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Meditation 1176
Insulting Religion: The example of Muhammad & Islam

by: John Tyrrell

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According to several accepted hadiths, Muhammad., upon capturing Mecca destroyed the idols of some 360 traditional Arabian gods located in and around the Kaaba.

In one way I can respect Muhammad. for this act - given the age, it must have taken a degree of courage to stand up and demonstrate that those gods had no power.

On the other hand, it was as an act of vandalism, an act showing a thorough disrespect for the religions of others and an insult to those who followed those religions.

What existed around the Kaaba was a multitude of religious beliefs co-existing, sharing a single place of worship in apparent mutual respect.

Muhammad. destroyed that mutual respect.

And many of his followers today demand we respect the man and respect the religion?

Sorry - that was not the way of Muhammad. He showed no such respect.

When I was taught comparative religion back in grade school, emphasis was placed on Islam's respect for at least some other religions - those of the "peoples of the book", or followers of written scripture - and how such religions could be freely followed in Islamic countries.

What somehow was not mentioned in the course material was the jizyah - a head tax applied to peoples of the book - for protection and as a mark of submission to Islam.

I can respect the idea of taxing religion - we could well introduce it in our own countries - as long as it applied to all religions.

But as it stands the jizyah is not an indication of respect for any other religion; rather it is a mark of disrespect, a clear indication that other religions were considered inferior to Islam.

And many of the followers of Islam demand we respect their religion?

Sorry - that is not the way of Islam. It disrespected other religions in the days of Muhammad., and it continues to disrespect other religions today.


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