Criticism of Islam – A free speech

The events witnessed this week in Woolwich, London, were a destructive reminder of the problem Britain faces about the threat of rebel activity. However, much of the ensuing reaction has been one of confusion & has done little to aid the in the slow and careful process of combating such delusional philosophy. On the one h& there are those who are determined to tar the events by forwarding their equally illogical plan. Demonstration prepared by the EDL & “Operation Fightback” were organized but quickly shut down by police, whereas mosques were attacked in places such as Gillingham and Braintree. Alternatively I have to say that there appears to be an apologetic element within the public domain that is just as guilty of blemishing dispute, although this has been done by shooting down anyone who is willing to speak openly about the nature of the attacks as “bigoted”, “islamophobic” or “racist”. Some of these attacks are justified – the support for Stephen Lennon’s EDL movement is certainly host to anti-Asian racists & those who are prepared to beat up anyone they meet wearing a veil. However, many of their stomach pain come as a result of the confusion that surrounds the criticism of Islam.

The perennial problem for those who wish to speak openly about organized religion is that in asserting their view they can sound similar to the bigot they would run a mile to get away from. However there is one essential difference; while the fanatical will tar a religion’s supporters with the same clash, the critic of religion will be indisposed to doing so. This can easily be put in a better light; suppose I’m opposed to traditional politics (which for the most part I’m). This should say nothing about the way I treat Conservatives when I meet them in my day-to-day activities & should not prevent me from greeting them with the same friendliness I would give anyone else. However I should still have the essential right to speak my mind with regards their ideology or beliefs as long as my conduct towards them is not affected.
One objection to this may come from those who deem it “offensive” to voice anti-Islamic views. The difficulty is that it assumes that this gives the offended some sort of “rights” & in doing so seems to pay little regard or thought to the fact that the person of no religion may be equally offended by religious views. For all it’s worth I may be affronted at the Bible’s description of a lady turning into a pillar of salt or offended at the Quran’s views on polygamy. However, I wouldn’t for one moment suggest that my offence should impede their right to voice those beliefs. As long as we don’t distinguish against Muslims, we should be permitted to voice our views & people should have the right to be offended.
Though with this being said, there is indeed one group of individuals whose contribution to the recent debate surrounding Islam has been questionable; politicians such as Nick Clegg, David Cameron & Boris Johnson have all spoken out to condemn the attacks, but have gone further by stating that they’re not representative of Islam. Cameron spoke openly about the attack outside Downing Street, stating that it was a “betrayal of Islam”, while Johnson & Clegg both gave statements of like nature, even reading out a peaceful verse from the Quran.
These statements have been met with appreciation from those in Islamic communities who abhor the attack. On the other hand, they have equally been met with hostility from individuals who says that a politician making theological statements is playing a risky game. Douglas Murray of The Spectator for instance argues that the statements from the likes of Clegg, Cameron & Johnson are not only false but actually fuel the hatred of groups such as the EDL, who will think they have contact to some innovative form of knowledge regarding the Muslim faith that politicians are unaware of.
I agree with Murray in the intelligence that I believe the statements are fake. I fail to see how Islam can be called a religion of peace when the Quran contains verses such as
The Strike off their heads and the strike off every fingertip of them.
We can make the difference between Islamism & Islam, but it’s the Quran where these verses can be found & Muslim scholars are at a predicament as to explain how such verses can be interpreted as peaceful while still in agreement with the word of Allah. However, this is just my opinion & I should not have to face any sort of backlash / scorn for holding it, so long as my views are not critical of the ordinary, perfectly law-abiding & respectable Muslim.
Where I disagree with Murray is in the idea that politicians should “stay out of it”. While I see the statements from Clegg, Cameron & Johnson have been guided by short-term politics & a wish to protect the Muslim society, in talking about it there is more hope that they can break the taboo surrounding religion in the UK. The previous Home Secretary Charles Clarke agrees, saying that there is definitely a taboo within our society that gives too much room for intolerant religion & oppresses those who oppose it.
A healthy balance within political thought needs to be struck, whereby the policy of conversation are changed & religion is subject to the same scorn as any other organization. However, there is also a need to protect these groups from the prejudiced & hate-filled organizations whose only aim is the persecution of the religious. In doing this, we will no longer patronize religion by giving it a wide-berth & acting as if it’s the elephant in the room. I’m not Islam’s biggest fan, but if it were banned tomorrow I would be out protesting to protect the rights of the Muslims I know & those I don’t know.
This is just my opinion. You have the right to be offended

Share this article :