Why Muslims are too sensitive


Even the church has changed. Although the Bible forbids homosexuality and talks about how God punishes homosexuals with death, today even homosexual priests are allowed and are no longer put to death like in, say, 500 years ago.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

It must be very difficult for non-Muslims to understand why Muslims go ballistic when they perceive their religion or their Prophet as being mocked or insulted. It is probably even more puzzling when those going berserk are not even religious to begin with and do not comply with the tenets of Islam or fulfil its obligations, such as praying five times a day.

First of all, Islam is one of the Semitic religions or Abrahamic faiths and it is very clearly stated in these belief systems that heresy or blasphemy are forbidden. Judeo-Christianity, in fact, says that you must not take the Lord’s name in vain.

“But why do only Muslims react this way?” the most common question asked. The Jews and Christians are not as ‘extreme’ in their response.

First of all, define ‘extreme’. Does ‘extreme’ mean responding physically to verbal abuse?

Some say you must not respond physically (also meaning violently) to verbal abuse. If someone abuses you verbally then you must respond verbally as well, not physically. Only if someone tries to cause you physical harm can you also respond physically, but only in defence of your property, limb and life.

That, of course, is a matter of opinion. The truth is all the Holy Books of the Semitic religions are full of stories of God commanding a physical response to those labelled as enemies of God. The only thing is the devotees of Judeo-Christianity no longer follow God’s commands. Only the Muslims still do.

Maybe in Malaysia this does not happen but in the west you can see almost every day on TV or in the movies statements such as ‘Jesus fucking Christ’. It is so common that the censors no longer cut this out. You will never find Muslims saying ‘Prophet fucking Muhammad’. This is strictly a no-no for Muslims.

Hence Jews and Christians have no problems with what can be considered as blasphemy. Muslims, however, have a big problem with this. Hence Muslims are very sensitive about insults and mockery against what they consider as holy.

Maybe 100 years or so ago saying ‘Jesus fucking Christ is going to get you into trouble. Even saying something as tame as ‘we are more popular than Christ’ can get you into trouble just a few years ago, as the Beatles discovered. Now you can say even worse than that and no one gets perturbed like in, say, the 1960s or 1970s.

Hence, in the west, values have changed and freedom of expression, even if it is an insult, is more important than respecting the sensitivities of others. Muslims, however, are still very sensitive about such matters and freedom of expression is secondary to respect for religion, not primary like in the west.

It took 50 years for the west to finally accept that you can make fun of God. But in the first 1,965 years that was not something that could be tolerated. Considering that Islam is just about 1,400 years old, it may take another 500 or 600 years before Muslims can smile when someone says ‘Prophet fucking Muhammad’ — that is if it is ever going to happen in the first place.

So give some time, maybe 500 or 600 years, before Muslims can tolerate making fun of God, Islam and Prophet Muhammad like how the Jews and Christians can. It may even happen earlier than 500 or 600 years. But it cannot happen now, not just yet.

This is also the fault of the education system. Muslims are taught from a very young age that one must not make fun of God. Hence they grow up believing this. One day, when we change the education system and teach Muslims that it is okay to make fun of God, then Muslims would become less sensitive.

A Malaysian friend of mine, a very religious Chinese Christian, once told me that England is a Godless society. Many churches have closed down and some have even been sold to Muslims to be turned into mosques or Islamic centres. It is estimated that only about 10% of British still go to church while about 30% still believe in God.

In fact, football is more a religion to the British than Christianity is. They are more sensitive about insults to their football team than insults to Christianity. You can say ‘Jesus fucking Christ’ in a Manchester pub and nothing will happen to you. But try saying ‘fuck MU’ (or ‘fuck Man City’) and see what happens. Even walking into a Manchester pub wearing a Liverpool T-shirt is asking for trouble, especially on Friday or Saturday night when everyone is pissed drunk.

Hence the British do respond physically or violently to insults to their ‘religion’ — only that they have a new religion and it is called football. And while they may never go to church, they never miss a football game, and will scream ‘Jesus fucking Christ’ when their team misses a goal.

Even the church has changed. Although the Bible forbids homosexuality and talks about how God punishes homosexuals with death, today even homosexual priests are allowed and are no longer put to death like in, say, 500 years ago.

Even as recent as 50 years ago homosexuality was taboo. Those who were discovered would choose suicide to being castrated by society. Today only Muslims are still sensitive about what they consider something forbidden by God. Christians no longer care about what God commands and would justify it by saying that times have changed and in modern times nothing is forbidden any longer.

Hence are Muslims who hold dear the tenets of their religion extreme? If Muslims are extreme then God is extreme because Muslims merely follow what God commands. And this is the same God of the Jews and Christians. And the Qur’an is almost like the Old Testament of the Judeo-Christians.

Another ‘dirty’ word is ‘fundamental Muslims’. They make it sound like fundamental Islam is extreme Islam. Fundamental just means basic, primary or original. Hence fundamental Muslims just mean Muslims who have not deviated from the original teachings of Islam and follow it to the letter.

So why is fundamental Islam a dirty word? Why is that term used as a negative label? And why is ‘fundamental’ used to describe extreme Muslims or terrorism? You have only two types of Muslims — those who follow the true teachings of Islam and those who deviate from the true teachings of Islam. Why should Muslims who follow the teachings of Islam be labelled extreme?