Friday, 4 December 2009

"First cast out the beam..."

Re the Swiss Minarets ban:
Matthew 7.5
King John’s Bible
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Basic English
You false one, first take out the bit of wood from your eye, then will you see clearly to take out the grain of dust from your brother's eye.
As helpfully explained at “Some sins are as motes, while others are as beams; some as a gnat, others as a camel.”  There’s one monster camel wandering round here, while many remain fixated on the gnat of the minaret ban….

The recent Swiss vote to ban the construction of minarets in that European nation has become the latest controversy to generate Muslim protests worldwide. However, Islamic governments are in no position to complain about Western intolerance and “Islamophobia.” Most Muslim nations are repressive or offer only limited political freedom. More often than not, Islamic states violate basic human rights; and almost all persecute Christians, Jews, and other religious minorities….

I got hammered on another site for suggesting that western countries should demand reciprocity from the member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the peak representative body of Islamic countries.  Reciprocity is a well-established diplomatic principle.  We should say to them that until they allow in all their member countries free practice of religion, the west (or individual countries; it doesn’t have to be a block) will not allow the building of more mosques, let alone minarets.  I was attacked by some as being naïve; and no doubt it is.  But it would be a gesture and maybe even a beginning of some decent principle, and one that stood against the persecution of religious minorities in Muslim countries, a persecution that is very cruel in many of them.
In any case, here Doug Bandlow suggests something similar in the final para:

 “… the U.S. should suggest that Muslim governments that campaign against the “defamation” of religion start by respecting the freedom of conscience of those who live under their control. After all, murder is the ultimate form of defamation.”

The Swiss minarets ban continues to excite comment across the blogosphere, most in favour of the Swiss, even on left-of-centre press, such as the Guardian and The New York Times.  There’s even comment in favour on Islamic sites such as  Those anti the ban mostly exhibited ignorance of Islam and its nature.  Some anti-ban have observed, “the majority is not always right”.   No, they're not; but this time they are.  It’s only a symbol, but it is the beginning, perhaps, of an awakening in a European country -- one with a history of tolerance -- to the threat to that very tolerance by the expansion of Islamic Sharia.  
By the way, at, this wonderful, un-biased poll of the reasons behind the ban, fearlessly flying in the face of reality, they give only three choices:

In your opinion, the reason behind the Swiss minaret ban is:
1. A cultural misunderstanding    
2. An Islamophobic stance    
3. An influence of the right wing