Egypt blogger jailed for insulting Islam
"I was hoping that he would get a harsher sentence because he presented to the world a bad image of Egypt. There are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics. He should have got a 10-year sentence," said lawyer Nizar Habib, who attended the trial as a member of the public. (Bold mine)
Note that this was said not by some maniacal dictator but by a member of the public and a lawyer no less. We are constantly told that militant Islam is the work of "extremists" who have "hijacked a religion of peace", i.e., that mainstream Muslims do not share the ideology of the terrorists. If you study the evidence I believe that is an absolute myth. From recent events such as the Danish cartoon controversy, polls taken throughout the Mid East related to opinions of terrorists or the West, and events like the one cited above which are commonplace, the Middle East today is where the West was ideologically in the Dark Ages, a period when religious theocrats dominated and controlled every aspect of society and mired the West in stagnation and misery for over a thousand years.
Nothing short of a modern Renaissance in the Mid East will suffice. (We could use one in the West too.) As Peter Schwartz points out in his recent piece "Religion vs. Liberty"
When reason is categorically abandoned, people can deal with one another only by force. People who accept reason as their sole means of knowledge can settle differences by persuasion; the one with facts and logic on his side will prevail. But if faith--i.e., the embrace of beliefs contrary to reason--is one's ruling principle, there is no peaceful way to resolve conflicts. There can be no appeal to facts, no logic, no rational arguments--there can be only the insistence that some non-provable belief be accepted. And what could back up that insistence other than fists or guns--or airplanes smashing into buildings?