Signs of progress in Islam

Earlier, I discussed the Catholic Church in a very uneducated fashion. Now I feel the need to discuss Islam in a similar vein, in light of certain developments in the news recently.

In Massachusetts, the Islamic Society of Boston has been working on building a mosque in old Beantown. Actually, a MOSQUE — as planned, it will be the biggest mosque in the United States. But not everyone has embraced their plan, and there have been a lot of questions left unanswered concerning the financing and other behind-the-scenes machinations.

Those questions remain unanswered, but earlier this week the ISB gave up on its attempts to get those questions un-asked.

The ISB had filed civil lawsuits against Fox-25, the Boston Herald, and various and sundry other groups and individuals who had discussed the ISB’s plans in less than glowing terms. And while the ISB is claiming victory, it’s worthwhile to note that 1) the ISB has agreed to not only drop its lawsuit, but given up any right to re-file it, and 2) the lawsuits from the other sides were all counter-suits, meaning that without the ISB’s original suit, they pretty much lost all meaning.

The Boston Herald rejoiced in this development, as did the blogger “Solomon,” who had also been targeted. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe tried its level best to polish this turd, proclaiming that the backing down of the ISB in (what appeared to me) to be a flagrant assault on the First Amendment as a grand opportunity to let bygones be bygones and get a fresh start on interfaith relations.

Some observers noted that the ISB had been hoping that the threat of the lawsuit would silence its critics, and dropped the matter when it became clear that a lot of people involved with the ISB would have to answer some very awkward questions under oath very soon. I’m not up on the story enough to say with any authority if this is true, but it is certainly plausible.

And in other good news from the world of Islam, a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity has managed to not get sentenced to death by her Islamic government. Instead, the Malaysian government simply refused to recognize her conversion. Lina Joy — born Azlina Jailani — had petitioned the government to remove the word “Islam” from her national ID card. The government’s courts said that it had no authority to order changes to her government-issued ID; instead, she had to go to the religious courts and get their permission to stop being identified by a faith she had rejected.

This is actually a great step forward. In many other countries, conversion from Islam is a capital offense.

Here, the government is not threatening her with death. Instead, they are telling her to go before a religious court and submit herself to their judgment first. Of course, those courts operate under Shariah law. and under that law leaving Islam is considered apostasy and a capital offense, but at least in this case the government is distancing itself slightly from the execution.

It’s easy as hell to become a Muslim — all you have to do is recite the magic words in front of a Muslim authority — but there’s no way out. And it doesn’t just apply to people, either; according to the rules of some of the more devout, it applies to land, too. Once a hunk of territory is held by Muslims, it is Muslim forever.

Islam. It’s the “Roach Motel” of religions. Once you check in, you never check out.

Now we know how Tuberculosis man got back into the country
The Base