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The Nature of Islam

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Damaging their cause given any opportunity, Muslims seem inherently incapable of rational thought, Less so than followers of any other religion. This is all too frequently made evident in reactions to criticism by both the religion's followers and mainstream Organisations alike. The Jyllands-Posten Controversy was an all too typical example of Islam's intrinsically volatile and insecure reactionary nature. In 2005 'Jyllands-Posten', a liberal Danish broadsheet published 'Muhammeds ansigt' (Faces of Muhammad), an article featuring 12 cartoons by 12 artists. All of them were critical of Islam but only some depicted Muhammed himself. The cartoon that caused the most controversy was that of a bomb wearing a turban, a concise metaphor lucidly illustrating the perception of Islam as a violent religion. In the run up to the publication of 'Muhammeds ansigt', the newspaper published an article entitled 'Dyb angst for kritik af islam' ('Profound anxiety over criticism of Islam'). This detailed initially operose task of actually finding artists willing to work on 'Muhammeds ansigt'. The article talked about the self-censorship displayed by the reluctancy of the artists approached to work on the cartoons.

Many Muslims keen to denounce the cartoons' allegations of Islam's unreasonable and violent disposition (especially towards those critical of the religion), reacted with unreasonable violence (especially, but not exclusively towards those critical of the religion). Within days of publication the cartoonists received death threats and went into hiding. In reaction 'Al Ghurabaa', a British based Islamist group published an article 'Kill those who insult the Prophet Muhammad' justifying the murder of those critical of Islam with verse and text from the Quran: "But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and criticism then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief - for surely their oaths are nothing to them - so that they may stop (evil actions)". Of course, using scripture to justify ones every want and impulse is nothing new, but the Quran contains a worryingly disproportionate amount of justification for violence against those critical of the Islamic faith. No one seemed safe from the masses even the Norwegian embassy in Damascas was set on fire in a characteristically rabid display of Islamic lack of rationality.

Muslims claim the Quran to be the perfect word of God; that it cannot possibly contain errors or contradictions, that it is perfectly compatible with science and it is so perfect that we are supposed to conclude that it is beyond all reasonable doubt the work of a divine being. Given that it is the work of omniscience, why is it that it so riddled with scientific errancy? The obvious discrepancy to point out would be the Abrahamic Theory of Intelligent Design that is supported by the Quran: the theory that God created Adam and Eve and all human life sprang from these two mortal beings. The Quran also claims that the sky is a physical roof around the Earth: a claim which I doubt many Muslims would substantiate now, though many still pedal the old chestnut of Creationism. Why is it that the Quran contained nothing new? All of the scientific and mathematic teachings it contained were old-hat, even by the time of it's publication. Are really supposed to draw that the Book must be the work of the divine creator because amongst the flawed and inaccurate teachings it contained a few, centuries old discoveries and theorems? Given that the Quran is the perfect word of God, Muslims must follow the book or else they surely are not Muslims. As it is taught in the Quran: Muslims must murder those who criticise their faith or else they are no more Muslim than I am. If cherry-picking beliefs that seem acceptable given the current moral Zeitgeist is allowed, surely I am Muslim in everything but label? The way I live my life and some of the moral decisions I make may coincide with Islamic teachings and beliefs. The answer is that God, as a personal deity could have easily written the Quran using his all-powerful, all-knowing nature to transcend time. To create a an eternally relevant doctrine would have been more than simple given his Omniscience.

Thousands of Muslims in Western countries the world over, exercised their right to freedom of speech in the form of demonstrations, each characterised by varying degrees of civil disorder: from commendable peaceful demonstrations in Belgium to the predictable mindless violence in Palestine. Understandably, Muslims wanted to denounce something damaging to the public image of their faith. Interestingly we are still waiting for the Muslim world to stage protests condemning radical extremists like Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, an organisation whose actions have indelibly contaminated the name of Islam many times more than any cartoon could. This, it would apparently seem, is because Islam is on an unbridled mission to do itself absolutely no favours whatsoever, at any turn.

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