Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Islamic blasphemy laws on trial in Pakistan, xenophobia on trial in USA

+Robert Taylor 's article on the Washington Times website raises tough questions about the disturbing populist movement to impose blasphemy penalties, including death, in "many Islamic countries." He cites Pakistan as an example.

Pakistan's ugly, growing populist movement to find non-Muslims upon whom a sentence of blasphemy can be imposed is a troubling trend, and Taylor is right to cover it. He appears to have soft-focused the causes for the recent vigilantism, and the considerable internal opposition in Pakistan to hard-line application of the laws, but that's not my point here.

When Taylor concludes his piece by predicting that the "blight" in the "Middle East" will continue until "Islam undergoes some degree of enlightenment," he crosses the line into good old American xenophobia, which is just as ugly.

Consider: No amount of obstruction of justice on behalf of pedophiles on the part of the Catholic hierarchy would make it acceptable, or sane, for me to call the previous pope a "blight" upon "America" that will continue until "Christianity undergoes some degree of enlightenment."

My point: Baptists in Charlotte, North Carolina are not responsible for the excesses of Christian extremists, such as the cardinal in California who now faces criminal charges.

Similarly, Sunni Muslims in Charlotte, North Carolina (of which I happen to be one) are not responsible for the excesses of Muslim extremists in Lahore.

This is America. We find ways to get along.

And in this country, responsible journalists shouldn't sling mud at entire religions in print.