The "Exploring Islam Foundation" has started an ad campaign in London (possibly all of the United Kingdom?) trying to get people to look more favorably upon Islam. Certainly, they'd be pleased to attract some converts and prevent apostasy as well. On the surface, things may appear benign enough. It would seem that this is simply a movement to help non-Muslims realize that not all Muslims are extremists (which is certainly true). When you visit their site at www.inpiredbymuhammad.com, you will see a lot of bright colors, and friendly images and the site is clearly designed to appeal to western culture. The site also features a lot of appealing slogans and claims on the site, most of which are simply not true.
Slogans like "I believe in social justice. So did Muhammad.", "I believe in women's rights. So did Muhammad." & "I believe in protecting the environment. So did Muhammad." are plastered on the front page of the site. You do not have to read the Koran to recognize these slogans as patently absurd. You don't have to be an Islamic scholar to know that a religion that stones women to death because they were raped, does not believe in women's rights. You do not have to be a mullah to know that a religion that punishes apostasy with death, does not truly believe in social justice.
Now as a freedom loving American, I fully support the right of this group to express their views publicly, but I hope people will see through the lies posed in this advertising campaign, and will contact those responsible for it and demand some truth in advertising. The free people of the world have got to stand-up against the lies of all religious extremists, whether they be the Christian Right Wing in the United States or Muslim Extremists in Europe. If Islam wants to be considered a respectable part of the civilized world they must change their beliefs and practices. They must allow apostasy without threat of death, they must begin to truly demonstrate equal rights for women, and they must stop stoning & beheading people for any reason. It doesn't matter how many pretty ads you post, and it does not matter how many "western friendly" slogans you use. You will be judged by your actions, and the actions of Islamic Extremists are the most extreme of any group of religious zealots. So long as you actively, openly call for the gruesome deaths of those that disagree with your beliefs, there will be no place for your religion in civil society.
Most people do not know it, but there is an organization in New York City called "the Cordoba Initiative" that is planning to build a mosque at Ground Zero. They intend to open this mosque on September 11th, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. They claim that they are building it as a "tribute" to those who lost their lives on that day, but I think if it is intended to be a tribute to anyone, it is a tribute to the 19 hijackers, certainly not to the thousands of innocents who were killed / injured on that day.
The name of the mosque in question is to be "Cordoba House". The name Cordoba is not without historical meaning, though that meaning certainly eludes most Americans... Cordoba was the seat of the caliphate established, in what is now modern Spain, after the Islamic invasion from North Africa in the 8th Century C.E.
The occupation of Spain in medieval times is considered by many Islamic philosophers to have been an inevitable step in the manifest destiny of Islam. These same philosophers tend to see the lengthy European "Reconquista" as a tragic, but temporary triumph of the infidels. The great mosque at Cordoba was built on the foundation of a Catholic Cathedral.
Throughout history, Islamic conquerors have built mosques on their newly conquered lands as a symbol. I don't see how this is any different. How can they have the guts to call this place a tribute? I think it is an affront, and an intellectual insult. I think the people of New York, and of the United States should stand up and offer a resounding "NO!" to the construction of this mosque. If they want to build a mosque, that is fine, but let them build it in some place less sensitive to the American public as a whole.
Pat Condell offers a brilliant monologue on the subject:
As you have probably heard, the Republican Religious Right is trying to revise history and what kids learn in their text books. This movement is happening most strongly in Texas, where the Texas State Board of Education is making moves to make such appalling decisions as to remove mention of Thomas Jefferson and most of Slavery from history texts all together. Those are only two small examples of the revisionist History the Republicans would have our kids learn (or not learn, as it were).
Although this movement is primarily taking place in Texas right now, it is important that we all take notice and take action to stop the Religious Right. Why? Because the Texas State Board of Education is one of the largest text book purchasers in the Nation, so the decisions they make will almost certainly have very serious ramifications on the entire textbook industry. The Republicans would have us replace Science with God in the class room, creating an entire generation of ignoramuses on par with George W. Bush. If that doesn't terrify you, then I don't know what would.
I implore you, to please write not only to your own representative, but take a moment to write or call Texas representatives, and the Texas State Board of Education and tell them that you will not allow them to ruin the education of our children. Do NOT let Texas make such important decisions for our entire country.
For more information, please watch this video:
Texas threatened to secede from the union in recent years, perhaps we should tell them and Arizona that they are dismissed from the union! We'd be stronger and better without them.