Sunday 11 January 2015

Religion & blasphemy #pariskillings

I belong to an online group of wonderful people based all over the world, we share similar ethnicity and the same gender. Courtesy of my membership of this group, I can confidently say I have almost 2 dozen brothers who are also my friends.

As the events in Paris unfolded, the comments on our forum quickly focused on the Muslim religion and the perceived reluctance of well known Muslims individuals and organisation to distance themselves from terrorists acts such as the Paris killings.

The following themes emerged from the comments on our forum and I will try and look at these themes in my comments below
  1. Christians were vicious to Muslims during the crusades
  2. Extremism amongst Middle East / Muslim types is as a result of the bombing of Iraq & other Middle East countries by the West
  3. The action of the murderers in Paris was nothing to do with Islam
  4. Are all Christians responsible for the extremism of those who profess to be Christians
I am aware terrible things happened during the Crusades and its a matter of historical record that these cruel things was perpetrated by Christians.  However I don't think it makes sense to blame modern day terrorism and today's senseless killing for the Crusades that happened almost a 1000 years ago. These murderers are not even trying to kill Christians, they are indiscriminate and will kill people of every faith including their own faith.

On Friday, I stumbled on a very interesting article in the Evening Standard by a Professor of History at the Stanford University - Ian Morris ( It was a very interesting read and charts the history of conflicts between Christians and Muslims over the course of history. It might interest you to know that Muslims largely had the upper hand in conflicts with Christians up to 1683. So all these revisionist nonsense about Christian aggression against Muslims should stop. The Crusades is not a justification for why these crazed fanatics try to murder people today.

Yes the West invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. There are ongoing bombing campaigns against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria and Al Qaeda targets in Yemen. While there is accepted wisdom that these military actions serves to radicalise Muslim youths, it is also an accepted fact that people in all of these places are oppressed by their leaders. How come these oppression by their leaders did not radicalise them?

Yes, in many instances, the West is quite happy to stomach some of these rulers as it serves their purposes. However in the case of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein who actually murdered his own people and threatened the existence of his neighbours and offered sanctuary to lunatics from around the world, someone needed to do something. Granted the way the West fought its battles with Saddam were underhanded (WMD issues et al) there was however a moral and human angle aspect to the Gulf wars.

Fast forward to today. Syria has taken a leaf out of Saddam's books and is bombing its people to smithereens. The West has intervened as it tries to protect vulnerable people. Yes innocent people have been affected. This is unfortunate and regrettable. If the Jihadists and the murderers are upset about this, please ask the Yemeni, Iraqi or Syrian governments to retaliate. Countries are allowed to fight one another. Pretend warriors masquerading as soldiers defending their religion are not allowed to wage war.

Why is Islam the only religion where the adherents feel compelled to defend their God.  Is he so powerless to defend himself? The bible condemns blasphemy in strong terms but Christians don't go about shooting or beheading people because you mock their God. They leave their God to deal with you and they know he can defend himself.

Atheists are also fairly relaxed about their lack of belief. They don't jump up and down when religionists mock their lack of faith in God. Why is it Only Muslims that feel they have to do this? So when people say it is not about Islam, I don't know enough about Islam to comment definitively but you do wonder why a disproportionate amount of violent extremists and senseless murderers are linked to Islam or claim to be defending Islam.

On Christian extremism, why should it justify the Muslim variant. All forms of extremism is wrong. Except I am missing something I am struggling to find Christians who go about killing people for blaspheming their God or religion.

In defence of people who feel upset about the abuse of their religion but who don't feel compelled to hack some body's head off in revenge, I have a lot of sympathy. Reading this article ( gives you the flavour of the different (and in my own opinion well balanced and reasonable) viewpoints on the blasphemy issue. It is not a straight forward one and there are delicate nuances around balancing free speech with responsibility.

On the issue of Free Speech. I struggle to see why peoples career and possibly lives have been destroyed because of their pronouncements on the Holocaust. Is this contrary to the principle of Free Speech? Should people be allowed to freely blaspheme another religion?

I whole heartedly believe in free speech. I will not blaspheme against any religion or ridicule atheists but i will personally defend your right of blaspheme.

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