Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"

It's what parents tell their children to answer back to verbal bullies on the school playground. In light of recent events, though, I have a variation to offer, even if it is a bit rhyme-challenged:

"Guns and bombs may kill my people, but cartoons will never provoke me to violence!"

I know, and I fully understand, that many Muslims believe that any image of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is intrinsically blasphemous. My point is, so what?!? Blasphemy does not justify physical violence, period. I don't care whether it's blasphemy against Muhammad or Allah or Jesus or Zoroaster or Zeus. Your religious beliefs do not give you the right to harm — much less kill — other people, most especially non-believers.

I do not believe that Allah is the one true god, whether you call Him Allah or Jehovah or Yahweh or God (all are names given to the God of Abraham); nor do I believe that Muhammad or Jesus or Moses or Gabriel was divine or had any special communication with the divine.

The freedom that radical Muslims feel to denigrate the beliefs of Judaism or Christianity or Buddhism — or even my own personal faith — is the same freedom that I feel to denigrate the beliefs of Islam.

However, radical Muslims who fire-bomb the Danish and Norwegian embassies and threaten to kidnap or kill Danes and Norwegians because of the publication of a cartoon, are no more justified than the United States would be if we bombed every refugee camp where Uncle Sam is burned in effigy. It's the same logic, after all.

Any poets or advertising jingle writers who want to "punch up" my line, please make your suggestions in the comments on this thread. I'll be happy to give credit where credit is due if you come up with something catchy.