Islam needs to get over itself, or recognize that the cultural differences between Muslim nations and the United States are enormously different, when it comes to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
It is difficult for most Americans to understand how much religion is a part of the daily life of a Muslim. Prayer several times each day doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Religion is an inseparable part of the everyday conversation of a Muslim. An American might respond to a question from a friend, such as “are you going to your cabin up north this weekend?” with a jocular “You bet – God willing and if the creek doesn’t rise!” – but that American does not regard the “God willing” part with one percent the solemnity of the Muslim. A Muslim’s response to that question is highly likely to contain the Arabic word/phrase “Insha’Allah”, which freely translates to “God willing”. Except the Muslim believes the trip literally will or will not happen, depending on God’s will.
It is said by linguists that the phrase “Allahu Akbar” is the most frequently spoken phrase on Earth. It freely translates to “God is Most Great”, and a Muslim may speak that phrase as many as 25 to 50 times each day. There is no equivalent expression in English, except perhaps “Amen” – which really doesn’t mean the same thing.
The religion of Islam is very serious business to its followers. There are two or three “kinds” of Islam, contrasted with the 250+ sects of Christianity. The two principal branches are Shia and Sunni, and it took President Bush and his Cabinet several years of war to really figure that out at a visceral level.
Islam means “to submit or surrender” (to God’s will) – and a Muslim is one who submits to God.
The founders of our nation and the framers of our Constitution, the way I look at it, wanted to make sure that there was never an “official, state religion” (Church of England) and the way I see it, they wanted to make sure that citizens could follow any religion of their choosing. This is NOT a “Christian nation” or anything of the sort. Although we’ve put “In God We Trust” on our coins since 1864, and on our paper money since the McCarthy-driven fear of Godless Communists since 1957, the way I look at it, God is God – and God is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Christian in any way. God is God.
The founders of our nation and the framers of our constitution, the way I look at it, placed great importance on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. In fact, historians say the First Amendment (which guarantees both) was added to the Constitution (along with several other amendments) because of resistance in some quarters to ratifying a Constitution which didn’t guarantee enough civil liberties.
Now, regarding these recent uprisings and murders in some of the Middle Eastern nations (“Muslim nations”, where Islam is the official, state religion). Some say it was driven by the disgustingly amateurish film made in California which paints Muhammad in a bad light.
This film was not made by, endorsed by, and did not involve the government of the United States in any way. Hence, the government of the United States, the way I see it, has nothing to apologize for to anyone.
Muslim uprisings against anyone or anything they deem disrespectful to their Prophet or their religion are as predictable as the sunrise, and have been going on since the 7th Century.
Google apparently understands the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights better than the White House. When the White House asked Google to block access to the film in Muslim nations, Google said “no.”
This is the kind of freedom the Tea People should be championing. We have nothing to apologize for.