RECOMMENDED READING: ” Draw Mohammed and Reform Islam”

Either Islam will reform, or it will be in constant conflict with the West until one side or the other gives up. 
– Jonathan Keiler

In a May 9, 2015  American Thinker blog post,  Jonathan Keiler writes that Islam needs to reform and drop taboos that place it at odds with Western culture: 

Pamela Geller’s “draw Mohammed” contest in Texas was provocative, but the problem is not with Geller or the contest organizers, it is with Muslims who insist that they were provoked because it violated a Muslim taboo against representational art.   Muslims should not have been provoked by a contest that was about free speech.  In the West free speech and activities that are offensive but don’t infringe the rights of others, are not only tolerated, but often celebrated.  They are part of the fundamental fabric of society. 

Muslims are entitled to their taboos; every religion has them.  Religious taboos emerge, evolve, change or dissipate over time, and Islam is no exception to this process.   Islam began without an accepted taboo requiring women to veil themselves, the practice becoming widespread only after the conquest of Mesopotamia.  And over time, and depending on place, that taboo has waxed and waned. 

Art has always been a part of religion, and beliefs about art within religions are not static.  Western Christian iconography changed dramatically over time as Christianity grew from a small Jewish cult to an imperial faith.  Byzantium celebrated icons, broke them, and celebrated again.  In Buddhism, as the faith moved along the Silk Roads from India to China, Buddha changed from an aesthetic priest into a chubby party animal.

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COMMENT/ANAYLSIS:  Keiler further points out that the common trend of taking a politically correct apologist stance with Islam needs to stop:

Western pundits and politicians ought to do what they can to encourage reform, not hinder it by parroting Islamist positions in an attempt to assuage Muslims. This not only leads to moral absurdities — like blaming the victims of the terror attack in Texas instead of the perpetrators and their sympathizers — but it gives Muslims little reason to reform their religion.

We agree.  Appeasing Islamists only bolsters their influence within Muslim communities, lessening chances for meaningful reform.  As we pointed out in a follow-up to the Garland terror attack, this type of stance is simply a “win” for Islamists in using fear and intimidation to silence those that oppose them.

Related article by Keiler: An Islamic Reformation?, Jan 19, 2015

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