Yesterday evening we had some friends over, and they brought with them some missionaries to Australia who were staying with them. During the course of the evening, we discussed a horrifying law which was passed in the Australian state of Victoria in 2001, and which resulted in the trial of two Christians pastors for “vilifying Islam.” The two pastors, converts from Islam (one a Pakistani who had previously been in trouble for violating the country’s law against maligning Islam), held a seminar about Islam in 2002 in which they said that the Koran promotes violence and looting, demeans women, and calls for amputation for theft. (This link from JihadWatch has transcripts from the seminar.) All statements easily found in various Koranic verses (see links for references). But the judge refused to allow quotations from the Koran to serve as evidence, saying that to read from the Koran would be vilifying to Islam. Sounds like he already made up his mind before hearing the case. This link quotes a British journalist’s take on other inconsistencies and injustices in the case. The pastors were found guilty and sentenced to four years in jail. The case is currently on appeal, including a request by the Muslim organization that brought the case that the pastors and the organization should publicly recant their statements, but the pastors are unapologetic.
The good news is that this case has shown Australians the danger of “antivilification” laws, increasing the likelihood that a similar law will not be passed in other states (one is currently before the legislature in New South Wales), and raising calls for its repeal. We’ll see how far that gets. Unbelievably, many Australian Christians claim to have been unaware of the potential of this law when it was first passed. (Who else would modern tolerance-mongers want to silence?)
This kind of absurd and oppressive law is not far from America. Already Muslim advocacy groups like CAIR are bringing anti-defamation suits against groups that oppose them. There are plenty of groups, including homosexuals, who would like to limit Christians’ ability to proclaim the Bible’s truth because it’s offensive to their ears. We’ve already heard rhetoric about “hate speech” directed at prominent Christian leaders who speak out against Islam or the homosexual lifestyle. And since the Supreme Court has already ruled the flag-burning and pornography are protected speech, but prayer in school or before a football game is forbidden, it’s not hard to foresee a twisted interpretation of the First Amendment which claims that truthful statements about other religions are too hateful and offensive to be allowed.
Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive religions. Both make absolute truth claims, describing followers of other religions as lost souls destined for hell, and denouncing those who contradict their scriptures. Freedom of religion ought to mean that members of both religions are free to preach whatever they want, short of actually inciting violence against the others. If someone is so thin-skinned as to be offended by a truthful (or even an untruthful) description of his religion, he should stay indoors. But this isn’t about “offensiveness.” It’s about a carefully planned campaign by Muslims to make themselves the dominant religion and culture in the West, as they are in their own world, by slowly removing the ability of anyone to speak out against them. It’s forbidden by sharia law to criticize Mohammed or the Koran. Pretty soon, it will be illegal in the West too.
I understand Muslims wanting to take over the world. It’s the natural result of an absolute religious belief. The Bible promises that Jesus will rule the world. The big difference is, I’m not going to use violence to bring that about. The Truth is strong enough without human force.