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Wed, June 19

Religion critics not all on same page

Religion bashing in this world clearly is not an equal opportunity proposition.

A few years ago, the film "The Last Temptation of Christ" made fun of Christianity. This past year the novel and then the film "The DaVinci Code" questioned the veracity of the Bible.

Jewish people have been the butts of jokes and cartoons ever since vaudeville and before.

Even though Jewish people and Christians suffered more than rightful outrage about such things and have spoken up vehemently against it, they haven't killed anyone.

It's a different proposition with Islam or at least with adherents to the most perverse, extreme versions of it. In Middle Eastern culture, religion is a much more pervasive factor in everyday life.

For the faithful who end up flying planes into buildings and blowing themselves up, they have learned in madrassas, their religious schools, that not only is their faith an essential part of their very being, the "being" of anyone who doesn't believe as they do, let alone those who may make light of their beliefs, is fair game ­ literally.

A few years ago when author Salmon Rushdie with "The Satanic Verses" did for Islam what "The DaVinci Code" seeks to do for Christianity, he was and still is under a worldwide death warrant.

Hence it's a small wonder that a sophomoric cartoon appearing in a Dutch newspaper has set off rioting by Islamic people throughout the world.

In addition to being scary, it makes it all the more difficult for non-Muslims to understand the difference between peaceful Muslims and terrorists.

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