1 Dec 2009

' Churches, synagogues, mosques and Zoroastrian temples'

Well as well as getting lots of nasty comments from idiots who believe that Muslims all have three heads, its great to get some interesting and positive comments,

Many people seem unaware that the Saudi strain of Wahbism is regressive and intolerant but there is plenty of tolerant forms of Islam.

I think a lot of the critics of Islam are mirroring, projecting US cultural and military domination on Islam, now I am not of course endorsing the present government in Iran either but I think the point below is very well made.

I am tempted to run a week of pro Islam blogging, one source interestingly is the Economist, not on the left and pretty pro US imperialism but every now and then they run some beautiful articles on Islam.


thanks Shayan


Shayan has left a new comment on your post "Boycott Switzerland! Minaret ban vote goes wrong w...":

I'm Iranian. In Iran we have more than 600 churches and I don't know how many synagogues, but quite a lot! We also have Zoroastrian temples and even Hindu temples in the South-Eastern part. Churches, synagogues, mosques and Zoroastrian temples have stood side by side for thousands of years without any problem, and without the slightest objection from people! Many of the more than 600 churches in Iran were built in modern times, and some even after the 1979 revolution! The Churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian temples even receive funding from the fundamentalist theocracy!

I have heard some people saying "If we can't build churches in their countries, then why should they be allowed to build mosques in our countries?" Well, this is not entirely correct. The only Muslim country that forbids churches or other non-Muslim places of worship is Saudi Arabia! Saudi Arabia is heavily influenced by the most radical and extreme school of Islam, invented by a Saudi man some 250 years ago: Wahabism! It is this kind of Islam which has become rooted in Pakistan and Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan! But in virtually all other Muslim countries churches are allowed and exist as well.

And even if they were not allowed, why would a society that claims to be free, democratic and tolerant want to lower itself to the level of Saudi Arabia? If they do that, then how can they be any better?

I'm not even religious, but I will not set my foot on Swiss territory as a visitor, nor will I any longer buy any Swiss products! There must be a high price to pay for intolerance and violating the rights of people! I no longer hold a good view of Switzerland! I didn't know that 30% of the Swiss people vote for the racist right-wing extremist party! I was shocked to learn that this party is the biggest political party in their country! I used to have a very positive view of Switzerland, but no longer!

2 comments:

Paul said...

'I am tempted to run a week of pro Islam blogging, one source interestingly is the Economist, not on the left and pretty pro US imperialism but every now and then they run some beautiful articles on Islam.'

Please do Derek at least you will therefore be referencing your arguments for a change. First things first though. Can you quote me where I said 'well as well as getting lots of nasty comments from idiots who believe that Muslims all have three heads’? I never said such a thing so that comment is either a petty slur or aimed at someone else. If the latter I apologise.

This guy Shayan makes a single sensible point here 'And even if they were not allowed, why would a society that claims to be free, democratic and tolerant want to lower itself to the level of Saudi Arabia? If they do that, then how can they be any better?'.

A fair point Shayan but still incorrect. Switzerland is not stopping Muslims from worshiping. It has called for a ban on the construction of Minarets that is all. Certainly no Muslims there or elsewhere are stopped from going to a mosque. What the Swiss don't like are proposed changes to their architecture and city landscapes that send a new message. That message being 'this area is now Islamic'. Are the Swiss being Xenophobic? Arguably yes, but they are not stopping anyone from being a Muslim. However in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and numerous other parts of the Islamic world there is the death penalty for apostasy. So if the Swiss were to go the way of the Saudis or the Iranians they have to go a long way. They have to actually kill people who change their religon. Or stop construction of mosques at all. There is not a single area of the Islamic world that would allow a Church with a spire to dominate a landscape. Churches may exist in say Egypt or Pakistan. However they are usually not allowed to be maintained, no new ones can be built (UAE a partial exception) and they cannot display a cross or ring bells.

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=1542

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7302378.stm

http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/11/30/outrage-on-swiss-minaret-vote-but-how-do-muslim-states-handle-churches/

I do not doubt of course that Churches along with Christian communities exist in Islamic countries. However what matters is the law. In Switzerland you can become a Muslim and suffer no legal penalty. However in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi etc, you will be killed for leaving Islam. These archaic and nasty rules prove that there is no religious equality in these lands unlike the west. I have probably spent longer in the Middle East and other areas than many commentators on here. I also know many Muslims from those countries. Many of them are decent people, but their laws which must be taken at face value are discriminatory and violent.

The rest of Shayan's post is hardly worth commenting on. In fact I get the feeling Derek himself may have had reservations when he admitted his own dislike for the Iranian regime. This is the regime that hangs gay men from cranes! Yet Shayan describes it almost as some sort of pluralistic ideal. Many Muslims are decent ordinary people of course; Islamic law is not compatible of course with any modern human rights meme. The Swiss were acting against the encroachment of Sharia however clumsily. They have not done a single thing to stop anyone from freely worshipping as a Muslim.

tim said...

Hey Derek, there was a big march against the ban. See:
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news_digest/Swiss_cities_march_against_minaret_ban.html?siteSect=104&sid=11570255&ty=nd