Saturday, February 11, 2006

Islamofanatics

The picture on the left is not Mohammed, or it might be. Maybe it’s his second cousin Ahmed the bomb-maker. Or to be insulting in a south-side-of-Chicago sense, maybe its Mohammed’s sister.

What if it is suppose to depict Mohammed?

The idea that this somehow devalues what Mohammed stands for seems to be a belief that is deeply imbedded in the roomy cranial cavity of all Islamic fanatics. At the heart of any fanaticism is the deep and real fear that their beliefs might be false. A rejection of their belief is after all, a rejection of their internal self. Maybe that is why freedom is such a threat to them. Oh, this isn’t the type of freedom that gives a person the ability to be a raging asshole in public, or the type that lets them call George Bush a Hitler before they thank the academy. The freedom that bothers fanatics most is the freedom to choose. Some might choose wrongly after all, some might even reject an ideology altogether.
Islamofanatics cannot allow rejection for they have gone too far down a road of oppression, a road that may have even started with good intensions. It isn’t hard to imagine the devout desperately wanting another person to share in their beliefs, especially when those beliefs are so deeply meaningful to them. First, they may want to convert them by introduction or exposure. After a while, maybe they become bothersome or worse, maybe they begin to use political tools to enforce their beliefs on a larger public. At that point, conversion becomes the most important objective, even beyond any meaning of the religion itself. That’s why Islamofanatics can preach virtue to the rest of us while selling heroin and bombing innocents. As their narratives and needs progress and become complicated, their methods become more repressive and violent.

Does any thinking individual believe that a cartoon of Mohammed is more insulting to Islam than Mohammed Atta?

Aside from whether the depiction of Mohammed is sacrilege or not, in bad taste or A-OK, the very fact that some are calling for boycotts and beheadings because of these cartoons should cause some alarm; especially when these calls are directed at other nations which have every right to enact their own laws and live within the culture that they have been free to develop.
Even in the United States where we are free to act as goofy and disrespectful as we want, the usually goofy and disrespectful media has remained silent on the matter. Unafraid when the insults are directed at Christians and Jews, the American Media is suddenly confronted by people who are prepared to do a lot more that send a strongly worded email. This is precisely the type of cowardice that allows fanatics to gain traction in a society. Unfortunately, the American media has done much of the work for Islamofanatics, on one hand rejecting the war as “American Imperialism” and on the other bending over to Islamic threats and intimidation. Additionally, this behavior creates an air of weakness and there is nothing more keenly identified by Islamofanatics than weakness. Who needs alJazeera?
Ironically, freedom is about the only thing that will save Islam. Freedom carries with it, the one component that Islamofanatics cannot understand. That component is the ability to choose and thereby make the virtue that all religions seek, meaningful. Virtue isn’t real when it comes from the barrel of a gun or through intimidation. That is the saddest commentary of all and maybe it will become Islam’s epitaph. By oppressing humans, you move them to resent the very ideals that you want them to believe in. By oppression, you abandon your own virtue and are no example to anyone else. In silence, you do not support those values and you enable oppressors. It is no wonder then that the west’s response is to fortify itself against you, to go to war against you and ultimately to reject you. Whatever mantel of religion that Islam has left is fading rapidly. It is not the west that needs to better understand Islam; it is Islam that needs to better understand humanity.
And while we are on the subject of cartoons, maybe adherents to Islam should ask just who it is that is putting this face on Mohammed?

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