Thursday, July 13, 2006

Religion of Peace?

Americans and Europeans alike have been tied in knots over how to deal with Islam in their own societies. Our liberal norms say we must be tolerant. President Bush himself says "Islam is a peaceful religion!", while many of the preachers who make up his political base stir up hatred and fear. Bush's actual policies have undeniably fanned the flames of Islamic extremism the world over. When home-grown thugs murder in Holland and in the subways of London and Madrid, we tie ourselves in knots over whether they represent the true spirit of their religion, or have hijacked it for perverse ends. We argue over whether the legacy of Euro-American imperialism has come home to roost. Meanwhile, we have to decide whether racial profiling is an acceptable means of self defense. And the fact is, that if we succumb to the temptation to hate and fear, we lose what we are, and so we lose, period.

All this said, we are in trouble. Whatever the historical causes, the fact is that Islam around the world is being radicalized, and the process has a momentum all its own. For anyone, progressive or not, who wants to hide his head in the sand about this, I give you the following pictures. They were taken at "Religion of Peace" rallies by muslims in London.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zapato ... you don't think I'd comment on this post with my real name, do you?? Too dangerous a topic. Just ask the Dutch cartoonists.

July 14, 2006 12:02 AM  
Blogger Other Lisa said...

Welp...I can't help it. I don't like religious fundamentalists of any stripe. They scare me. And if you look at the whole "Abrahamic Triad," the fundies there are all about oppressing women.

I don't know what the answer is, how the grievances and anger fueling the Islamists could possibly be channeled in a more positive direction...but I do think that if we believe in a secular Western society, we have the right to assert our own beliefs within our own borders.

Like publishing the Danish cartoons.

July 14, 2006 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that fundamentalists of all stripes are really the same thing, and they all do seem to have a problem with women.

so why haven't these pictures been shown in the U.S. media?

July 14, 2006 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back again for another comment from my first one ... US media - I thinkk the beast as it's evolved seems to enjoy this pro/con type of reporting, and it helps to polarize a nation. While are made of hetergenous elements, I can't stand that reporting on facts always comes with a pro/con editorial. I mean, where is the wisdom in the press, as it has power to move the masses? There are folks who argue against media manipulation, etc. and I agree. I just think journalists need to take a hard look at how mass information needs to evolve to continue to benefit societies.

And oh yes, I forgot that "fundies" are so dangerous, of all stripess ... it's so hard to have a reasoned conversation with them sometimes.

July 14, 2006 11:14 AM  

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