I was thinking today about Draw Mohammed Day and had to check to see if it was March 20th or May 20th (it’s in May… I always get those months mixed up). And it occurred to me how little there is in the way of anti-Muslim material among atheists.
There’s probably a lot of reasons for this. For one, most blogs are done by people from the Western World (whatever that is), especially English speaking nations, myself included. Islam simply isn’t very influential where we are. Even when I lived down the street from a mosque and a madrasah, Islam just didn’t really affect me. Even the convenience store I went to was run by Muslims and catered largely to a Muslim crowd, and they had some of the best beef jerky I ever tasted.
[Note the obligatory nice thing before I launch into sharp criticism.]
But let’s be honest, if we did live in a Muslim nation, chances are we wouldn’t blog about it, for fear of our lives. Sometimes I see people bending over backwards to try to defend Islam, but they just deserve the same rights as anyone, including the right to be criticized. The problem is, because reasonable people decided to foolishly defend a violent religion, there are primarily rabid Christians who are criticizing Islam, and they do it all wrong.
Yes, the Quran is full of violence, even more than the blood-soaked Bible, but like most people, Muslims aren’t very good at following their book to the letter. Just because I don’t want to live under Sharia law doesn’t mean Muslims should be treated any differently than Christians, or atheists for that matter.
In short, Islam deserves heaps of criticism, but what it’s been getting is largely just a violation of the rights of individual Muslims. Hauling in Muslims to courts like some sort of witch trial, as Republicans are currently advocating, isn’t going to accomplish anything but to strike a blow against our constitution and the ideals we claim to uphold. You can criticize someone without violating the basic principles that made you correct in the first place.
There is something fundamentally better about the culture I am a part of when compared to fundamentalist Muslim nations. Women are more free, homosexuals are more free, minority populations in general are more free… but the key word is “more,” because I’m not from a perfect culture. There are still things to change here, and I don’t think I have an impact on non-English speaking people in countries that commit what I see to be atrocities.
This is why atheists tend to set their sights on Christianity. You talk about what you know, what’s close to you, and what impacts you directly. I suppose if you are a Christian, you have to really reach to pretend you’re being oppressed, and Muslims just seem to fit the bill as being dangerous and hostile enough to warrant being the target of the inherent need in all of us to scapegoat someone.