A Prophet of Peace or Pieces?

Many years ago, a prophet was born in the Middle East.  The angel Gabriel foretold a select few of this man’s promise to bring God’s word to Earth. He was not popular in his time and many conspired to kill him. He often spent much time alone in desolate places communing with God directly, and learning of His divine plan. He preached to a select group of believers who traveled the world telling others of the good word he had brought to humans straight from God’s mouth. Do you know who this man is? Of course, I am referring to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And this will be the last time I will refer to him by name seeing as how any time you express his name audibly it must be followed by “peace and blessing upon him.” Because I don’t care for piousness and also don’t want to anger such a wrathful group of people with my careless blasphemy, I will just call him the prophet. I trust that is vague enough to save me from death by Allah’s (glorified and exalted) warriors. Yes, there is also a follow up for saying the man in the heavens’ name.

The U.S. embassy was stormed in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen this week. Stories are still rolling in, but it was presumed to be in response to a callous and yet also seemingly crappy film depicting Muslims in an unflattering light. Others believe that this was an orchestrated attack by Al-Qaeda in the newly fledgling democracies of Northern Africa. No matter what provoked the attacks, they were designed, led, and carried out by Muslims to defend the great and unbesmirchable honor of their prophet. Here is where the line gets so blurry as to create a sightless and sickening cataract upon our global society.

We are living in a condensed, urban and over-populated world. We can ill afford a group who believes that not only is the rest of the world infidels but also that they are occasionally dispensable in an Islam-centered worldview. If they curse the holy ones, then they die. The if-then argument is clearly defined.

Although it is constantly publicized as a love-based religion, it is not often the perspective visible through world events. Granted, most religions have had their black sheep and those who pervert the true concepts into self-motivated and usually insane goals, Islam has been at the front of the pack recently. The followers of Islam can hold up all the pictures and posters they want saying this is not the real Islam and apologize for the killing of a blameless diplomat, but guess what, it is A real Islam. It may not be yours, but it is A version of Islam. It is A version of Quranical teachings. It is A version that involves death to non-believers, death to desecrators, and especially death to those who make public their opinion of my God.

And the best/worst part is, that nobody wants to stand up to 1.6 billion people. That is not a fight you can win. And then, if by some “miracle” you were able to “win”, by producing a film, book or story disparaging or denigrating the prophet in any way, what did you really do? You simply expressed an opinion, which should be the right of any free people in any free society on this world composed of free will. Nobody wants to die just to insult a religion. Everything deserves to be ridiculed. Islam has produced a nice little Damacles Sword to hang over anyone who dares to insult their belief system. That constant fear one would live in makes any type of defamation against their religion seem unworthy of the result.

I have believed for some time that since the prophet lived in the 7th century (his religion became worldwide in the 8th and 9th century) and Jesus lived in the 1st century, it only stands to reason that the Islamists are around 800-900 years behind the Christians in religious fervor. Do you remember what Christians were doing 800-900 years ago from 2012, yes; they were fighting “crusades” against infidels. It’s not a coincidence; it’s not a theory. I feel it to be empirically true as evidenced by the last 3-4 decades of Islamic terrorist behavior. Christians aren’t fighting for their God anymore, perhaps because they have the autonomy to worship in freedom of any God they want, and perhaps because most Christian countries (for some inexplicable reason) are not hopeless deserts of endless summers with high unemployment and no alcohol. I am oversimplifying the geography to emphasize how personality may be linked to climate. Could the dry heat of deserts and brutal climes of mountainous regions contribute to a culture’s general disposition?

These events, combined with the vitriol toward Salman Rushdie in the 80’s, with the death of Theo Van Gogh, with the threats to Israel, with the Danish cartoon uproar and the generally nasty disorder associated with Islamic fundamentalism should raise our collective red flags. We should be aware of this as a threat to global security and safety. We should be aware that all religion is subjective and nobody has guessed correctly as far as we know. We should be aware that others don’t have to think how we do. We should be aware enough to know that when people call your God a devil, or say your prophet disrespects women, that doesn’t make them correct and it doesn’t mark them for death. We should be aware that religion remains the opiate of the masses, creates a flawed idea of self-importance, with an unneeded hostility and separateness in a growingly connected civilization, completed by an overarchingly simplistic view of the cosmos.

The fact that people are rioting and killing people over a movie, or the fact that people are killing and rioting over a movie that disgraces a religion is beyond reason. It enters the realm of preposterousness. I don’t want to die in the cause of fighting for the right to make fun of religion. I don’t even want to have to explain why that fight may be worth fighting for the future of the world. I want sanity to win on its own accord.