Religious freedom and minority rights in Pakistan?


A few of the results of a bombing following mass at a church in Peshawar


There is heroism here, and sickening injustice, and appalling hatred:


This is not what real Islam stands for.



  • Ryan

    That this is not “real” Islam (or what “real” Islam stands for) seems like the sort of statement you would dismantle in Offenders for a Word.

    Appreciating your love for the Islamic people and culture, I’m sorry to say that this looks an awful lot like real Islam to me.

    • DanielPeterson

      Well, I’m certainly willing to defer to your knowledge of Islamic history and culture and of the Qur’an.

      • Ryan

        If by real Islam you mean historic Islam, then you’re right, I wouldn’t know. But times change, and so do religions, and I fail to see how Islam doesn’t own this. It’s just so widespread.

        • Ray Agostini

          Indonesia, which is the world’s most populous Muslim country, offers a different perspective. Only one province in Indonesia has Shari’a, Aceh:

          “Shari’a generated debate and concern during 2004, and many of the issues raised touched on religious freedom. Aceh remained the only part of the country where the central Government specifically authorized Shari’a. Law 18/2001 granted Aceh special autonomy and included authority for Aceh to establish a system of
          Shari’a as an adjunct to, not a replacement for, national civil and criminal law. Before it could take effect, the law required the provincial legislature to approve local regulations (“qanun”) incorporating Shari’a precepts into the legal code. Law 18/2001 states that the Shari’a courts would be ‘free from outside influence by any
          side.’ Article 25(3) states that the authority of the court will only apply to Muslims. Article 26(2) names the national Supreme Court as the court of appeal for Aceh’s Shari’a courts.[citation needed]

          Aceh is the only province that has Shari’a courts. Religious leaders responsible for drafting and implementing the Shari’a regulations stated
          that they had no plans to apply criminal sanctions for violations of Shari’a. Islamic law in Aceh, they said, would not provide for strict enforcement of fiqh or hudud,
          but rather would codify traditional Acehnese Islamic practice and values such as discipline, honesty, and proper behavior. They claimed enforcement would not depend on the police but rather on public
          education and societal consensus.”

          Islam in Indonesia:

          Certainly there’s room for even more tolerance and less restrictions on religious activities, but it’s still a very different picture to what we see in the Middle East.

          From the Jakarta Post:

          “Islam has never been a monolithic body since the time of Prophet Muhammad in Arabia until today in Indonesia, Western Europe or elsewhere.

          Therefore, comparison between Islam in Indonesia and
          Morocco as conducted by Clifford Geertz (1968) is epistemologically problematic…

          “Intolerance and Islamic radicalism should be rejected, not because it comes from the outside world but because it is against the very essence of the Islamic faith. It may come from outside, it may result from an interpretation by Muslims. We should not cover up anything bad but aim
          to get rid of it. Other religious communities encounter the same problem.”

          One Australian academic has argued that the more rigid form of Islam emerging in Indonesia is more tied to conservatism than terrorism:

          “More rigid Islam in Indonesia.”:

          If we are going to build bridges, rather than burn them, then we ought to be careful about defining the “real Islam” by radicals and extremists.

          “Kerry pays tribute to Islam in Jakarta”:

          “Ninety percent of Indonesia’s 250 million people identify as Muslims, and most practise a moderate form of Islam.”

  • peredehuit

    Yes. It isn’t the real Islam. The way I understand things the real Islam are people like you and me. They have families and children. They have the same fears and concerns we do. They have ideas and prejudices just like we do. The problem is tribalism (think ‘ites’ in the Book of Mormon). People with less than admirable ideas seek to build tribes as a means to rule and hold power. For example, Communism is economic tribalism. Nazism is racial tribalism. etc. What we see is the use of Islam to create a religious tribalism.

    Once a tribe is created tribal leaders have to find ways of separating the group and dehumanize those who aren’t in the group in order to build up a false sense of superiority. Tribalism and dehumanization makes for great press. Our own press is just as guilty in dehumanizing our Islamic brothers and sisters as they are of us. We see these outrageous pictures and demonstrations and we adopt these black and white notions of who they are and who we are. It is a terrible thing. We can’t expect Islam to change our minds. We have to rise above this and be better people. In my mind, this is one of the messages of the Book of Mormon.