This is so relevant.
I am all for freedom of religion and belief – but that does not give adherents of these religions or beliefs the right to interfere with my life.
And, seriously, if I demand my right of freedom from such interference this does not deny the rights of those adherents to their belief. To claim that it does it just childish.
I think most people are pleased the authorities captured the suspects for the Boston Marathon bombing – and got one of them alive. There are a lot of issues raised by the Boston events over the last week, and I think this video about the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Centre is of at least tangential relevance.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the Imam.
We won’t know for some time what the motives of these bombers were, what international links they had and if they received help. But, in other cases involving acts of terrorism in the West by young men from immigrant families, one scenario appears common:
- Genuine problems for immigrant communities offer a breeding ground for discontent.
- This can cause radicalisation of some young men in the community.
- In some Muslim communities there are militant and fundamentalist Imams in the mosques whose teachings help inflame discontent and feed the radicalisation of the youth.
- Many, if not a large majority of Muslim Mosques in western countries, have relied on financial support from Saudi Arabia – particularly for their establishment. This is certainly true for New Zealand.
- Sometime support is also provided by importing Imams and teachers from Saudi Arabia – often members of fundamentalist sects themselves.
- I suspect that more moderate members of the Mosque may tolerate fundamentalist Imams because they respect older conservative members of the community who see value in criticism of western values, etc.
So we can have a quite inflammatory situation. Genuine discontent, radicalisation of youth and militant religious leaders feeding the radicalisation. In some, yes just a few, cases this can lead to terrorist activity. With the ironic aspect that finance to feed this problem comes from the western obsession with oil which has made Saudi Arabia very rich. It has also made the country immune to criticism for the export of militant Islam.
I realise some commenters might accuse me of “Islamophobia” for the above. But isn’t that part of the problem – the denial of criticism? After all, I am not criticising all Muslims, even all disaffected Muslims. I am not criticising the religion (not in this post anyway – but the ability to do so is part of living in a democratic, pluralist society). I am only criticising a situation which has an effect in only a small number of cases – but a dramatic effect.
Yes, I am also aware we have other disaffected communities in our society. We have fundamentalist, radical, priests and ministers in other religions. That combination can also sometimes lead to terrorist activity, such as the bombing of clinics or murder of doctors. In the past non-religious groups have also promoted terrorism. Let’s not limit our concern just to Islamic terrorism.
But also, let’s not limit our ability to confront such problems by a naive form of multiculturalism which prevents any criticism and sweeps real problems under the carpet.
Today is the 5th anniversary of the death of Theo van Gogh. He was a Dutch film director who worked with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the film Submission.
The short film investigates violence against women in some Muslim societies. The script was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali who was involved in social work amongst abused Muslim women in Europe.
After the film’s screening van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. On November 2, 2004, Van Gogh was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri shot him eight times, cut his throat, nearly decapitating him, and stabbed him in the chest. A five-page note threatening Western governments, Jews and Ayaan Hirsi Ali was attached to Van Gogh’s chest with a knife.
Since that time Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been under constant guard, and moved to the USA for some time. Bouyeri is currently serving a life sentence.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the book Infidel – I can highly recommend it. Brought up a Muslim she is now an atheist. Currently she is writing a fictional book where Mohamed is confronted by some well known Western enlightenment intellectuals. Should be good.
See also: Submission video
Posted in atheism, belief, human rights, Islam, religion, supernatural, superstition
Tagged assasination, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Film director, Infidel, Islam, Mohammed Bouyeri, Muslim, terrorism, Theo Van Gogh, United States