< HOME  Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ignorance, Opportunism, and Apostasy

Just as I suspected, the row over apostasy in Afghanistan has turned into yet another opportunity for the media to bring America one step closer to a clash of civilizations.
[The] Rahman case . . . is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.
The writer is either hopelessly ignorant, or harbors a sinister agenda. I suspect the latter. Not only did the "evil" Taliban manage to eradicate the opium trade, where (intentionally or not) the U.S. never did, but also "the horrors" committed by the Taliban pale by comparison to "the horrors" committed over the last 50 years by successive U.S. administrations.

Moreover, it's obvious that the 'silence' the writer alleges does not necessarily mean agreement. Some Muslims may not have heard about the case. Some might have thought it self-evident that executing someone for his religious beliefs in the name of Islam is both illogical and unjust. Others might have been busy handling other pressing personal or national issues, assuming (rightly) that someone intimately involved would attend to this case.

To assume that 'silence is agreement' is an unreasonable conclusion that reflects a crisis-seeking mindset.

Yet, look at how easily the Afghan court backtracked. Some reports say it dropped the case because there was "not enough evidence." But, how much evidence do you need to try a case of apostasy? The man said he was ready to die for his faith. Seems open and shut to me - if indeed a genuine prosecution of the current law is what was taking place.

But as it stands, it seems almost incredible that Afghan courts and prosecutors would genuinely pursue such a case knowing, as they must have, the international outcry that would result. It's the political equivalent of a district attorney prosecuting individuals for violating criminal anti-sodomy laws, which still exist on the books in some American jurisdictions. The result of attempting to prosecute a law against apostasy in the current political climate seems apparent. Perhaps, the prosecutor was following an undisclosed agenda.

Then there are the conflicting reports about how many Afghans came out to protest the defendant's release. In one account, there were two hundred protesters. In another, there were one thousand. Either seems a small number of the total Afghan population, indicating that support for the law is weak, not broad as Cohen suggests.

But, all these details and nuances do not concern Cohen, who has a message to deliver to the American sheeple.
The groupthink of the Muslim world is frightening. I know there are exceptions -- many exceptions. But still it seems that a man could be killed for his religious beliefs and no one would say anything in protest. It is also frightening to confront how differently we in the West think about such matters and why the word "culture" is not always a mask for bigotry, but an honest statement of how things are. It is sometimes a bridge too far -- the leap that cannot be made. I can embrace an Afghan for his children, his work, even his piety -- all he shares with much of humanity. But when he insists that a convert must die, I am stunned into disbelief: Is this my fellow man?
Taken to their logical conclusion, Cohen's assertions leave no room for tolerance or understanding. According to him, Muslim conduct is inexplicable, and the ignorance of a few must be imputed to the whole. Therefore, they cannot be human and Americans should not shy away from ridding the planet of their barbaric practices by any means necessary.

This is the art of opportunism riding on the coat-tails of ignorance. It is a very dangerous art with dire consequences.


At Tuesday, March 28, 2006, Blogger Frederick said...

But thing are so much better since we set them free over there!!!

BTW: Check out my latest post.

At Thursday, March 30, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I do not see Cohen as not leaving room for tolerance. The man is saying that someone who believes a man should be killed for apostasy is barbaric. I agree with that statement. I don't see Cohen as saying that all Afghans or all Muslims are evil. He is clearly misinformed about the number of Muslims who think death is the remedy for apostasy, for sure, but he is not saying it's Islam that is evil - it's killing someone for not believing in Islam that's evil.

As far as whether this whole thing re: apostasy was made up or not...this I cannot say. The entire world has become one big circus.


Post a Comment

<< Home