• Gay BlogAds

  • Gay News Watch

  • Chris Tweets

  • « A uniter, not a divider | Main | Hi, I'm Anderson »

    November 27, 2006

    Does fundamentalism fan the flames of violence?

    Posted by: Chris

    Fox I've heard from a number of folks in the last 24 hours that Fox News aired a news report this weekend that included a brief reference to the bashing of me and my boyfriend in Amsterdam in April 2005 by a seven young men we described as looking Morrocan. The report apparently shows the photo of me after the attack, with a broken nose and two black eyes, and puts the event in the bigger context of fundamentalist Islam clashing with tolerant Western Europe, since my boyfriend and I were beaten for holding hands in the street.

    It's more than a little ironic for Fox News to draw such broader conclusions from a gay bashing, given the conservative media outlet's simultaneous lack of interest in whether fundmentalist Christianity bears responsibility for fostering a climate of intolerance here in the United States that results in gay bashings (of much greater frequency and often of much greater ferocity). Muslim bigotry plays much better to Fox viewers, obviously, than the homegrown Christian variety.

    In reality, it's simplistic to imagine our Moroccan attackers in Amsterdam were acting on some fundamentalist religious faith. As I pointed out in a column just one week after the attack, we were attacked as we walked back to our hotel room in the wee hours on Saturday morning through a street full of holiday revelers. Our attackers were not on the corner for morning prayers.

    There are those, of course, who do engage in violence — against gays, women and other innocent targets — in the name of fundamentalist Islam. We have become so inundated with such bloody attacks over recent years that many Westerners have come to conclude that violence is inherent in the practice of fundamentalist Islam. Pope Benedict XVI outraged Muslims worldwide in September when he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor for that proposition. The pope has since apologized for the remarks and distanced himself from the emperor's view, but the violent backlash in some parts of the Islamic world — like the violent reaction to the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed earlier this year — only seemed to prove the emperor's point. 

    FoxpopeIn addition to the Fox News report that mentioned our Amsterdam attack, the network is also reporting this weekend about the massive protests in Turkey over Pope Benedict's scheduled visit there next week. There's more irony here, since the 25,000 who took to the streets outraged by the pope's remarks haven't felt similarly motivated to protest on the many occasions when fundamentalists Muslims actually do engage in bloody violence against innocents in the name of Allah. Surely such jihadist claims do greater insult to Islam's reputation as a peaceful faith, and yet they almost never elicit much protest.

    My own view is that fundamentalist faiths of all stripes are directly responsible for a great deal of violence in the world and indirectly responsible for an even greater amount. When fundamentalist leaders aren't explicitly condoning violence — something fundamentalist Muslim leaders do today to a much greater degree, obviously, than their Christian counterparts — they are fostering a culture of intolerance and giving aid, comfort and religious support to all kinds of bigotry.

    The point can be overstated. The greatest violence of the 20th century was committed in the name of nonreligious ideology, whether Hitler's facism or Stalin's communism. But since religious leaders claim to offer a path to peace, the violence committed in their name is an even greater perversion. We would go a long way toward building a culture that is truly tolerant and open when we can see such perversions from within the Western-Christian world with the same clarity we condemn it within Islam.



    TrackBack URL for this entry:


    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad