Sigh! … why am I simply not surprised, perhaps because stories such as this do not appear to be an exception, . All too often we come across news items in which the words “Islam” or “Muslim” are combined with other words such as “rampage”, “shooting” or “stoning”. Its a story about a Christian (yes another religious nutter), who was put on trial in Java (no not the language, the country) for distributing books and flyers in October last year which described the Black Stone, or al-Hajaru-l-Aswad, on the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in Mecca as looking like a woman’s genitals. The material Bawengan is accused of distributing also described the jamarat – three stone pillars in the city of Mina just east of Mecca which worshippers throw stones at during the Haj – as looking like a man’s genitals.
OK, lets face it, they do, but you and I know what Muslims are like, and I’m betting he does as well. Just how stupid do you have to be to go about in a Muslim country handing out stuff like that, I mean seriously now, what did he expect? Did he honestly expect Muslims to say, “Gosh, your right, I think I’ll give up Islam and join you”. Ah but perhaps I’ve answered my own question, he was a believer, so was totally blind to reality.
Now, least you worry, I do passionately believe in freedom of speech, so any kind of trial is truly outrageous, but even that was not enough, so what happened?
Protesters demanded that Bawengan be handed over, and chanted “kill, kill” outside the court as he was lead away under heavy security.
The angry mob then trashed the courtroom before targeting Christian sites, burning down a number of churches and schools.
There were also sporadic clashes with police before calm was restored.
Bawengan, who has been in custody since October 26, has also been accused of describing Islam as a “cruel religion”.
He’s right of course, he was telling them the truth, but he was also being tragically (poking a sleeping bear with a sharp stick) stupid, yet what was even more insane was the Islamic response.
OK, so what went wrong here? Well, I have a couple of points:
- If people wish to believe utterly insane things, then best of luck to them, I’ve no interest in dictating what others must or must not think, and neither should anybody else. This is called Freedom of Thought. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is Article 18
- People should also be free to say or write whatever they like. This freedom of expression comes right after the previous one in Article 19. This cuts two ways, yes believers should be free to say whatever they wish, but others should also be free to challenge it and label it bullshit. People will of course get upset, but so what … it happens. Perhaps some are grown-up enough to engage in reasoned debate. If so thats good, if not, then I refer you back to item 1.
Where all this breaks down is when some attempt to impose their beliefs on others, or revert to violence in response to those who hold different views. The Christian was simply being stupid, but then being a complete idiot is not a crime, he neither said nor did anything wrong. In stark contrast, what the Muslims did was truly wicked and grossly immoral, and what is utterly tragic is that most Muslims would never even consider the idea that the actions of these fanatical believers was wrong because they would view the Christian believer as truly evil.
When faced with the claim that religion motivates people to be good and moral, or that Islam is tolerant … be skeptical, the evidence does not support that claim.