The rightwing religious extremists that drive the Republican Party down south and are increasingly drawn to the Conservative Party of Canada have more in common with the extremists from my religion (Islam) than they would care to admit. Both selectively use verses of their holy books to promulgate their point of view, while ignoring other verses that contradict their politican stance. To them, religion is a tool used to control the general populace, to mould them to their view of what is ideal. Cerberus once had a post about verses of the Bible the rightwingers ignore. Recently, two stories have emerged that deal with such religious extremism from Muslims and Christians.
In Afghanistan, a Christian man is on trial for being a Christian convert from Muslim (a rare case). I wrote a letter to the Toronto Sun, which they published (the second letter entitled 'The Koran Speaks'). I selected three verses from the Koran that dealt with freedom of religion. Soon, I had an email from one of these Muslim extremists that read the letter and chanced on my blog.
'Mezba, when God said to Muhammad that "There is no compulsion in religion" He was talking about a certain the tribe that Muhammad was dealing with at that time, not the general population. So it only applies to that tribe."
A most ridiculous (and false) explanation if I ever read one - but then, reason is not a strong importance when dealing with such people.
South Dakota has recently banned abortion. It's almost a blanket ban. There is no reason for this except the beliefs of a few rightwing people. There are no medical, legal or scientific reasons why South Dakota banned abortion. In other words, the religious beliefs of a few are now the law. What about my belief that abortion within the first trimester is OK? What about the beliefs of others who are atheists and have no problem with abortion at any time? What about Christians who believe, like me, that abortion is OK within the first trimester? Where is their freedom of religion?
The main difference between East and West is that the West is educated and democratic. When religious extremists sprout nonsense the educated population can sense it. When their leaders believe such nonsense they are removed by the people. In the East, people are ignorant, believe what the clerics say, and the dictators are appointing these clerics. So today, when I see in the West that education is being tampered with (evolution not being taught, scientific progress and data (global warming) being ignored) and democracy curtailed (security certificates) - it scares me.
It scares me that such extremist people are now engulfing the Canadian Conservative movement (and a few Liberals). One fundamental aspect of religious freedom is freedom to practise as much (or as less) religion as I want, my way. It is a private deal.
h/t: Abu Sinan
Tags: Religious Extremism Afghanistan South Dakota