Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Islam, a big bully?

When you see clips like this (HT JMG), with the brilliant Colbert lampooning the absurd and irrational claims of Islamic clerics, it is hard to believe that Islam could at the same time be forcing western media to self censorship.

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But this is exactly what is happening as revealed in this excellent NYT article (HT JH).  In it Ross Douthat writes,
Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place.
Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force. 
The whole article is chilling as he details how both academic institutions and the entertainment industry have bowed to the pressure to censor disrespectful mentions of Muhammed.  The funny thing is I have always been annoyed at the way the media thinks blasphemy is somehow les offensive that sex or violence, and I would never ever condone the deliberate slandering of a religious figure who is revered by millions.  All religious discussion should be done in a way that respects and humanises the other parties.  And yet I am really annoyed that comedy central censored South Park's depictions of Muhammed, not because I want Muhammed to be profaned but because the threat of violence has garned special treatment for Islam, which is most surely a reward for bad behaviour if ever there was one.

The fact is that when the "Christian" West is seen to be disrespectful to Islam it is those Christians in the east who suffer the most, the minority groups that make an easy target for the rage against the blasphemies of the "Christian" West.  This was seen most clearly with the whole Rensburg lecture debacle, where a citation made in an academic context by a western celebrity was able to inspire violence against Christian minority groups across the Muslim world. As such we cannot advocate that we should live in a world where Mohammed is insulted and mocked, not because we are worried about violence against ourselves, but because those who are most likely to suffer for such are those who live in countries a long way from the benefit of our police forces and justice systems that protect our "right" to free speech.

2 comments:

  1. what a great loving way of putting the media in its place. I never thought of that angle is it because me as a westener am very comfortable with my society and how it portrays oneself to the world where you mention that at least if what i say in public and if it offends people i have a whole institution to fall back on namely our justice and police corp. gr8t read bring on more loveit

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  2. thanks jazzman, welcome to the blog :-)

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