Flogging for Blogging
In Saudi Arabia, a man is to be flogged as a punishment for criticizing Islam in his blog. Due to health reasons, his flogging is to be delayed based on what I read on 1-22-2015. The world seems to be polarized these days. There are 1.5 billion Muslims who are often not treated with respect from the rest of the world. Muslims are often not tolerant of any disrespect. Part of this reaction could be based on the amount of disrespect that has accumulated over the last several centuries towards them, particularly for those who live in primarily Christian countries.
It’s Muslims vs. Christians; Secular vs. Religious
With the Charlie Hebdo incident it is very clear that there are many Christians that will go to any lengths to offend Muslims, and will stop at nothing. The extremists who retaliated against Hebdo’s offensive cartoons will also stop at nothing in their war against offenses to Islam. Even the Islamic world is polarized. We see countries like Egypt divided between secular Muslims & Christians vs. the more religious types. Turkey has a similar division although the secular people in Turkey are more numerous than the religious ones. It seems that whenever you put Muslims and Christians in the same country, or even Muslims and Muslims in the same country, a serious conflict will result. So, what is the solution?
Punishment & Spirituality
The government of Saudi Arabia has the right to carry out justice as they see fit. It is their land, their government. My point is more of a spiritual point. If you abuse someone’s body, you are not only damaging their life, but you are also damaging your soul. For those of us who are believers (in God, but not necessarily in a particular brand of religion) we acknowledge that we have a soul, and that the condition of our soul is based on our actions and thoughts. If we behave well, we might have a chance at going to heaven, or at least be reborn well. We believe that we reap what we sow. I believe that the punishment of flogging is an extreme way to preserve a religious way of life in a country that endorses only one religion. But, the amount of damage done by the flogging extends far beyond the victim. The flogger will also reap a karmic penalty for his act of violence, his supervisor, and the society as a whole will gain a bad vibration as a result of this unmerciful act.
If Allah is merciful, then as followers, we should adopt his attributes.
Allah has 99 names according to Muslims, and 72 names according to Jews. They are only disagreeing by 27% which is not bad considering who we are dealing with! The Islamic names of God are very spiritual in nature. I only know a few of these names, but they include Merciful, Compassionate, Peace, Struggle, among others. If God is compassionate, why should we be any less as spiritual followers? You can pray to God as many times a day as you like, but if you lack spiritual values such as a love of peace, compassion and mercy, what good does the prayer do you? Prayer and religious life are meaningless unless paired with good values and character development. This means that we must exercise kindness and charity in our lives, even if we are not perfect at it.
I am also offended
I am not a Muslim, but I respect all monotheistic faiths. I take offense when someone defames the Islamic faith, especially if it is done in an insulting, unfair, or hateful way. Rather than calling people names for being offensive, I often explain how their false statement against Islam is wrong, why it is wrong, and what the truth is. I know very little about Islam, but I am able to explain some of the basics to rude “infidels” who insult this holy religion. My way is a peaceful way. I am not sure if much good is done by my way. However, my way produces no harm, and could do at least a little good. Flogging someone will do irreparable harm to everyone involved. It is an extreme measure. Rather than speaking against flogging, I’ll politely ask those in favor of it to consider a gentler way to deal with individuals whose blogging is damaging to society — whomever they might be.
I support separation
I live in America which insists on integration. Segregation is a dirty word here, and if you are for it, then you are a dirty racist pig! However, putting people together who don’t like each other and who don’t get along can be much worse than segregation and can lead to murder, flogging, and worse. Religious Muslims do not integrate well with secular Muslims or people from other faiths. Secular people tend to offend Muslims, and Muslims tend to shun secular people. Even when integrated, the two separate like oil and water. Lebanon was plagued by an horrible civil war which left many dead and many more emotionally shattered. In my opinion, the Christians in Lebanon should have their own country. The Druze should also have their own land, and the Muslims should have a country to themselves too. This way they don’t have to fight with each other over control. Egypt is teetering on the verge of civil war because secrular Muslims, Christians, and religious Muslims don’t see eye to eye. Perhaps it would be better if Egypt became two or three countries. I don’t know having separate countries for each type of people in the Middle East is best, but in the short run, it seems like it would solve a lot of problems.
Talaka, Talaka, Talaka!
The same holds true for Iran and Saudi Arabia which do not grant freedom to break Islamic law. There are many residents in both of these countries who are very Western in their thinking and cannot be happy following Shariah law. For those folks, it might be easier if a chunk of Iran or Arabia is reserved for them to set up their own communities where they can live by whatever laws they like. If you don’t get along, why fight it? Get a divorce! Talaka, Talaka, Talaka! Islam allows a couple to get a divorce, so why not allow a community of secular minded people to do the same. Everyone will be happier in the end — perhaps…
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