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“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
-– B. Lester
I was told an Evangelical nutjob was posing as a Jewish man and posting hate towards Muslims and Arabs. I was asked what my opinion on it was, by a friend.
The Anti-Muslim attacks that are prevelant on these forums really make me angry. This thread has three purposes:
1) To debunk the prudjudice, distortions and outright lies people use to justify ethnic hatred.
2) To have one place to express my disgust, anger, revulsion for ethnic hatred that is being expressed in other threads. This includes pseudo-intelligent rationalisations of predjudice, to outright name calling.
3) To show that this kind of ethnic hatred (not the victims of it) are the cause of the worst atrocities that humanity has commited.
First the debunking...
There are several reasons people have put forward to justify their hatred of Islam as a religion, and Muslims in general.
1) Muslims are involved in more wars than any other religion. This is easily shown to not be true. In the current active wars, There is a major Christian involvement in conflicts in Columbia, Uganda, Congo, Sengal, Ivory Coast, Afganistan, Iraq, and Chechnya. There is a major Muslim inolvement in Iraq, Afganistan, Israel, Aceh, Algeria, Somalia and Sudan. There are some wars (e.g. Nepal) that neither religion is involved in.
Of course one of the distortions used to support predjudice is to classify any war that contains a Muslim nation or interest as a "religious" war, and any war that waged by Christian nations as something else. This is obviously nonsense.
Muslims and Jews lived peacefully together for centuries before they started fighting over land. Yes... the conflict between Israel and Palestine is over land, even though religious rhetoric is being used by both sides.
2) The Muslim religion is intrinsically more violent than other religions. People support this predjudice by two means. They look at history, and they look at religious writings.
There are a couple of obvious fallacies to this arugment. First of all, if you use the same means to judge almost any any religion you will get the same result. Christianity has certainly commited its share of barbarism, as have Hindus and Muslims. There are passages in the Jewish/Christian Bible that advocate killing "immoral" women and homosexuals. In the Bible, The Judeo-Christian God advocates the slaughter of men women and children after a militar victory.
Of course, there are millions of Christians, Jews and Muslims who value their religion, don't advocate murder and are normal people trying to live good peaceful lives.
Picking out one religion for slander, while ignoring the exact same traits in the other major religions, is hypocricy.
3) Muslims have commited more atrocities than other religions, both in the past and presently. People commit atrocities because they are evil people, not based on their religion. Religion has been used to advocate barbarism... but this is not necessary or relevant.
The most brutal atrocity commited in recent history was the genocide in Rwanda. Rwanda is 95% Christian and their is strong evidence that Churches not only stood by, but participated. Is there anyone who is pinning this atrocity on Christianity as a religion?
European anti-Semitism, which led to the Nazi horrors, and still persists today was part of Christianity. Martin Luther (the father of Protestantism) was famously anti-Semitic and blamed the Jews for murdering Jesus, and the Catholic led Inquisition was infamous for killings and forceable conversions of Jews.
Christians, Hindus and Muslims have all committed atrocities ... both in the past and in recent times. Again singling out one religion is hypocricy.
4) Muslims are only the religious group that advocates terrorism or other barbaric acts. Again it is very easy to show that this is not true. Many Christians in the United States explicitly advocate terrorism. The KKK is an overtly Christian group who commited their acts of terror-- "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." The doctrine of a Christian based racial holy war is still prevalent in American Extreme Christian groups.
Of course not all Christians accept this, but is is the extreme. It is also true that there is a Spectrum of Christianity. Many Christians accept parts of the KKK message, for example gun-rights, the belief America chosen by God, and anti-immigrant beliefs, even though they reject the message.
Terrorism as warfare has been used in by many different groups-- from the Irish, to the Basques to US supported anti-communist forces. The groups that turn to terrorism are the groups from a militarily inferior cause that they are desparate to win. The "Christian" west doesn't need to use terrorism, and the militant forces in the Middle East, who unfortunately use religion but have a political cause, use terrorism the reasons any other group has in the past. Many Christian, Jewish and Hindu groups have used terrorist tactics and just as strident religious rhetoric as the terrorists.
I am not supporting terrorism. I am just saying that the religion is not to blame. We all oppose the actions of Al Qaida and we want to see them defeated.
The point is you don't stop Al Qaida by attacking Muslims, any more than you stop the KKK by attacking Christians.
I am not opposed to religion-- although some are, and maybe based on the evidence I should be. I believe there are good people who find meaning in all religions. There are also extremists in each religion who use faith to justify barbaric acts.
But it is clear that when compared, no religion is clearly worse.
Why can't we condemn people who do bad things-- regardless of their religion-- and accept the rights of the rest of us to live peaceful lives without facing ethnic hatred and predjudice?
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