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On Religious Intolerance

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I just read a great editorial in the NY Times about Tony Blair’s decision to have no tolerance for terrorist rhetoric wrapped in religious speech.

The author of the piece, Irshad Manji, is a Muslim woman who questions her own religion’s teachings and asks that the clerics and scholars within Islam start to wise up to the realities of the world and the flaws within the faith. Needless to say, she’s marked for death within some circles of Islam.

This passage in particular shows the stark difference between modern day Christianity protest and modern day Islamic protest.

Allow me to invoke a real-life example of what can’t be tolerated if we’re going to maintain freedom of expression for as many people as possible. In 1999, an uproar surrounded the play “Corpus Christi” by Terrence McNally, in which Jesus was depicted as a gay man. Christians protested the show and picketed its European debut in Edinburgh, a reasonable exercise in free expression. But Omar Bakri Muhammad, a Muslim preacher and a judge on the self-appointed Sharia Court of the United Kingdom, went further: he signed a fatwa calling for Mr. McNally to be killed, on the grounds that Jesus is considered a prophet by Muslims. (Compassion overflowed in the clause that stated Mr. McNally “could be buried in a Muslim graveyard” if he repented.) Mr. Bakri then had the fatwa distributed throughout London.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth it.