Questionable Motives

December 29, 2011

What does sophisticated theology look like in action?

Filed under: Religion,stupidity,theology,tolerance — tildeb @ 10:18 am

The 1,700-year-old Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Jesus’ supposed birthplace, is maintained by three religious denominations:  the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Franciscan Order of the Catholic church. It is one of the holiest sites in Christianity, is in a bad state of repair, largely because the priests cannot agree on who should pay for its upkeep.

From the BBC Online: Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where many Christians believe Jesus’s body was taken after crucifixion, has also seen similar incidents.

“It was a trivial problem that… occurs every year,” Bethlehem police Lt-Col Khaled al-Tamimi told Reuters.

And the money quote:

“No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God,” he said.

March 6, 2011

What’s the problem with science/religious compatability?

I have been described as a bitter individual who thinks that there is only one way to view this world. You scream, verify, prove, facts, figures. Wow. You (sic) view is coloured by extremists who think their religions are right and you try just as hard to scream that your way is the only logical way. Well, I suspect it would not be wise to ask this person for a character reference any time soon.

Of course, I don’t see my views this way. I try to explain that it’s important that we – not just I – respect what’s true, what’s knowable, and hold great esteem for the method of inquiry that allows us to find these answers, that provides us with a foundation upon which to build not only practical technologies that work but a way of inquiring into every nook and cranny of the universe… including ourselves… on an equal footing independent of our perspectives and world views. I’m sorry if I screamed that too loudly, but let me reiterate: I respect what’s true and I don’t think that is an extremist position at all.

What never fails to amaze me is how people who hold their faith-based preferences to be equivalent with what’s probably true, probably accurate, probably correct see themselves and their attitude somehow removed from the ongoing problems resulting from this widespread generous allowance to respect faith-based beliefs, and assume that anyone who disagrees (and provides good evidence for that disagreement) is some kind of fundamentalist or extremist. I take issue with that absurd caricature and I do point out the effects such allowances have in the public domain of the real world and at the expense of real people. That – apparently – makes me not only strident but militantly so. How is it that respecting what is true and holding others to that same standard is so often considered unreasonable if it interferes with the preference for equivalency of faith-based beliefs to what is actually true? Well, I think the answer goes back to the assumption that faith-based beliefs are magically superior to human knowledge as long as it places god at the top of some knowledge hierarchy. In a nutshell, this is the heart of the probelm of asserting compatibility between science and religion.

An excellent example is how someone with knowledge is held in contempt for enunciating that knowledge and whose life is actually threatened by those who assume a faith-based belief is not just equivalent but superior to what the method of science reveals. God’s truth – whatever the hell that means – is superior in this belief system to what the human mind can understand is true based on honest inquiry, verification, and its practical validity. Surely this cannot be the case here at home in technologically advanced society that relies on this science for its functioning infrastructure, can it?

It can. And does.

What does this respect for faith-based beliefs look like in a secular western democracy? The examples are many – legion, in fact – but I shall select merely one.

From The Independent with bold added:

A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.

Dr Usama Hasan, a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was intending yesterday to return to Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in Leyton, East London, for the first time since he delivered a lecture there entitled “Islam and the theory of evolution”.

But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque’s committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. “I seek Allah’s forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused,” the statement read.

And what offence did Dr Hasan commit? What exactly was this mistake?

Masjid Tawhid is a prominent mosque which also runs one of the country’s largest sharia courts, the Islamic Sharia Council. In January, Dr Hasan delivered a lecture there detailing why he felt the theory of evolution and Islam were compatible – a position that is not unusual among many Islamic scholars with scientific backgrounds.

Really? This was the offense, the mistake, reiterating this knowledge. But the good news is that this statement of knowledge is not unusual with Islamic scholars who apparently are qualified to judge science, we are assured. Phew. What a relief that this scientific knowledge meets with religious approval. Compatibilists everywhere must be breathing easier, right? Not so fast…

Most Islamic scholars have little problem with evolution as long as Muslims accept the supremacy of God in the process. But in recent years a small number of orthodox scholars, mainly from Saudi Arabia – where many clerics still preach that the Sun revolves around the Earth – have ruled against evolution, declaring that belief in the concept goes against the Koran’s statement that Adam and Eve were the first humans.

