Golden Rule behavior demands that we treat others as we would want to be treated given understanding of that individual’s circumstances.
Knowing that the Islamic faith prohibits depictions of its prophet Muhammad, is there ever an acceptable reason to produce and distribute cartoons about and including drawings of Muhammad?
Just after a $10,000 prize was handed out in Garland, Texas yesterday to the best caricature of Muhammad, two Muslim men attempted to shoot their way through the conference. Their assault began just moments after they were believed to have tweeted, “May Allah accept us as mujahideen” and stating their loyalty to the Islamic State. A police officer used his service pistol to kill the assault-rifle-armed attackers before they could inflict substantial harm.
In the immediate hours following the shooting, many media commentators questioned whether conference organizers had brought the attack on themselves. Given this reaction, is it ever acceptable to purposely offend? Following are seven questions worth considering in determining your answer:
- Was the offensive behavior—the caricature and condemnation of Muhammad—solely intended to offend, or was it pursued to achieve a higher purpose?
- If a higher purpose—or at least a serious purpose other than creating offense—was intended, could another method achieve that purpose without the offensive action?
As I studied Islam over the past two years, trying to understand the dichotomy between my personal experience with peaceful, thoughtful Muslims and the brutal, hateful violence pursued by radical Islamist terrorists, I learned why silent acquiescence to radical Islam will not lead to peace. Much of what I now know is shocking to those who think of religious figures from a Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or many other perspectives.
Here’s a few critical points worth contemplating as, through the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, we again live the violent tragedy imposed by those who believe we must live by their rules rather than the principles of freedom used in founding the United States:
- Muhammad was a national ruler as well as a preacher. Most key religious figures, including Jesus Christ, did not attempt to rule an empire on earth. Christ and others guided followers to behaviors that would earn them a place in eternity. Muhammad sought to and did create a nation ruled by his views, and encouraged its continuous expansion.
- Muhammad used violence to achieve his territorial objectives. Whether it was leading attacks on Mecca, approving the beheading of hundreds of Jews at Medina, or many other battles described in the Quran and Hadith, violence was part of the life of Muhammad. The Quran can be read as advocating violence or peace, depending on the desires of the interpreter.
- Lying in the name of Islam is not a sin. Concepts known as taqiyya and kitman allow Muslims to lie to non-believers, particularly when lying advances the cause of Islam. It is even permissible in many branches of Islam for Muslims to deny their own belief in Muhammad and Allah to avoid persecution. Lie detectors track physical changes created when people engage in behavior they know to be wrong. Those changes won’t be found in those who believe their lying is not only acceptable, but encouraged.
- Death is salvation. Many young Muslims are able to be convinced through interpretations of the Quran and Hadith that death in the name of Islam is a guaranteed pass to salvation. In The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East, author Robert Fisk details the exalted pride of children preparing to ride motorbikes through mine fields during the Iran-Iraq war when Shia Muslims in Iran battled the predominantly Sunni Muslims of Iraq. For many raised in radical Islam, attacks on infidels are a thrilling opportunity, not a source of fear. (As an aside, Shia, Sunni and other branches of Islam often see each other as infidels.)
There’s much more to explore to understand the world as it is, rather than the world as we might hope. I’ll leave you with a quote from murdered Charlie Hebdo editor in chief Stéphane Charbonnier: “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”
An article popped up yesterday on CNN.com with good news about the arrest of Mexican cartel boss Mario Armando Ramirez Trevino. As I do from time-t0-time under the alias “Mike Bushman” (I don’t hide my identity well), I posted a comment that quickly gained enough of CNN’s version of likes and no dislikes to be the top comment. Moments later, I turned back from watching “Cutthroat Kitchen” to see the comment was gone. Deleted.
Given my introspective nature, I wondered what I’d said that was so threatening to require removal. Fortunately, more than half of what I’d written was contained in an email alert of a reply to my comment about the difficulty of stopping cartels when “Fast and Furious” guns are still turning up.
