Some time ago I had an experience where a group of Moroccans threatened me when they overheard me say that there is no god in a conversation at a terrace bar. I think I posted about it. What impressed me was their willingness to threaten violence in defence of their religion whilst they were drinking beers. Pure hypocrisy.
Last night it happened again!
I was in a bar having a conversation with somebody I know and a Moroccan gentleman who was in the bar by himself made a great effort to join in the conversation. The conversation was not about religion. He seemed like a nice enough person and he was welcome to join in. Everything was light hearted and friendly. A little way into the conversation my friend mentioned that his father was Moroccan and due to the turn the conversation took at that point my friend also revealed that he is not a Muslim and that in fact, in his opinion, religion is bullshit. I agreed with his assertion.
Our new friend did not.
He immediately told us, absolutely seriously, that we can talk about anything but not about religion. So I asked him why and he told me again that I can talk about anything I like but not about religion.
That just doesn’t work for me.
“Why not?” I asked. And he told me that it’s not acceptable for us to insult religion. So I asked why not and the conversation began to get a little tense. My friend leapt in to make everything nice again by saying that all religions are about peace and being nice to other people and so essentially religion is a “nice” thing. A complete turn around from his “religion is bullshit statement” I thought, and an obviously false statement. I asked my friend about the Old Testament’s pure and vicious nastiness apparent throughout and various features of the New Testament such as Luke 19:27. He didn’t know any of the verses I mentioned but our new friend was at this point perfectly willing to step in and mention that Christianity is bullshit.
Ok, my suspicion was confirmed. It was not talking about religion, or mentioning that religion is bullshit, that he wanted to prohibit. He specifically refused to allow any disagreement with Islam. I decided to push the point. I told him “You’re telling us we can’t even mention religion but you can say that Christianity is bullshit! So you are defending Islam whilst clearly a little drunk and with a beer in your hand. You’re a hypocrite and your religion is nonsense”. This didn’t go down very well, although to his credit he remained calm. Another Moroccan sitting just behind me was not taking things so well (he was also drinking).
How can people take themselves seriously when they are prepared to fight to defend a religion that they are defecating on before it is even challenged? It is utterly ridiculous and people, such as my friend, bending over backwards with clearly false statement (Islam is peace) to appease when threatened is every bit as bad as the “religion demands violent defence” attitude of the ignorant and hypocritical fanatics.
To cut a long story short, the night ended without violence. I am almost certain it ended that way because I was brutally open, unconcerned and absolutely unapologetic in expressing my distaste and disagreement for the hypocrisy of someone being aggressive in defence of a religion they are themselves in the act of defiling. My stance made it obvious that if he was prepared to fight over his hypocrisy then I was prepared to fight over my right to speak freely. I suspect there is a lesson there to be applied on a larger scale.
Sure, there are some fanatics, the jihadis, who are prepared to kill and die for their small minded belief. There are less prepared to stand up with such conviction when their aggression is given the respect it deserves – absolutely none – and it is made clear that we are also prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect our freedoms.
It is these little battles that will change the minds of Muslims, especially in Europe. As individuals we have to be prepared to take our opinions beyond the blog and into daily life and be ready to stand firmly behind our convictions and in the front line in facing down the religious aggression that attempts to limit our freedom.
I’ve had numerous occasions in which I have been threatened by Muslims. Some of these have been during conversations in which I have asked them about their beliefs. Some have been occasions in which I have been overheard. Some of the Muslims have been drinking (most) and some have not. Every time I have maintained the same attitude of refusing to accept their demand to censor what I am allowed to say or think. Every time, even though events have become very aggressive and hot, I have remained calm but refused to budge even an inch to accommodate their ridiculous and aggressive demands and every time I am certain that it has been that conviction that has kept violence at bay.
I am prepared to fight, in a huge war or a tiny personal battle in bar, to maintain my right to think and express. I am unashamed of my opinions and no threat will ever make me feel that I should be silent because of the sensibilities of those who cannot accept debate.
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