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I agree with Daniel

Reader comment on item: Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

Submitted by Cyrus (United States), Sep 24, 2012 at 20:45

The Muslim world is going through a period of enlightenment that most other religions have gone through long ago, imagine how the now so secular European society would've reacted if someone sold porn magazines or DVDs (which didn't exist back then) or opened strip clubs in Europe 400 years ago, would've lost his head for doing that, even Moulin Rouge which would be a normal classical show in 21st century, was something extreme in the late 1800s, less than 150 years ago, that show actually opened the minds of Europeans and led to introduction of cabarets later on in the 19th century all the way to Play Boy and the entire entertainment revolution. I'm not trying to advocate porn as something positive or negative, but this is an example of how a deviance cultural shock can be gradually transformed into a social norm if repeated over and over, the beginnings people react to it very shockingly and in this case violently, but after a while it becomes a norm.

Two of the most secular societies in the Middle East are Turkey and Iran (Iran may look Islamic from outside because of regime imposed Islamic codes, but it's society is very secular in comparison to other Islamic societies I've seen), one main reason to that is the fact that the founder of modern Iran Reza Shah and modern Turkey's founder Ata-Turk forced the Muslims to become westernized, Reza Shah forced women to remove their head scarves and Chadors and gave them European style hats, the beginnings people got angry and insulted, but after a while became a norm, by 1960s, the majority and nearly all of the high school and university students dressed like Americans, it was a norm and people loved it, if women (and men) had known that Khomeini was going to impose Hijab, they wouldn't have backed the revolution, same thing about Atatürk, he also radically imposed secular rules on the society that transformed the post-Ottoman Turkish society from an Afghan and Saudi type society today into a westernized and secular one that went from the Armenian genocide to become a religiously tolerant one, even after they elected an Islamist president. In 1924 the great modernizer an hero Atatürk abolished the Caliphate -office of the successors to prophet Muhammad, the supreme politico-religious office of Islam, and symbol of the Turkey sultan's claim to world leadership of all Muslims—was abolished and a secular republican government was born, it was one of the most revolutionary acts in the Muslim history. He ordered what cloths Turkey's citizens should wear. The traditional garb of local religious leaders was outlawed which angered the Mullahs, when they revolted he brutally crushed them. The fez (Islamic hat) was banned for men and the veil and hijab were discouraged and restricted for women.

Today 98% of Turkey's population is officially Muslim but the proportion of practicing Muslims is below 20%. It's difficult to estimate Iran's but my experience living 19 years in Iran and over a year in Turkey tells me that the percentage of practicing Iranian Muslims is below 10% and at least 25% of Iranians would identify themselves as non-Muslim or atheist if allowed to express themselves freely, one other factor that contributed to de-Islamization and secularization of Iran was the Islamic oppression under the mullahs that turned many against the religion, in fact while those secular Turks still deeply respect Islam, many of the Iranian ex-Muslim counterparts deeply hate it. I am seeing a similar trend starting in Egypt among the secular Egyptians who thought a post-Mubarak Egypt would lead to democracy, but are very worried about the rise of Islamists and potentially far more oppressive dictatorship, many women and seculars will turn against Islam if the Muslim Brotherhood solidify power and establish its own version of theocracy, imposing state controlled TV with women wearing Burqa, forced Hijab, oppression of Athesist and religious minorities, etc. Islamism is an ideology that will only be defeated ideologically by either breaking the taboos of sacredness (the movie and Mohammad cartoons are a good way, but requires a huge scale of what I call "demoralization of the Islamists" we need more nations all across the world including the Asians to participate, Atheist and secular or ex-Muslim participation will be the most effective because it will prevent holy wars between religions which is also dangerous and also other religions should also be treated like Islam to let them understand it's NOT a war on Muslims, it's FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, by exposing the backward sides of it and after Islamists shove them down the freedom-experienced people for a period of time (the natural way like the post Islamic Iran as I explained) or by force as Ata-Turk and Reza Shah did which is against today's liberal standards.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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