Here’s my offending statement, with the second half recaptured to the best of my memory:
“The fates of the U.S. and Mexico are intertwined. We must defeat the drug cartels, who otherwise will eventually combine, strengthen and wreak even greater havoc on our society. It will get even worse once radical Islamic terrorists figure out how to team up with drug cartels to attack us.”
Perhaps, I thought, the statement was deemed racist by the thoughtful administrators at CNN. I did say our fate was intertwined with Mexico and my picture shows me clearly as white, but I couldn’t believe this was the reason. The comment simply acknowledges that the cartels are a scourge to both of our nations. I thought that was clear. Maybe CNN opposed my reference to “radical Islamic” terrorists? Perhaps I should have just mentioned terrorists, rather than identify the dominant type of terrorist attacking America in recent decades.
In commenting on the potential combination of cartels and terrorists, I simply reacted to the fact that terrorists and cartels have already been caught linking together on low-level activities. My concern is that these relationships will expand. Readers of Melting Point 2040 and Secession 2041 will recognize that cartels and terrorists play plot roles in these novels, though I didn’t mention my writing when commenting on CNN.com.
There is one other explanation. Removing my comment allowed it to be replaced by a new top comment: “Legalize Marijuana and those drug cartels will be pharmaceutical reps. Problem solved.” That must be it.
Deadly violence in Egypt, escalating in recent days, raises critical questions about what happens when religion and government intertwine. America’s founders purposely prevented the imposition of a national religion, while also making clear that the United States would operate as “one nation under God.”
Were they right to separate government from a specific religion? Does it make sense for our government to maintain a connection to God, though without a single national religion?
Basing my thoughts on reviewing history, I conclude that belief in a superior being who holds us accountable for our actions is critical to the long-term survival, prosperity and decency of a nation. It is also clear, however, that single-religion nations are a particular threat to global peace. Reviewing the deadliest incidents of man-made violence throughout history supports my view that America’s founders had the balance right. Continue reading
In the past two weeks, a soldier in London was beheaded by Islamic terrorists, a soldier near Paris was stabbed in the neck by an angry immigrant and immigrants rioted in Stockholm. As these events built, social media platforms lit up with exchanges on whether multiculturalism is starting to fail — or has already failed. At question are policies that bring in immigrants from Islamic nations to stave off population decline and associated economic calamities.
Is Multiculturalism a Failure?
The issue, from what I have seen, is not that diverse peoples cannot live together in harmony. It is that diversity requires integration for long-term success. Many advocates of multiculturalism suggest that is is culturally insensitive or racist to require immigrants to learn a common language, adapt new societal norms in the new country and otherwise take part in the broader society. I believe the opposite is the case.
One of America’s current failings is that we are stepping backward in implementing Brown v. Board of Education. Continue reading
How should the United States handle immigrants who have no intent to follow our laws? In the interest of tolerance and openness, should America welcome immigrants who believe it is their religious obligation to instill gender segregation at every opportunity? Should we ensure immigrants share our commitment to freedoms of speech and religion, along with other foundational rights such as the right of women to vote?
While incidents of gender discrimination occur on occasion inside the United States, gender segregation is becoming a frequent challenge on United Kingdom university campuses where radical Islamist student organizations are becoming increasingly bold in enforcing gender segregation at university events.
In recent years, radical Muslim gangs have begun roaming London streets and entering gay night clubs to beat patrons for their homosexuality, a punishment some who follow Islam believe is their religious duty to administer despite no legal backing in the U.K. or most non-Islamist countries for these heinous actions.
I believe firmly that robust, legal immigration is essential to America’s long-term economic prosperity. We need to welcome people of all races, religions and cultures. But I also think it’s fair to insist that those entering here tolerate Americans, our Constitution and our insistence on equal rights.
There are many of the Muslim faith willing to adapt to America’s legal requirements or whose view of their faith does not contradict compliance with our laws. Many others do not, and it is those individuals we should weed out in the immigration process.
UK universities fall victim to campus segregation trend – The Commentator.