Friday, February 03, 2006

Muslims speak out for freedom and tolerance

The Free Muslim Coaltion is speaking out for freedom of expression and against the hysteria, intolerance, and violence that so far appears to be the only reaction from the rest of the Muslim world.

I suspect I unfortunately have no Muslim readers, but if I did, here's what I would tell them: By condemning a few mild sketches, and remaining silent on the violence and threats perpetrated by Muslim fanatics, you are simply confirming the common perception that Islam is a religion of intolerance, hate, and aggressive violence.

I have argued that this perception is an unfair characterization of Islam, but I find myself wondering -- where are all the tolerant, freedom-loving Muslims? Except for the good people of the FMC, there seems to be no Muslim willing to take a stand for freedom, and to publicly condemn the hysterical and violent reaction of their fellows.

Muslims, speak out for freedom and tolerance now -- or convict yourselves by your failure to do so.

I confess to making at least two errors in this post.

First, there are plenty of Muslims who have spoken out in favor of free expression. See my Feb. 14 post for a few examples. We need more, but whether the press would note their existence is another matter.

Second, I made a wild statement in closing, that Muslims could convict themselves by remaining silent. I kind of like this as rhetoric, but as a Muslim pointed out to me elsewhere (Tom Palmer's blog), this can't literally be true...and he's right, it isn't.

Maybe a better thing to say -- we ALL should be speaking up for reason, for liberty, for respect for everyone's rights, whenever we can...because if we don't we may find that those who don't respect these things will win the day.
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