Thursday, 15 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo III

I'm sure that the majority of us in the West feel no great desire to upset Muslims unnecessarily. That said, so long as a certain section of Muslim society in the West goes around demanding sharia law for all, denouncing western decadence and resorting to intimidating or even killing those with whom they disagree, then upsetting Muslims in general is going to be a natural corollary of that activity.

Upsetting people is no reason for those who are upset to kill the people who do the upsetting - unless it's Germany that's upset. They do have a bit of previous there. Actually, wars generally are caused by a bit of upset or an unfortunate misunderstanding (who remembers the War of the Stray Dog?).

The mass purchase of Charlie Hebdo yesterday was not an act calculated to offend Muslims in general, it was a reaction to being told what to do and how to think by a vocal, vociferous and dangerous minority of Muslims who want control of minds. It's cocking a snook at fascism, communism, hypocrisy and any ideology that wants to control how we think. I don't think it upset the Germans - at least I hope it didn't.

Islam and politics are intertwined and cannot be separated; Islam is not just a religion, it's also a political movement with Islam at the base, the pinnacle and all points between. Islam governs every activity from waking to going back to sleep - a bit, but not totally, like the situation in Europe before church and state were separated and religion's teeth were drawn.  

Due to state and religion being inextricably linked, and also due to the nature of Islam itself, practice of any religion other than Islam is proscribed in many Islamic states (leading to persecution), and in a few it is a capital offence. That is not the case in the West - Muslims are free to practice, as are atheists - or in the case of the latter, not to practice at all. As for the death sentence for apostasy, that's a truly medieval and unenlightened offence that has no part in modern society. I'm not sure whether Pastafarianism is a capital offence in Saudi - perhaps it should be.

So before lecturing the West on tolerance, fundamentalist Islam must tolerate other religions, or even the total absence of a religious viewpoint within Islamic states. Tolerance is a two way street, unless your name is Hitler, in which case it's an Einbahnstrasse.

Nor can they harp on about the Crusades. The Crusades were fought on behalf of indigenous middle eastern Christians against Moslems who had invaded from Arabia and ended in the 13th C., comprising no more than 20 odd battles and culminating in a resounding defeat for the West, including Germany. There have, however, been over 500 Muslim battles based on invasion (200 in Spain alone) stretching from the 600s to the 1920s and reaching into Spain, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the very gates of Vienna (hence  the croissant - and very probably Eccles cakes too). No comparison.

The history of Islam in the West is not long enough for it to have yet evolved into a reformed, moderate, westernised Islam, like namby-pamby Anglicanism (I call it Old Sodbury, or Cotswold Islam). Only time will tell whether this will happen with 3rd, 4th and 5th generation descendants of the first Muslim immigrants. Christianity, after all, has a 600 year lead on Islam, and Christianity went through some bloody times in the fight for freedom of conscience. Islam is going to have to face its own Reformation if it is to be acceptable to the West, and the Protestant Reformation did not take place in the heartlands of Catholicism. The result of the Reformation is that the worst an Anglican bishop can do to you if you draw a cartoon is to serve your sherry at the wrong temperature.

Similarly, reformed Islam is not going to happen in Islamic nations where the dead, repressive hand of conservative fanaticism has an iron grip. No, reformed Islam can only grow in the West or on the borders of Islam, where church and state are separated, and we must allow, nay (I like the odd nay) we must positively encourage it to take root, flower and flourish, hoping it will filter back and counter the encroaching tide of medieval fundamentalism emanating from and funded by the Arabian peninsula (and parts of the old Empire) .

The West has its own Holy Cows (like whether the tea or the milk goes in first), but cartoons of people isn't one of them, nor is apostasy. In the words of the Moslem Mayor of Rotterdam, my hometown; "If you don't like the freedoms of the West, then pack your bags." Common sense, as The Pub Landlord would say. Mind you, The Pub Landlord advocates locking up the unemployed to prevent crime.

As for my own views on religion, I must quote a great late 18th C. and early 19th C. French cartoonist, Pierre-Simon Laplace....; "I have no need of that hypothesis," and you can't make me think otherwise, as I have a brain and free will (although the subject of free will is another matter, which I think I've addressed previously, but may bore you with again at a later date).

Here endeth the lesson.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Mayor of Rotterdam was a little more "Anglo-Saxon" in his choice of language; he's right.

    Good post.