September 10, 2007

Either Or

A couple of years after 9/11, my niece, who was then a new immigrant to the US, asked me if I thought my country was the freest of all nations in the world. Beslan School Number 1 I gave a qualified assent. The Constitution of the United States was the best among those that I was aware of, as far as fundamental rights are concerned. Until 9/11, that is, but after 9/11, I could not be so sure. The never-ending string of Islamic terror attacks in Bali, Beslan, Haifa, London, Madrid, and Mumbai, scores of smaller scale and foiled attacks around the world, and the internecine bombings in the cities of Islamic countries, were yet to come. Today, I once again marvel the vision of the founding fathers of this nation that I call now my home.

The choice for the people world over is quite clear. Either civilization or barbarity. You may choose to live free in a democracy, described so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson in his last letter before he died:

May it [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day [July 4th] forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them...

-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Roger C Weightman, June 24, 1826

Or you may silently suffer the tyranny of Islamic theocracy, as envisioned, for example, in the preamble to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

In the formation and equipping of the country's defence forces, due attention must be paid to faith and ideology as the basic criteria. Accordingly, the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are to be organized in conformity with this goal, and they will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God's way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God's law throughout the world (this is in accordance with the Koranic verse "Prepare against them whatever force you are able to muster, and strings of horses, striking fear into the enemy of God and your enemy, and others besides them" [8:60]).[emphasis mine]

If you are not persuaded yet, and believe, as the constant appeasers around the world would like you to, that Islam is a religion of peace and not a threat to all that the humanity has achieved in the intellectual, personal, and political spheres over centuries, please watch these videos:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, another American immigrant from another country, interviewed on Channel 4, UK:

Waafa Sultan, yet another American immigrant from yet another country, speaks up for freedom:

As an atheist I reject all religions as systems of unsupported beliefs and irrational practices. I have a particular dislike for Islam, not only because it has not reformed itself to reject violence, but also because it seeks to force its archaic and loathsome system of laws, Sharia, on every human being on this earth. Ghiyasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament in Britain, has this to say on his religion:

Islam does have an ideology which is very deep-rooted separatist and isolationist, based on the belief that unless jehadis fight against non-believers, their mission is not complete. This is sheer madness, and the time has come for the Muslim community to come out and confront these ideas on a religious and theological basis.

In these politically charged days, when every criticism of Islam invites attacks and threats, physical and verbal, both from Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals alike, I salute Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Ghiyasuddin Siddiqui for speaking out against the Islamic Dystopia, and standing up for individual freedom and dignity.

3 comments :
  1. What a wonderful post! I admire the clarity of your thoughts (of course, as you know by now, the thoughts themselves) and the lucidity of your exposition. Like a Professor!
    You are aware of the epistemological underpinnings of 'Either Or', I am sure, for you wouldn't have titled the article thus...

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  2. Yes, I have a copy of Kierkegaard's "Either/Or".

    And thanks for the compliments. I suppose you have not had a chance to read my post on Sliding Doors.

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  3. Beautifully written, wonderful post, with terrific substantiation!

    What more can a rational person ask for? :-)

    PS: I just surprisingly noticed that you weren't on my blogroll yet, and immediately hastened to fix it...

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