These are folk qualified to judge, eh? And compatiblists are seemingly okay with this.

Ah yes, we can’t have knowledge – the ‘good’ kind, that is – without getting the order right: god-approved knowledge first, meaning whatever knowledge doesn’t compete with faith-based beliefs about that god, and all scientific knowledge second. And therein lies the explanation why science and religion are incompatible methods of inquiry:

What’s true, accurate, and correct is a secondary consideration in this compatiblist mind set. And that’s what makes faith-based beliefs that science and religion are compatible a bald-faced lie: we either respect what’s true and knowable first, or we respect what we believe must be true for our faith-based beliefs and preferences to remain unchallenged and supreme. Faith in the latter is a virtue but a failure in the former. These two positions are simply not compatible because of this and those who would like to pretend that they are are not only deluded but continue to grant intellectual respectability to those whose faith-based beliefs contrast honest knowledge. These are the people who need to be taken to task for this capitulation of intellectual integrity to respect that which deserves none: faith-based beliefs.

September 13, 2010

What is the root of religious intolerance?

Scripture. Holy scripture. And we need to be courageous to face this most unpleasant fact. The only way for religion and Enlightenment values like freedom of expression to live together in peace and tolerance is if religion becomes domesticated. And that means that the scriptures need a good editing to annul the intolerance and bigotry it promotes by order of god and for the scripture’s literalistic adherents to be marginalized by main religious body of followers. And this needs to be clearly stated by our political leaders who, so far, have done a piss poor job enunciating this necessity; instead, they have kowtowed to the religious sense that all is fine and dandy in their religion… except for a few dingbats, wingnuts, and deluded folk who actually dare to believe that the scriptures say what god means. I know… crazy talk!

As Dan Gardiner clearly explains in this article:

Of course religions can evolve. It is true, for example, that most Christians do not support the immediate execution of all homosexuals and very, very few would think it appropriate to kill a man who had carnal relations with a sheep. Or kill the sheep. That’s progress.

But, even if religions evolve, religious texts don’t. The language of brutality and bigotry is still there, in books said to be holy. Surely it is not surprising that it can still inspire suspicion, hostility, and division, or that, every now and then, some strange little man will read it and decide to burn a Koran or picket a gay man’s funeral or fly a jet into a skyscraper. It’s true that religion can inspire the best in us. But it can also inspire hate and madness. This is a fact of enormous importance, if only our leaders had the courage to say it.

The fact of the matter is that biblical and qu’ranic scriptures are filled with god’s sanctified intolerance for the Other and various admonishments and punishments that seem to suit his rather barbaric taste in allowable retribution. People who honestly believe that these scriptures really are the word of god cannot understand how others who claim to be of a similar religious persuasion can cherry-pick which are to be understood to be benign metaphors and which are to be taken literally. Arguments for moderate and tolerant religious beliefs are usually based on theological interpretations that rely on a rather sophisticated reading that elevate the good bits over and above the bad bits. But many adherents feel uncomfortable agreeing to go along with these man-made interpretations rather than stick closer to the source. And I do not think we can fault these folk for relying on the source material… a practice hammered into my head by the repeated mantra of many a professor: when in doubt, go the source.

Our leadership – like most religious folk – would have us believe that these believers who rely on the source scripture for and are willing to act on their religious beliefs are some fringe group that has been radicalized into fundamental extremism. I think that is unfair and is an avoidance technique to have to deal with the truth of the matter: it is the religious and tolerant moderate who has moved away from the word of god as revealed in scripture. Unless and until we recognize scripture itself as a never-changing central impediment to achieving tolerance and legal respect for the rights and freedoms and dignity of the Other, we shall continue to pretend that this intellectual cowardice to face reality is a synonym for tolerance. It isn’t. It is an enabling attitude. And that enabling cowardice shall continue to exact a heavy price in human suffering in the name of god.

(Tip to a subscriber)

February 18, 2010

Do religious people practice what is preached?

Filed under: belief,racism,Religion,tolerance — tildeb @ 1:26 pm

Religious people can be racist, and that’s not news.  But are they more likely to be racist than non-religious people?  A new study now confirms this hypothesis.

