Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Sufi Shrine Destruction, Forming Comment Policy

I recently posted on the destruction of a Sufi shrine in Pakistan. I didn't include a video I had seen in December of the destruction of a Sufi shrine in Somalia. I wished I had posted it in December, but I couldn't think of how to incorporate it into the Pakistan post without diffusing the focus. Now I've decided to post that video of Somalia so that we can all see that there is a conflict going on between Islamic traditions and not just in Pakistan. Below the video, I have written some thoughts in response to the comments on the Pakistan post as I begin to concept a comment policy.

My website is less than a year old and I am just beginning to realize the boundaries I need to set here. I do post "hard hitting" pieces. I am very critical of radical Islam and Sharia Law and I am sometimes very critical of individuals. But I want to be careful to make distinctions between
1) criticizing an ideology or religion
2) insulting a group of people or inciting hatred or violence towards a group of people.

It should be clear now to my readers that all Muslims are not alike. And many Muslims are prisoners within an extreme form of Islam. Women come to my mind as one example. Another seems to be the more mystical Sufis.

The other distinction I want to make is between insulting the religion of Islam and insulting the people who adhere to that faith. In the Netherlands, the Supreme Court ruled that one can insult the Islamic faith without violating the Dutch law "Article 137c of the Criminal Code, which makes offensive statements about a group of people an offence." The Dutch also have a law about "incitement to hatred or violence against a group of people. Here's the link to the article about the Dutch court. I found it at Jihad Watch.

I am thinking I may start removing comments that make broad and insulting generalizations about groups of people. My posts are strong, but this is not a "hate site". There was one other comment thread where I had posted a controversial piece and the comments may have gone over the line. So, we can see that the problem is not just about Muslims and Islam. This can come up with regard to race or sexual behavior. This website had supported the traditional definition of marriage and is concerned about the high rate of African-American children born out of wedlock. But that does not mean that I view gay and lesbians as "less than" or children born out of wedlock as "less than". And I want people who disagree with me to feel welcome at this blog site. I welcome the conversation.

I appreciate your feedback as I formulate my comment policy.

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