There is a hue and cry going up from France's Muslim community this week following the French government's clamp down on Islamic extremism which includes the stopping of welfare payments to claimants who have gone off to join ISIS.
"Islamophobia!" the French Muslims shout.
Maybe it is or maybe it is just common sense and a sensible way to protect the citizens of France, whatever their faith. Whatever, I can't help thinking that Muslims in democratic countries are being more than a tad hypocritical when they cry "persecution."
For example, "The Times Of Israel" reports that:
Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric called on Tuesday for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of religious sites associated with Christianity. Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, said the destruction of churches was absolutely necessary and is required by Islamic law.
Last month, Osama Al-Munawer, a Kuwaiti member of parliament, announced his plans to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country. He later clarified that the law would only apply to new churches, while old ones would be allowed to stay erect.
I seem to remember a whole load of Christians and other assorted infidels risking their lives, not that many years ago, fighting to free Kuwait after it had been successfully invaded by Iraq. Personally, I feel it is rather bad form to go pulling down the buildings of your saviours.
So, should the West start pulling down mosques as I'm sure we could find something in the Bible to support such uncharitable destruction? No, of course, not. A lot of people died or were generally persecuted in the past in order that we can now enjoy a reasonable level of enlightened democracy in our countries. It would be spitting in the cold, dead faces of such martyrs to turn the clock back to Christianity's cruelly dogmatic era. However, that doesn't mean that we should go all soft and wishy washy liberal when we are told about unacceptable acts of religious terrorism in countries where religion is used as a pretext to persecute others, whether that's Arabia, Kuwait, the USA or even my own country with its gay bashing, somewhat misogynist, established church.
I notice that the United Nations had all sorts of trouble enacting a simple decision to allow same sex couples, working for them, the same benefits as straight couples. Islamic states as well as China, India and Russia all tried to scupper the plans. They have accused the UN of legislating against the cultural norms of their nations which, it would appear, is true. But just because something is a cultural norm does not mean it is acceptable. If it can be stated that genocide is wrong, then it can also be stated that the persecution of people because of their faith, or lack of faith, or because of their sexuality, is also wrong.
I do not think that the enlightened should force enlightenment on the unenlightened by using military force or anything like that as such actions would be unenlightened in themselves. However, I do believe that if we strongly believe something is wrong then we should not continue to empower and otherwise support those doing the wrong thing. Of course, that would mean us giving up a lot of stuff that we love, such as oil, electronic goods and designer trainers and, let's face it, we're not going to do that. We are going to keep our mouths shut and allow our brothers and sisters in the Middle east, Pakistan, China and elsewhere to be persecuted even to the point of death so that we can go on texting and driving around whilst wearing our new pair of Nikes. You know, perhaps we are not as civilised as we like to think we are.