A better way to deal with the “meat head mufti”

March 17, 2007

Alyssa Lappen’s well-researched Australia’s Meathead Mufti concludes in a way characteristic of the spirit of the times: the guy says outrageous things, so let’s send him packing.

Granted, the mufti is outrageous. As Ms. Lappen tells us, he thinks that western-style dressed women are “uncovered meat,” so it is their fault if they get raped – and says so in his sermon.

He thinks “that Muslims had more right to the country [Australia] than the “Anglo-Saxon” heirs to Australia’s convict ancestors,” and says so in an interview.

He subscribes to “the belief succinctly expressed by Osama bin Laden–”The earth belongs to Allah and thus only Allah’s rule should prevail all over the earth,” and offers no apology.

He thinks Muslim believers to be superior to others–and believes Islam should rule the world.” – and he says it aloud.

He thinks that Muslims are “best community that hath been raised up for mankind…,” that most Christians and Jews “are evil-livers” and that all land belongs to Allah, like a mosque, which can never revert to private ownership” and does not hesitate to let us know.

Hence, the calls that he be deprived of his Australian citizenship and kicked out of the country.

But let’s take a calm look at this. What is going on here? The guy lives in a free country, and freely speaks up his mind. We, in return, get outraged and want to see him off. Let me suggest that we have a problem that is much greater than his.

Because, why don’t we talk back? If he advances ideas we disagree with, why won’t we show him holes in his argument? Why silence him, not debate him? If we do that, we can demolish his argument, and defeat his cause far more effectively and far more conclusively than we can possibly do by sending him into exile. But we stay silent – which is our problem, not his.

Replying point by point to his philosophy would be indeed quite effective. “The divine order of Islam?” What are you Mr. Mufti – talking about? There is no way for you to know whether Koran is God’s word, or not. “The earth belongs to Allah and thus only Allah’s rule should prevail all over the earth?” Granted – but clerics’ rule is not God’s rule, per the same fundamental uncertainty. “Islam should rule the world?” – nonsense – for the same reason. “Muslims are “best community that hath been raised up for mankind” – don’t be ridiculous please – read the analysis of Islam included in my “Is the ‘war on terror’ the ‘war on Islam’?” Australia’s first citizens were convicts? True – but doesn’t each individual answer for himself, not his ancestors? Just because you are a fool, Mr. Mufti, does it mean that your ancestors were also fools, and that your children are destined to be fools too? Perhaps so – but I hope not. Your mother, Mr. Mufti, had no humanity but was mere meat? Well, if you think so, I will hold the same opinion of her, too.

“The answer to free speech issue is more free speech, not less” is the quintessence of the American law in reply to the pleas to sensor obnoxious opinions. Because considered, logical, reserved, analytical opinion – instead of emotional hyper-indignation – is often the best response to the outrageous statements, like those we hear from Australia’s “meathead mufti.” If he can use free speech to taunt us, I see no reason why we should not use it to tell him how ridiculous he is.

The pen is mightier than a sword. We are yet to discover this in the present-day war on terror.

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