||2017-11-29 10:17:29, 조회 : 415, 추천 : 114
The Twilight of Tolerance
Last week, we concluded our discussion about jihad and how the Qur’an calls for jihad from its believers. Jihad has become a global problem and it does not appear that it will slow down anytime soon. Westerners often categorize jihadists as extremists, but it is time to take a good look at the religion that calls for jihad and question whether or not it is a religion of peace. With countless verses indicating that jihad is an honorable deed, many Muslims are flocking to become jihadists. Today, we will discuss how the present time is the twilight of tolerance and what this means for Islam and the rest of the world.
Ali has been in the forefront of fighting illusions about Islam. The first time she critiqued Islam, it was right after September 11, 2001. In a public forum at the Netherlands, the discussion topic that was addressed in the forum was, “Who Needs a Voltaire, the West or Islam?” Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer and philosopher. He attacked the Catholic Church and fought for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. Many Muslims attended this forum and were eager to hear this discussion. Out of the six speakers, five of them believed that the West needed a Voltaire. They argued that the West needed a reformation and had a terrible past of “imperialism” and “exploitation” of other nations. However, the sixth speaker (who was once a refugee and now a lawyer) stated, “Well, look at these people in this room. The West has not one Voltaire, but thousands if not millions of Voltaires. The West is used to criticism, it’s used to self-criticism. All the sins of the West are out there for everyone to see...It’s Islam that needs a Voltaire.” After making a stern stance, he decided to list many things that were wrong with Islam and for this, he was booed and shut down. Afterwards, when the audience was allowed to ask questions, Ali raised her hand and stated, “Look at you guys. There are six people there, you’ve invited six speakers, and one of them is the Voltaire of Islam. You guys have five Voltaires, just allow us Muslims one, please.” Why is it so shocking for anyone to speak out against Islam? Why is it that when discussion about this religion occurs, it is quickly shut down?
Islam needs a Voltaire. After Ali read extensively about Western liberal thinkers, she realized more and more about the ways of Islam and how this religion does not promote Locke’s “natural rights” of “life, liberty, and property.” In fact if Locke were here today, he would argue about the oppression of our society because of this religion. If you were to look at pictures of Muslim cities in the 1970s (Baghdad, Cairo, Kabul) you would find few women covered up in their veil. You would find women that dressed with skirts and hair done nicely. However, if you take a look at Kabul today, if there was a women with a skirt on, she would be considered “shameful” or “half-naked.” Even in Ali’s primary school in Nairobi faced these changes today. Before, the girls that covered their heads were the minority, but now almost every girl covers their head. This oppression isn’t confined to the way women dress but also their everyday activities. In Saudi Arabia, if you are a women that want to go outside, you would have to be accompanied by a male guardian. In Egypt, 99% of women report of sexual harassment. In Iraq, a law is being considered for girls to be forced into marriage at the age of nine years old. In North Africa, girls are being forced to endure female genital mutilation. Islam not only oppresses women and girls, but also homosexuals and other religious believers. Free speech of Islam is not tolerated and anyone who questions the Qur’an or the hadith can face the possibility of death. While Islam has its “schism” it was only about who would succeed the Prophet as leader of the “unmah.” Islam has never had a reform and makes sure anyone that wishes to do so, is silenced. In fact, there is a term for freethinkers, it is called, “ahl al-bida, wa-l-ahwa.” This term in Arabic means, “those who indulge in innovations and follow their passions.”
Westerners often wish to ignore the conflict that Islam is stirring up. One reason they wish to ignore it, is because they believe that religion, no matter what kind of religion, is a “force for good” and that any society should be tolerant of it. However, Ali suggests that we should not be blind to the fact that Islam is “openly hostile to Western laws, traditions, and values.” Westerners should no longer be sensitive and tolerant of Muslim “sensitivities” but Muslims should accommodate to Western ideas. However, we see time and time again, Westerners that are tolerant and protective of a religion that goes against everything the West values. For example, in 2014 at a “Real Time with Bill Maher” show, Sam Harris, Ben Affleck and Nicholas Kristof talked about whether or not Western liberals were not confronting Islam about issues of "women, promotion of jihad, sharia-based punishments of stoning and death to apostates." To this, Aflect called Harris and Maher of being "gross" and "racist." He thought that Harris and Maher were Islamophobes. However, after the show Harris asked this question, "What do you think would happen if we had burned a copy of the Qur'an on tonight's show?" Harris proceeds to answer his own question by saying "There would be riots in scores of countries. Embassies would fall...But when IS crucifies people, buries children alive, and rapes and tortures women by the thousands -all in the name of Islam- the response is a few small demonstrations in Europe and a hashtag #NotInOurName." A Muslim women who watched the show wrote a open letter to Affleck asking, "Why are Muslims being 'preserved' in some time capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it okay that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy waiting to be consumed? Why is it ok for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality while we are told to cover our shameful bodies?"
What then can the Western people do? Do the Western people have a role to help reform the Muslim world? Many people answer, "No." They believe that because they are not Muslim, they are not qualified to intervene. However, Ali does not mean military intervention will ignite this reformation at all. For many years, the West has spent trillions of dollars on wars against "terror" and "extremism." Yet, the West has not begun to think about how these terrors are linked to the idea that gives way for this terror. We can look at the Cold War and see how the United States win this war. It was through creating a new weapon system or putting pressure on the economy, rather, the United States encourages anti-Communist people to counter the manipulation of Marxists. The Western world have to begin to realize the imminent problem and threat that Islam proposes and defeat it with a new ideology. The Western people have to allow Islam it's Voltaire and give way for freethinkers instead of silencing them. Only then, will Islam receive it's reformation and can exist in this modern world.
1) What do you think of what the sixth panelist stated when he said, "Well, look at these people in this room. The West has not one Voltaire, but thousands if not millions of Voltaires. The West is used to criticism, it’s used to self-criticism. All the sins of the West are out there for everyone to see...It’s Islam that needs a Voltaire.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
2) How does Islam go against Locke's natural rights?
3) Why do you think Westerners want to ignore the conflict that Islam has with liberalism?
4) What do you think was Harris' point when he replied to his own answer, ""There would be riots in scores of countries. Embassies would fall...But when IS crucifies people, buries children alive, and rapes and tortures women by the thousands -all in the name of Islam- the response is a few small demonstrations in Europe and a hashtag #NotInOurName."
5) Why do you think the Muslim women that watched the show asked those questions?