Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I am an ignoramus when it comes to Islam.

(post title changed because "I am an Islamic ignoramus" insinuated that I am of the Islamic faith, and an ignoramus, and that ain't what I meant)

I don't know jack shit about the Muslim faith. I've not taken the time to study it at all. I haven't read the Koran (the English translation, let alone the Arabic text). So the only knowledge I have of it comes from what I hear and read from other people, be they news outlets, op-ed pieces or blogs (there are a lot of people out there who do think they're experts on Islam, I've noticed...).

So coming from my place of ignorance, when see all the killing and terrorist activity that's occurring in the name of Islam, it makes me fearful of that faith. Not so much fearful for myself -- I'm not so arrogant as to think my little world in Denver is going to be targeted -- but fearful for humankind.

I hear people make the distinction between Islam and Radical Islam, and I wonder, how am I supposed to know the difference? I know it after the fact -- when a Muslim murders someone in the name of God, it's easy for me to identify him as Radical Islam. But what if I'd rather not wait for the murder to occur? How can I know? Is there a special moustache wax the radical ones use? Do they carry a Radical Islam badge? No?


Then I'm still fearful. Understand, I'm living my daily life pretty much the same as I would if there wasn't all this killing in the name of God going on. I'm going to work, playing with my kids, mowing my lawn, writing in my blog, laughing with my wife, and coveting the latest Video iPod.

But when I look at my kids, I think, I'll do anything to protect you. I'll punch, I'll stab, I'll shoot, and God knows I'll fucking offend, to protect you.

Pope Benedict had the audacity to say, "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," and direct it toward those Islamic extremists who use Jihad to justify suicide bombings and other attacks, and those same Islamic extremists reacted... violently. Why?

Because they were offended.

Again, from my place of ignorance, I'm not getting it. Well, I get the extremists' reactions, because they obviously disagree with the Pope. They believe that violence is the only way of dealing with people who oppose their views, so they react in kind. What I'm not getting is the criticism of the Pope from people who are not Islamic extremists. What exactly did he do wrong? I'm no Catholic, and I certainly have my issues with the Catholic church, but calling for Islamic extremists to stop killing people seems to me be, well, a good idea. No, make that a great idea.

See, that's how ignorant I am. I think not murdering and not terrorizing is better than murdering and terrorizing. I know, I'm an idealist. A bleeding heart, I guess.

So I would welcome anyone who can enlighten me as to A) What the Pope said or did that was so wrong and why, B) Why I shouldn't be fearful of what Islamic extremists are doing throughout the world, and C) Why I should give a rip about offending said Islamic extremists.


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