Terrorizing for God

Lest the Christian terrorists have all the fun, via PZ, I see that Salman Rushdie has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth, prompting a Pakistani government official to say the award of a knighthood justifies suicide attacks.

“This is an occasion for the 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision,” Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, religious affairs minister, told the Pakistani parliament in Islamabad. “The west is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the ‘sir’ title.”

Um, okay. Let me explain this carefully: Part of the reason that “the west” might accuse some Muslims of extremism and terrorism is because some Muslims say things like it’s acceptable to launch a suicide bomb attack because you disagree with a government’s decision to honor someone you don’t like.

Just saying.

And that doesn’t mean I don’t think Muslims have a right to disagree with Britain’s decision; of course they do. But disagreement, and even profound offense, does not warrant terrorism. Seriously—if a feminist strapped a bomb to herself and blew something up at every incidence of virulent misogyny, the earth’s entire crust would just be a series of smoking, black craters by now. And, unlike being a Muslim, being a woman is not a choice. So maybe a little settling the fuck down could be in order.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Terrorizing for God

  1. This was exactly the example I was thinking of when I was putting up the post yesterday about the Chrisitianists honoring their abortion doctor assassins.

    It doesn’t matter what church or temple or mosque you belong to. Extremism is extremism.

    BTW, John at archy got a vaguely threatening letter from one of the group’s supporters. Nice to know his work touched a nerve.

  2. oddjob

    That government official is the son of the former dictator, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq.

  3. I read about this case. It amazes me that he could say that without realizing the inherent contradiction. Then again, I am sure Muslims think the same way when Bush starts going on about bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.

  4. what a world we live in and what a stupid and dangerous one we will leave for the younger generations. makes my heart hurt.

  5. And, unlike being a Muslim, being a woman is not a choice.

    Afghan man faces death after leaving Islam for Christianity

    Prosecutors, judge, family insist convert should die

    By Kim Barker
    Tribune foreign correspondent
    Published March 21, 2006

    KABUL, Afghanistan — This story contains corrected material, published March 22, 2006.

    (The headline as published has been corrected in this text.)

    Abdul Rahman told his family he was a Christian. He told the neighbors, bringing shame upon his home. But then he told the police, and he could no longer be ignored.

    Now, in a major test of Afghanistan’s fledgling court system, Rahman, 42, faces the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity. Prosecutors say he should die. So do his family, his jailers, even the judge. Rahman has no lawyer. Jail officials refused to let anyone see Rahman on Monday, despite permission granted by the country’s justice minister.

    “We will cut him into little pieces,” said Hosnia Wafayosofi, who works at the jail, as she made a cutting motion with her hands. “There’s no need to see him.”

    Rahman’s trial, which started Thursday, is thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan. It goes to the heart of the struggle between Islamic reformists and fundamentalists in the country, which is still recovering from 23 years of war and the harsh rule of the Taliban, a radical religious regime that fell in late 2001…

  6. Susan

    This is something that absolutely infuriates me. Maybe someone can explain it. Why is it that the Muslim world goes into such extreme outrages over every damn thing that doesn’t precisely adhere to their doctrine? A young woman is stoned to death because she maybe looked at a guy of another religion? Anything perceived as criticism of the Muslim world is immediately taken as an insult and therefore must be desroyed by the most violent means possible. I just don’t get it.

  7. Susan,

    It’s not Islam, it’s the nature of fundamentalism. Just wait until the Democrats increase their majority in Congress and retake the White House. American fundamentalists used the period of GOP control to ratchet up the violence/warfare rhetoric among their faithful, setting the stage for violent action just as soon as they feel that they don’t have control over the government.

    I predict that within 5 or so years terrorist violence will become a commonplace in the USA. I don’t believe it will come from Muslims or non-citizens.

  8. It’s also fear and insecurity. I’ve seen it on a much smaller scale in a relationship of mine. She felt that my raising my voice was equivalent to hitting her. It made disagreement hard to do without triggering that fear. We worked on it, but I don’t know that people who think honoring someone who was mildly critical of their faith is equivalent to a suicide bombing are open to being worked with.

  9. Afghan man faces death after leaving Islam for Christianity

    We sure fixed that place didn’t we. Democracy according to Deacon Dumb!

  10. This is also part of why it is so infuriating when those of us who are opposed to the Iraq war are accused of supporting the terrorists. I’m opposed to American becoming more like Islamic fundamentalists in their quixotic quest to defeat terrorism (engaging in torture); I’m opposed to giving in to the fucking terrorists by reducing our freedoms (FISA violations, civil liberties violations).

  11. Christina B

    Salman Rushdie is a very good author. However, am I cyincal in thinking that there may be an element of intentionally provoking the fundamentalists by knighting a man who is hated and wanted dead throughout the Muslim world for depicting Islam in VERY bad light? Did she knight him for talently writing, in the name of “free speech,” or because he defamed Islam and a large part of the Muslim world hates him.

