Wednesday, March 01, 2006
  Anti-Blashpemy laws a step in the wrong direction
A group of Muslim scholars, including Hamza Yusuf who is arguably the most popular scholar in North America, have issued the following call:

"We call upon the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as well
as Muslim countries and governments and the international community to
press the United Nations to issue a declaration criminalizing any insult to
Muhammad, Jesus or Moses or to any other revered prophetic figure."

This would be bad enough, if it were not prefaced by a description of the cartoon episode which is so distorted as to be nearly surreal:

"The events in Denmark concerning the Messenger of God represent an
entirely unacceptable crime of aggression that has violated the highest
sanctities of the Muslim people.

Huh? Drawing a cartoon is an act of aggression? Given this context, it is clear that the scholars would like to outlaw pretty much any discussion of Muhammad, Jesus or Moses, etc that does not run along the lines of "Gee, wasn't x prophet a great guy?" Can we say Barney redux?

Aside from the fact that civil society depends upon people having the freedom to believe and say whatever they think (just as people who disagree with them also have the freedom to state their disagreement), there is the very sticky problem of what constitutes an insult.

I remember well the case of Pakistani professor a couple of years ago. He said in class one day that the Prophet's marriage to Khadija was not Islamic. This is not an unreasonable statement, as Muhammad did not start receiving revelations until some 15 years after his marriage to Khadija, so it was, in practical terms, impossible for their marriage to have been Islamic. Some of his students were terribly offended, turned him in to the police for blasphemy, and he was sentenced to prison. But those who had gotten him sent to prison were not satisfied, one of them committed a crime in order to get imprisoned in the same jail as the professor, and once there, killed him.

For making a statement that is clearly a matter of fact!

Clearly, this call must be opposed strenuously. And if the OIC does call upon the UN to enact blasphemy laws, we must oppose any UN action on the matter as well.
The link I have for the entire statement is:
Gee, which one, this has been a very angsty week!

Thanks for the link!
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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