Monday, February 06, 2006
One step forward, one step back
Much as I dislike it, I'm as prone to stridency as the next person. My resentment about this whole Danish cartoon affair has erupted into some harsh feelings about Islam, but it helps to remember that the margins usually control the debate.
Unfortunately, the extreme may indeed be the majority in the Muslim world, but there are exceptions. While we could certainly use an Anwar Sadat today, it's good to know there are some Arab voices of moderation:
A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.
Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize.
---Best-selling author and Muslim dissident Ibn Warraq
And in London, Britian's leading Islamic body has urged authorities to "press charges against the extremists behind last week’s inflammatory protests in London over the 'blasphemous' cartoons of the prophet Muhammad."
"The Metropolitan police should now consider all the evidence they have gathered from the protests to see if they can prosecute the extremists," said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. "It is time the police acted, but in a way so as not to make them martyrs of the Prophet’s cause, which is what they want, but as criminals. Ordinary Muslims are fed up with them."
Let's hope he's right, and that more voices of reason will feel emboldened to come forward to protest the bastardization of their religion.