Attack Catholicism? Progressive. Criticise Islam? Racist

July 17, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Australia, July 13, 2016: In the recent wave of attacks across Baghdad, ISIS killed hundreds of innocent civilians, mostly Shia, as they celebrated Ramadan. These attacks were declared proof that “ISIS is anti-Islam” in various media headlines.

Yet when other religions are implicated in serious social harms — even against their own — these have been seen as inextricably linked to the offender’s religion.

Consider the Catholic Church, which has been embroiled in shocking child sex abuse charges against priests. These crimes led to widespread condemnation of not only the church and its leaders, but also the religion, for its patriarchal and antiquated ideology.

These criticisms played out in both the court of law and the court of public opinion where Catholic leaders were scrutinised to the nth degree. Any denial or downplaying of this abuse was swiftly struck down in media and public at large.

Today, segments of Islam are embroiled in conflict. The dispute spans multiple sects, various countries and regions, each with differing perspectives on Islamic beliefs, laws and practices. Boosted by geo-political instability, this has brought about increased terrorism across Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. As the violence grows, so does the concern.

Yet unlike with the Catholic crimes, many of the criticisms of Islamic extremism are denounced or denied. In the court of public opinion, critical voices are deemed phobic, racist or ignorant, even if they occur within the religion themselves. Where journalists scrutinise Islamic leaders they may even be met with threats of violence.

In Australia, some political leaders are taking on religious groups. The Australian Sex Party have scorned the Catholic Church for their failings. In a recent ad campaign the Sex Party mocked the church over “sleazy priests”, tax evasion and more.

Party leader Fiona Patten explained: “Catholics and atheists alike are having a bit of a laugh at it. That’s the beauty of Australians; we can laugh at ourselves.” It is questionable if laughter would ensue had the Sex Party targeted an alternate religious group with their video.

Some politicians have questioned the role of Islam in extremism. Ex-PM Tony Abbott wrote that while most Muslims rejected terrorism, some were “all too ready to justify ‘death to the infidel’” before calling for reformation. Many condemned his words as hateful.

The message is clear: critique of Islam is not to be tolerated. Indeed, media voices remind the public that while this religion has no link to terrorism, criticising the religion could lead to increases in terrorism.

It is unlikely that the Sex Party were concerned about reprisal attacks when devising their ad to mock Catholicism.

So how is it that offences of the Catholic Church are to be directly attributed to Catholicism, while Islamic extremism and terrorism are strictly defined as un-Islamic?

Presumably, based on vague arguments, there is concern that criticism of Islam could lead to reprisal attacks on innocent Muslim people. This approach assumes that the general public is unable to walk and chew gum — to think critically about religion and simultaneously maintain an anti-violence stance.

Denying the public the opportunity to even attempt to do so is unlikely to resolve any of these problems. Repressing dialogue is neither anti-extremism nor anti-discrimination.

In an egalitarian society, all religions, ideologies and leaders are open to critical dialogue. Yet in Australia, this apparently means “having a laugh” at some religious groups and tiptoeing around the truth for others.

So insular and bipolar has the discourse become that there is scarcely any expert input or new insights and even a push to silence progressive Muslims. Instead, we see a repetition of the cycle of denial with every new terrorist attack. Progress is not only hindered, it is prohibited.

The Left may continue to blindly deny any link between Islam and terrorism yet there appears to be common consensus that criticism of Islam could engender terrorism.

If there is a risk of violence for thinking or speaking critically about any religion, then that is precisely why dialogue is most needed.

Fortunately, this country supports the freedom to think critically — at least in theory.

– daily telegraph

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Comments

One Response to “Attack Catholicism? Progressive. Criticise Islam? Racist”
  1. Agnello Fernandes says:

    These so called Liberals are plain Cowards, they know that Catholics will not seek to dismember them for their criticism but would rather pray for their salvation, hence a soft target. When it is amply clear that there are 108 verses in the Koran that unambiguously call for violence against non Muslims they fear to mention this. The hate preachers are given airtime on National TV to quote these so called scriptures and you expect moderate muslims to speak out? They will have to first rewrite the Koran!!!
    This Terror Cycle is unending unless you directly address this most vital root cause.
    Like the French PM said ” We have to live with this” Really???

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