When you're convinced God is on your side, you are capable of anything.
The late Mike McQuay, science fiction author.
Brother McQuay didn't mean that in the good sense. Specifically, he was talking about the long history of barbaric acts perpetrated by those who are inspired by the white hot purity of their faiths.
Of course he was a stone cold atheist and had little use for anyone who professed a belief in a supreme being, no matter what their tradition, or culture.
Those of us who knew him can only imagine what he might have thought, or said about those good 'ol boys known as Boko Haram. They are the outfit in Nigeria who kidnapped 200 plus school girls and are threatening to sell them into slavery. The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau has said they did it with Allah's approval.
Yes, it would seem, just like the Bible, the Qu'ran can be used to justify anything that is part of someones agenda and behavior no matter how cracked it might be.
Various media sources are saying the Grand Mufti of Saudia Arabia has condemned both Boko Haram and Abubakar Shekau. Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said, among other things, the group was, "set up to smear the image of Islam." He also claimed they are, "misguided." Then he noted, "These groups are not on the right path because Islam is against kidnapping, killing, and aggression." Finally, he added, "Marrying kidnapped girls is not permitted."
The Guardian on line reports scholars from the Cairo based, Al-Azhar, a Sunni learning center, issued a statement saying the kidnappers had grossly misinterpreted the faith and their act has, "...nothing to do with the noble teachings of Islam."
Hey, all that seems pretty darned reasonable doesn't it?
Well, tell it to Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag. She lives in Sudan and is married to a Christian man. According to Amnesty International, her father was Muslim, but he flew the coop early on so Mrs. Ishag was raised as an Orthodox Christian by her mother who is of that faith.
Despite those circumstances she was charged with apostasy because her dad was Muslim and Islam is apparently like the Hotel California--you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
The 27 year old woman is eight months pregnant, but MSN reports that didn't stop Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa from sentencing her to death. Just to make sure she learns her lesson he threw in 100 lashes for adultery, because according to Sharia law her marriage to a Christian is just that. It remains unclear if she'll be beaten to death with a whip before, or after she is executed.
MSN quoted the judge as saying, "We gave you three days to recant, but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged." It's true. Ishag was convicted on Sunday, but over the next 72 hours she refused to budge on her beliefs, despite Muslim clerics urging her to do so.
Her response to the sentence was reportedly, "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."
The embassies of the U.S. U.K. Canada, and the Netherlands issued a statement saying, "We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one's right to change one's faith or beliefs."
The Sudanese Information Minister seemed befuddled by all the hubbub. He pointed out most Muslim countries, including Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh's home turf of Saudi Arabia, forbid Muslims to convert to another religion.
Indeed, what's the big deal?
It would seem Mike McQuay was right back then and still is now.
If you need me, I'll be in the bar.