Thursday, May 23, 2002

In an interesting column on Islam, Jamie Glazov writes:

The typical Muslim tells me that I am wrong about Islam because it does allow free will. So then I inquire whether, in the real Islam, a woman will have the free choice to drink alcohol, go dirty dancing at a bar, pick up a guy and take him home. This always crystallizes the issue quite quickly. The Muslim usually gets very upset and responds, with much anger, about how this behavior is very wrong, how decadent the West is, and how Islam simply does not allow such immorality.

Well put. So, how's about I go have sex with some children, shoot a few guys, fist a sheep, dig up a grave and distribute the pieces of the body on my neighbour's lawn, and then play music so loud my family goes deaf and my neighbours call the cops, who I then proceed to gun down?

What's that?
You don't think I should do that?
And why is that, Jamie? Oh right... morals. I imagine you have them. Where do they come from, and do you believe that they should be enforced somehow? I'd imagine that at least a few of them come from your religious upbringing, and although atheistic moral systems are not only possible but do exist, the ones that underpin American mores sure aren't derived from secular sources. Don't get me wrong; I'm not exactly a big support of Sharia, nor of corpse chunk distribution. It's just that this kind of argument is utterly ridiculous. If you're going to have a discussion of morals, do so, but don't play these silly games.

It was used, of course, in order to defend the idea that Muslims are hopelessly backwards and completely unable to join "the real world". What exactly "dirty dancing" has to do with that is beyond me, but it misses a pretty vital point that a lot of these people either don't know or ignore: what many Imams are teaching is only loosely connected to Islam, and that most Muslims do not feel this way. It's rather similar to most Christians not believing that women should defer to men and obey them (although the fundamentalist baptists usually do) or that sex is inherently sinful (although many Victorians certainly did) or that homosexuality is an unpardonable sin (although many do). Screw Islam... is there hope for Christianity?

It also raises questions... what, exactly, is Jamie arguing in favor of? He keeps arguing that "Islam can't join the modern world". Other than that being utterly ridiculous in-and-of-itself, what does Jamie say should be done about this? The elimination of Islam? How does one, exactly, eliminate a religion? The Soviets tried it with Russian Orthodoxy- it didn't work. I hate to Godwin myself, but there's only one real Final Solution to a religion that you don't like, and it's one that I doubt even Jamie would support.

By the way, Jamie, there are relatively secular and peaceful Muslim nations out there. I don't recall the Indonesians or Malaysians blowing up anything in the name of Allah, and both Pakistan and Turkey have had (elected!) female leaders. East Timor is a black mark on Indonesia, but the country is becoming democratic, which Jamie appears to believe would never happen. I'd say the problems with many of the nations he's describing is the government, not the religion. Perhaps he should be raging against monarchy?

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