WHAT IS THE PLACE OF EXTREME RELIGIOUS BELIEF IN A LIBERAL SOCIETY?

Canadians were horrified last week to learn that a promising 16-year-old student, Aqsa Parvez, was murdered in Toronto by her Muslim father. At this early stage it is not entirely clear to what extent the daughter clashed with her father over his rigid religious beliefs.

What is clear is that this dreadful murder has ignited a debate about the place of extreme religious belief in a a liberal society.

What is really at issue here is the question of how to deal with those in our midst who believe the laws of God should the trump the laws of men. In other words, should renunciation of religious authority be a prerequisite for membership in a free society?

Voltaire posed this problem three centuries ago: “What to say to a man who tells you he prefers to obey God than to obey men, and who is consequently sure of entering the gates of heaven by slitting your throat?”

In the context of the “reasonable accomodation” debate, it is surely not right to accomodate extreme religious beliefs in a liberal, pluralistic society.

But how do we stop murders like that of the young Muslim woman in Toronto?

6 Comments »

  1. 1
    Alex Thomas Says:

    Hello, again:
    It’s not about religious faith, it’s about control. That man was losing control of his daughter, and he lost control of himself. Each and every human being in our society bears the responsibility of being accountable for one’s actions. His unconscionable violence may be laid to religious convictions. Does that make it conscionable? Can anyone rationalize that act positively? Did he, or did he not, knowingly, consciously, with awareness of his actions, commit homicide?
    Life is an precious anomaly, in a hostile universe that seems to conspire against it. If God truly requires blood sacrifice, then we are indeed cast in His image, and Hannibal Lector should be his Prophet.
    My name is Alex Thomas. All men are brothers; all women are sisters; all children are family; all life is precious. Let Allah find his blood somewhere else. Selah.

  2. 2
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    How do we stop murders like that of the young Muslim woman in Toronto? One media report says that the young lady often came to school bruised and showing other signs of battery. Aren’t procedures already in place that authorities should be contacted once signs of domestic abuse, such as these, become apparent? Ensuring that such safeguards already in place are actually used is the first thing I’d do to stop future murders such as this.
    I have no problem with any form of “extreme religious belief” as long as its practise stops where my freedoms roam. Your freedom to do whatever you want extends only to the doorstep of infringing upon someone else’s…and that includes your own children.

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    I’m mostly in agreement with Alex that this was not about religion; it was about the man’s need for control beyond his actual authority. And apparently, her brother is no better than her father.

    They are hiding behind a home-grown, self-declaration of “religious belief” in the hopes that this will let them escape the consequences of murdering their daughter/sister. We should not be allowing them to get away with it. There is not a religion in the world, including Islam, that countenances the murder of one’s own family members just because they don’t wear the “right” clothing.

    I haven’t yet figured out what this new buzzphrase, “reasonable accomodation” is all about. But I suspect that it’s yet another attempt to codify human behavior. Identify, approve/disapprove, label, file. Is that it? A bit like herding cats while riding a cape buffalo — an impossible task being done under dangerous conditions. Ah, well…carry on.

    “‘What to say to a man who tells you he prefers to obey God than to obey men, and who is consequently sure of entering the gates of heaven by slitting your throat?'”

    My advice is to say nothing and kill him where he stands.

  4. 4

    Thomas:

    I think you are right on the money when you talk about control. But it would seem to be a neurotic control.

    Tony:

    I wasn’t aware there had been signs of battery. If that’s true, what a shame the proper authorities were not informed.

    Chimera:

    A debate about “reasonable accomodation” is raging in the province of Quebec. As I understand it, it means to what extent should native Quebeckers accomodate themselves to the mores, culture and practices of new immigrants, such as Muslims, entering the province.

  5. 5
    Jim Says:

    Neil: Speaking of “reasonable accomodation” wait until the separatist airheads hear about the Muslim community (in another country) wanting the hospitals to rotate the beds in order that the patients heads are pointed toward Mecca. Jim

  6. 6
    Jim Says:

    Test # 2


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