On April 18th, five Turkish men stormed into a Christian publishing firm in the city of Malatya, tied up three employees of the store, tortured them, and finally cut their throats. They left a note at the scene which read, "This should serve as a lesson to the enemies of our religion. We did it for our country."
This heinous crime reminds us again of the dangers posed by radical, intolerant Islamists. These are people so sick of mind that they viewed three representatives of a company that sells bibles as a grave threat to Turkey - which is more than 99% Muslim. To the deeply radical Islamist, anyone not a Muslim is an infidel, not to be tolerated, not to be respected, not to be considered a friend or a neighbor. An infidel is beneath dignity. An infidel must be killed.
I am still looking, without success, for strong condemnation of acts like these from the "mainstream" Muslim community here in America or abroad. I didn't find any mention, much less condemnation, of this crime at the website of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and I haven't found a single instance of a significant Islamic figure speaking out against this brutality and intolerance.
The reason, of course, is that Islam - particularly as practiced in the Middle East - is not a tolerant religion. It's all or nothing. You are a Muslim or you are an infidel. If you choose to convert from Islam to another religion, you are even worse - you are an apostate, and it's the duty of other Muslims to kill you for this hideous crime.
Muslims everywhere insist on rights and priviliges they absolutely forbid to other religions in majority Islamic countries. In their minds, there is nothing wrong with this. They don't recognize the validity of any other religion. You are a Muslim, or you are an infidel. You are nothing.
America was founded on a tradition of religious tolerance by people who left Europe in disgust at the lack of religious freedom there. Today, Muslims pour into America from the Middle East, seeking the freedom under Western law to recreate and force on infidels the intolerant religious and social practices that have made their homelands an economic and cultural backwater. They demand the rights and priviliges they routinely deny to everyone else.
Any Islamic reaction to these comments other than condemnation of my point of view is unlikely in the extreme. I am, after all, an infidel, guilty of the ghastly crime of choosing to worship God in a way not approved by those who consider themselves believers in the one, true religion.
I have a hard time picturing a God who could create the infinite grandeur of the universe and the glorious splendor of life on Earth worrying about what we eat, whether men wear beards, and whether women must be hidden away under yards of shapeless clothing.
Somewhere, the just and merciful God of Christian tradition is shaking his (her?) head at the horrific crimes committed in his (her?) name by radical Islamists. And sadly, the average Muslim doesn't find any need to speak out against the hideous crimes carried out in the name of their religion.
Because you and I are infidels, and deserve no better.
Have a good day. Enjoy, appreciate, and defend the freedom you have in America to worship God according to the dictates of your conscience.
More thoughts tomorrow.