Murder in Malaysia

Writer Hamza Kashgari mused on Twitter recently about an imagined meeting with the Prophet Muhammad. Last week, he was detained in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, after fleeing Saudi Arabia. Two days ago, he was sent back to Saudi to face punishment–possibly execution.

It is easy to pick on Islam. No religion that engenders calls for execution for expressing an opinion deserves even the slightest defense. Were Islam universally interpreted in this way, it would be a universal abomination. Of course, not all Muslims, not even all Muslim clerics, see the Kashgari issue this way.

I neither endorse any particular faith nor proselytize my lack of it. Experience has taught me that the most fundamental questions about our own existence and our place in the Grand Scheme of Things are best left each to his own. Those Muslims calling for Kashgari to be punished have committed the worst kind of atrocity–claiming the right to determine another’s thoughts and the expression thereof.

Before anyone gets too smug about not being a Muslim, let us remind ourselves that Christians often do not behave much better. Neither do Hindus, Buddhists, and Moonies.

All faiths have at various times claimed among their number those who would force others to conform, and their willingness to lord over others is not restricted to speech. It extends to unarguably private behavior like sex. The argument is always the same–“society” is affected by private behavior. Insult The Prophet, Allah will be unhappy with the rest of us. Have sex in, ahem, non-traditional ways and God will send a flood or a lightning storm or make it rain “You Light Up My Life” CDs.*

The Kashgari case is clear. The alleged offense was speaking and Saudi Arabia is in the wrong. If Kashgari is murdered by the Saudis, his blood is on the hands of the Malaysian government who sent him back. That one is not hard to figure out, but how many now will see the root problem and its resurgence in our own country?

Rick Santorum is the most conspicuous example of social conservatism gone loony. He has, unbelievably, argued that the state has a right to regulate sex on the basis of its effect on society. Sorry, but what I do in my bedroom with another consenting adult (or ten of them) is my business. Santorum could use a good Dominatrix.

The Left is appropriately outraged at Santorum, giving us hope that they are still redeemable. Yet for all their indignance, they want to tell religious employers that they have to offer birth control as a part of their coverage even if it violates their moral code. As a libertarian, I think this kind of controversy should never have come up because no one should be forced to offer anything as an employer. But come up it did. Even in my darkest hours, I did not imagine that someone would try to force a religious organization to subsidize something it finds abhorrent. The Far Left and the Far Right are not so Far Apart after all.

Sadly, Catholics are being put in the position that many of us are with regard to other rights. Should they conform to an unjust law or choose to disobey? When leaders like Barack Obama and his ilk bring to government the mentality that government knows best, it will invariably start to make laws that people of conscience will choose not to obey. The part of government that is morally defensible–the protecting of individual rights–will soon lose any claim to legitimacy as people start thumbing their noses at more and more laws. Chaos–the bad kind–is the only possible outcome. People will soon learn what it takes to defend their own rights–alone.

At the helm of the Good Ship Government is Barack Obama, a sanctimonious tyrant. Not content with telling regular citizens how to spend their money, he is now telling religious leaders how to spend theirs, conscience be damned. His root assumptions about the world are little different from Santorum’s. The state rules and the individual drools. We are not capable of being good ourselves and so must be guided by wiser and better men/women, wallet to bedroom and everything in between.

Which brings us back round to Kashgari. A man who dared publish his thoughts is threatened with death and we are outraged. Yet we are only a little further walk from the gallows. The Obamas and Santorums of this world are evil. It is time to inform all who would tell us what to say, how to make love, and how to do business to go fly. Tweet that one.



About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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