WHEN RESPECT SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD: RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY UNRAVELLEDIn an increasing secular, technologically advanced world, there exists a bunch of archaic, bigoted group of imbecilical creatures, who are hell-bent (literally) on imposing their faiths on just about every aspect of secular life.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I am writing about this very unique species of homo sapiens.....the religious fundamentalists, or fundies for short.
These religious nutters come in all shapes and sizes: From the turban wearing terrorists of Osama and his merry gang, to the hatred, gay-hating morons of Pat Robertson, these religious fanatics have only one aim in mind:
To create a New World Order, whereby or other creeds and faiths are either subjugated to the point of oblivion, or at worse, annihiliated.
HOW RELIGIOUS FUNDIES STRUT THEIR STUFF
Few would imagine that, in democratic, civilized societies, people would actually feel threatened, or coerced, to limit freedom of speech in the name of respect.
Inevitably, though, conflict arises between members of secular free press and the respective religious authorities, and from time to time, such conflicts may lead to sacrilegous outrage, the likes of which may lead to calls ranging from minor restrictions to freedom of the press and speech (Think book burning), or at the extreme end of the spectrum, calling for the heads of the purported perpetrators of the perceived blasphemy.
1. THE CASE OF SALMAN RUSDIE
SALMON RUSHDIE: WELL-HATRED BY ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS
One of the most publicized, if not notorious, incident, involved a certain writer of Indian origin, Salman Rushdie.
In Sep 1988, publications of his controversial work, The Satanic Verses, which, amongst other things, was a direct impliance to a little-known fact of the Islamic religion, that of the three pagan goddesses, which was written, according to an Arab historican, Ibn Ishaq (Approx. A.D 700), by Muhammad and incorporated with the Islamic religion. Muhammad himself later revoked the goddesses, claiming he was under the influence of the Devil.
This inference, it seemed, was deemed too blasphemous by the Muslims world, and subsequent violent protests erupted in many parts of the world. India, Rushdie's homeland, became the first to ban the book. Iran's Ayatollah at that time, Khomeini, issued a fatwa (death edict) and issued a bounty for his life. The book's Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was assassinated, stabbed to death at his university. Others, such as Italian translator Ettore Capriolo and publisher William Nygaard, survived assassination attempts.
Following the footsteps of India, many bookshops refused to sell Rusdie's book. Religion, it seems, has enforced its own standards on secular freethought: Respect, it seems, can only be earned through death threats, bloodshed and cold-blooded murder.
2. DANISH CARTOONS: A PENULTIMATE TEST FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Fundies from the Christian world, it seems, have caught on with this wave of self-censorship.
Of course, who would forget the ignominy of the widespread riots, protests, and blood-cuddling cries for the heads of the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, for a series of cartoons mocking the figurehead and founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad? First published in September 2005, the cartoons were a relative unknown, till some disgruntled Danish muslims decided to raise a ruckus, and the subsequent violence and riots that ensued made CNN headliines in Feb 2006 (link to my article on the cartoon fracas here).