Life isn't that simple.
For starters, there's more to Western civilization and culture than skimpy swimwear and tacky Superbowl ads.
And Muslims are nowhere near as unified - and weird - as some seem to think. Someone said, in a comment last month: "...You should read the Koran, but be careful, for the Koran prohibits non-Muslims from reading it...."
I'd been chatting online with quite a few Muslims - who knew I wasn't a Muslim. They were offering their opinions on which translation of the Quran was better, and where I could find it. They didn't have a problem with my possessing, or reading, their holy book.
On the other hand, Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai may be killed - executed - by the Afghan judicial system, for translating the Quran - and not putting the original Arabic alongside the translation.
According to The Associated Press, Muslims "regard the Arabic Quran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Quran itself, and a mistranslation could warp God's word...."
I don't take The Associated Press as a final authority on Islam and Muslim beliefs. But that sounds more likely than what Geert Wilder's defender wrote, about the Quran (Koran, he spelled it) and non-Muslims being allowed to read it.
The Many Faces of IslamI think that what many westerners are beginning to realize is that there are many different sorts of Muslims, and many different sorts of Islam.
There's Al Qaeda's Islam, the Islam of those weird (mouse-hating?) Saudi clerics, the Islam practiced in Indonesia and New York City, and many others. All of them with what seem to be distinct beliefs.
It's a complicated world out there: and Westerners who make wild statements about Islam and Muslims - without checking the available facts - are, I think, not all that unlike the 'Mickey Mouse must die' sort of Muslims. Both are, I think, sincere, passionate, dedicated: and a very real problem for the rest of us.
(I think that the Afghan courts are on the wrong page about that Quran translation - but that's a topic for another blog.)
- "Ayman al-Zawahiri: The Face of Islam?"
(January 6, 2009)
- " 'Mecca is being blown into pieces' "
(December 7, 2008)
- " 'Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me?' - The United Nations, Muslims, Zionists, and 'Those People' "
(October 5, 2008)
- "Saudi Cleric Wants Women to Use One Eye - I'm Not Making This Up"
(October 4, 2008)
- "Mickey Mouse Must Die! Agent of Satan Targeted by Saudi Cleric"
(September 19, 2008)
- " 'Will the Real Islam, Please Stand Up?' "
(February 6, 2008)
- "Muslims Are Not All Alike"
(August 19, 2007)
- "More about 'Yeh Hum Naheen' / 'This is Not Us' "
(August 9, 2007)
- "2 Afghans face death over translation of Quran"
The Associated Press (February 6, 2009)
- "Catholics Not Allowed to Read Bible!! Catholic Church Banned Bible Ownership!!"
A Catholic Citizen in America (January 27, 2009)