Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I've never read the original book, Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. Right now I'm reading Cruel and Usual Punishment, by Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim, co-founder of Former Muslims United. In reading this book, I'm confronted with perhaps the primary catch-22 of our time.
How do we, in a society founded on human and religious rights, deal with a religion that is not only antithetical to freedom, but also by nature, expansionist?
It's hard, isn't' it? Either we espouse freedom of religion or we don't. It we do, Islam and its followers deserve the same freedoms as the rest of modern society. But in so doing we allow the extremists within that religion to continue their pursuit of the destruction of our society, including that very freedom we extend to them.

And I realize not all Muslims are set against American society. After 9/11, there was much talk and frustration that those we might call "more moderate" Muslims did not speak out against the terrorists and the violent groups within Islam. But after reading Darwish's book, I am no longer surprised that they did not. The extremists are the ones practicing their religion rightly. Those who choose a more peaceful road, endanger their very lives by not participating in the violence. Speaking against the violence is simply not compatible with their religion.

Sad, but true. These people are trapped. They are trapped in a religion of violence and fear. They need our prayers.
1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.
3 "Let us break their chains," they say,
"and throw off their fetters."

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.

Also see my review of Cruel and Usual Punishment in Books!Books!Books!.

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