Saturday, 21 December 2013

Intolerance begats intolerance which...

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A number of stories relating to religious fanaticism caught my attention today.  The Times reports that:

The Muslim Council of Britain has said the BBC was "unwise" to allow Anjem Choudary, an extremist preacher, to air his views on the murder of Lee Rigby on Radio 4's Today programme. 

Britain's largest Muslim organisation said yesterday that the BBC had chosen to give Mr Choudary "the oxygen of publicity" whilst mainstream Muslims were left without a voice.

Choudary of course made the best use of his appearance on the radio to spout his usual bile which of course included his inevitable refusal to condemn the murderers of Lee Rigby. He tweeted his deranged followers that he wanted his followers to "tune in and make dua (prayers) for Allah to help pass the message".

However to say that the Muslim community is "without a voice" is stretching matters a little too far. The MCB regularly appears in the media spreading it's quite reactionary agenda and has been silent over some of the recent problems involving fanatics in the UK. Let alone elsewhere.

Choudary is part of a growing movement within Islam which is usually referred to as "Islamism". This form of Islam preaches extreme intolerance which boils down to simply do as we say or you die. It is neither insignificant on a world scale nor a force that can be ignored as the experience of Christians in large parts of the Muslim world illustrates.

The World Affairs Journal reports:

Across the Middle East, it is the same narrative of thousands of Christians fleeing their homelands. Almost half of Iraq’s Christians have left since the 2003 invasion, leaving about four hundred thousand, or scarcely three percent of the current population. Once a majority, Lebanon’s million and a half Christians—most of them Maronite Catholics—now account for thirty-five percent of the population. 

Tens of thousands of Syrian Christians have fled from cities such as Aleppo, Homs, and Qusayr in the face of Islamist rebels. The traditional Christmas market and lights in Qatana, in southern Syria, are now things of the past under pressure from Islamist militias who want no outward shows of Christian life. In Egypt, members of the Catholic and Orthodox Coptic churches make up about ten percent of the country’s total population of eighty-four million. But tens of thousands of Copts have emigrated over the past two years, particularly since the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected president and especially since he was deposed.

Egyptian Copts demonstrated alongside Muslims in Tahrir Square, but from Tunisia to Yemen, one of the unwelcome consequences of the Arab Spring has been more Islamic fervor and less tolerance for non-Muslim communities, with Christians finding themselves on the wrong side of the argument.

In Iraq, Christians were thought too close to Saddam Hussein; the former Iraqi foreign minister, Tariq Aziz—now under sentence of death—is a Chaldean Christian, a branch of Eastern rite Catholics in communion with Rome.

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But it's not just Muslims that are doing the persecution. There is seems to be a concerted effort by some Christians against gays, promoted not just by evangelists, but even from our own Church of England. Take Uganda where a new law has been introduced against "aggravated homosexuality" (whatever that's supposed to mean). The Independent takes up the story:

Ugandan MPs on Friday passed an anti-gay law that sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for the new offence of “aggravated homosexuality”. The bill had included the death penalty when it was introduced in 2010, but that was removed from the revised version.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, under a colonial-era law that criminalised sexual acts “against the order of nature”, but the politician who wrote the new law argued that tough legislation was needed, because homosexuals from the West threatened to destroy Ugandan families and were allegedly “recruiting” Ugandan children into gay lifestyles.

Ugandan gays disputed this account, saying that political and religious leaders had come under the influence of American evangelicals who wanted to spread their anti-gay campaign in Africa.

Scott Lively, a Massachusetts evangelical, was sued in March 2012 under the Alien Tort Statute that allows non-citizens to file suit in the US if there is an alleged violation of international law.

Mr Lively denied he wanted severe punishment for gays, and has previously said he never advocated violence against gays, but advised therapy for them.

Meanwhile the National Secular Society reports:

One of the Sussex Diocese of Chichester representatives on the Church of England General Synod, Andrea Minichiello Williams, recently attended a conference of evangelical Christians in Jamaica to urge the Government to keep the law that criminalises homosexuality – and carries a potential penalty of ten years hard labour.

She said Jamaica had the opportunity to become a world leader by fending off foreign pressure to decriminalise homosexual sex.

"Might it be that Jamaica says to the United States of America, says to Europe, 'Enough! You cannot come in and attack our families. We will not accept aid or promotion tied to an agenda that is against God and destroys our families'" she said, adding to applause, "If you win here, you will have an impact in the Caribbean and an impact across the globe".

Muslims are persecuting Christians who are in turn persecuting gays who are also persecuted by Muslims. 

What a world we live in.

People have a right to believe and practise whatever religion they wish, but none of them have the right to tell those who do not follow their superstitious claptrap how we should think or live.

Trouble is as we saw over  the "gender apartheid" row in British Universities, there are far too many in the Liberal and Left establishment who are frankly cowardly when it comes to to standing up for reason. 

Human rights always come before religious rights.

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