Friday, November 30, 2007

Bark: Muhammered

My illness this week has prevented me from blogging about an increasingly bizarre week in the news, but the one stand-out story for me this week hasn't been the Labour Party funding crisis, but the story about the religious and political furore surrounding a British Primary School Teacher in the Sudan, which has reached an all-time nadir for making mountains out of molehills.

Something tells me that if this teacher hadn't been white, British and Christian, we never would have got to the stage where people would be marching down the streets, baying for blood, because a teacher had allowed her students to name their class teddy bear after The Prophet. Some idiot in the Sudanese government has decided that this would be a great way of scoring a few cheap political points, and turned what would normally be considered to be a quite cute gesture of friendship respect towards a classmate (himself called Muhammad) by a few school kids into a full-blown religious insult worthy of jihad.

I despair. I really do.

If nothing else, this demonstrates precisely why religion and governance should remain two entirely separate entities. I've always been happy to let people believe in what they want, if it makes them happy, but this kind of rabid fundamentalism (which is not unique to Islam - Christians and Jews are just as bad... hell, even atheists aren't immune to being fundamentalist wankers) makes it look like humanity is still in the chuffing Dark Ages.

I can understand why Muslims might think there theology is under attack, indeed, there was a writer on last night's Channel Four News who claims that all religion is being marginalised in modern society, and she had to withdraw from doing a speech at a Christian Carol Service because her speech "might offend non-believers in the audience"... which begs a question: if you're a "non-believer" what the chuff are you doing at a carol service? But anyway... faiths don't do themselves any favours when the merest perceived slight can prompt this kind of reactionary hatred of people who might disagree with your beliefs. And here was me thinking that religions preached forgiveness, tolerance, peace and love? The evidence from the last week (nay, the last couple of millennia) would seem to prove otherwise...
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