Blackout II: Jagged Pieces of Stone

In relation to “Blackout“, concerning judicially-enforced Islamic prohibitions against celebrating Valentine’s Day, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

When I think, as a Presbyterian, about my Islamic brothers and sisters, I feel we are one in our worship of the God; together with God, also one with the Godless, in the oneness of the Tao. So, I try to contain my disapprobation of practices that are alien to my side of the street.

If they ban Valentine’s Day in Islamabad, so what? People in Pakistan are as entitled to their cultural or religious-based practices as are people in Canada. If some immigrate to Canada and ban Valentine’s Day amongst themselves, so what? We are a multicultural community – a mosaic, not a melting pot. The jagged pieces of stone are laid side to side and not overlaid in creating the overall pattern. If, having come to Canada, some criticize others for celebrating Valentine’s Day because they don’t approve, so what? Others criticize hijabs and burqas, and if some don’t approve of Valentine’s Day, then that’s their business. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas, and that’s their business, too. In our democratic society, we all have the right to practice our beliefs, and to disapprove of others’ practices. as long as we don’t interfere with their rights to do so, despite our disapprovals. Freedom is fine, until it deprives others of their freedoms.

My line is in a different place, perhaps. Some Muslims feel free to criticize non-Muslims – even condemn non-Muslims – on religious grounds. I have no problem with that; I am confident in my own beliefs and in my own worth. It’s when some Muslims deny non-Muslims the right to criticize Islam, based on differences in religious or secular grounds, that I have a problem. Prophet Mohammed is sacred and all should acknowledge that, even when the prophet Jesus (or Martin Luther King, or whomever one believes in) is not held by some Muslims to be as sacred. Somehow, it’s OK to knock Christianity in our secular society, but to knock Islam may be seen as Islamophobia. No one even mentions Christophobia. Has it been thought of at all?

On the other hand, we should acknowledge that no one is perfect, and everyone is unique, across religions. How can one even generalize along religious lines? When swastikas are painted on mosques and synagogues, and a Canadian citizen murders six praying Muslims in a Quebec mosque, perhaps Pogo was right when he said, “We advanced upon the enemy and they were us.”

For a number of people, there’s much to be said for “political correctness”, when the alternative is honesty, or violence.


About brucelarochelle
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