David Cameron has now followed Mrs Merkel of Germany in stating that multi-culturism just hasn’t worked. He says one should recognise the difference between Islam and Islamist and treat the latter as it deserves. About time. Sharia law is beyond the pale. A fourteen year old girl under a fatwa in Bangladesh has died after having received eighty of a hundred lashes and the authorities have decided at last to do something about it and punish those responsible. But if the girl hadn’t died, and she wasn’t the first, would they have bothered? And even now will they carry though with the threatened punishment or is all hot air? The same as they have decided to do something about honour killings. What makes it even more terrible is there appears to be every reason to believe the girl was raped but under Sharia the victims of rape are evidently as culpable as the perpetrators and liable to punishment. Hundreds of years ago an animal subjected to bestiality was also considered guilty of sin and destroyed as was a machine that caused a death. Are there those still in the same thought mould in the twenty-first century? Well, yes, obviously there are, and the dear old Archbishop of Canterbury feels a touch of Sharia in the UK wouldn’t be amiss? Sometimes one wonders if the American Christian fundamentalists aren’t right; they don’t go in for barbaric punishment and death, just hope, believe and pray you go to hell!
The purported theory at the moment, even by some atheists and agnostics, seems to be that, despite all religions being man made, (did God really speak to Moses on the mount? Did the angel Gabriel really speak to Mohammad? Did Paul really have a revelation on the road to Damascus? Was Christ really the result of a virgin birth? Do tree spirits exist?) they are necessary for the binding of peoples and communities together and are therefore a good thing. The problem arises when someone believes implicitly that their religion is the one and only one and sets about proselytising or condemning those whose beliefs don’t match theirs. For example it’s not enough that we have Sunni versus Shia, we also have Sunni versus Sunni. (Nothing new there, Christians have been fighting Christians for centuries).A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Muslim prayer leader and his son to life in jail for blasphemy, a charge they obviously deny. Mohammad Shafi, and his 20-year-old son, Mohammad Aslam, had been running a grocery shop in a small market town in the Punjab. The complainant alleged that the pair had ripped down and trampled a poster of a gathering to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. It had been posted on a pillar outside their grocery shop. Their lawyer said they would launch an appeal against the sentence in the Lahore High Court, as he claimed the allegations had been motivated by sectarian differences. He said his clients followed the Deobandi school, while the complainant was from the Barelvi sect - both are Sunni Muslim branches of Islam.
A Christian leader said this was the first time a jail term had been handed down under the blasphemy law, which carries a mandatory death sentence. A Christian woman, Asia Bibi is on death row for allegedly insulting Islam. Critics say the blasphemy law has been used to persecute minority faiths in Pakistan and is exploited by people with personal grudges (a phenomenon well known under dictatorships). Barelvis have been in the forefront of a recent campaign against reforms to the blasphemy law. Pope Benedict XVI, who has led calls for the woman’s release, said this week the blasphemy law should be scrapped, provoking a backlash from protesters in the Punjab capital of Lahore.
Over Christmas Coptic churches in Egypt were attacked and now more than 1,000 Muslim protesters have stormed a courthouse and burned two churches in central Java, Indonesia. The attacks happened after a Christian man was sentenced to five years in jail for distributing leaflets deemed insulting to Islam. Indonesian police said the crowd considered the sentence too lenient and were demanding the death penalty. The incident came two days after Muslim villagers in western Java killed three members of a minority Islamic sect. And so on and so on and so on and so on.
If almighty God is as omnipotent as so many believe why doesn’t he just bang a few heads together? Knock some sense into them.