Beliefs have consequences. This year’s Sept. 11 protests in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Israel, India, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar, Syria, Lebanon, Bangladesh, and Indonesia make this much clear. Whether planned like Libya or organic like Pakistan, the offended religious abstain from murder and property destruction in any country you’d want to live in. We owe this luxury to secularism.
Secularism tamed Western faith, a trend we hoped the Arab Spring would spread. As of today, the Arab Spring has born little fruit.
September 11 was not the first time Middle Eastern Muslims killed in the name of offense. It was April 2011 when nobody pastor Terry Jones burned a few Qurans. Offended Afghanis responded with reason, killing only twelve in protests an ocean apart from Jones. None of the dead had anything to do with the carbonized Qurans, just as Chris Stevens and others killed in Libya had nothing to do with “The Innocence of Muslims.” To anyone familiar with Islam across the Atlantic, murdering unassociated infidels is the response we expect.
Where were the Islamic protests in America? Like their response to Terry Jones, American Muslims gave this film the attention it deserved: none. Just as Mormons ignored, or even applauded, “The Book of Mormon on Broadway.” Just as Christians gave the urine soaked crucifix of “Piss Christ” neither time nor attention.
Domesticated Western faith proves the impracticality of literal theology in a developed world. Christians in America disregard Old Testament justice, the moral failure of Jesus to condemn slavery, and are learning to reject biblical nonsense toward homosexuality. American Islam shows similar moderation. American Muslims reject Quranic passages like:
“Slay them [unbelievers] wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage…If they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if they desist God is forgiving and merciful. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme” (2:190-93).
The September 11 protests illustrate the immeasurable distance between Western and Middle Eastern Islam. These gatherings are not the sole work of extremists, but the product of mainstream Middle Eastern Islam. Until these people evolve past their theological infancy, murderous protests cannot be dismissed as “senseless,” the words of President Barack Obama. These people have reasons for their actions. Literally, they lie in the Quran.
Brian Marceau can be reached at email@example.com