Just like many conservatives have the awful habit of overstating the threat of “Islamofascism” in America while trashing Muslims in wholesale, some liberals annoyingly insist that we mustn’t critique Islam because it is “a religion of peace” or some such cliché. But in truth, Islam, like other religions, is as peaceful as the people who practice it. Practiced by some, it is innocuous; by others, a violent scourge.
An instance of the latter can currently be seen in Pakistan, where a young girl stands accused of blasphemy after she allegedly desecrated a Quran. Her name is Ramsha; she’s 11 years old, may have a mental disorder, and at this hour is in jail for supposedly burning pages from the Islamic holy book.
It was reported that at first authorities were reluctant imprison the girl because of her age and apparent mental condition. However, after hundreds of outraged Muslim theocrackpots gathered outside her home demanding her arrest, officials acquiesced and took her into custody. Under Pakistani law, anyone who is found guilty of desecrating the Quran or insulting the “prophet” Mohammed may be imprisoned for life or executed.
This episode cannot be entirely shocking given the myriad of instances where Islamic radicalism reared its ugly head in response to an otherwise harmless episode of “blasphemy.” Last year, a pastor held a Quran burning in Florida, and incredibly this prompted scores of Muslims thousands of miles away in Mazar-i-Sharif to murder 12 Western-looking but non-American United Nations workers, beheading two of them. It is worth noting that this Afghan city was under the control of the government of Hamid Karzai, a U.S. ally. One can only imagine what divine justice looks like in territory controlled by the Taliban.
In 2006, rioting and chaos ensued worldwide after a Danish newspaper dared to print cartoons of Mohammed that portrayed him as a violent character. Across the globe, thousands of Muslims protested this statement in ironic fashion: by bombing the Danish embassy in Pakistan, and setting fire to the Denmark’s embassies in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. More than 100 people died in the violence. The Western media’s coverage of the insanity was a craven display of political correctness. No major American television network showed the cartoons at the source of this story, lest, they explained, they “offend” Muslims. But it is quite clear that fear played a role as well.
In 1988, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses was published, and contained some passages that were viewed by some as “blasphemous” against Islam. Riots ensued across the globe, copies of his book were burned, and Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Rushdie killed, prompting the writer to receive round-the-clock protection from any would be Muslim assassins.
This is the part of the article where I am to say that not all Muslims engage in such violence. And that’s true. Most Muslims do not become totally insane at the sight of a burnt Quran or a drawing of Mohammed. But at the same time it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the damage that can be done by this violent minority faction. Rather than tiptoe around the theocratic sensitivities of radical religionists, free thought and free speech advocates should never shy away from the controversy. To remain silent is to enable such zealotry and ensure that it will continue to inflict great harm for years to come.