Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Orson Scott Card Wants A Fatwa

At least, it's hard for me to conclude otherwise from his latest "Ornery American" post:
There is no faith under compulsion. Any nation where Sharia is enforced is not a Muslim nation, and none of its people are Muslims. If they cannot choose not to be Muslim, then they have not chosen to be Muslim. Without freedom not to believe, faith is a sham even if you think you are sincere.
You see what I mean? This guy is asking for trouble, he is!

In all seriousness, I have to give him credit for stating his mind bluntly and unambiguously, as he generally does. For he's absolutely right -- Islam today insists on a right to kill Muslims, and even non-Muslims, for a variety of transgressions. (Remind me, please: who were the Muslim clerics who denounced the brutal murder of Theo van Gogh?)

But Islam does not accept the right of any other religion to encroach on Muslim territory. If you draw a mediocre cartoon, or write a controversial book, or film a thought-provoking documentary that causes offense to Muslims, then any Muslim may consider it his duty to kill you... and this is an open threat to all non-Muslim society.

(Indeed, as Mr. Card points out, it's a threat to Muslim society as well. A society that punishes religious conversion with death will not have many attempted conversions... but it will be a stagnant and increasingly meaningless society, the sort of society that feels a need to blame its woes eternally on someone else. Hmm -- sound familiar?)

Moderate Muslims, in countries (such as the United States) where freedom of speech is an unquestioned right, have mostly felt that they could not afford to speak out about this. But, as Mr. Card explains, the time may soon come when they can no longer afford not to speak out; their fellow Muslims will have left them with no choice. Remember the widespread opposition in the United States to the UAE ports deal; how much of that could have been averted, had Muslims -- and Arabs -- taken the trouble to make it clear that they do not support terrorism?

Americans are, it seems to me, increasingly losing patience with being told that "Islam is a religion of peace" (when the most prominent spokesmen for Islam are the ones kidnapping journalists and beheading people), or that "the Saudis are our friends" (when their actions show nothing of the sort). We need to hear that from Muslims... and we need to see it backed up by action.


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