Sunday, August 24, 2008

Religion of Peace?

I do think everyone, whether conservative, moderate or liberal should read Religion of Peace? by Robert Spencer. Spencer has well researched and documented his evidence that proves that Islam is not the religion of peace that people including George Bush contend. Wow! That statement might hit some readers like a bomb. However, I urge your to read the book (if you can't make your own trip to say Saudi Arabia or Indonesia to see for yourself) before you judge that thesis.

From our rather calm communities it's easy to figure every country is kind of like ours just with different holidays and customs. Cultural relativism has been taught through schools and television. I admit I pretty much thought that way.

Then I moved to Sulawesi in Indonesia last year. It didn't take long to see how different life was in a Muslim-majority country that bills itself has having freedom of religion. As my other blog, Ruined for Life (search "Indonesia") shows discrimination against non-Muslims was quite common and radical Islam is on the rise. Young women were starting to wear burqas more; they'd recently begun segratating high school classes by religion; interfaith marriages are illegal; the church nearest my house had been burned down and on and on. So that changed how I viewed the peacefulness of Islam.

Back to Spencer's book - he covers topics such as the role of women in Islam, how the crusades and inquistion compare with the spread of Islam through force, false or inaccurate portrayals of Christianity and Islam in the media. Each point is supported with evidence and it's easy to find Spencer's sources. I did look up a few online because I wanted to see the original article and it all checked out.

Spencer is not spreading hate. He sensibly acknowledges that there certainly are good Muslims. He does examine the history and current events of Islam that threaten our national security and that of Buddhists, Hindus, and others in Asia and Africa. He also sets the record straight on areas of Christian history that have been exaggerated.

Here are a few things I learned:
  • Muslim men may marry up to 4 wives after that the women are considered concubines. I'm not sure why 4 is a magic number.
  • Non-Muslims are called Dhimmi (like goy in Hebrew I suppose) and often have had to pay extra taxes to live in Muslim countries.
  • If a man marries a pre-pubescent girl, he should wait till she reaches puberty to initiate sexual relations.
  • The reason for female victims of rape to have to have 4 male witnesses to the crime is that Shar'ia courts suspect many adulterous women would just cry rape.
I don't think this should be the only book a person reads about Islam, but it should be one among several.

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