I am not a troll. I do not search out internet fora, Facebook and MySpace groups, or any other online community with the intention of creating inflamatory comments or rousing rabble of any sort. That doesn’t mean that I’m not tempted to do so from time to time. Usually, I just like to gain some perspective, see how people debate and support their positions (on all sides), and sometimes get some good ideas for blog posts.
I came across a doosie of a group a while back while browsing MySpace groups about Islam. There is a section devoted to the groups “rules”, some of which are very telling about not only the religion of Islam, but the sacred protection religion thinks it deserves in discourse.
The first few rules are reasonable enough:
- No hate speech
- No bigotry
- No attacking another person’s religion
While I do not think that there is any such thing as hate speech in the way it is typically defined, I don’t think that every forum should have to be a stage for debate. No big deal so far, but the next few are quite revealing.
- Non-Muslims are welcome and will be protected
- Non-Muslims have the right to ask anything they wish. However if they abuse their privileges they will be banned!!!!!!
- Anybody insulting my religion of Islam or my holy prophet Muhammad (saaw) will be banned !!!!!!!!!
It doesn’t say great things for your religion if you have to reassure non-adherents of their protected status when joining for discussion. Oh, and as for that discussion, ask anything you want, but don’t abuse those privileges. What the hell does that even mean? Is this like Scientology in that they will answer questions until one of the questions pisses them off or makes them reveal something embarrassing or heinous about their belief system? For instance, if I wanted to ask “How does the holy prophet Muhammad taking a child wife and consummating the marriage with intercourse when she was only 9 years old fit in to traditional Arab marriage roles during that time?”, I would probably be banned.
Even though it is a perfectly valid question whose basis is well document in the Hadith (Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64), this question would almost certainly be seen as an affront to Islam. As a non-adherent, this is a topic on which I would like more information, and what better place to ask questions than in a forum of Muslims?
Well, thinking about all of this again got me wanting to visit the group and put forth my two cents. Having bookmarked the link, I clicked through only to find that the group is no longer accessible. The group still shows up in search results, but cannot be viewed, which could possibly mean that the group has been made private. I’ve included the link in case it should ever be accessible in the future.