Ouch | Good comeback if ever I’ve heard one

3 12 2010

Kudos to Maid of Albion on this gem of a video, which shockingly shows a politician, albeit an Austrian one, giving both barrels to the Turkish State.  Of course, the poor Turks will hold this up for the lack of tolerance but Ewald Stadler hits the nail on the head and I salute him for it.  And the way he puts to shame his fellow MP (sadly, didn’t catch his name).

To see the video on YouTube and leave a comment, click HERE.

For a picture of the murdered archbishop Luigi Padovse, click HERE.

And once more, let us peer into the cultural ad religious differences between the West and Islam.

…The West has by now a long tradition of secular democracy, freedom and human rights. The Islamic world is still not conversant with such concepts. It has not even ushered in to democracy; and there is no concept of secular democracy or human right in this part of the world.

Europe has undergone a long struggle against the Pope and the Church to win its right to criticize. The religion as propagated by the Church, the freedom of its press and certain other fundamental rights. There was a time when the church did not tolerate any criticism or deviation from its theology which had the status of divine injunction. Deviationists were severely punished. Even by death or by burning them at stake. Religious persecution had assumed serious proportions.

Since the West had won the rights against the Church after great sacrifices, it is not prepared to give them at any cost, and considers them almost, as sacred as the religious injunctions. It was because of this that philosophers like Bertrand Russell wrote a book like Why I am not a Christian and ridiculed in this book many doctrines propounded by the Church. Several books and articles were written attacking even Christianity and continue to be written even today. Recently a book has been published which questions even existence of Christ. The author quotes several documents to prove that Christ never existed and what church preaches is mere mythology.

Whether such a state of affairs is desirable or not is a matter of values to which one subscribes. Today in the West, especially in Europe freedom, secularism and human rights have status of what religious doctrines had in the medieval age. And in democracy these rights have to be ensured without which democracy may lose its meaning. Now it can also take extreme forms e.g., right to ridicule, right to mock at authorities, and political cartoons often make a caricature on mock at the false claims of political authorities.

Political cartoons are frequently used to ridicule political leaders. Now the question is whether cartoons can be drawn to ridicule religious leaders or not, and if so, can one draw cartoons of founders of religions who are held in high esteem by their followers? It is of course a matter of ones perspective. Many would insist that it is sacrilegious to draw such cartoons and some would insist it is part of ones fundamental rights.

Salman Rushdi too insists on his right to ridicule religious authorities, and mocks at Gabriel and Prophet’s (PBUH) wives. The West defended him saying it is part of his human rights or fundamental rights. Western culture as it has developed over the last one century, promotes even sacrilege as part of ones rights as people in the West insist sacrilege is the ultimate right in democratic culture.

It was for this reason that the West defends persons like Salman Rushdi, or Danish cartoonist who mocked at the Prophet and showed bombs in his turban. When Muslims protested more papers in European countries published these cartoons in support of the right of the cartoonist. This led to even more protests in Islamic world. Similarly Taslima Nasreen is perceived as one who is persecuted by Muslims and she is projected as a brave woman who must be accorded warm reception to appreciate her courage and fortitude.

When Muslims protest, the Western media dub it as act of “fundamentalism” and “religious fanaticism” and condemn it as unbecoming behaviour of enemies of media freedom. The West emphasizes on individual rights, and ‘individual is at the centre of all rights’. There is no concept of collective rights in the Western culture. In democracy individual enjoys all the rights available in the constitution. Also, there is concept of separation of church and state which is quite central to secular democracy.

We would now throw light on what prevails in the Islamic world today and why there is such sense of confrontation between Western values and values prevalent in the Muslim world today. The West, instead of outright condemnation of these acts, must try to understand value system of the Islamic world. This value system is undoubtedly more feudal than democratic. Individual rights are subsumed in community rights. There is no concept of full-fledged human rights.

Religion is sacred and divine and above any criticism including all its social and cultural traditions. Love and respect for tradition are universal and beyond the pale of any criticism. Often vested interests exploit this situation to their advantage and put many practices not remotely religious, also beyond pale of criticism. Even governments, declaring themselves as Islamic, try to shun criticism.

Once you declare something as ‘Islamic’, it becomes so difficult to criticize it and all sorts of vested interests, particularly the rulers, pass off their mis-governance also as ‘Islamic’. Add, to these, low levels of secular education, and the picture becomes complete. There is hardly any awareness among Muslim population of the real issues. Also there is no open society and democratic governance.

As there is no democratic governance, there is no concept of human rights. Any such concept is limited to a few intellectuals who cannot air their views publicly. In one International conference in Morocco a couple of years ago, I met several Arab intellectuals who were highly critical of many traditional practices and autocratic governance in the Arab world. It gave me great pleasure…

I’ve copied what I think is the most interesting bit but perhaps for its proper context, the beginning and more from a ‘Islamic Intellect’ (stop sniggering, Arabs did invent the zero afterall), should click HERE.  Forewarning though, it is a long read and it is hosted by the Muslim Parliament of Britain’s (how inclusive) website, yet in general, it just goes to show that friction rather than cohesion is the only possibility when two ways of life collide.

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