L.. Neil on Islam and Muslims
SF and libertarian guru L. Neil Smith is circulating to friends the following response to a news item.
The news item: Paul McCartney has refused to cancel his concert in Israel, despite threats from Islamic militants, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The response follows comments made by Omar Bakri Muhammad, a militant Lebanese Islamic activist, in an interview. Mr. Bakri said, “If he values his life, Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel… He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.”
L.Neil's reponse: As you know, I'm a staunch, life-long atheist, and my opinion, after many decades of study, is that all religions are equally wacky.
However it is vitally important for all of us who consider ourselves decent to remember that is is not Islam that has targeted Paul McCartney for death if he plays a concert in Israel, it is a single individual who calls himself Omar Bakri Muhammad. Most of the Muslims I have met in my life -- and they have been many -- have been kindly, gentle, warm, generous people who love their families and have a marvelous sense of humor. One murderous cuckoo squatting in a minaret somewhere should not be permitted to influence our view of these people, a third of the world's population. How would you like it, my friend, if that same world were to judge you, not on on the basis of your own behavior, but on the inane rantings of an Al Sharpton or a Jerry Falwell?
Libertarians are, first, last, and always, _individualists_. As we demand that the world view us as individuals, so we must strive to view the people of the world the same way. Group punishment and preventive law enforcement are not a part of our political vocabulary. Moreover, adopting the socialistic policies of, say a Hillary Clinton or a George Bush, only feeds their insatiable lust for raw power and unearned wealth. If 9/11 had happened on a libertarian's watch it would have been dealt with as the crime it was, rather than as an act or war, which it was not, under any definition of the concept. The remaining individuals criminals responsible for 9/11 (assuming they really were Middle Eastern terrorists, an assertion never proved) would have been run to earth, captured, tried, and punished. And we would not now be at war and plunging into a Depression.
I'm extremely glad Sir Paulie, in effect, told this cowardly threatener -- who sends young people out to die for him, exactly like American politicians do -- to shove it. But the creature was not speaking for Islam, and it is is not Islam that McCartney will be defying, but a single moral and intellectual toadstool.
P.S. If you think Islam and the Koran are uniquely evil or favor unbridled violence, I suggest you read your Old Testament a bit more closely.
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Nicole Paluszek - 9/23/2008
Thanks and kudos for this! I so agree. I lived in Amsterdam for 10 years in neighborhoods where about half my neighbors were Muslims, and the vast majority of them were exceedingly friendly, polite, civil, and unintrusive. If individuals do somewhat reflect on their religion or culture, it is appreciation and understanding, not condemnation, of Islam that these people instilled in me.
I feel sick every time I come across self-proclaimed Libertarians engaging in Islam-bashing based on the actions of a handful of individuals and a big dose of ignorance.