October 15, 2010

Somehow It's Worse When It's Past, I Guess

Justin Katz

Here's an interesting incident from an article about expanding restrictions on counter-Islamic blasphemy in and out of the Muslim world:

In Kabul in 2008, Ghaus Zalmai and Mushtaq Ahmad were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for publishing a Dari translation of the Koran (the translator was U.S. resident Qudratullah Bakhtiarinejad). The minister for the hajj and religious affairs pronounced the work "a conspiracy by international Zionism," and Sher Ali Zarifi, chair of an investigating commission on the translation, maintained that "the contents of this book show that its writers and editors are members of a religious pluralism movement in the West."

You know, I'm stilled called upon to answer for Catholic restrictions on translating the Bible centuries ago (which I understand to be much exaggerated, anyway). Somehow, I doubt that the same people who demand my statement of fealty to evolved religious norms similarly accost Muslims regarding the much more recent activities of their coreligionists.

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The thing with Catholics are they are not supposed to read the bible, they are supposed to have the priest tell them what to do and think.

As far as accosting a Muslim, although I have a great diverse group of people I consider friends and acquaintances, I think I have come across 2 Muslims in my life. Maybe more, but they didn't mention that they were Muslim.

Justin, have you every encountered a Muslim that you could accost? Is there a sizable number of Muslims or a Muslim Community that live in Tiverton?

Posted by: Swazool at October 15, 2010 10:51 AM

Swazool, do you have a point or are you merely trying to show off for your fellow Leftists?

Your simplistic, and false claim about Catholicism merely demonstrates your ignorance of it.

And how does your lack of contact with Muslims so far in your life apply universally to all people who have have much broader life experience than you?

Posted by: BobN at October 15, 2010 11:08 AM

BobN, you have had much contact with Muslims.
And everyone know that Catholics do not read the bible. I grew up Catholic, even went to a Catholic college. I am very familiar with Catholicism.

Posted by: Swazool at October 15, 2010 12:09 PM

I have had a LOT of contact with Moslems and frankly,I can't categorize them other than as individuals.
They're like anyone else and as a non observant person of Jewish ancestry,I've had a better relationship with some Moslems than I ever could with a Hasidic Jew.
Let's put it this way-I had a drinking buddy who was a Moslem(nominal)from Kashmir,so I guess he wasn't an extremist.
I can't tolerate anyone who thinks they have to force their religious views on me.I will never try doing that to anyone else.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 15, 2010 12:19 PM

I love these theological/philosophical questions.

Justin I'm assuming your headline is tongue-in-cheek. Of course the level of criticism directed at Catholics (or Protestants or Jews for that matter) versus that directed at Muslims has nothing to do with how long ago the alleged offense occurred. I think there are two things at play here. One is that the West has a talent for self-criticism which has lately become a fetish. And by "lately" I mean in the past fifty years. Self examination is commendable and vital for making progress, but we seem to hold ourselves to exacting standards without the allowances for historical context that we afford to other cultures.

The other factor influencing the leniency applied to Islamic oppression of freedom of expression is that criticizing Muslims can be harmful to your health. The list of writers and artists who have had to go into hiding after offending an Imam or Mullah somewhere is long, from Salman Rushdie to that journalist in Seattle who promoted "Draw Mohammed" Day.

As to those who suggest that Catholics don't read the Bible, I find that to be an outdated stereotype. In fact, what I have seen in the United States is that Protestants and Catholics are open to the blessings to be found in each others faith traditions. I have met Catholics who read the Bible as faithfully as any Evangelical (and far more faithfully than I do by the way) and who emphasize the importance of a personal relationship with Christ. Conversely at my former church, my very Evangelical pastor took several spiritual retreats at local monasteries and preached on the spiritual value of such Catholic traditions as praying the rosary and the adoration of Mary.

Posted by: David P at October 15, 2010 12:59 PM

Yes, in fact. But my experience is not the issue. The issue is your generalizing from your admitted lack of experience.

The same goes for your ignorant smear of Catholics. Whenever a Leftist says "Everyone knows..." I know that what follows is likely to be false.

Posted by: BobN at October 15, 2010 1:03 PM

"Here's an interesting factoid..."

Good word choice in this case, although I'm sure unintentional...
1973, from fact + -oid, first explained, if not coined, by Norman Mailer.
"Factoids ... that is, facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority." [N. Mailer, "Marilyn," 1973]

Posted by: Russ at October 15, 2010 3:57 PM

I agree with Joe.."I can't tolerate anyone who thinks they have to force their religious views on me.
I don't remember where I read this but I agree:
Religion is like a penis. It is fine to have one, it is fine to be proud of it, but don't bring it out in public and start waving it around, and don't try to shove it down my throat.

Posted by: Swazool at October 15, 2010 4:09 PM

You are correct, Russ. I was writing too quickly on too little sleep this morning and synapses that should have fired didn't. I've changed to text; thank you for pointing out my error.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 15, 2010 4:35 PM