Thursday, February 16, 2006

Danish cartoons, blasphemy, intimidation, and Kamran Tahmasebi

There are two key issues in the Danish cartoon wars. One is the freedom to blaspheme in general. The other is the freedom from initimidation in particular for Muslims from Muslims (and everyone else for that matter).

America was built upon the blasphemy of the Anabaptists, and it took a few centuries. Removing one portion of humanity from the muck of clerical intimidation was no mean feat. Now the UN and EU at the OIC's urging are considering anti-blasphemy edicts. How old-world can you get!

Then there is the matter of intimidation. Irshad Manji relates how young Muslims "fear persecution", persecution from Muslims, throughout the West.

What percentage of the Muslim population feels like they'll be punished for apostasy if they commit a thoughtcrime? Now I don't mean punishment by mere disassociation. I mean punishment by a violent breach of rights, even death. What percentage of Muslims would be threatened with death for apostasy? Is this a small percentage? Is it sizable? Is this threat explicit in any variants of Islam?

Finally, there's the story of Kamran Tahmasebi of Denmark. Hjörtur Gudmundsson writes, "Moderates such as Kamran Tahmasebi say they have had enough of fanatic Islamism and its intimidation of the Muslim immigrants in Denmark. 'It is an irony that I am today living in a European democratic state and have to fight the same religious fanatics that I fled from in Iran many years ago,' Mr Tahmasebi says. ... '[A]s a parent I feel a responsibility to fight, so that my children will not have to live under Islamist dogmas.'" Tahmasebi has joined a network of like-minded Muslims. I wish him well as he separates himself from the Batenburgers of our time.

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