Rosetta Stone Language Software

On Tolerance for others' beliefs

multilingua.info has - and for some time has had - a page on the languages of the Islamic world. That page includes links to numerous editions of the Koran, including a free online edition. We encourage checking these out, as we should be aware of, and respectful of, the beliefs of others.

This belief in tolerance and understanding is a luxury those of the West enjoy. It is also, ultimately, an essential for the fullest realization of the human spirit. At multilingua.info, we believe it is good and worthwhile, even necessary, to have access to as many cultures as possible, and that one be free to make one's own decisions about what to believe.

In many parts of the world, this luxury, ultimately a necessity, is absent. During the Cold War, there was a joke that went like this:
An American tells a Russian, "In the United States, we are free. If we want, we can stand outside the White House and say, 'The President of the United States is an idiot.'"

The Russian smiles back and says, "This is no great thing. In Russia we could just as well stand outside the Kremlin and say, 'The President of the United States is an idiot.'"
This is the state of things today with the West and the Islamic world. And the Islamic world is the poorer for it.

In late 2005, a Danish newspaper printed some cartoons - most of which were neither terribly cutting nor terribly funny - which tested whether the West still enjoyed free speech and inquiry once engaged with the Islamic world. The results have not been promising. Western governments and news organizations alike have made assertions about the cartoons without allowing free individuals to draw their own conclusions. This is like making assertions about the Koran while banning its reading - something that a less advanced West did here and there as little as a century ago. We're beyond that. We should certainly be beyond suppressing cartoons.

On a sister site, we have a somewhat more fiery editorial about freedom of the press and ideas and what the West should do to protect them. On that site, two of the cartoons are reprinted, and a link is provided for the others. Please click here to see them.

At multilingua.info, we believe that Islam and its texts and traditions are worthy of study and understanding, with much to offer even non-believers. We abhorr the notion that one could pronounce upon it without even a cursory glance and its founding text and its traditions. But understanding must go in all directions. Part of understanding Islam as practiced today is looking at where the culture of its adherents intersects with other cultures. So please look at the Koran. And please look at the cartoons. From there, you can draw your own conclusions - and your own understanding. Which, from our perspective, is what multilingua.info is all about.