Monday, June 9, 2008

Dear Pakistan

Dear Pakistan:

We understand that a high level delegation from your country is coming to the West to request that we "amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator." We understand that you are making this plea in order to forestall Muslims reacting with justifiable homicidal mania to any perceived slight by word or picture - or in the case of Teddy Bears, naming. Indeed, you have stated that the recent suicide bombing outside the gates of the Danish Embassy was preventable if we in the West would just silence all criticism of Islam. Since you have been so kind as to take the first step and open up a dialogue on the topic, there are just a few minor things that we too find offensive and were wondering if you perhaps could do something about them.

- Do you think you could discuss your Koranic interpretations that are used to legitimize terrorism and indiscriminate murder to advance Islam. We realize that the Wahhabi, Salafi, and Deobandi sects in particular interpret the Koran to mean that they can freely murder non-Muslims or enslave them and rape them. [Update: For specific references to these doctrines being taught in a Saudi school in Virginia, read the USCIFR report here.] Perhaps you can understand why we might find that offensive. This is made all the more problematic when one realizes that those sects hold that challenging their existing Salafi Koranic interpretations are "redda (apostasy) punishable by death . . ." Thus some of us could misinterpret your reasonable request to alter our laws of free speech to criminalize the criticism of Islam as a backdoor attempt to impose your will and your religion on the West. Perhaps you can clarify that for us.

While we are on the topic of terrorism, you have allowed your country to become ever more radicalized over the past four decades by throwing open your doors to Saudi madrassas that promote incredible racism, xenephobia and violence. You knowingly allowed the A.Q. Khan network to operate as a nuclear Walmart for the most dangerous regimes around the world. You created the Taliban movement and are, today, at most doing less than nothing to combat it, and at worst, actively supporting it in its efforts to retake Afghanistan. Hopefully you will understand why we find that a trifle problematic and, in the long run, untenable. While we ponder offending you, perhaps you might ponder your role in killing us and spreading terrorism.

- Some have expressed dismay at your treatment of Muslims who decide they do not believe in Islam or that convert to another faith, such as Christianity. We take some offense at executing people for their religious beliefs. I realize that despite the threat of death, conversions to Christianity from Islam are occuring with ever greater rapidity. Are you so unsure of your religion that you can only maintain outward belief and retention by threatening death? And on a related topic, do you think you can get the Saudis to stop cutting off peoples heads for witchcraft? Not to be too judgmental, but the emphasis of your religious police on ferreting out witches and breaking spells (which accroding to the grand inquistor are to be found in the sea) seems all a trifle medieval. Perhaps it becomes understandable when one realizes that Saudi Arabia only put the flat earth theory behind them with the recent turn of the millenium. A fatwa issued by the Grand Mufti in 1993 instructed "the earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment."

- Your ideas of religious freedom seem a tad lacking to us. In your country, Pakistan, the charge of blasphemy against the Prophet is being used to steal vast tracts of land from Christians In Algeria, Christians are being jailed by kangaroo courts for practicing their religion. In Saudi Arabia, there is no freedom to practice any religion but Islam, even in the privacy of one's home. No churches can be built in Turkey. Christians are being systematically persecuted and driven from Palestinian controlled portions of the Holy Land. Christains and Jews are second class citizens in virtually all Muslim dominated countries. As long as we are discussing things that bring offense, pehaps you might consider those things.

- About this honor violence and the treatment of women thing, do you think you can work on that? It really does offend some of us in the West - though admittedly not the major feminist groups. I realize women can seem a bit threatening, but do you have to stone them to save your idea of honor? Or gang rape them? Or beat them to death? Or set them on fire? And do you really have to perform female genital mutilation?

- Most of us in the West are a might offended by pedeophilia. I realize the Prophet deflowered a nine year old girl when he was fifty-four, but times have changed over the last millenium and a half. What do you say, can you do away with arranged marriages to and sex with pre-pubescent girls in order to stop offending us?

- Some have noted that court systems applying Sharia law discriminate based on gender and religion. Is there any reason you can think of that a Muslim male's testimony should count twice that of a non-Muslim's or a woman's? We do find such systemic discrimination a bit troubling.

- Is there a reason you keep hanging gays? A substantial number of us are offended by killing or beating a person for their sexual orientation.

Lastly, there are many of us who take offense at the fact that you feel that your interpretation of your religion is above criticism - and indeed, that you act as psychopathic children at any real or imagined slight in an effort to bully the West into silence and dhimmitude. It is difficult to think of anything that would be more dangerous or counterproductive to the West than silencing criticism of Islam or freedom of speech in whatever form. Several of the major sects of your religion - Wahhabi, Salafi, Deobandi, Khomeinist - preach an interpretation of the Koran and Hadiths that are quite literally mired in the Dark Ages and aimed at imposing Muslim domination on the world by any method. They are in desperate need of their period of Enlightenment and maturation that can and will only come through critical thought and debate - or to put it in Islamic terms, ijtihad. Your request to silence free speech in the West would effectively stop that process in its tracks.

I'll tell you what, why don't you get cracking on the things that offend us, and then we'll talk some more about silencing our freedom of speech to keep you happy. Or are our concerns just more Islamophobia on our part? Well, what say you my Paki friends?



P.S. In countries that already have laws limiting criticism of Islam, we have seen the UK issue a warrant for the arrest of a British blogger for critizing Islam, and in Canada, Mark Steyn was charged with a human rights violation for merely quoting a Wahhabi cleric. Another blogger from Finland was recently jailed for two years for insulting Islam. What more could you ask for, really? Just remember, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered in the West.