In our society, vulgarians like Larry Flynt and the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo are the vanguard who protect freedom of speech. They are the canary in the coal mine, whose death warns us of the unseen dangers gathering around us.
You can claim you talk to God in your prayers, but if you want to remain a member of one of the major religions you cannot claim that God has provided you with a revelation that contradicts the views of the accepted prophets of your religion.
Inquisitions to current day intolerant extremists, life and resources are wasted with perverted extravagance. Difference and deviance have become the most frequently employed rationale to persecute, punish and kill.
We try to display ourselves as strong, independent beings, as confident and un-phased by the events around us. In reality, it is often a show, a facade, a cry for attention rather than an element of fortitude.
To date, only presidents have fallen from power during the Arab Awakening -- no king has fallen from his throne. Arab monarchies are of course not immune to the forces that brought down some of their republican counterparts, so why have they all thus far survived?
As a Muslim it is very simple to argue theologically against the Islamists. Islam is nothing if not justice. Any injustice committed or pursued in the name of Islam is anathema to the believing Muslim and counter to the ideal which is Islam.
The world around me gets to decide if the way I treat it is condescending or compassionate. Sometimes I have to see how the world receives my action once it has been carried out, not out of a hope to feel validated, but in a hope of better understanding myself.
As an agnostic outsider, it's not for me to tell a billion plus Muslims just how to rekindle the progressive, rationalist tradition of Islam into a beacon of hope. But I can and must point out the need to do so.
Muslim voices all over America, Canada and the world are condemning violence, correcting extremists, building bridges, working with non-Muslim individuals and communities, for the sake of shared multicultural and multireligious peace.