more tranquil time in the Muslim world.

First of all, it must be stated that the United States produced Muhammad ‘movie’ trailer (whether there is an actual full-length movie remains a doubt) that is being used as the catalyst for this fierce uproar in the Islamic world is an absolute joke – and that’s not in a funny way, it’s just complete rubbish. If you’ve seen it – as most of you probably have by now – you’ll know what we mean (heck it even makes some of the Colombian ‘telenovelas’ we’ve had the ‘privilege’ to appear in seem like quality productions). 

So while it obviously has infuriated the majority of Muslims, the fact that it is of such low quality, made by dim-wits, would make you think that most reasonable people should be able to let it slide – it doesn’t even deserve comment. But for many followers of Muhammad it was all they needed to go on – in Libya and Pakistan at least – a murderous rampage against the USA. 

From the outside looking in, it really appears that Muslims are just waiting for any slight excuse to take to the streets in angry, violent protests against the ‘West’. 

For these latest demonstrations are not cases of ‘fighting fire with fire’. Yes the movie trailer is offensive – and you can also now throw in here the naked picture of Prophet Muhammad published in recent days by a French magazine – but no physical damage was caused and certainly no Muslims lost their lives because of it. The best thing that could have been done was to ignore it completely, to rise above such idiocy. Or at most make a film counter-attacking all that they see as daft and deplorable in the United States – it’s not like they wouldn’t have much ammunition in this regard.
A quite imposing religious figure in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
"What did you call me?"

But no, a significant number of Muslims, seemingly drunk on their faith, think that rioting is the only response to such things. It certainly doesn’t paint a very good picture for the religion as one of ‘promoting peace’. Yes, there are fundamentalists in all religious sects, but there seems to be a proliferation of them in the Islamic world compared to elsewhere. By definition, it is next to impossible to reason with such fundamentalists – be them Muslim, Christian, Hindu or whatever. Indeed from our experiences, those closer to being ‘peaceful beings’ are found more so in the agnostic/atheist camp than in organised religions. You can usually discuss different opinions and outlooks with such people without raising their ire – their understanding tends to be more universal.

In terms of Islamic states, there are clear practices and laws in existence that in any enlightened society cannot be condoned – the freedom to express ‘incompatible’ views without fear of death and the treatment of women to name two of the most obvious. Contrast this with the relative freedom Muslims are granted to practice their beliefs and customs in the ‘western world’ and you see apparent double standards. A little bit more reciprocity from the Islamic world wouldn’t go astray here. 

Of course there are certain aspects of Muslim society that we generally like. There is a no nonsense approach to those found guilty of crimes. Find yourself on the wrong side of the law in an Islamic country and you’ll certainly know about it. It’s something that many Christian-based or secular societies could learn from – stronger, more meaningful deterrents rather than the ‘softly, softly’ approach. In this regard we refer to what might be considered as more ‘universal’ crimes – needless to say there are a number of things considered offences in the Muslim world that in other societies are certainly not.

We must also state that the brief time we spent in the past in countries that are predominantly Muslim was highly enjoyable. Friendly people where you don’t get a feeling that all they see you as is a talking cash machine there to be used and abused – something you can’t always say about the more ‘Christian’ Latin America.
A Muslim burial ground, Morocco
"Everybody in the graveyard votes the same."

However, as mentioned above, the radical streak when it comes to defending their religion only serves to deepen the chasm and suspicion that exists between themselves and the ‘Christian/Secular West’. We’ve firmly nailed our colours to the mast previously here on what we think about organised religion – no matter what sect it is. Take away any form of reason or perspective and you get events like we’ve been witnessing in the last week across the Islamic world. 

You have to wonder what does ‘God’, along with his prophets Jesus and Muhammad, make of it all?

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