Nov 6, 2012
Whenever Benedict XVI speaks on the subject of dialogue with Islam or directly addresses Muslims, he invariably emphasizes the acknowledgment of freedom of conscience and religion as the prerequisite for dialogue, not as an outcome from it. The new book, “Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide,” by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea, shows in dramatic detail how very far many Muslim-majority countries are from meeting this prerequisite.
“Silenced” is an indispensable book and an invaluable reference for anyone interested in sustaining freedoms of conscience, speech, and religion. It is as thorough as it is devastating in its survey of Muslim-majority countries and their strictures on these freedoms, and on the influence that these very same countries are attempting to exercise, with some success, on the West's discussion of Islam.
If you want to understand the significance of the manufactured incitement against an otherwise insignificant fourteen-minute movie trailer, “The Innocence of Muslims,” you will need the perspective that Marshall and Shea provide. This recent episode is simply one of many that have been used in a broad campaign to “silence” the West. The book lays out the details of many preceding incidents that are part of this pattern, and that have been used with varying degrees of success.
“Silenced” does not analyze the roots of Muslim intolerance, which are ultimately to be found in Islam's profound denigration of reason, but to examine its effects on the world today. Marshall and Shea give detailed descriptions of how the main Muslim countries treat or restrict the freedoms mentioned above.