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Kind in thought as well as deed


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About John

Copywriter / advertising person, Perth. Curator of largely irrelevant data. Purveyor of unsorted thoughts. Poor surfer. Worse fisherman.


Your freedom ends where my nose begins, said UK author and whistleblower Seth Freedman.

It seems intolerance - especially towards Muslims - is becoming an increasingly cherished value among some members of our community. To me, thhis makes One Nation dangerous.

Sadly, such intolerance strikes me as eerily parallel to that of the Nazis prior to WWII. Blaming Muslims - and indeed, immigration as a whole - for today’s social problems seems horrifyingly reminiscent of Hitler's propaganda in blaming the Jews for Germany's so-called problems during the 1930s. That kind of thinking led to the horrors of Auschwitz. 

I understand that there are extremists in all cultures founded on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, colour, nationality and social class. But in my view, to tarnish an entire culture by the acts of a few is hypocritical at least, or xenophobic at worst.

I respectfully suggest that the wider reading of the Koran, the Talmud (the central text of rabbinic Judaism), the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist Sutras and the Bible may lead to a better understanding.

Nobody has a mortgage on persecution. The mind cannot be imprisoned. Indeed, Nitin Mehta (an Indian intellectual) advances the notion that all paths to God are valid.

As far as Islam is concerned, history is littered with many examples of Islamic contributions that have made the world a better place. These include the works of Abu Walid Mohammed, who reputedly founded modern algebra. The Sumerians, while not exactly Islamic, purportedly invented the concept of Zero. Omar Khayam was both an important mathematician and astronomer. Al Fabri was one of the first philosophers to separate religion from theology - the list is as impressive as it is for any culture - Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, Christian, Buddhist or otherwise

The world has much to thank Islam for its art, architecture, music and design. Much of Spain's beautiful architecture was imported by the Moors (Berbers and Arabs from Magrib and the north of Africa). The Taj Mahal is an Islamic tomb built by Shah Jahan to honour his wife, Mumtaz.

It is sad that intolerance and extremism appears to be growing everywhere.

I spent a year living and working in India during the late '90s. At that time, Bal Thackeray, a right wing but unelected politician, led a movement known as Shiv Sena - 'Soldiers of Shiva. Their influence prevented Pakistan from playing cricket in the state of Maharashtra because the Pakistan team comprised Muslims, even though the Indian team also contained Muslims.

Thackeray also had the art of Hussein, a wonderful contemporary Muslim painter, removed from public art galleries in Bombay. Hindu extremists killed a thousand Muslims during the Bombay riots of the early '90s.

Extremism invites reaction. Firing rockets into Israel does not justify killing children in Palestine.

U Wirathu is an inflammatory Buddhist monk (a belief system supposedly founded on tolerance and understanding) who agitates against the Rohinghas in Myanmar (Burma).

Israeli politician Estherinea Tartman produces material that is hardly a prime example of Jewish tolerance, any more than the ‘Gay-hating’ Westboro Baptist Church represents Christian values in Kansas.

From the Christian Crusades (300 years of brutality) to the concept of Jehovah as 'the jealous God,' I think Seth Freedman's maxim - 'your freedom ends where my nose begins' - cannot, and should not, be allowed to extend on a national or international scale. 

God (and whatever names his prophets and derivatives are given) is a concept invented by man, not the other way around. It behoves us all to be kind in thought as well as deed.

I hope you agree.

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