I spent the first 60 years of my life happily uninvolved with religion. I belonged to no faith. I did not worship. It hardly crossed my mind. I knew that some people went to church and derived comfort from that and, as far as I was concerned, they were welcome to do so.
The last 20 years have been different. I cannot open a paper, listen to a news broadcast oir watch the TV news without finding stuff about religion in the headlines every day. The religion in question is Islam. On all sides, its adherents are making bloody nuisances of themselves: blowing things up, expressing outrage at the views of the secular west, shooting people, and generally causing unease. Already, air travel has become a nightmare, largely due to fears that some nutter or other will attack the aircraft, all the while shouting that god is great. Security matters have become very intrusive. Governments are seeking wider powers to snoop on citizens’ internet activity. Armed policemen patrol the streets backed up by soldiers in ways that have not been common during peacetime - but there’s the rub. We are no longer at peace in spite of apologists for Islam telling us, all the while, how Islam is the religion of peace.
Last week, as all who are not troglodytes, will know, a handful of crazies slaughtered a bunch of cartoonists in Paris. At the same time, one of their mates killed three or four Jewish customers at a Kosher supermarket. Their pretext for this mayhem was that the cartoonists were deemed to have insulted their prophet. A few days later the Belgian authorities broke up a cell of others prepararing to go on the rampage in Belgium. The Greek security services have arrested yet more in Athens.
Muslims who have chosen to live in the West and in the UK, in particular, ought to have realised by now, that Europeans - especially the British - take the piss. Nothing is beyond satire. Monarchs, popes, rabbis, bishops, prime ministers, politicians and sacred cows of all stripes are regularly lampooned. Hurt feelings are not really much of a consideration. Those that have a hard time living with that fact of life have stark choices: put up with it, don’t come in the first place or, having come, go! On the other hand, those who can overlook such provocations and get on with being useful members of society are more than welcome.
Lethbridge, Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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