If the international community doesn't stand up to Islamists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades now in Islamic countries will spread.
The violence and unrest come as Muslims across the world voice their displeasure at a series of Mohammad cartoons printed originally in the Danish daily Jylland-Posten in September last year. Though the initial response was muted, Danish Muslim leaders travelled to the Middle East to drum up outrage against the sleight in December. It seems, Iran's nuclear program, Hamas victory in recent parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority, and the current unrest sparked by the Mohammad caricatures are all related. They all together can so quickly harden the camp of political Islam in all fronts, including the cartoon’s front.
Today, what we are witnessing is a clash of two worlds, a clash of religious world against that of secular and democracy.
If the international community doesn't stand up to Islamists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades now in Islamic countries will spread in other regions of the world, creating more problems for humanity. Furthermore, a policy of appeasement with the oppressive Islamic regimes means to ignore the fate of their oppressed people.
The cartoons should be displayed everywhere in the free press, not only as a sign of sympathy with the Danish cartoonist, but also as a sign of solidarity with those people suffering under the yoke of Islamic regimes. Al-Islam-w’l-dawla is a visible political pheromone; therefore political Islam can be criticised or satirised like any other political idea. It is not an overusing to defame any political religion.
Free media have more work ahead of them; they should even open the debate over the Koran's claim to absoluteness, the infallibility of Mohammad (the Prophet), the aims of jihad, the women’s rights and sexual morality.
It is time to allow people to re-examine the backgrounds of their religions, and now it is about making people realise that they should reconsider if it was a human thought behind the Koran-- as well as the other Holy Scriptures. Let’s show that the old bastion of any faith-based belief system, as holy as it might be, has no foundations; it rubbles with a little push of self-awareness.
All democratic media should tell people that there are wealthy Muslim sponsors who dictate their commands to some desperate Muslims around the world. The sponsors internationally plan to inflame Muslim’s sentiments and to use them to their own reactionary purposes. These poor Muslims being themselves the victims of a political Islam should not become the scapegoats of racism and xenophobia. They should be explained that they are the victims and instruments of an international political Islam.
Political Islam is able to inflame Muslims’ sentiments through the capitulation of democrats and the tolerance of the West. Let’s be courageous by loudly saying no to any compromise with all Islamic totalitarian systems.
As cartoon-related protests violently claim clash of cultures, many are in Europe wondering what is going wrong. Is this a clash of civilisations or only a conflict between some Danish cartoonists and some radical Islamic groups?
It is not for a jihadist culture understandable that freedom of the press is one of the great assets of democracy. The Islamic world is left behind any process of evolving a new image of their religion. Islam has never joined the process of opening up to the progress and democracy and continues blindly following the Middle Ages influences whereas in the world of progress and democracy, critical thinking is the order of the day. And critique of religion was the very starting point.
Today, what we are witnessing is a clash of two worlds, a clash of religious world against that of secular and democracy, as profound as the clash between the Inquisition and the Renaissance; it is not a conflict between “radical” Islamic groups and the rest of the world.
Muslim moderates, who want to prove their Islamic tolerance and secular intellectuals, who want to prove their democratic credentials by calming the rage, try to propose a cultural relativism, a dialogue of co-religionists.
However, none of both co-religionist groups has ever convinced the rest of the world if their proposals adjust to the concept of jihad. They do not seem to be honest enough to publicly define the concept “jihad” -- the global islamisation and “legitimate” God’s state in the world.
Tolerance and mutual respect is the principle of freedom and democracy, but these can never be attributed to a religion aiming the global islamisation in any price. We can conceive their reflex saying that Allah has created the infidels to be killed or become Muslims.
As expressed by a French journalist, “In a society where Islam added up all the prohibitions of religion, where would be freedom of thought, speech, opinion”, or freedom of any daily, simple choice? We should Take Iran under the IRI as an example for such a society.
If the international community doesn't stand up to Islamists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam will spread in other regions of the world, creating more problems for humanity.
Democracy is not to be conceived as a means of anarchism or decadence, but it considers people in a higher respect. And so people can be convinced that a free debate is the only path to their progress and social justice. Though all bearers of totalitarian ideologies, all-out Islamists, consider democracy as a sign of decadence, they abuse its existence in the democratic societies to express their own undemocratic opinions. They know that as repugnant as it might be, their opinions can be allowed. Somehow, they argue "Resentful people of the world, radicalise yourselves with us!"
The cartoon problem touches also on one of the old problems in the West: many dark skin people, originally also from Islamic countries, are sick and tired of being unfairly labelled as Muslims or furthermore as sympathisers of the hatred Islamic Republic of Iran, the Hamas, or other Islamic regimes. Of course there are some bearded Muslims around the world defending the cause of Islam. Using both freedom of opinion in the West and helps from wealthy sponsors and Islamic regimes, they achieve to penetrate in some social institutions, universities and media (even in our Iraniam.com) to defend the cause of Islam in the world. However, they do not represent a great majority of people seeking in their countries for democracy and secularism.
Although, in the realms of art, architecture, science and philosophy, if Islam was much superior to 13th century Europe, it would not mean that Islam was a motivator of progress for any time. Today there is nothing left of that superiority. There is nothing at present that is as regressive as Islam. Islam had temporal frontiers like any other social order. This plays no longer a determined role--the “glorious” Ages of Islam are over. Today, the Islamic world is in a deep crisis of backwardness.
We do not live in a black and white world characterised by prejudice and admiration. Every thing in the evolution has got its spatial and temporal limit and only here or there, this time or that time can be useful.
The origins of religious issues go back to a power struggle between freedom-loving people and the Catholic Church that ended with the strict separation of Church and state in Europe. Religion became a totally private issue and was kept out of public life the established secularism triggered rapid social revolutions with human respect and progress.
Today, the frustrated Islamic world has gigantic, insolvable problems of all kinds. The religion, as the foundation of a common society, is intellectually moribund. Its strict rules have been standing in the way of progressive changes and the secular world has considerably taken over the leadership of new civilisation. This has led to resentment towards the secular world and a resulting “Holy hate”. And there is nothing left of the tolerance preached by the moderate Muslims and secular democrats.
It is less dramatic if only the cartoonist is to be punished, the emotion across the Muslim world signals a more dramatic fact that every single non-Muslim must be punished -- even if the current protests die down, the punishment of non-Muslims will be a constant jihadist character of Islam. The anger of Islamists is not only because of an insult to their Prophet. It is a little of a great ”Holy hate” against non-Muslims.
Today, some European countries are the target of Islamists’ protests. The target can be here or there, in all times. However, the protests are not because of the national interests, peace, or prosperity for their people, nothing but the cause of Islam. Islamists have never bothered about their people, and they will not be starting now.
In an all-out effort against the political Islam and its Islamist thugs around the world, we should also condemn the rising racism and xenophobia against any minority or social group, including Muslims living in the West.
Today, by defending the Danish cartoonist, we defend also the basic rights of our people in Iran, who are the main victims of a belief system protesting against the “satanic” cartoons. ENDS CARTOONS 14206
Editor’s note: Mr. Jahanshah Rashidian is a commentator, political analyst and researcher.
The above article was published by www.Iranian.com. One of most popular and versatile independent Iranian web site based in Los Angeles
Highlights and some editing are by IPS