November 30, 2007

Sudan

Sigh. So much happening in the world today.

No doubt you've heard about the British teacher who let her class name a teddy bear. Most of the time, such an undertaking doesn't result in 15 days in jail and deportation. Nor does it often inspire an angry mob to mass with clubs, swords, torches, and effigies in hand to demand your immediate execution and make sure the world knows their bloodlust isn't satisfied by 15 measly days in prison. But when you add Sudan and radical Islam to the equation, and when your class chooses the name "Muhammed," it's really not all that surprising.

To summarize: Teacher with British accent goes to Sudan, allows kids to name Teddy Bear, people promptly demand her execution.

I'm wondering how this went from a classroom vote to an international news story. Did they publish the results in the class newspaper? Did some kid go home and tell his mom, and did she promptly raise a concern at a PTA meeting? "Well, Far be it from me to raise a stink, everyone, but little Jamaal Bin-Sayiid came home today and told me - oh it was just awful - that Miss Gibbons let them name the class mascot Muhammed!"

Oh, right, mom doesn't really have a voice. Whatever happened, I'm sure the Teacher is probably thinking, "I knew I should have stuffed the ballot box for 'Abdul'." By the way, there are an awful lot of parents who should be facing the same punishment as Miss Gibbons - or worse - because they named their kids Muhammed too.

Now, all of this is completely irrational and I should be shocked by it, but I'm not. I want very badly to give radical Islam the benefit of the doubt, and see their side of things. Usually, I can make enough room for just about any religion to be as crazy as they want. (Which doesn't mean I think they're all right. At the risk of being politically incorrect - They aren't.) Buddhists - all of those steps to enlightenment? Guess that's logical. Hindus - Need more gods than can be counted to handle all their business? Yeah, well, okay. Want to worship a thunderstorm? Yeah, it's big and powerful, go ahead if that's your thing. But this, demanding the execution of anyone who accidentally doesn't take you seriously, that I can't wrap my little brain around. I want to believe she really did something terrible. But I find myself dealing with the all-too-familiar response to radical Islam in the news. "Angry mob? Swords? Clubs? Effigies? What happened this time?" I'm just not surprised to see a crowd of psychopaths in that part of the world swarming, screaming, and burning things in the name of their peaceful religion. After all, these are the same kind of people that put rape victims in jail.

Sadly, irrational and violent outcries seem to be the norm with that sect of Islam in that corner of the world. Now, there are tons and tons of good Muslims who don't want to kill anyone. I don't know any good Muslims, and I don't know any radically violent ones. I don't know any Muslims. So I'll try not to make any ignorant blanket statements. But the religion as a whole isn't doing a very good job of branding themselves.

I can't begin to imagine freaking out because some kid named a teddy bear Jesus. I've put up with the Buddy Christ, with Jesus the t-shirt icon, and all sorts of slander against Jesus Christ. And he really was God. Muhammed, even in the context of their religion, was a prophet and wasn't part of any trinity. And somehow naming a beloved toy after him is blasphemy, punishable by death.

Violence is not unusual in Sudan. For a long time, it was the Arab Sudanese Muslims trying to exterminate the African Sudanese Christians. That fire went out, or at least seems to have subsided for now. I don't understand the specifics of it. But now, in Darfur, it's the Arab Sudanese Muslims from the north trying to exterminate the African Sudanese Muslims in the southwest. Aren't they supposed to be united under Allah or something? When I worshiped with African Christians, one of the things that struck me was that Heaven isn't going to be full of white people (and as a result, might be a lot more lively), as I had always pictured it. Apparently, not every religion is able to picture it that way.

It is so hard to understand how people can massacre another group of people, and then deny that what they're doing is wrong. They have to love death, they have to have bloodlust. Isn't this is a clear example of evil in the world? Isn't this a clear deviation from the plan of God? Death and evil appear to be alive and well in a place where Islam has prospered. I am led to believe that their god is not one of love and life, but of hate and death.

2 comments:

Jon said...

There's not one word I disagree with.

Craig said...

You better be careful Jim. If the wrong person reads this, you might be the next target of radical Islam.