Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cartoons + Religion = Barbarism

In comparison with the small group of extremist hypersensitive Muslims who behave like wild animals in the streets of the world because of twelve innocent drawings, most Muslims in South East Asia (e.g. Malaysia, Singapore, and China) have shown the world that hope still exists even though groups of extremist hooligans continue to misconstrue Islam.

Assuming that the situation will continue to develop in the same direction, we see that this fiasco of the ‘cartoon’ war has left moderate people divided. Many of our friends (white, black, brown, yellow, and the occasional green) seem to be rather scared - and frankly, I fully understand why. You can read an explanation why everyone who has insulted Islam must be executed. It's a scary reading.The ‘cartoon war’ has lead to the clash of our civilizations. Those in the west are convinced that our citizens are free to believe or not to believe a particular religion. They assume that the head of state does not have the right to ‘control’ a journalist/cartoonist/undertaker as long as they do not violate moral principles of beneficence. The core of the American constitution for example, guarantees this right to its citizens.

There is however another part of the world that believes the government has the responsibility to punish those who carry out acts deemed ‘unfitting’ of become its citizenship. One such ‘unfitting’ behaviour would lie in the behaviour that does not engage in the glorification of God. Hence, any one who dare visualize God in any context other than that fits a certain narrow ideology, would be justly, and should be (as puts it) executed.

How would one really win a cartoon war?

For those in the West, victory come though the reinforcement of freedom of speech. To people in the west, it means that anyone can draw a picture even though there are others who may find it offensive. And if you do find such work offensive, then it is a problem that needs to be addressed by the judicial system. But, for those precious few, who live about 10,000 miles away from the west, and have no idea what the western side of the world even looks like, the solution lies in firing that weapon, and waging war at the perpetrator. ‘Kill those who insult you’ is essentially what echo’s in their ears. We have come to such an era, where care needs to be taken before we even draw a caricature.

A new era defining ‘autonomy’ (or the lack thereof) will raise if the West loses this ‘cartoon war’. For the few Islamic extremists, losing this war would mean something catastrophic: namely that the people who live in the West will then be allowed continuously ridicule their ‘faith’ (rather their interpretation of ‘faith’). For the these few who propagate war, it would be a great sense of loss in their dignity.

What extremists are doing to Islam is proving to the world, time and again, that Islam is unable to effectively lead in a modern world. We often say how the different religions are equally good. Though this is politically correct, we need to take a step back and understand that reality, is something else.
Controlling human kind with the kind of barbaric justice that is called upon by the site that I mentioned is an unforgivable and evil manifestation of bigotry. It is an attempt that ridicules and halts the progress of human society. Why do nations in the world silently tolerate, what is best described as, medieval laws violating the basic freedom for individuality? Similarly, is the punishment for blasphemy death?

It is amazing that someone would be jailed or executed because of a joke. Why are laws protecting God, when the Abrahamic God(s), made it clear that mans primary duty was to protect other mankind. The Abrahamic holy scriptures, be it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Bahai preach compassion and love. Why then do civilizations clash in the name of a religion that is meant to profess love? Human kind has moved backward, by allowing fanatic, heretic, bigotry, fundamentalist, extremist, dogmatic, hypercritic, chauvinist, radical, and terrorist religious preacher roam our world.

I believe that one needs to question religious order and doctrine in order to move human society forward. Where is our civilization heading? It is easy to see that not much intellectual progress has occurred in regions of the world where religious doctrine has dictated the sovereign freedom of its men and women. Has our civilization not come far enough to learn that each of us have to contribute to its growth, in every way possible. Curbing this growth via restrictions, sanctions, laws, fins, closures, punishments, death threats, does not in any way, move society forward.

Where is our civilization heading?

We are continuously learning and identifying our past as a mere episode in our evolution towards more sophisticated and modern forms of our culture and towards a more complete form. How do the major religions in the world support our evolution? Wars in the ‘name of religion’ have done its best, to hamper human growth rather than nurture it.

Newspapers in Asia wrote that Freedom of speech has its limits when it concerns others...

I agree, not so that the cartoon war can be decided, but because the world desperately need to curtail the freedom those of us who misrepresent the true sprit of the great religions in the world. In the words of Barbra J. Stock: “The world is watching… the handful of terrorists who have high-jacked a peaceful religion (Islam) … doesn’t pass the ‘laugh test’ any longer”. And i end with the words of Martin Luther King: "Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love." Violence in the name of religion is wicked.


jacky said...

That's some serious stuffs on cartoons!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Violence of any kind is wrong, at least to me, and it is so sad that religion often gets fused with such hatred.


mythsn_legends said...

I browsed through the link that you recommended (IA forums) and I was very disturbed by the tone of the forum and the frequency of the words that were being used (i.e. execute and kill)...
No one under any circumstances have the right to take the life of another human being....
I can't help but feel that the human kind is moving backwards instead of forward....gosh, what has become of us??? :/

Anonymous said...

The unfortunate thing about religion is that Man has corrupted its underlying morals, values and teachings. Religion as an ideoligy in itself *is* pretty awesome...

But... (there's always a but)

When a whole religion turns against others solely because "their" god was made fun of...? There are no words - we are in dire straights - in desperate need of a reality check. Other religions make fun of others all the time - why kick up a fuss and throw a tantrum? Do you really think "your" god would care? If god is truly who we say he is - he wouldn't care. God wouldn't rule by fear - it's absurd. What he'd care about is your reaction to the problem...

You can be peaceful like Ghandi - or you can fight like the IRA.

Just understand one thing. Violence begets violence - it pollutes innocence - takes lives. Think of what you're teaching the future generations...

You claim god is great, and that you are his followers?

Prove it.


astrorat said...

Dear Jacky,

Yep, that’s some serious ugly cartoon frenzy.

Dear Dr. Deb,

You are right, its saddening to see the beauty of world religions misconstrued to fit the wicked interpretations of man kind.

Dear mythsn_legends,

You are right, the words used in that article is disturbing. And, you know what? its not too far from the reality. I just heard that an MP in India has offered a large sum of money for the cartoonist head on a plate. Go figure what 'peace' means to him.

Dear Tippy,

I am not sure if i agree with the reference to the IRA trouble maker. But i agree with your comment that religion (specially Islam in this case) has been misconstrued. I totally admire you for your view and concern for the generations ahead of us. You have raised an important question: are we teaching our children that they need to "kill" for the sake of God?

Anonymous said...

The IRA fights not only for the freedom of Ireland - but for the freedom of their religion... My reference to certain religious groups being *like* the IRA is only that - where people use peace to work out their differences - the IRA uses violence, corruption and fear... *That* i feel, is exactly what some Islamic parties are currently doing...

Give them time and we might just see the dawn of the next world war... Where previous wars have been fought on grounds of power and wealth - the new war will be that of religion... And only then - years later - will people look back and regret their foolishness... but it'll be too late...

Why is it we only regret and try to redeem ourselves after the said deed? Why bother?


astrorat said...

Dear Tippy,

Point noted! :)