Monday, April 17, 2006

Islam: Religion of contradiction

I have been reluctant to join in the anti-Islam overtures that have paraded many conservative columns lately like that of Ann Coulter. Admittedly, I think that Coulter and the like have made a valid argument that contradicts Islam’s slogan as a “religion of peace.” My voice on that matter has largely been diplomatic. I am hesitant to call Muslims names and beat on their religion. I don’t think this tactic does anything to resolve the post-September 11 tensions that exist. Nor do I believe it will curb the tendency of Muslims to act out violently. Positive reinforcement has been my mantra.

And yet, I am continuously disappointed at the results of that approach. My own patience grew thin when Muslims around the world responded in violent overdramatic fashion to the infamous Danish cartoon incident.

Muslims insisted that a visual depiction of the Prophet Mohammed was against the laws of their faith. No matter that the rest of the world may not agree. They were to abide by Islamic law, too.

The message: Respect our faith. Okay, after the flag burnings and rioting and violence and even death, we get the message. No more Mohammed in cartoons (see the latest
South Park/Comedy Central controversy in case you’re not sure).

Turn now to a new story. Surfing through the news sites today I read this headline:
Palestinians: Tel Aviv Bombing Legitimate. Here’s what happened:

TEL AVIV, Israel - A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a fast-food restaurant in a bustling area of Tel Aviv during the Passover holiday Monday, killing eight other people and wounding at least 49 in the deadliest Palestinian attack in more than a year.

The Palestinians' new Hamas leaders called the attack a legitimate response to Israeli "aggression." Israel said it held Hamas ultimately responsible — even though a different militant group, Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility — and would respond "as necessary."

A radical Islamic group took pride and credit in the Passover attack. For those who may not know, Passover is a Jewish holiday commemorating

the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. For the Jews, and even many Christians, this is a big holiday.

It would be foolish to assume that the most recent act of mid-east terror had nothing to do with the timing of the Jewish holiday. Therefore, I cannot help but wonder why Muslims insist that the rest of world respect the principles of their faith, and yet they are not obliged to return the favor?

To me, this can only mean one of two things: Either radical Islam has very poor public relations skills or it truly does not care about the sanctity of any other religion or ideal. My money is on the latter. I think Islamic terrorists (two words keenly chosen to in conjunction with each other here) have executed their message perfectly well thus far.

In tit-for-tat logic then, this begs the question, “Why should the rest of the world show the respect for Mohammed and Islam that Muslims demand when Muslims have no intention of doing the same?”

That question may provoke criticism from my not-so-friends on the left. “Why have I associated all Muslims with a single radical group?” They will demand. Well, I don’t ever recall hearing the greater Muslim community condemn this or any other acts of Islamic terrorism (there’s those words again).

If Muslims continue to act in such a manner, they will find themselves increasingly on the fray of the public defense – even from those who have championed their religion up to this point (President Bush and Comedy Central included). The message ought to be clear to them, abide by the rules of a civil society or forever face defamation and bombings. That’s pretty blunt, but it’s the politically incorrect truth.

And of course, the reigning question here, “Is Islam truly a religion of peace?”

In answer to that, I urge my readers to refresh themselves with the above paragraphs and then flip through the news headlines of the day…or any day.