“Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret, and denied it me?–
Well, well, what matters it! Believe that, too.” – Omar Khayyam
You think this is the problem? No, it’s symptomatic:
Egypt’s top court recently approved a five-year sentence that was handed down to a radical Muslim preacher, who was found guilty of burning a copy of the Bible in front of the American Embassy in Cairo in 2012. Ahmed Mahmoud Abdallah, also known as Abu Islam, was sentenced on a number of charges, including destroying a religious text, contempt of religion and disturbing public peace and security.
In September 2012, Abdallah, who identifies himself as an ultra-conservative preacher, burned a copy of the Bible during protests that were being staged outside the American Embassy against the screening of a controversial film titled “Innocence of Muslims”, that depicted the Prophet in disparaging light.
During the first ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to 11 years of hard labour while his son was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of blasphemy. After the duo appealed to a higher court, their respective rulings were suspended briefly. During the second ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to five years in jail and also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000. Abdallah’s conviction is the first in Egypt for a Muslim charged with offending Christianity.
Yeah, I rail at Islam on a regular basis – but the rules we want for ourselves should be the rules shared by us all. This clown, he burnt a useless book and now his life’s fucked. He’s just another crazy asshole. But of course, my assessment has excluded that pernicious predication of power on high. Maybe he’s better off in labor camp than on the streets, but that’s a jaundiced view and an unworthy one.
What I rail against, is the elevation of paper and leather binding being more important than a person’s life, or life itself. That a wrong opinion should get you killed, this is not proper. Someone’s belief having a higher value than a human life, a sacred scroll being worthy of bloodshed – aye caramba. As a species, we’d best get some sort of collective gestalt going before humanity shoots itself in the head accidentally (metaphorically speaking, of course).
The more we raise our voices, the more the voices swell, and perhaps someday, religion will fall the way of the dodo bird. An anachronism finally buried in the dusty footnotes of history, an oddity no less, but a danger no more.
Till the next post then.