Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Muslim Menace

Here's the story, as near as I can tell. Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, both Australian Ministers, held some meetings on what the Koran teaches. Members of the Islamic Council in Victoria reported on what was said and brought legal action under the religious and Racial Toleration Act. The Judge found in favor of the Islamic Council.

The problem with this story is that it is a Conservative Cause Celebre. Not on the level of Terry Schaivo (yet), but still pretty far up there. And the Conservatives tell the story the same way. These two ministers were just quoting the Koran and repeating what Muslims believe; how can that be construed as an attack? And even if it is an attack, why not let free speech have it's day?

As for the first part of that, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the seminar may not be as innocent as conservatives are claiming.
Judge Higgins said that during the seminar Mr Scot had claimed the Koran promoted violence, killing and looting and that Muslims were liars and demons.

Mr Scot also had said Muslims had a plan to overrun Western democracy by violence and terrorism and wanted to turn Australia into an Islamic nation.
Part of the problem is that there is a core question that can't be discussed but which people have different opinions on. We are trained by society to place religions on a graduated scale. At the top is our religion (whatever it might be) and then there are religions that are like ours. And somewhere down near the bottom of the scale are what we consider Cults and Illegitimate Religions. Muslims (and many others) see Islam as a legitimate religion; Pastors Nalliah and Scot as well as many Conservatives do not seem to. They can't actually state that openly, but if their actions make it clear, what are we to assume?

Actually I think the second argument, about free speech is the better one. Rather than taking these Pastoral Punks to court, expose their nonsense for what it is.

Anyway something to keep in mind. For those interested in a conservative take on this issue, check out this article by Diana West (the article that started me down this path).

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