Islam Johnson on 18 Aug 2008 12:01 am
Imagine that there is a new religion. This new religion teaches its followers a set of beliefs that are clearly dangerous to other people. For example, imagine a new religion that teaches that people who are outside the religion should be killed, or raped.
Now imagine that this new religion spreads rapidly. A scientific study is commissioned, and it is found that adults exposed to this new religion become more dangerous once they convert. Also, children raised in households where this religion is practiced are, statistically, much more dangerous than normal children as they become teenagers.
Would we allow this new religion to freely proliferate under the idea of “religious freedom”?
It is an interesting thought question to ponder. Why might we allow this new religion to proliferate? Why not?
Now extend the thought experiment. What if existing religions have these characteristics? Should they be allowed to freely proliferate?
For example, Islam already has more than a billion adherents and is proliferating rapidly. But it seems to harbor a number of unsavory features that are dangerous to people outside the Muslim faith:
This article contains statistics from a remarkable, unintentional Muslim experiment that is underway in Denmark. For example: “Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark’s 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim.”
This article cites startling statistics from a survey of Muslim college students in Britain. For example: “Four out of 10 Muslim students in Britain support the introduction of sharia into UK law for Muslims, according to a YouGov poll. Almost a third of them said that killing in the name of religion was justified; 40% said they felt it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely; and nearly a quarter do not think that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah.”
You read that right: Killing in the name of religion is justified for a third of the students surveyed.
This article discusses a book that cannot be published in the U.S. because it might offend Muslims. From the article:
The Jewel of Medina was written by a journalist called Sherry Jones. It recounts the life of Aisha, a girl who was married off at the age of six to a 50-year-old man called Mohamed ibn Abdallah. On her wedding day, Aisha was playing on a see-saw outside her home. Inside, she was being betrothed. The first she knew of it was when she was banned from playing out in the street with the other children. When she was nine, she was taken to live with her husband, now 53. He had sex with her. When she was 14, she was accused of adultery with a man closer to her own age. Not long after, Mohamed decreed that his wives must cover their faces and bodies, even though no other women in Arabia did.
You cannot read this story today â€“ except in the Koran and the Hadith. The man Mohamed ibn Abdallah became known to Muslims as “the Prophet Mohamed”, so our ability to explore this story is stunted. The Jewel of Medina was bought by Random House and primed to be a best-seller â€“ before a University of Texas teacher saw proofs and declared it “a national security issue”. Random House had visions of a re-run of the Rushdie or the Danish cartoons affairs. Sherry Jones’s publisher has pulped the book. It’s gone.
Not only has the Muslim religion limited freedom of speech for the rest of us (the author cannot speak, and none of us will have the opportunity to read what she wrote), but this story also demonstrates how and why the Muslim faith subjugates women to the role of second class citizens. This subjugation affects hundreds of millions of women every day, whether they agree with the beliefs or not.
When you throw things like 9/11 into the mix, it becomes clear that the believers of Islam are having a dangerous, negative impact on the rest of us. The question: Should these dangerous beliefs be allowed to proliferate freely under the mantle of religion freedom? Or is it time to understand that when beliefs endanger other people in society, those beliefs no longer deserve protection?