| MAY 21, 2009 |
Interfaith Dialogue: The Great Unmentionable
"Certainly all faiths would benefit from greater understanding. Yet no conversation will have any meaning if it does not address Islam's brutal reality: the consistent persecution of Christians, Jews, and members of other minority faiths," Doug Bandow argued in a special report for The American Spectator, published on May 19, 2009.
Bandow thinks that the Islamic governments have learned long ago that a good offense is the best defense; the last example for this was Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan reluctance to approve the nomination of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO Secretary General, because Rasmussen was prime minister of Denmark in 2005 when the scandal with the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed exploded. To win Ankara's acquiescence Rasmussen was forced to affirm his "respect" for Islam.
Bandow argues that the Western attempts for "improved dialogue" with the Islam nations - the new conciliating language of Obama administration, the recent visit of Pope Benedict in Jordan, and the special attention of the European politicians towards the Muslim minorities in Europe, - seem ineffective in the face of the continuing religious prosecutions in the Islamic world.
In the latest report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, of 13 states named as "Countries of Particular Concern," seven have overwhelming Muslim majorities: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan and two, Eritrea and Nigeria, have narrow Muslims majorities. "In fact, - Bandon says - it is unusual to find an Islamic nation where religious minorities are not discriminated against, both legally and socially."
After enumerating the specifics of religious repression in Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Bandon concludes that "If Islamic governments expect the Western states "to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs," then the former need to do so as well. And that means protecting the liberty of those who believe and worship differently in their own countries." READ MORE