Sunday, October 30, 2005

Barbaric beheading

Three girls, all Christian, beheaded as they walk to school in Sulawesi province, Indonesia. The Holy Father condemns the attack. Fears that the 1999-2001 Christian/Muslim conflict might reignite.

An interesting Christianity Today piece on why this conflict might have ended in the first place.

Got an email about this story ... and the sender said that he thinks this shows more and more the "true face of Islam." I'm not of the mind to simply respond with "oh, it's really a religion of peace." I don't know what it really is or is not. But, simple fair-mindedness suggests that one cannot identify an entire group with the actions of a subset, however vocal and active that subset might be. However, as a Catholic, I am committed to learning, and to dialogue. And of course, I've grown up with Islam, in India. Which brings its own baggage -- both good and bad.


assiniboine said...

Curious that we haven't heard any follow-up at all regarding the events in the South Moluccas; at the time I conferred with observant Muslim friends as to whether those forceably converted Christians were realistically expected to be very enthusiastic in their practice of Islam. (I have been to a Dutch Reformed church service in Ambon -- they lustily sang hymns in Bahasa Indonesia to extremely familiar Dutch hymn tunes and I needless to say thought of them rather urgently when all those dreadful reports were emerging.) Answer: they weren't authentically converted at all if it was by force; they're still Christian.

assiniboine said...

The "true face of Islam"? Obviously the true face of some Muslims, and none that I'd care to know, especially when they are wielding machetes.

But as you know better than I, and it seems invidious even to descend to saying it, Islam as a whole is as heterodox as Christianity. Tricky to make sympathetic noises about Muslims these days; one might find oneself inadvertently falling afoul of the alarming new sedition laws in Australia. But presuming as a non-Muslim to describe the "true face of Islam" (whichever of its faces one is describing) is a not-very-thin edge of the wedge of bigotry -- one hears that sort of thing from Muslims themselves when criticising the error of Muslim denominations other than their own but it should be left to them, one would have thought. (We scorn Muslim characterisation of intolerant outburst from our Bible Belt brethren as the true face of Christianity, after all.)

I trust you gave your email correspondent "two tight slaps," as they say in India.

assiniboine said...

Have to run. A Muslim friend just phoned and told me to turn on the ABC for BBC's "Hymns of Praise": the "real face of Christianity," say I, and the correct tunes for all those hymns -- more harvest, in fact! A Parsi friend-in-common of ours sent me a CD of the choir of San Francisco Episcopal Cathedral a while back: WHERE do our American friends get those unfamiliar hymn tunes! Some of them are actually rather nice, but jarring to hear them to old favourite texts which, in my Canadian, English, Australian and Papua New Guinean experience, are wedded till-death-us-do-part to quite different music.