The February issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review has published a meta-analysis of 55 independent studies conducted in the United States which considers surveys of over 20,000 mostly Christian participants. Religious congregations generally express more prejudiced views towards other races. Furthermore, the more devout the community, the greater the racism.

A meta-analytic review of past research evaluated the link between religiosity and racism in the United States since the Civil Rights Act. Religious racism partly reflects intergroup dynamics. That is, a strong religious in-group identity was associated with derogation of racial out-groups. Other races might be treated as out-groups because religion is practiced largely within race, because training in a religious in-group identity promotes general ethnocentrism, and because different others appear to be in competition for resources. In addition, religious racism is tied to basic life values of social conformity and respect for tradition. In support, individuals who were religious for reasons of conformity and tradition expressed racism that declined in recent years with the decreased societal acceptance of overt racial discrimination.

Tip to CFI

February 13, 2010

What do we owe to secularism?

In my discussions with many who hold some allegiance to religious beliefs, I am often presented with statements that assure me that human rights, freedoms, and respect of personhood derive from religious holy texts. That’s a rather optimistic interpretation usually assumed to be true by those who wish to present their religion as a force for good in the world. But a significant problem arises when the same texts are used by many men in religious authority as a bullying tool to justify the intent to reduce human rights, freedoms, and the dignity of personhood. The standard reply to my criticism is to assure me that only ‘extremists’ and those who misinterpret god’s will abuse the holy text in such a way and so should not count against the more favorable interpretations and assumptions.

Then along comes another example of religious belief being used to justify some reduction in human rights, freedoms, and dignity of personhood not by some fringe extremist but some central authority like the the pope or the archbishiop of Canterbury or some typical local clergy and I am left wondering how so many religious people can tolerate the constant undermining of hard won secular enlightenment values by people who think believing in some favored invisible sky father adds authority to their opinions about how treat others.

This latest (bold face in mine) come to us from an English vicar concerned about the divorce rate. His solution? Wives, obey your husbands and close your mouth. Such is the quality of so much ‘moral teaching’ from holy texts:

In a leaflet issued to parishoners, the Rev Angus MacLeay used passages in the Bible to justify women playing a submissive role in local church life. He urged women to “submit to their husbands in everything”.

Mr MacLeay, a member of the General Synod (that just voted 241-2 that the conflictual truth claims made by science and religion are compatible because, well, just because they say they are), is opposed to the appointment of women bishops. He has campaigned vociferously for Reform, an Evangelical group that seeks to reform the Church of England “according to the Holy Scriptures”.

The leaflet he issued It says at one point: “Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church.

“This is the way God has ordered their relationships with each other and Christian marriage cannot function well without it.”

In a section called `More difficult passages to consider’, it continues:

“It would seem that women should remain silent….if their questions could legitimately be answered by their husbands at home.”

In a sermon days later, his curate, the Rev Mark Oden, a married father-of-three, built on the argument, sparking further controversy.

He told his congregation at St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks, Kent, that the behaviour of modern women was to blame for Britain’s high divorce rate.

He said: “We know marriage is not working. We only need to look at figures – one in four children have divorced parents.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands.”

Thankfully, at least a few of the parishioners have the sense to withdraw their active support from this religious organization that champions with religiously sanctioned authority such twits as this. If the parishioners don’t like it, they can leave. And that’s usually where the critical thinking about the truth claims uttered on behalf of religious denominations  stops. It shouldn’t.

Why can people walk away from religious edicts without public penalty or censure?

Does that right, freedom, and dignity to walk away from ignorant and bigoted faithist social positions come to us from the religious teachings?

Hardly. If we have the courage to deny the edicts of the holy texts to respect their clergy’s teachings, we are assured within those texts of all the awful consequences that awaits us – if not in this life by our faithful neighbours then in the next by a veritable host of supernatural malignant creatures out to punish us for our temerity.

Why we have the right, the freedom, the dignity of our personhood to choose to walk away from such religious drivel is not a small or trivial matter to consider. We can do so because our secular laws protect individual rights, freedoms, and dignity of personhood and can call upon the power of the State to enforce these laws. Part and parcel of these laws is the right of individuals to believe what they wish, known as freedom of religion, so the ally of the individual that empowers our choices with respect whether religious or not is secularism.

