Religious Double Standard: Big Surprise

islam chrisianity in Damascus

By Mehdi Rifai,

Part of me wants to leave this particular can of worms alone, but I’m not going to. It’s been a few years since the Danish cartoons, since the Dutch Submission, and since the Pope’s somewhat insensitive comments about Muslims. Personally – and I do mean personally: These are not Forward Magazines views, not Syrians’ views, not anybody’s views but my own – I thought the reaction was overblown, and a case of things that could have disappeared into obscurity had it not been to all the Muslim anger bringing attention to it.

That said, it has been a constant let down by the West the way they do not practice what they preach at all. They always tell us that we should respect others right to voice their opinions even if we do not agree with them ourselves, poo-poohing Muslim indignation at the above as a sign of our obvious lack of appreciation for such treasured concepts such as the freedom of speech. Its a different story when the Catholic church protests an Israeli program mocking Jesus or the Virgin Mary ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7905884.stm ), or when a Canadian MP is chastised for laughing at a joke about Native Canadians.  ( http://www.thestar.com/News/article/175169 ) Even Scientology gets the time of day when they complain about the South Park episode that mocks their religion ( http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2006-03-17-south-park-scientology_x.htm ). When it comes to these groups, mocking them is an act of intolerance: When it comes to Muslims, it is free speech.

Again, do not get me wrong: I believe there should be room for humor and even voicing opinions. You should be able to make jokes about religion (in my opinion, and only my opinion), especially if the goal is furthering understanding. Many believe that humor is the way some people process and familiarize the new and unfamiliar, and if this is truly the aim, then more power to them. I also don’t want this to be a “Woe is me, Muslims get the short end of the stick all the time.” Self-pity is for the weak. But why is it that not only is there this obvious double standard, but no one is standing up to these groups and saying, “you’re allowed to react in anger, but we reserve the right to have these opinions”? Why is it that everyone is bending over backwards to apologize when all they’ve done wrong is tell or listen to a joke?

Where is the line drawn? What is blasphemy, and what is good taste? When do you say, “hehe, oh, that’s just silly,” and when is it alright to exclaim, “Dear GOD!!! HOW DARE THEY?”

What do you think?

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3 Responses

  1. Hi
    80% of Muslims dont know that they are rejecting the Quran. They worship thier imam’s books which completely contradicts the Quran. The imams changed the Quran just to prove their ideology, which they created in the name of Allah and Mohammed.
    The original Quran asserts the right of all people to draw Mohammed and all the Prophets.
    Read new articles about that:

    Allah’s Permission to Israel To Fight The Muslim Persecution

    [links deleted]

  2. Your comment is… horrific and disgusts me deeply, though I suppose the same right that allows me to make my blog post allows you to make your comment.

    Still, I feel I should point out it is irrelevant to the story above: It really doesn’t matter what religion is being handled unfairly in preference to another. Recently, Robert Fisk wrote “Examine the Pope’s words, and there’s only one thing to conclude,” where he discusses the many faux pas the current pope has made in regards to Islam, Judaism, homosexuality, and in fact practically every group possible. Though many within the Catholic community are embarrassed by his antics, Pope Benedict seems entirely capable of getting away with these outrageous statements with simple deflections: “I was only quoting a section from a greater text: Those weren’t my anti-Islamic words,” or “I wasn’t aware of that priests Holocaust-denying ways: My aids are to blame.”

    Meanwhile, this is the same pope that angrily chases after any person to make as much as a peep against Catholicism or his direction of it. Admittedly, the Israeli show above made more than a peep, but the Vatican practically ran them to the ground and drew an apology from a nation that has never apologized for anything they’ve done. Why is it that, in one case, the pope can make wild statements and do something the majority of people believe is unforgivable, whereas a comedy skit show is blasted away for making a joke?

    For me, this is more than a Muslim against the world issue. These double standards are far reaching, allowing “us” to do one thing, but denies that same thing to “you.” Under the basic premise that we are all equal, where do we draw the line between “I have the right to say this” and “Saying this makes me intolerant and a bigot?” This is what I hoped to examine with the piece.

    Cheers

  3. An Update: On March 7, we noticed that the above reader wrote us another letter, telling us how Islam was an evil religion, citing our supposed inability to live amongst ourselves in peace. You will not go anywhere on the planet where anyone will tell you that prejudiced speech is allowed within the context of free speech. A very famous saying is, “Your freedom of speech ends when you yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” Nothing can be more incendiary than generalizing negatively about an entire group of people.

    Therefore, we will no longer publish anything by reader AllahblessIsrael. Some will claim we are being hypocritical, considering the above article, and to that we have two answers: the article calls for any spoken word intended to bring about greater understanding, connection, and acceptance of other peoples to be allowed, no matter how controversial they may seem on the outside. The reader’s words accomplish none of these. Also, though we have completely denounced their message, these groups with all their hateful words and malicious intents still exist out there for those with similar minds to congregate and fester. They may be free to speak their thoughts, but we are free to disagree with them and not allow them to propagate on our blog.

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