By John Tamihere
Am I the only one that looks at Muslim people in disbelief over their reactions to a low budget movie made in the United States poking fun at their religion?
I am a failed Catholic, but continue to note the criticism levelled at the Church. I am aware that the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, and his adherence are greatly criticised. The faith of the Republic Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and his religion as a Mormon, is a big thing. The ridicule heaped upon Brian Tamaki and his Destiny Church, the Exclusive Brethren, the Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses spring to mind in terms of religions that have suffered long and significantly. People of the Hebrew faith have also suffered for their religious beliefs. All faiths are up for heavy inspection, speculation and deep criticism.
I think we will all agree that any commentary that is malicious and sets out to incite hatred and violence towards any group of people because of their religion, will not be tolerated in our society.
What gives Muslim people a belief that, in this country founded on Christian principles, their faith is above all others in regard to criticism of the faith and a major prophet advancing that faith? The level of violence that occurs as soon as anyone chooses to criticise Islam or the prophet is surely unacceptable.
You may recall a major incident that occurred at Te Papa, our National Museum, when an art exhibition portrayed a statue of the Virgin Mary covered by a condom. The Virgin Mary is an acknowledged major player in Hebrew, Islam and Christianity.
This so-called artwork was a premeditated attack on what the Virgin Mary personifies, a major role model for all mothers and all wives. Denigrating her image in this way is one of the greatest acts of inciting hatred and violence towards a so-called artist. We weathered this storm, no violence was carried out on the artist, Te Papa was not firebombed and no hits on the artist were put out by the Pope.
When people settle in this country they must do so acknowledging that we are an open, receiving and, largely, tolerant people. What we cannot tolerate is the type of behaviour being conducted elsewhere in the name of a distinctive and separate right to intolerance, solely because one is born and bred under the faith of Islam.
Once again this week, I noticed mainstream media wanting and willing to report that the young Warriors side in Sydney had caused huge damage in their hotel and had beaten up as many Australians as possible. There is no doubt the Junior Warriors played in a grand final and lost, there is no doubt overuse of alcohol occurred and there is no doubt they had a water fight in a hotel room.
And to all those that hoped and prayed that they could put the boot into rugby league, as usual, they can all go and jump in the lake that pretty soon will be owned by the Maoris.
Sunday News, 23rd September 2012