Sunday, February 05, 2006

What do you do if someone says your religion is violent?

Well, if you're a Muslim radical, you commit violence against the country of the people that dared to say it! That'll show just how wrong they were!

Seriously. I was commenting on a Daily Kos diary about this subject concerning the flag of Saudi Arabia. I want you to imagine something. Imagine you have a nation whose flag consists of a cross, a broadsword, and the phrase "in hoc signo vinces" ("in this sign [the cross] you will conquer"--part of Constantine's vision that led him to march his Christian army into Rome and install himself emperor). Now imagine that that same country had been known to sponsor fundamental Christian radicals who were dedicated to committing acts of terror and murder against "infidels."

I think you'd have a universal outcry in pretty short order--but I just described an exact Christian parallel to Saudi Arabia.

I will say this loud and clear, with no equivocation: UMMA, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. The fact that a series of cartoons published by one newspaper can trigger violence, kidnappings, destruction and you name it against the entire continent in which the newspaper--unaffiliated with any government--is located, is frightening.

It's not as if I don't know that our foreign policy in the Middle East is out of whack, and we need to stop the "Syriana" problem, for lack of a better way to phrase it. But come on. There comes a point at which there is only so much you can do. I do appreciate Muslim clerics coming out against this. Here's a key quote from the article:

Mohammad Rashid Qabani, Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim cleric, urged restraint.

"We don't want the expression of our condemnation (of the cartoons) to be used by some to portray a distorted image of Islam," he said. "Today is a big test for us. Let our expression of condemnation be according to the values of Islam."

I appreciate Qabani's effort. Unfortunately for him, that "distorted image" is becoming increasingly less distorted every single time something like this happens. And it's not like I'm anti-Muslim. I know a good deal about the religion, actually. I spent a lot of time defending the Qu'ran's record on women and other issues, especially compared to the tribal polytheism that preceded it in the Arab world. I have a few Muslim friends. But the facts are what they are.

Further proving that these radicals aren't just angry at Denmark, but want to have any excuse whatsoever to attack non-Muslims, the Washington Post reports that the protesters attacked Maronite churches, and the Red Cross office (!).

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