"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Monday, 27 February 2012

Muslims fail to condemn the violence

Violence continues in Afghanistan in the wake of the accidental burning by US troops of copies of the Qu’ran confiscated from detainees at Bagram Air Base. In all to date some Forty Afghans and Four US soldiers have died for this putative insult to Islam, despite apologies for the mistake from the US president Barak Obama.
It is easy to claim, as many do that the actions of the Taliban over this incident is opportunist politicising and that this blatant and immoral over reaction to the destruction of some printed matter is not representative of Islam as a religion. But, the silence from the Muslim community is deafening. Unless I’ve missed it, and I’ve been looking, there has been nothing but rhetoric against the American “insensitivity” and insults to Islam, but no outright condemnation of the violent and murderous response.
So here is a challenge to all of you moderate and influential Muslims and while I’m at it to the Christians too, who also seem less than eager to point out the obvious fact that paper and ink is not equivalent to a human life: Prove that religion has morals, prove that reason can prevail over dogma and prove that if anything is sacred to you it is sentient life above symbols and artefacts.
This failure to unequivocally condemn violence in the face of such a trivial and unintentional "insult" exposes the bankruptcy of the arguments of Baroness Warsi that religion is a force for moral stability. The Baroness, herself a Muslim is in an ideal position to speak out against the injustice of the Taliban's response and vindicate her faith and religion in general against the charges of intolerance levelled against it. But I’m not holding my breath. While she is happy to rail against “militant” secularists who speak in the name of true tolerance and freedom of expression, I doubt she will have the courage to speak against her religion, even when it behaves so abominably.

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