Monday, January 09, 2006

Muslims vs. Catholics

Where I live, I am surrounded by Spanish Catholics. A large, beautiful 19th Century Catholic Cathedral rises majestically not far from my home and twenty minutes down the road is the White Dove of the Desert, the original Spanish mission built in the 17th Century. My best friends are a Spanish Catholic and an Irish Catholic, and ironically the Spanish man married an Irish Catholic woman, while the Irish boy married a Spanish Catholic girl from Mexico.

Why is this significant? I'm an English-speaking man, baptised in a Reformed Church (or "Protestant" if you prefer) and I'm descended from the English, Scots, Dutch and Danish, violently anti-Catholic nations of the Reformation.

Four to five centuries ago, my friends would have tied me to a stake and set me on fire. All because I'm an English Reformist (although I have rejected Christianity long ago.) If I had awoken in 1606 to find myself surrounded by Spanish Catholics, as I did this morning, I would have had a desperate struggle to escape with my skin intact. It's really quite a remarkable fact that I can live among them safely. So common is peace between Catholics and other Christians that no one notices anymore, but it is really quite an amazing fact if you look at it with an historical viewpoint.

Why bring this up? Because I've been thinking about the old wars of religion and Muslims. The population of Muslims in Arizona grows. I can't help but feel uneasy about it. When I look at their behavior in Iraq, the way they murder each other over sectarian diffences, they seem like Sixteenth Century Christians, ready to kill anyone who doesn't follow their religion. When I look at Muslim-majority societies, at the way they treat each other, the way they treat their non-Muslim minorities (dhimmis, inferiors under the law, second-class citizens), I see a bunch of medieval Christians. I wouldn't want medieval Christians living in my neighborhood. I wouldn't feel safe. There would be no way to "negotiate" with such people, no way to compromise for mutual understanding. It couldn't be done; their inflexible religious dogma permitted only one solution: domination. Tolerance simply doesn't exist for those convinced of their superiority. I can live safely among Catholics, but if I woke up tomorrow surrounded by Muslims, I would move out.

I know this sounds "bigoted" and "prejudiced" but let me protest: I know perfectly decent Muslims of whom I am not afraid. But they're all either bloggers or professionals--English speakers, educated people. I don't think they represent the majority at all. The majority displays a violent intolerance of other religions. They are completely incapable of self-criticism or accepting criticism from others. Doubts about their doctrines are blasphemous and punished with death. Their so-called "peace" with the Peoples of the Book is the peace of the tyrant over the subject. Dhimmis lives and property are never safe. Crimes against dhimmis committed by Muslims go unpunished. A dhimmi lives a life similar to a black person in the old American South.

I don't want Muslims here until they undergo a major transformation into modern societies. I don't want Tucson to be subjected to the riots and murders we see in France. I don't want one of our artists murdered the way Theo Van Gogh was by a Muslim angry over "blasphemy." If I want to voice my skepticism, my doubts about Islam, if I want to say what I really think of Muhammad, I don't want to look over my shoulder for some lunatic with a gun. I am no fan of racism or bigotry or prejudice, but facts are facts. Every time I see a group of women plodding along in the heat in their hijab here in Arizona, I feel fear. A shadow passes over the sun. A medieval darkness gathers.

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