Louis Palme

A moderate Muslim this week penned a defense of the terrorists, who murdered ten reporters and two others at the offices of satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo in Paris:

It is known to all that radicals and fanatics cannot stomach any jokes or cartoons about the prophet Muhammad, so why do it? There are thousands of other topics and cartoons that can be produced that would not hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

Western civilization has advanced far greater than the Muslim-majority regions of the world in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, because they embraced the Enlightenment. It didn’t happen immediately, but ultimately people realized that reason and inquiry were powerful tools to improve their lot in life – both physically and spiritually. It was a shock to the established Roman Church when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg (Holy Roman Empire) in 1517, but the Roman Church reformed, and a whole new era of religious inquiry and study of the sacred texts emerged. These events led Europe out of the Dark Ages.

Write comment (25 Comments)

Twelve centuries ago there was a “Golden Age” in the Islamic world where people of different views could actually make their arguments about religion without fear of retribution, much less assassination. Sometimes these differing views were communicated to the Caliph al-Ma’mum, who considered them with rapt attention. He also set up the House of Wisdom in Baghdad which promoted free inquiry. Sadly, this moment of open inquiry lasted only 34 years, barely one generation, before the doors to Islamic inquiry (ijtihad) were forever closed.

One of the most compelling debates that emerged from this short breath of oxygen was a dialogue between the Arab Christian Abd al-Masih Al Kindi, a member of the Caliphate court, and the Muslim Abd-Allah al-Hashimy (both pseudonyms). This exchange was known as the Apology (risala) of Al Kindi. An abridged English translation was produced by the Scottish Orientalist Sir William Muir in 1887. (See: http://www3.nd.edu/~reynolds/nehc20624/al-kindi.pdf)

Write comment (40 Comments)

islam - drano in sugar-bowlParents across the nation are discovering that their children’s classes about Islam are infused with dangerous religious dogma. Specifically, students are being told that “the one true god is Allah,” and that “all people must submit to Allah”. Students are also required to learn the “Five Pillars of Islam”. The corresponding ideological tenants of other major world religions are not being taught. Already, several middle school and high school textbooks have been banned for their very biased content. Examples include Prentice-Hall’s “Medieval and Early Modern Times” published by Pearson and “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond” published by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute.

This preferential treatment of Islam is exactly what the Constitution’s First Amendment was addressing when the government was “to make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Students see the schools and teachers as speaking with authority when they state that the one true god is Allah. The teaching of Islam must be tempered warnings to enable students to reflect on whether Islam is truly a “religion of peace” and whether the pillars of Islam are in fact admirable. Dogma should not trump critical thinking in a school environment.

Write comment (56 Comments)

Once again, twenty-five mosques in the Southern California area participated last weekend in an annual Open House to encourage non-Muslims to learn more about Islam and the activities of Muslims in their neighborhood. I have visited several of these mosques and written reports on the findings reported by other visitors. As the title of last year’s report indicated, many visitors were not impressed: “Open Mosque Day – Muslims Serve Up Tea and Taquiyya". Instead of striving for more honesty and clarity about their religious beliefs and practices, the hosts of these open mosques seem to be doubling down on deception and distortion. From a public relations point of view, it is dumb to put the Islamic falsehoods on display. It is even dumber to assume that visitors won’t “fact check” the assertions.

Write comment (96 Comments)

The biggest and most pernicious religious lie ever perpetrated on humanity is the assertion that Islam’s holy book, the Quran, is the verbal word of God, a.k.a. Allah. The dangerous civilizational damages emanating from that lie are: 1) the commands and examples of Allah and his prophet eclipse all moral values of good and evil based on reason; 2) since Allah claims to control all events, his followers do not have to take responsibility for their actions; and 3) all mankind is divided between believers who are blessed and unbelievers who are considered filth and are worthy of torture, slavery, and murder.

Write comment (154 Comments)
Joomla templates by a4joomla