Thursday, August 23, 2007

God's Warriors

Christiane Amanpour is doing a three-part series on CNN on religious fundamentalism entitled God's Warriors. More specifically, it is about how fundamentalist Jews, Muslims, and Christians are striving to dominate their societies, cultures, or even the entire world with their religious beliefs and practices. I've seen only a little of one of these two-hour segments: last night's segment on Islamic fundamentalism. I'm not sure if I learned anything strikingly new from it, but I did find it interesting to vicariously immerse myself in Islamic fundamentalism via Amanpour's travels, interviews, and experiences. Judging from what I saw, "vicariously" is the ONLY way I would want to immerse myself in the Islamic fundamentalist experience. I would not want to experience it firsthand.

This morning, I was driving somewhere and listening to Dennis Prager on the radio. He talked about news stories of men and women being publicly flogged in Iran for violating Islamic law against sex outside of marriage, prostitution, and having a Bible in their car respectively. He thought this was "monstrous" and seemed to suggest that this was symptomatic not only of so-called fundamentalist Islam or Islamisn but also of Islam in general. That is, even if some Muslims did not agree with this kind of punishment, the fact of the matter is that Islam and Muslims in general tolerate it because it is so deeply ingrained in the Islamic mindset and its Sharia law. That is, it is indicative of the inherent pathology of Islam in general.

Prager proceeded to castigate Amanpour for her "deep, deep foolishness" in suggesting that all religions and religious fundamentalisms are essentially the same in the sense that none are any better or worse than the others. In other words, Prager seems to believe that Islam in general and Islamism in particular are worse than other major religions and their fundamentalist strains and that Amanpour and other mainstream media people are foolish if not irresponsible in failing to make this clear. Thus, we need to turn to other media outlets that are sagacious or brave enough to tell it like it is.

I do not wish to dwell here on my admitted emotional antipathy to Islam in general and to Islamism in particular or on my more considered negative opinion of them. At this point, I simply want to ask if you, dear reader, think Islam in general and Islamism in particular are worse than their religious counterparts and, if so, by what criteria you judge them to be so, and how you think the mainstream media and reporters such as Amanpour should address this to the public. Is Amanpour not living up to her role as a proper journalist by not coming down harder on Islam and Islamism than she does on the other religions, or is she doing precisely what she, as a proper journalist, should do and present facts as objectively as possible and let the viewer arrive at his own conclusions?

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