Religious Intolerance to Criticism

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The mark of a failed ideology is one that
refuses to accept any level of criticism. One such religious ideology is that of Islam
which in recent years has been growing more intolerant and violent towards not only those
outside the religion, but those within, that voice anything other then praise. This week’s
video discusses violence and intolerance as found within Islam. If we value the freedom
to communicate our opinions, observations and beliefs, we need to speak up and resist
those who wish to silence us. Lets begin. Another few months goes by and
it seems we hear about another group of extremest muslims resorting to violence and murder in
response to religious criticism. No matter on what side of the fence you sit on regarding
Charlie Hebdo’s satirical publication, I’m sure that even if you disagreed with them,
you would not have condemn them to death. Nearly a year ago, 2 muslim extremists opened
fire and killed 12 people and injured 11 more, in retaliation for depicting a cartoon Muhammad
on the cover of their magazine. More moderate muslims, on the other hand have called for
a word wide blasphemy laws which would make it illegal for anyone to speak ill of their
religion. Rather then engage in open discussion and formulate a rational defense of their
world view, it seems that all too often many muslims will seek to force silence, why whatever
means available. This is a sign of ideological weakness, because anything worth believing
in, can be justified with reason and evidence. In 2012, a poorly written, directed and acted
14 minute video entitled Innocence of Muslims, depicting a critical look at the life of Muhammad
resulted in demonstrations and violent protests, and the death of over 50 people. Fatwas (death
sentences) were called for all people who were involved in the creation of the film.
Regardless of how inaccurate, inflammatory or insulting, the reaction by many muslims,
even those considered moderates was to rise up in protest, violence and a call for death. 2005, a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published
12 editorial cartoons depicting Muhammad. You guessed it, protests ensued and resulted
in at least 200 deaths globally. Why? Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Taslima Nasrin,
and many others are living in abject fear because they have dared express criticism
of Islam, Muhammad, or the actions of muslims. Additionally, and unfortunately for those
of us who value the freedom of speech, many governments and media outlets are unwilling
to put the blame at the feet of Islam the religion, and instead point towards economic
and political issues. I am not naive to think that religion alone creates extremist behaviour,
but combined with war, economic strife, and a belief that god has given you a manual by
which to live and conquer, you create a mindset that has no rational response, and thus violence
ensues. Now, being publicly critical of Islam unfairly
brands you an Islamiphobe, or racist, because it is easier to dismiss arguments supporting
the criticism when you can label a person a bigot. Attack the character and motivations
of an individual rather then deal with the content of their message.
I do not think that all muslims are bad, but I believe the problem lies with acquiring
one’s worldview from ancient immoral books. We ought to arrive at our ethics through reason,
empathy, and a careful weighing of the effects of our actions. Morality evolves overtime
and so we retard social progress when we look to the distant past to guide our future actions. If you enjoyed this video, click the like
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