I am mystified by the discussion that assumes we are to find a way as a culture to tolerate the views of extreme Muslims. Why? If we don’t do that for anyone else why Muslims? It is about fear, plain and simple. We are trying to accommodate them to save our flesh. That is not the way of the West, hasn’t been, shouldn’t be.
There is no question that many religions in the West have taken the brunt of wild-eyed cartoonists and writers who represent their profession with secured boldness. Though many are disturbed by it, the sarcastic and searing taunts of the press have not been suppressed by our government or by our laws because we want to maintain our hard-fought freedoms. Why, for example, is it not appropriate to support Muslims with their ideas about displaying an image of their divine leader, Mohammed? It is appropriate. However, it is not appropriate for them to demand of others who do not adhere to their faith that they be prohibited from displaying his image.
Muslims, within their jurisdiction, can do as they please about this idea. No displaying of the prophet Mohammed by Muslims, but to expect us to adhere to their rules as non-adherents is asking too much. We are a Democracy not a Theocracy. (It is clear that many Muslims don’t believe that or are trying to convert us to a theocracy.) As long as we are a democracy we are free to post, print or preach whatever we desire. I will gladly support Muslims and their desire to enforce their laws but only amongst themselves. For all others? Islamic rules and regs are not ours to obey unless forced, and that is not the way of Democracy.
“The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not ‘cowards,’ as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith—perfect faith, as it turns out—and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.”
Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
Zealot, Reza Aslan, Ph.D.
The hue, cry, and pious reaction over a Muslim having the audacity to write a book describing the milieu out of which the message of Jesus arose is disturbing. If this kind of logic were transferred to that of a Christian attempting to write and research Muslim personalities there would be few books to help and assist us in understanding Islamic culture. It often takes a person outside the faith to help us see ourselves as we really are.
Dr. Aslan, though a Muslim, wasn’t always so. For many years he was a Christian as are several members of his family who currently practice their Christian faith. Dr. Aslan has turned from Christianity to Islam. This religious identification change is what appears to disturb most potential readers. And why? I am told he calls to question some of the basic doctrines of Christianity. As I have not read his book yet I cannot comment on its content. However, getting an outside view of the faith is always helpful in causing each of us to question what, how and in whom we believe.
It is my belief that there are many who fear Dr. Aslan’s assertions are right and for that reason will do their best to avoid his arguments. That is sadly true of many who would hide behind their faith rather than challenge their intellect. If there be a God, this human attribute we call “intellect” was given us by Him. Would He give us something we should not use when it comes to questions of faith and, more directly, faith in God? I hope not!