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Monday, June 14, 2010

Islam is associated with terrorism? No way!

Who would have thought so, right?

A majority of people in Britain associate Islam with terrorism and the repression of women, a poll has shown.

The survey coincided with the launch of an advertising campaign aimed at combating negative perceptions of Muslims.

In the online poll of 2,152 UK adults, 58% of people said they associated Islam with extremism and 50% associated the world religion with terrorism.

The poll also found that 69% believe Islam encourages the repression of women.

It was organized as part of the Inspired By Muhammad campaign that will see adverts featuring pictures of Muslim professionals including TV presenter and Islam convert Kristiane Backer on the London Underground, bus stops and taxis.

Organizer the Exploring Islam Foundation said the campaign aims to highlight the Prophet Mohamed's teachings to Muslims on the importance of the environment, gender equality and social justice.

For one, this is a good campaign that aims to bring out the moderate Muslims and try to erase the image of the mad jihadist with a bomb strapped to his back. And I say "try", because it will take more than that to make that image go away.

The title of the article comes out as if it were a surprise to the readers that Islam is related with terrorism, violence and misogyny. First of all, we have to admit that there are extremists everywhere, and that no philosophy or belief is totally safe. But the problem with Islam is that it seems as if in Muslim societies, this extremism were not shunned, but condoned.

What about the Christian fundies who shoot down doctors? We can argue that’s just one of them, all the others being annoying in different levels, but more or less civilized. However, when it comes to Islam, English people might have it pretty easy relating it to terrorism and everything bad when they see this images:

Seriously, when you have a group of people demonstrating on the streets, being angry about a cartoon, or a so-called "offense", threatening with making their backwards laws the rule of the country/world, it's not just nonsensical to tolerate that, but also suicidal.

This is where liberalism fails. And just to be clear, I'm referring to the kind of liberalism that argues that every culture and human group has to be accepted, along with their practices and customs. Western society has had its flaws during the past, but along with those flaws came the idea of social justice, tolerance and human rights that most of the world share. To allow a human group that rejects and shuns those ideals is not moving forward under the idea that by allowing that culture, we are being more progressive and tolerant. On the contrary, it's moving backwards by allowing not a own group, but a foreign one hijack those ideals.

The problem is not the color of their skin, or the beards they have, or the clothes they wear. It's the divinely-inspired idea that their religion-filled culture must prevail anywhere over any other. Some Muslims might and will adapt into a society that cherishes liberal values, that's wonderful. But it is not enough.

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Blasfema libremente

"Que esté permitido a cada uno pensar como quiera; pero que nunca le esté permitido perjudicar por su manera de pensar" Barón D'Holbach
"Let everyone be permitted to think as he pleases; but never let him be permitted to injure others for their manner of thinking" Barón D'Holbach