Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

September 23, 2012

Conflict of civilizations

(Continued)

The Muslim world, however, does not tolerate such things. A recent Reuter’s article explains:

“Protesters enraged by a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad battled with police in several Asian cities on Monday and vented their fury against the United States, blaming it for what they see as an attack on the Muslim religion.

“Police fired in the air to break up a crowd marching on the U.S. consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi while in Afghanistan and Indonesia people burnt U.S. flags and chanted ‘Death to America’.

“Indonesian police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who massed outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, capital of the most populous Muslim nation.

“In Kabul, protesters set fire to cars and shops and threw stones at police ... Thousands also marched in Beirut, where a Hezbollah leader accused U.S. spy agencies of being behind events that have unleashed a wave of anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim and Arab world.”

The world has become a much smaller place. Ignorant and ungracious people – whether mocking Islam, Christianity or atheism – have freedom-of-speech rights. It is sad that such individuals do not have sense or concern for others (like our military in the Middle East or Christian individuals who already find it difficult to survive in Muslim societies). Nonetheless, the American government recognizes the individual’s freedom of speech.

In America, you even are free to be an absolute idiot, if you want to be (and some people avail themselves of this freedom). If America has insulted Islam because a few people have put out a sacrilegious video, America has insulted Christianity FAR, FAR more. Arguing a religious viewpoint using logic, evidence or experience is appropriate, but resorting to mockery and name-calling – that is anything but ethical.

I believe most American Muslims understand that most Americans are not out to mock the religious beliefs of others with whom they disagree; but how do you communicate these concepts to entirely different civilizations?

• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.

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