July 2009

Take a look at this scenario. A young couple are busy consuming their marriage. After some foreplay, they have full intercourse without using contraception. A child is conceived.


Now let’s change the scenario very slightly. There is a fly in the room. Its noise is disturbing the foreplay and bothers the husband. They take a slight pause and he rushes to smash the fly, leaving the pleasure on hold for a couple of second. He tramples on a stool and breaks his leg. The sex would take place another day. No child is conceived.


Does this really matter? The amount of babies being conceived at this very moment is abundant. One more or less, the absolute majority of the nearly 7 billion people in this won’t even people in this world wouldn’t have noticed.


Yet it does make a difference. It can actually change history.


What if that conceived child was Adolf Hitler, Michael Gorbachev, Albert Einstein or Osama Bin laden? If the fly had bothering one of these peoples fathers the whole scenario of the world would be completely different.


I brought up this analogy in order to explain how ridiculous certain arguments from experts are while these construct elaborate yet superficial conspiracy theories, the latest being the Islamisation of  the world. This theory is based on a single variable – demography. Muslims tend to have more children and migration patters mean they are distributed all over the world. Three continents – Europe, North America and Australia will soon be infected as the number of Muslims spirals. This will happen in 50 years time.


These experts are however Mathematics geeks, the kind of guys you’ve seen making love to copybooks in the library while you were fondling your girlfriend in a remote corner. They can make magic with numbers and statistics and are about to tell you what the exact percentage of Muslims to non-Muslims will be in 50 years time. They would have been correct, if numbers and statistics were the only variables. These are the things they know and work with. Probably they thought Congo was a musical instrument before they searched Wikipedia to construct their theory.


The other variables are numerous. It could be the fly that we mentioned. It could be much more. These are a few of the millions of variables the geeks are not calculating: Global warming, coups and wars (or the lack of them), genetic engineering, increase in drugs and the construction of new ones, exploring the universe, inventing new more harmful nuclear weapons or have an insane leader of some country who decides to use them.


Both frivolous and major changes make the immediate future of the world unpredictable. Yet the geeks are convincing people that in 50 years time Muslims will take over the world.


In reality, in 50 years we don’t even know if this world can still be habitable for human beings. Worse still, the geeks might have managed to take over.



They never bothered me. Every Saturday evening they gather in a place just a couple of streets behind my house and pray, somewhat loudly. Why not? This is at 7.00 in the evening, we’re all allowed to make some noise. They spend a couple of ours praising God. Being agnostic doesn’t mean that I’m against freedom of worship. Far from that. To be honest I actually admire they way they regularly commit themselves towards what they believe in.


Yet, last Saturday, for the first time the singing and clapping did bother me. Mind you, the worshippers did nothing wrong, and they have nothing to blame if I was bothered.


The reason for getting annoyed was the fact that I remembered the fuss that was created a couple of weeks ago because a group of Muslims decided to praise God in public. Like the worshippers in my neighbourhood, the Muslims obtained a Police license and prayed during acceptable hours (as regards noise).


Yet their prayers MADE NEWS. The fact that they prayed in public was a news item on the Times of Malta at least twice. Worse still, on the online version of the times it was one of the most commented issues. To be fair, more than 50% of those putting comments, stated there was nothing wrong about this and that we are making a fuss out of nothing.


However the problem is not this. WHY SHOULD THE FACT THAT A GROUP OF PEOPLE LEGALLY EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE AND WORSHIP BE NEWSWORTHY? I’m not blaming the Times, far from that. The goal of the newspaper is profit and if many readers find this newsworthy they did their job and delivered the news.


May I ask why Catholic worshippers, no matter whether they pray in public or make noise are never on the news? The answer is obvious – they are only doing what the law entitles them to do. Yet, saying ‘praise the Lord Jesus’ is acceptable, even admirable, but saying ‘Allah hu Akbar’ sends shivers down some people’s spine.


I think I’ve made my point, but would like to add something more. The fear of Muslims, especially after 9/11 is having an effect on quite some Maltese. However, if things were like some want us to believe, isn’t it strange that the main stakeholder – the Catholic Church – not only refraining from discriminating and passing vicious comments, but collaborating with the Muslim church.


Am I asking too much, from this society that unless the law is broken, a group of people who decide to assemble and pray can do so at peace?