Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Muhammed Cartoons: Religion or Politics?

I received this email from the Drs Dan Reiter and Rohringer
Religion and Politics
The freedom of religion is the product of the separation between politics and religion; what we in Western Society call the separation of Church and State. When those two are separate, and to the degree that they are in any society, religion is a matter of personal conscience. Under those circumstances no one has the right to criticise the personal belief of any other law abiding citizen.

When societies set up Religious States, when they infringe on the personal freedoms of their own citizens, and persecute them for not abiding by Religious Law, when they kill their opponents in the name of their God in other countries across the Globe, they have in fact dragged their Religion into the sewer of politics and degraded it to the point that criticism is not only fair game, but a moral obligation of any moral person and even more so of any true believer.

The cartoonist had the courage to say what needed to be said. He was not degrading Islam, he was demonstrating the degradation of Islam produced by a significant number of its adherents. The response struck a raw nerve because the criticism is valid. The extreme violence of the response only confirms the point.
I would agree that the violent reaction to the cartoons which has been drummed up, first by the Danish Imams and their 3 faked cartoons and now by the governments of Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, does confirm the point. Islam has been been returned to its roots as a religion of violence. Those who claim there is some vast silent majority of Muslims who do not agree with the violence and death and destruction being manifested upon us in the name of Allah, Muhammed, bin Laden or whomever need to answer these questions. Where is that silent majority? Where do they live? Why are they too fearful to speak out? Why are they too fearful to wrest back control of their religion? Where are their leaders?

If we had the answers to these questions, I am sure that we could help them. I personally don't think they exist in sufficient numbers anywhere to make a difference no matter how much help they might receive. In other words, they do not, in fact, constitute the majority.

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