And that is a point more people need to spend some time pondering: it is secularism that grants us the rights, freedoms, and dignity of personhood that empowers each of us to be able to make meaningful choices and lends us its authority to force others to respect our legal ability to do so. It is secularism that deserves our primary allegiance as citizens, whether religious or not.

January 12, 2010

Should we tolerate religious discrimination?

Beulles Hit, leader of the California division of the Sainted Aryan International Church, spoke out against the proposed anti-segregationist bill introduced earlier this week in the state’s legislature. He said, ” I have the highest regard for people of other races, people who enjoy the freedom to worship their creator any way they want, but it’s racist for this government to insist that my freedom of religion be put aside so that this church is forced by law to act against its founding principles of racial purity and harmony.”

Since the early 1930s the Sainted Aryan International Church, with nearly 3,00 divisions world wide, has preached a message of love and racial purity. Although it allows members of other races to join the Church and work in their affiliated schools funded by the taxpayers, only pure Aryans are sanctified to be pastoral leaders.

“The Aryan purebreds are revealed in Mien Kampf to be the Chosen One,” explained Pastor Hit. This principle goes to the very core of the Church’s mission: to promote love and racial purity.

“The proposed legislation would cripple our ability to practice our religious beliefs,” said the Pastor. “It is not only discriminatory against our beliefs but undermines the very notion of religious freedom.”

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Something here isn’t right, is it? That’s because I just made it up. There is no Aryan church… but there could be. If there was, could we intervene and declare that this kind of racism will not be tolerated? When the discriminatory practices of a religion is in conflict with secular rights of equality and respect for the dignity of a person, which side do we choose? And there’s the rub: we have to choose. Will we we institutionalize in jurisprudence the right for religious practices to be outside the secular law? If so, on what grounds? Is religious belief merely enough?

The headline reads: Catholic ban on women priests ‘illegal under Harriet Harman equality bill,’ with the subtitle, The Roman Catholic ban on women entering the priesthood will become illegal under Harriet Harman’s controversial Equality Bill, according to Christian charity, Care.

Note how the bill is presented… not so much as a legal push for equality to remove discriminatory practices within a religion but more as  a personal bill by Harriet Harman.

A new report by the leading charity – backed by a legal opinion from a leading QC – says the Bill will make it impossible for all churches and faith-based charities to insist that their senior staff lead private lives in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Wow. HH is attempting to control how people live their ‘private’ lives. No one wants that. But is this charge true? No. The bill is intended to force illegal discriminatory practices to end, whether the practice is done in a church or at home. We alreadylive with this law at home, meaning that we are breaking the law if we discriminate on the basis of gender or race or what have you. And most people think this is a pretty good law.

CARE said that, under the Bill, which will be considered by the House of Lords on Monday, it would be illegal for a Christian charity to sack a senior manager for adultery or living an openly gay lifestyle.

Why should an organization be able to fire a senior manager for doing something that is not illegal and which has absolutely nothing to do with the job? Presumably, such a sacking is fine if it discriminates against the little people in the organization, but senior managers? The nerve!

The same rules would, it added, apply to Muslim and Jewish churches and charities.

How horrible: a level playing field. Imagine what life might be like without special favoritism for the local religion.

However, the biggest potential showdown is likely to be between the government and Britain’s 4.3 million Catholics over the church’s tradition of an all-male, celibate priesthood.

I wonder why? Isn’t every religion’s earthly hierarchy equally misogynistic? They aren’t? Who knew?

Previous legislation in 2007, also backed by Ms Harman, the Commons Leader and equality minister, forced the closure of two Catholic adoption agencies for refusing to comply with new laws requiring them to place children with gay couples.

Imagine if all agencies had to comply with the same law. Chaos, I tell you… pure chaos.

CARE’s report – A Little Bit Against Discrimination? – warns that the proposals contained in the Bill are a serious threat to religious liberty in Britain.

Ah yes… here we go… it’s all about religious freedom by avoiding that whole discriminatory practices issue.

John Bowers QC said in a legal opinion for CARE that the Bill could make it unlawful for a church to require a priest or minister to be male, celibate and unmarried, or not in a civil partnership.

