Within all religions there is an element of peace and war. This fact dates back to the Crusades and exists today in the 21st century. The events of 911, and the fear which it created was encouraged by the Presidential Administration in 2001; fear developed into a hatred for all people who were not Christians. The result was a unanimous view of Islam and therefore its hatred by Americans. When a discussion began on ‘Real Time’ last week it became interesting. When it was over, Ben Affleck Trumped Bill Maher.
Last Friday on ‘Real Time’ an actual discussion erupted. Panelist Affleck and host Maher engaged in a heated discussion. The subject was the religion of Islam; Maher condemning virtually all members of the Muslim faith and claiming that liberals ‘conveniently’ ignore how dangerous they are. Affleck declared that groups of radicals have influenced the world’s population to believe that the millions of devout and peaceful followers of Islam are dedicated to destroying America and Christians.
Worldwide attacks, including the attacks on 911, have been the acts of Muslim extremists. Those who would condemn all followers of Islam use this fact to generalize and make their point. This same group points out that parts of the Quran suggest violence; however, the same is true for the bible including the genocide of the Amalekites.
Another panelist on the show was Nicholas Kristof, a writer for the New York Times. He noted in an article after his appearance on ‘Real Time’ that the attitudes of people who practice Islam has changed throughout history, as have the views of Christians. Because the focus is on the extremists, little is actually known about Muslims in the United States. When ignorance grows, understanding and the truth fade.
Mr. Kristof points to the fact that people must be cautious about using generalizations. He informs us that the Dalai Lama today is benevolent and preaches peace. However the Dalai Lama in 1660 ordered the massacre of children. The Christianity of Reverend Martin Luther King was far removed from an act by a papal legate in the 13th century. He ordered the death of 20,000 Cathar men, women and children, calling them heretics.
Least understood is what Islam teaches about the relationship between men and women; Islamophobics claim that women lack importance in the Muslim world, and are treated with little respect. What they are taught is far different from those assumptions. They are instructed to treat their wives the same way in public as they do in their own homes. Mistreating a wife is contradictory to ‘the beauty of human nature.’ They believe that treating wives as well as possible makes a man better. Women should be treated delicately and with tenderness. Their daughters are also included in their teachings. Female children are intended to receive good training and a good education; doing so will earn them paradise.
Mr. Kristof summed up his article with a few facts. There are 1.6 billion Muslims. Their religion is diverse. Many of them practice tolerance and are champions of the modern world and human rights. He points out that an individual’s faith does not make him or her a fanatical zealot; there are peaceful and decent people in all religions, but the extremists receive the most attention.
As Ben Affleck could have said; ‘take that, Bill Maher.’
The New York Times