Quick thoughts about an old news. I had this in my drafts, and I think it is important enough to be said, though I have forgotten what I originally wanted to say. Publishing the fragment as it is.
I want to state here that I have nothing against Muslims, but that doesn’t mean that I go out of my way to respect religious leaders (of any religion, actually, but in this case Islam) when they behave in ways that are, in my eyes totally unworthy of respect.
Recently (in Feb 2012 – this is an old post), the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia called for all the Churches in the Arabian Peninsula to be destroyed. This, in itself is not unprecedented. Islam is littered with the debris of religious monuments of other religions razed in its wake. I will not go into history, but a few quick examples off the top of my head include the Bamiyan statues of Buddha, Churches and temples in Pakistan, Churches in Egypt, Buddhist and Hindu temples and other relics in Maldives…. to name a few. Other than the Bamiyan statues, the rest are fairly recent incidents – within the last year or two. There is no need to go over the entire history of Islam, it is fairly clear that in places of Muslim rule, minority religious symbols live on borrowed life.
So the question that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia ought to answer clearly is if he finds it acceptable that mosques are destroyed where Muslims are a minority. If yes, then he has to answer to the millions of Muslims whose beloved places of worship he puts on the line, and if not, he has to accept that Islam is unfairly tolerated by non-Muslims, because everyone likes their own religion or lack of it.
This is unacceptable, for instance. From
This is being proposed about churches. Not acceptable.
Muslims who claim peaceful coexistence and such stuff or blame Islamophobia for all that is wrong with how the Islamic world is perceived need to make a point of disowning these views. Whether it is protecting churches in the Arab Peninsula from this man’s thugs, or it is refusing and rejecting his authority over them, wherever they are. While Muslims cannot be expected to make a point of denouncing every bigot that pops up with a new xenophobic idea, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is a prominent enough figure for the religion that this is important.
Governments around the world should have a response to this, and a clear understanding about religious places of minorities should be openly negotiated. Unless the Grand Mufti is to retract his words and issue an apology, mosques affiliated with him should not be allowed in any country other than Saudi Arabia, in my view. Regardless of whether the government is Islamic or not. There has to be a clear denouncement and rejection of such intolerance to provide an alternative view of Muslims with a clear disassociation with such bigotry.
While freedom of worship should not be conditional, I think any sane government would be in its rights to evaluate if a dangerous cult may be parading within the religion that is harmful to the interests of its citizens.
Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to blame people for Islamophobia, because the Grand Mufti himself is speaking in a way that would terrify anyone in their senses. A phobia is irrational. Being very afraid of a religion that will not tolerate opposition to it and will destroy other religions where it is in power makes complete sense.
Please note that there is no religious obligation on Muslims to worship this joker. As far as I know. Or even to be polite to him after he has made their religion look like an enemy of the rest of mankind. The Quran doesn’t care who they worship or don’t worship beyond Allah and Mohammed must be respected – of whom the Grand Mufti is neither, so this should not be religiously offensive
As for me, I think the Grand Mufti is a xenophobic, religious chauvinist and downright dangerous bully. To me, he debunks the term Islamophobia itself by proving the fear extremely well founded.