Yeah… so? They can still be male, celibate and unmarried, and not in a civil partnership.

When the Bill, which aims to wrap up all existing equality legislation in one piece of law, was debated in the Commons, ministers MPs tabled more than 100 amendments to it – but ministers imposed a “guillotine” on the Bill and prevented most of them being discussed.

Gee… I wonder what those amendments were all about? Perhaps how to make an equity law not quite so… what’s the word… equal?

The report’s author, Dr Daniel Boucher, said: ”The Equality Bill is a direct assault on the freedom of all faith-based organisations, from churches to charities. This Bill will make it unlawful for those organisations to employ people who are committed to a particular set of religious beliefs.

Not quite, Dan. One is not ‘free’ to practice any discrimination one wants. Or, at least, this bill aims to correct the current exemptions based on religiously inspired discriminatory practices.  You have the freedom to believe what you want but you don’t have the freedom to put those beliefs into practice if they break the law. Pretending that this issue is about religious freedom is a lie.

“This Bill in its current form is a further blow to the faith-based voluntary sector and will leave many people unable to access services they always have.

“This Bill in its current form is a further blow to the faith-based voluntary sector and will leave many people unable to access services they always have.

Only if one holds discrimination as a higher calling than respecting the equal rights of individuals and refuses to volunteer But that’s up to the volunteers.

“This legislation must be revised to recognise our plural society. It must recognise that there are many people in our country who have deeply held religious views and convictions, rather than trying to impose some modern day Stalinistic version of society where there is only ever one view that is right, the Government’s.”

Stalinistic? Since when was ‘equal rights for all’ attributed to Stalin? So if one disagrees with allowing religiously inspired discrimination to be exempt from civil law, one is a totalitarian communist, eh? Nice way to phrase the difference of opinion and a real show of support by example for this so-called respect for plurality.

Overall, the Bill is designed to deliver greater equality between people of different gender, race, religion and class.

Terrible, Just terrible. How dare they?

However, it has attracted criticism, particularly from businesses. It paves the way for ‘gender pay audits’ in large companies, obliging employers to disclose the average hourly pay they award male and female workers.

Uh oh. Is it possible that businesses also partake of the less-pay-for-those-wh0-have-a-vagina kind of plurality?

The planned legislation would also allow employers to give preference to female or non-white job applicants over equally qualified white men.

Again, this level playing field is a terrible burden for all. If you get rid of one discriminatory practice, who knows where it can lead? Other than a Stalinistic totalitarian state where every woman and member of a minority has a job scything wheat out in the great and fertile plain of communist Salisbury, that is, while white male unemployed former bankers wander the street in tattered three piece suits and bowlers.

Public bodies would have a legal duty to narrow the gap between the rich and poor in the provision of services. For example, local authorities would be expected to do more to help children from poorer backgrounds.

You mean that social services are in higher demand in the more dodgy areas than the swanky? I’m shocked.

If passed, the Bill could also oblige public sector bodies to consider the “gender balance” among employees of companies bidding for all government contracts.

Why shouldn’t companies that endorse equality benefit more than companies that refuse?

But Michael Foster, Minister for Equality on the Bill said: “The Equality Bill will still allow churches to hire only male clergy and will let faith-based charities continue to recruit people of the same faith where this is a requirement of the job, such as care staff who may also be asked to pray with the people they look after.

“We have been absolutely clear on this throughout the Bill’s passage, but as there has been some misunderstanding around our intentions we will amend the Bill to make this clear beyond doubt.”

What? Some misunderstanding? You mean the same people who tell us that we must learn the lyrics to the Internationale if this bill is passed? But they’re the ones telling us the Truth, just as they always have. Absolute truth is the standing order from this crowd… other than a bit of discrimination here and there, of course, but for god, you understand… and the wee children, of course… and the old and infirm, and those whose souls aren’t going to roast in fiery pits of hell… not like those disgusting homosekshuals and girls who, you know, flaunt their bits, and, well… the plurality parts of the unwashed population that just aren’t religiously decent. We need to keep them in line and if we can’t discriminate against them then all is lost.

A pity, really.

But don’t worry, you religious lot; I doubt the politicians have the secular stomach to pass such a necessary and justified bill.

