Sunday, April 22, 2007
I'm with Charles C. Haynes, of the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Virginia. This is worth being stunned over:
Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee, made an appearance recently at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Islamic leaders tried to block the lecture, which was sponsored through an endowment from the Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Lecture Series. They argued that Hirsi Ali's attacks against the Muslim faith in her book, "Infidel," and movie, "Submission," are "poisonous and unjustified" and create dissension in their community.Nothing particularly unusual there. After all:
Hirsi Ali, an atheist, has been critical of many Muslim beliefs, particularly on subjects of sexual morality, the treatment of women and female genital mutilation. In her essay "The Caged Virgin," she also wrote of punishment, noting that "a Muslim's relationship with God is one of fear."
"Our God demands total submission. He rewards you if you follow His rules meticulously. He punishes you cruelly if you break His rules, both on earth, with illness and natural disasters, and in the hereafter, with hellfire," she wrote.
Calling a willingness to kill people for no greater crime than having moved on beyond their old beliefs "mercy" is doublespeak of the first order.Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.
"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976. ...
Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.
"If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment," he said. "It's a very merciful religion if you try to understand it."
If anything, the threats or actual use of violence by the followers of a particular faith could be taken as a measure of the weakness of that belief since people usually react like that out of fear.
It's a wonder that there are any religions left at all what with all those weak beliefs and everything going on out there. Geez, those guys are practically atheists already. Wow.