    I do not agree with Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq’s justification of terrorism. However, I don’t agree with intentionally provoking the fundamentalists (likely so that you can go on to demonize an entire religion and region of the world) either.

  12. However, I don’t agree with intentionally provoking the fundamentalists (likely so that you can go on to demonize an entire religion and region of the world) either.

    Why should I live my life according to what some batshit insane fundamentalist thinks I should do? Why should anyone? There are a whole lot of batshit insane fundamentalists, and they don’t all agree.

    Demonizing anyone isn’t a bad thing. But I don’t see that honoring Salman Rushdie is demonizing Islam and its practitioners.

  13. Doktor Wankenstein

    Some minor blogwhoring from the Doktor:

    Last week I had a extended back-and-forth with a poster (a very religious follower of Sen. Sam Brownback) over at Jesus’ General, on the nature of fundamentalism.

    Click on the comments and scroll down to see it…

    http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/2007/06/daddy-is-rapist.html

  14. Melissa McEwan

    And, unlike being a Muslim, being a woman is not a choice.

    Afghan man faces death after leaving Islam for Christianity

    Cheeky, but I think you know that wasn’t quite the point I was making. Obviously the people who enforce those sorts of laws are the same ones who advocate terrorism. As Stephen so aptly put it, it’s the nature of fundamentalism.

  15. Fundimentalists are funidmentally insane.

  16. Paen

    Fundementalism is for those who are too lazy to think for themselves and too mean to leave other people alone.

  17. Obviously the people who enforce those sorts of laws are the same ones who advocate terrorism.

    In most cases, that is true.

    Salman Rushdie — as you may recall — was born a Muslim. That is why Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his assassination. Had he been raised as a non-Muslim, there would have been little reaction to his book, Satanic Verses.

    However, Muslims who leave the faith are commonly persecuted by “mainstream” Muslims — not just the fundamentalists.

    Here’s an example:

    Saudi Christian convert arrested and jailed

    Jeddah — A Saudi citizen converted to Christianity has been arrested and jailed. Emad Alaabadi was taken into custody last November 29, at Hofuf, a town in eastern Saudi Arabia, but the news was reported only a few days ago by the International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington-based human rights group. Local sources have confirmed the report, and also say that he “is not the only Saudi Christian in jail at the moment: there are also others”.

    The U.S. considers the Saudi government to be our allies. We ignore their persecution of Christian converts. This isn’t something that is supported by some Muslims. MOST Muslims believe that leaving their faith is a crime — the worst in fact.

    Laws against leaving the Muslim faith are widespread, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Iran, and many others.

    Here’s another story:

    Christian Convert Fights Malaysian Law
    By EILEEN NG 05.27.07, 1:38 PM ET

    Lina Joy has been disowned by her family, shunned by friends and forced into hiding – all because she renounced Islam and embraced Christianity in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

    Now, after a seven-year legal struggle, Malaysia’s highest court will decide on Wednesday whether her constitutional right to choose her religion overrides an Islamic law that prohibits Malay Muslims from leaving Islam.

    Either way, the verdict will have profound implications on society in a country where Islam is increasingly conflicting with minority religions, challenging Malaysia’s reputation as a moderate Muslim and multicultural nation that guarantees freedom of worship.

    Joy’s case began in 1998 when, after converting, she applied for a name change on her government identity card. The National Registration Department obliged but refused to drop Muslim from the religion column.

    It is wrong to assume that the majority of Muslims do not share the belief that leaving their faith is a crime. Those who are born Muslim do not have freedom of choice. If they leave their faith, they are at the very least shunned and at the worst tortured and killed.

  18. Melissa McEwan

    Those who are born Muslim do not have freedom of choice. If they leave their faith, they are at the very least shunned and at the worst tortured and killed.

    Freedom of choice by law is not the same as freedom of choice by nature. The end result may be functionally the same in some cases, but pointing out that religion is never an intrinsic characteristic is a legitimate and relevant point to direct at someone who believes that advocating terrorism is an acceptable response to offending his religion.

    That’s not to minimize or contradict what you’re saying; it’s just not relevant to my point, except insofar as his religion being imposed on him is perhaps an even greater reason for a man to realize that treating such offenses as matters of life or death is wildly inappropriate.

  19. Christina B

    Demonizing anyone isn’t a bad thing. But I don’t see that honoring Salman Rushdie is demonizing Islam and its practitioners.

    I don’t think that honoring Rushdie is demonizing anyone. I think that the reaction of fundamentalists to honoring Rushdie is going to be used to demonize anyone and everyone Arab and/or Muslim.

    No one should live by what fundamentalists think you should do. However, intentionally provoking them is still letting them govern your behavior (just because you are doing the opposite, does not mean that they don’t have a certain amount of influence if you are doing the opposite with the intention of pissing them off) and it because of the nature of the media and people’s tendencies to stereotype and generalize, it fuels racism, hatred, demonizing people by association and more backlash (from both sides).

  20. Pingback: Daily Round-Up at Shakesville

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