December 13, 2009

Jesus and Mo: Tolerance?

Filed under: Critical Reasoning,Entertainment,Religion,tolerance — tildeb @ 3:34 pm

December 11, 2009

Are we intolerant to make judgments on what people say and do?

WASHINGTON — Five young Muslim American men from the Washington suburbs who disappeared late last month were detained in Pakistan on Wednesday in a police raid on a house linked to a militant group, American and Pakistani officials said.

One of the men had left behind an 11-minute video calling for the defense of Muslims in conflicts with the West and suggesting that “young Muslims have to do something,” said one person who had seen the video, describing it as a farewell of sorts. Another person who viewed it called the video “disturbing,” though he said it was not a martyrdom video of the kind sometimes made by extremists planning suicide attacks.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group that is working with the families of the young men, cautioned against hasty conclusions about the episode during a news conference in Washington with other Muslim leaders.

But Mr. Awad, who said he had seen the video, and the other leaders said that the case — along with the recent recruitment of young Somali-American men in Minnesota by a violent group in Somalia — suggested that at least a small number young American Muslims were drawn to extremist views. They pledged to start a nationwide campaign to counter such attitudes.

From the article here.

Yes, we must not be hasty to link militant islam to violence… isn’t that what we learned from not rushing to any hasty conclusions about what Major Nidal Malik Hasan said… before committing his atrocity at Fort hood? Oh, that’s right: we didn’t want to offend someone by believing that perhaps someone actually believes what he says he believes. That’s far too hasty. And the greater crime is always about criticizing intolerance than promoting it. Judging, for those of us so confused in the West, is by far the greater crime than merely promoting the committing of the crime. Isn’t it?

Don’t most young American men who also just so happen to be and by sheer coincidence muslim disappear from the US only to pop over to Pakistan to visit the most religiously radical of their family members, making videos about the pressing need for other nice muslims to “do something”? The crime is to be too hasty to judgment. Good grief. Are we really so naive? Apparently so.

So let’s hold Awad and the Council on American-Islamic Relations responsible to do what they say they are going to do: they have pledged to start a nationwide campaign to counter such attitudes as the ones portrayed by these young men. Let’s keep a very close watch in the coming days for this ‘counter’ campaign. But I’m willing to bet that this is the last we hear about any ‘counter’ nationwide campaign by the religious apologists over at the American-Islamic Relations Council. They are far too busy telling others how NOT to make any hasty judgments about the constant stream of violence that – amazingly – seems to be practiced from those who adhere to the ‘religion of peace’ known as islam.

December 10, 2009

The Swiss plebiscite: is banning a symbol a show of tolerance?

Filed under: Islam,Law,Secularism,tolerance — tildeb @ 2:25 pm

What Europeans are finding out about Islam as they investigate is that it is more than just a religion. Islam offers not only a spiritual framework for dealing with such human questions as birth, death, and what ought to come after this world; it prescribes a way of life.

Islam is an idea about how society should be organized: the individual’s relationship to the state; the relationship between men and women; rules for the interaction between believers and unbelievers; how to enforce such rules; and why a government under Islam is better than a government founded on other ideas. These political ideas of Islam have their symbols: the minaret, the crescent; the head scarf, and the sword.

The minaret is a symbol of Islamist supremacy, a token of domination that came to symbolize Islamic conquest. It was introduced decades after the founding of Islam.

The Swiss vote highlights the debate on Islam as a domestic issue in Europe. That is, Islam as a set of political and collectivist ideas. Native Europeans have been asked over and over again by their leaders to be tolerant and accepting of Muslims. They have done that. And that can be measured a) by the amount of taxpayer money that is invested in healthcare, housing, education, and welfare for Muslims and b) the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who are knocking on the doors of Europe to be admitted. If those people who cry that Europe is intolerant are right, if there was, indeed, xenophobia and a rejection of Muslims, then we would have observed the reverse. There would have been an exodus of Muslims out of Europe.

There is indeed a wider international confrontation between Islam and the West. The Iraq and Afghan wars are part of that, not to mention the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians and the nuclear ambitions of Iran. That confrontation should never be confused with the local problem of absorbing those Muslims who have been permitted to become permanent residents and citizens into European societies.

Read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s entire article here.

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