But it's not just the fundamentalists on their end I'm worried about. Where I live palinists are more of a problem than mahomeddans. A lot of my day to day slog involves trying to convince people that my country's current series of wars in the middle east are unjust unprovoked invasions based on misinformation, or that muslims are not all evil people bent on the destruction of Israel and America, or that muslims should be able to build a mosque without being protested, or that even though our president probably isn't a muslim it really shouldn't f*cking matter if he is, or that the atrocities in Gaza are a real thing that's actually happening and should be opposed, or that maybe we shouldn't be so eager to jump into a war with Iran, or that torturing people is neither an okay thing for civilized humans to do or a particularly good way to get useful information.
So there are certain things that I think someone needs to say, that I personally am very, very hesitant to say in the current climate (and not for the reasons people are usually afraid of pissing off muslims). I am afraid, literally afraid, of giving any philosophical shelter to the actions of my nation's government.
Narratives which paint muslims as savages make it easier for people to accept what is being done to muslims. And some f*cked up things are being done to muslims. The solution isn't a hard rule against insulting muslims since we're talking about people who would have a persecution complex in the best of circumstances. Still, in many real ways, muslims are being persecuted right now. Criticisms of islam should be sensitive to that (and the most useful ones will bring muslims face to face with reasons to doubt the tenets of islam, not just reasons to have hurt feelings).
Anything that could come across as calling muslims barbaric runs into the problems of hurting islamic feelings (with the risk of triggering avoidable violence over there) and encouraging racists and neoconservatives (with the risk of triggering avoidable violence over here). And a lot of the criticism of islam that needs to be made is that it makes people f*cking barbaric. The important goal of humanizing muslims is at odds with the important goal of pointing out how much their own religion dehumanizes them.
To think we should give islam a pass or ever censor ourselves to avoid insulting any religion (particularly one that is programmed to use acting insulted as a silencing tactic), is exactly the wrong kind of thinking. But anti-muslim bigotry is a real thing. And any criticism (any criticism, even completely legitimate and necessary criticism, this is the f*cking problem) of islam risks furthering the anti-muslim bigotry that allows people in the U.S. to approve of our abuses in the middle east (and makes up most of the platform of one of our "two" political parties).
In the broader context of living in a culture where the (sometimes accurate, often overblown) portrayal of islamic violence (or the general meme of muslims as evil people) plays into the hands of powerful factions with less than enlightened reasons for wanting to intervene in the middle east, I'm personally kind of uncomfortable with portraying islam as the barbaric, reactionary faith it often is.
So no, I definitely wouldn't ever use the Qu'ran as a doorstop. That is not what I would call productive blasphemy. I'd neither advise you to nor advise you not to. But I would say the only people who will notice such a gesture will be muslims passing by your door. There will be no clear specific criticism of islam. It seems like for the muslim viewer it will simply fit in with an overall pattern of muslims being disrespected in general society.
If you have a door you need held open, it could work. If you get the right printing it's a fairly large book. I think the best thing to do with the Qu'ran is use it as a piece of evidence that the Qu'ran is not the special perfect book some people think it is. Use the Qu'ran to show muslims where the Qu'ran is wrong. Inspire them to burn it. That is productive blasphemy.
Insularity is their root problem. They already feel like the world is against them. They already feel they are under attack. They often are under attack. On balance, muslims have a lot of legitimate reasons to feel like the world is treating them unfairly. They have a lot of reason to feel that they are being disrespected and dehumanized. They are people who would have a persecution complex under the best circumstances. And as it happens a lot of them are being persecuted right now. Whatever messages we send them will exist in the same space as the hostility they are already experiencing. And those messages will be taken in that context.
That is not to say straight shock value can't have any value. It can. Even blasphemy without criticism can be valuable (can be valuable, can not be our entire f*cking plan). Especially that which clearly sends the message 'get used to the fact that we will not censor ourselves for you'. Anything that cracks the shell may be helping. In some way even this sh*tty film may have some positive effect (still comes off as petty and still counterproductive overall). There is an inherent positive effect to breaking taboos (particularly in taboo based cultures).
Simply disrespecting symbols can be have some benefit. Particularly in cases where someone finds the idea of someone not following their rules as inconceivable. Much of the problem is that islam is mostly practiced in a space that islam has not had to share. It is accustomed to blasphemy laws, mandatory respect, forbidden words and forbidden images. Other gods are the enemies of allah (and no god is not on the table any time soon), and allah owns everything (and as the Qu'ran mentions a few times, allah doesn't share anything).
