I just want to make it perfectly clear, and I have mentioned this before, that I believe everyone should have the right to freely choose how they worship, and yes, that includes Muslims. Freedom of religion is and should be a fundamental right of every individual in this world and not just in democratic societies! There are many paths to GOD, and it is not up to me (or anyone else, for that matter) to dictate to you how and what you should believe. Forcing or coercing someone to believe what you believe, particularly through violent means, is deplorable. Killing someone because they are not of your religious persuasion is downright evil. This is why I take issue with Islam; because they seem unable to live in harmony with people of other Faiths. Because they feel their Faith is the only true Faith, and will actually kill because of that.
The Buddhists (a peace-loving religion) in Southern Thailand have been targets of Islamic insurgents for the past few years. A recent article (in the International Herald Tribune) reports the following: "Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Thailand's three southernmost Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, where more than 1,900 people have been killed in an Islamic insurgency that flared in January 2004. Police, soldiers and others viewed as collaborators with the government are targeted, along with Buddhists. Buddhist monks have been beheaded, Buddhist teachers slain, and leaflets distributed around Buddhist villages warning that raising dogs and drinking alcohol are offensive to Muslims." And today, 2 Buddhist Teachers were ambushed, just meters from the school where they taught. They were shot and killed and their bodies burned. (see Reuters article for details)
And Buddhists aren't the only victims of Islamic extremism. Christians, Jews and Hindus fear for their lives, as well, in predominantly Islamic countries or areas where Islamic insurgents are trying to take over. Killing others because raising dogs is offensive, is insanity! I don't drink, but I certainly don't harbor thoughts of murdering others because they do. If they don't want dogs, or decide to cover their women from head to toe, or choose not to drink, than God bless 'em, go for it. But don't tell me I have to do the same thing!
The misguided, p.c. world describes Islam as a "religion of peace", but it is actually the antithesis of that, at least in its present incarnation. It's an archaic religion of intolerance and violence with no real moral compass. By believing that they will be sanctified through martyrdom, they lack fear of moral retribution and this is why there is so much violence. They actually believe (in a very twisted way) that they are doing God's Will, so they don't fear death. Their afterlife is far more appealing than their actual lives, so why should they care who they kill, including themselves? I know there are probably many peace loving Muslims and I have met some very charming secular ones, but Muslim communities, even in democratic societies, are becoming increasingly radicalized and that is what's alarming. But I refuse to live in fear and I refuse to allow the Muslim community to dictate what I can or can not do or say, which they seem to be attempting to do with more frequency. On December 28th, the Muslim World League held a 2 day conference that took place in Jeddah, that "called for a consultative commission in order to take legal action against those who abuse Islam and its Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islamic sanctities, at local and international courts of justice, the Saudi Press Agency said. The conference titled “In Defense of the Prophet” called upon Islamic countries and governments to stand united to defend the Islamic faith and its Prophet. It denounced the smear campaigns to tarnish the image of the Prophet and urged Muslims to make all-out efforts to project the true picture of Islam and the great divine teachings of the Prophet". To read the whole article go to Little Green Footballs or Arab News. So, what does this mean for people, like me, who happen to be critical of their religion? Are they going to sue me because I have offended them and their Prophet? And what exactly is "the true picture of Islam"? There would have to be some major shifts to make me believe it is anything other than what it appears to be, in this point in its history. Show me tolerance and pacifism and then I might re-adjust what I think is the true image of Islam.