Silence is Not Always Golden
As a commenter stated in a previous post, all too many times humans act like pack animals. Afraid to stand out and speak up against injustices. One such injustice that filled most of the world with horror was Abdul Rahman. A man who because of his convictions who converted from Islam to Christianity. Not a remarkable thing in most cultures. It usually affects mostly family members. I have an uncle who is a Christian fundamentalist. When I told him over 20 years ago I was becoming a Catholic, he told me I was going to burn in hell. He didn't threaten to kill me. Instead he's been praying for me all these years. I've been praying for him too. He is the only family member that I have not told about my decision to follow my heart which has lead to Judaism. The main reason is when any family talks to him, it usually leads to an hour long discourse about religion and all are wrong except him. It's difficult to hold a conversation with someone who is so closed minded.
I respect my uncle. He is following what he believes and I'm following what I believe. In both of my decisions, I did not have to worry about a law which states that I could be beheaded if I chose to leave a religion. I did not have to worry about being declared insane because of my decision.
All too often in Muslim countries, people who convert from Islam to another religion face the same threats as Abdul Rahman, death or declared insane. Why is this? Is Islam so fragile that it cannot abide anyone who leaves it?
Richard Cohen has a very opinion column in today's Washington Post called Unfathomable Zealotry. He questions the silence of the Muslim majority while acknowledging those brave souls who have spoken out. The following is one paragraph that stood out. The rest of the column is good and well worth the read.
Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.
Around a month ago, the Muslim world was seething over the publication of some cartoons. People were killed and embassies burned. Muslims were demonstrating in massive numbers and boycotting Danish products.
To me, a cartoon that is satirical of a religious leader is far less offensive than the fate of a soul who has been led by his convictions to another religion. Where are the massive demonstrations in the Muslim world over the fate of this man and the others like him?
G-d leads each one of us to him and there are many paths. Why should a human being face death or being labeled insane over this?
Islam says that is respects other religions but the silence in the Muslim world over Abdul Rahman appears to give lie to that. Islam cannot be a respecter of other religions if so many of adherents cannot or will not protest peacefully for the right of someone who has decided to leave the religion of Islam for another. Silence is not always golden.