Gods get their power from people believing in them. Anything that knocks the abrahamic god down a bit has an inherent positive effect. Anything that says allah is not great, or the Qu'ran is just a book (and not a great book), or that islam needs to learn to share the world, has an inherent positive effect.
One thing can have both positive and negative effects.
And something which says 'f*ck muslims' will come bundled with negative effects. Those negative effects should be taken into account in deciding how we engage islam. I'm not saying insults shouldn't be used. But the fact that they will need to be used is a problem because of other factors.
Anything that makes muslims feel disrespected is going reinforce the edifice of islam. It might have positive effects. It might even have some effects in the direction of weakening islam. It will also have the effect of reinforcing islam. I think this is something we should be trying to avoid.
Being offended is islam's whole schtick. In western media they're mostly known for blowing things up. But if we didn't have our vast propaganda machine dedicated to portraying muslims as scary savages, they would be mostly known for being needlessly offended by everything.
If you leave out the oil, and leave out Israel, and leave out the effects of western imperialism, and just look at what islam basically is on its own terms, islam is mormonism.
The extreme muslims are just ultraconservatives. Their particular flavor of rhetoric may be Qu'ran based, but what they are saying is the same sh*t the ultraconservatives are saying in every society.
Psicop was half right. A lot of these people (and keeping in mind the 'they' here is a much more diverse group than he gave them credit for, including some unknown number who go along with their cultural trends out of necessity, but would love to walk away from the whole thing) are not looking for free speech in any meaningful sense. If given free speech the first thing they'll use it for is probably to say the same stuff that has already been drilled into their heads their entire lives. They have internalized the tool of their oppression. But that is the first generation. They will get over that.
You were right, but your idea won't really take off within the first couple generations. It will still start to catch on once given the chance. People in islamic countries are starting to recognize they can criticize their political leaders. This is a key part of the process which will lead to them criticizing religious leaders.
When more muslims have the choice to walk away more will.
When more muslims get internet access they will start meeting more atheists.
Also (and this is going to sound silly, but it's a serious point) when the general population of islamic countries starts to get access to porn, it is going to break their bubble in ways you or I never could.
"Also, the overwhelming majority of the Muslim I know (just like the Christians) are very nice people. And according to these, uh, "moderates", they DO speak against the crazies, but their appeals don't make much audience."
Their complaint that the existence of moderate islam is completely ignored by the media has some basis. Moderate islam exists and is completely ignored by the media. In most of american media and a lot of european media "muslim" is treated as synonymous with "terrorist".
A lot of what western media portrays as religiously based, specifically islamic rage, is anger at the actions of western governments. But mentioning this would be in violation of our own taboos.
It is not as violent of a religion as often portrayed (though to be clear, islam as a nonviolent religion is a historical oddity). A lot of that portrayal is from media outlets with a bias for promoting America's war of the week. And nearly all of it from media outlets with a bias for sensationalism.
While it is not exactly the violent aggressive religion it is often seen as, it is still an insular, repressive religion. That does not get nearly as much general attention. Partially because narratives of scary brown people tie in so well with other narratives that dominate our media. Partially because there's not really any way to criticize religious insularity in the U.S. without offending insular viewers on this side.
From the perspective of a moderate muslim, they do criticize the crazy ones. They are not lying about that. But what do they criticize them for? Having the wrong god? Having the wrong understanding of the Qu'ran? How is that actually different from what the crazy ones criticize them for? How will that help? As long as that book is seen as god's mandate it will be corrupting human thought.
Moderates do enable fundamentalists. Most moderates would see that as a ludicrous statement. Not just from self deception. From where they're standing there would be no reason to believe it. They devote quite a bit of effort to opposing these extremists.
Every time the extremists make embarrassing headlines, the moderates are there to remind us that this isn't really what islam is (even though it kind of is).
From a moderate perspective, they are the ones trying to improve islam. They are declaring at every opportunity 'we are not all like that'. And many of them are well mannered, basically nice people.
And these well mannered basically nice people are propagating belief in the inerrancy of the Qu'ran, a book which explicitly tells all muslims to do all the worst things fundamentalist muslims do. Moderates add legitimacy to the institution which causes all this sh*t in the first place. That is what gives extremists their power.
So maybe the situation is just a little more complicated than can accurately be summed up as 'moderates enable fundamentalists'. But there is still a definite mechanism in play where moderates totally do enable fundamentalists.