Fitna and the Acceptable Bounds of Criticism Wednesday, Apr 9 2008 

And another interesting article.

I think it oversimplifies a bit (after all, we have seen terrorist acts carried out by non-Muslims — the Oklahoma City bombing comes to mind, not to mention the Irish “Troubles” — though I’m not sure to what extent these people ascribed their actions to divine guidance). So does Geert Wilders’s Fitna, which I watched online a few weeks back. (I won’t bother linking to it because it comes and goes so often who can keep track?) Fitna looked amateurish, and it’s pretty short, I don’t recall exactly but maybe about 15 minutes. You can’t get all that deep in 15 minutes. Yes, there are Koranic verses that sound pretty horrid, and yes, some horrid things have been carried out in the name of Islam. And, I’ll take Geert’s word for it and say, yes, there are a lot of Muslims in the Netherlands. (If you haven’t seen Fitna, that pretty much covers it.)

The point I most take away from the article, and to a much lesser extent from Fitna, is that it is a very surreal (and frightening?) world when the response to a terrorist attack in the name of Islam is another round of politicians’ speeches about how Islam is a peace-loving religion (I’m not saying it is or it isn’t, not the point, I’m just sick of hearing the phrase), and leaders across Europe beat down the door to be the first to condemn this guy’s amateurish video, more quickly than they condemn actual attacks. There really isn’t anything new or shocking in this video, yet apparently all kinds of servers were refusing to host it. This isn’t freedom of speech. This looks like fear.

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Is “Religion-Neutral” Possible? Wednesday, Apr 9 2008 

Check out The Myth of the Religion-Neutral Classroom. Interesting article.

To me, brings to mind the old “freedom of” v. “freedom from”. I believe the Bill of Rights guarantees us freedom “of” religion, not freedom “from” religion.

Interesting Clip From Al-Jazeera Saturday, Mar 29 2008 

And, finally, check out this interesting video clip from Al-Jazeera, posted to a blog by Peter, who, as you will quickly see, is quite likely Baptist. = ) The speaker makes points which are politically incorrect in this country, much less in Qatar and other places in the Islamic world. Interesting that she was able to give them voice in this forum.