October 3rd, 2009.
Sabri Husibi, a former Muslim who is now an atheist has received ‘death threats’ since the publication of a Tulsa World article last Saturday in which he was critical of Islam. Oh yea, and all religions per se. But it was his comments on Islam and the Koran, as a former Muslim that got him in trouble with some in the Muslim community.
Husibi has an ‘unlisted’ phone number yet received over 30 calls from people who cursed him, called him a traitor, and threatening him in some way or another. Plus he also received angry calls from friends and relatives in Syria who heard about it. According to Sabri, one caller offered his wife $10,000 to leave him and return home to Syria also:
“Someone from Tulsa called my 76-year-old mother in Syria and said, ‘You’re not going to see your son anymore,’ “
What seemed to anger Muslims the most was Husibi’s contention the Quran was written by men and had been changed over the years.
The director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Razi Hashmi, said that Husibi has a right in this country to say what he wants without being threatened however should not make false statements against the Quran.
Response: “freedom of speech” and ‘freedom of religion’ are two ongoing issues that continue to be difficult for many recent Muslim immigrants to fully appreciate and accept. Particularly when it comes to criticizing Islam in any way which runs against the gain of Muslim culture.
Religious criticism and dialogue is taken for granted in America. However, in many of the Muslim countries and communities that these immigrants came from, criticism and defamation of Islam and the Quran is actually a very serious offence that can even result in death or a jail sentence at the very least.
Care should be taken that the demands for tolerance, respect, and deference towards Islam are not allowed to compromise our freedoms in any way.
Already newspapers are refraining from publishing cartoons that may be offensive to Muslims while anything still goes against Christians and Judaism.
Libraries are beginning to place the Quran on the top shelf as demanded while a Bible might be subjected to graffiti and mutilation in a museum. Crosses can be displayed in urine and called art but a book that is critical of the Quran and the teaching of Muhammad might have a hard time finding a publisher.
Point is, the cultural and religious demands of Islam for exclusive respect should not be allowed to trump our freedoms in any way.