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I love spicy Asian food, especially the Indian and Pakistani variety. Often when my parents visit me they bring samosas bought at a mosque and tell me that (even though the women are covered head to toe and have to enter by a different door) the people there are so lovely and kind and the women don't seem oppressed by patriarchal misogynists. Sometimes I think my parents are trying to disarm my vehement opposition to Islam (and religion in general), though that is probably reading into it too much. I just devour the tasty morsels of pastry wrapped spicy meat and veg goodness and avoid being interpreted as a "dogmatic randian blowhard" and redirect conversation.

asked May 21 '11 at 11:47

Andrew's gravatar image


edited May 21 '11 at 12:43

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

So really you are asking, is it moral to value tasty food over anti-life anti-mind irrational religions? Or, is it better to conform to family / social pressure rather than act on principle? Or, am I exempt from sanctioning evil if the products from it are very appealing to my taste buds?

I'm being a little flippant in that last question, but I still think it's accurate. The answer to all is definitely NO.

You have the responsibility and ability to judge the morality of this mosque yourself. It seems like you know the essential facts already. (It could be that not all mosques are the same, but you've given a very specific context.) Just because the people there seem content, or your family (or anyone) says it's ok, or you happen to love the products from this (objectively evil, by Objectivist standards) establishment, doesn't change the nature of this mosque. As your tag correctly notes, to support or condone (or consume) the products of this mosque is to sanction the mosque itself.

I could give other examples using Nazi concentration camp labor or child labor in modern countries, but I don't think I need to. If you know the source of these goods and they are clearly anti-life, the minimum moral thing to do is abstain from their products. Better yet is to explain your abstinence clearly and confidently. (If you want the least confrontational response, I'd suggest saying "I choose not to" and leave it at that.)

As a much lesser point, if you really love spicy Asian food, there should be plenty of other options for you! Or wait until you can make a trip to such a place and eat with a clear conscience!

answered May 22 '11 at 01:08

QEDbyBrett's gravatar image

QEDbyBrett ♦

In the general case, I concur with the answer by QEDbyBrett. However, the parent-child relationship complicates the issue. The question explains that the context is a visit to the questioner's home by the questioner's parents, and there is doubt as to the parents' motives:

Sometimes I think my parents are trying to disarm my vehement opposition to Islam (and religion in general), though that is probably reading into it too much.

Evidently the questioner is already living on his own and is presumably an adult or close enough in age to be on his own. He loves the food that his parents bring to him. and they probably know it and are happy that he enjoys it. He doesn't explain what his parents' religious affiliations might be, or how they would be hurt or not if he were to ask them to buy any food intended for him somewhere else instead of patronizing an Islamic mosque.

Unless it is clear beyond doubt that they are intentionally trying to corrupt him after having been warned repeatedly, I would tend to think that simply repeating a preference for non-Islamic sources would be sufficient to indicate his own view of the seriousness of militant Islam as a real and continuing threat to world peace and American security. But he would need to say it, not just think it, and would need to consider the potential hurtfulness to the parents who brought him into the world and raised him and presumably made it possible for him to be where he is now as an adult (or near-adult). If they cannot accept his rejection of all religion and his opposition to Islam in particular, then he will probably need to reconsider his whole future relationship with them, and would find it intolerable psychologically in his own mind to give in to their religious expectations for him, if that is what they are doing and he has incontrovertible evidence of it.

If his parents are actually Muslims themselves and tried to raise him as a Muslim, then he may also have a golden opportunity to find out first hand how they reconcile the actions of militant Islamic terrorists with their religion. Do they reject the Islamic doctrines on which the terrorists rely? My own understanding is that "Jihad" and literal "death to infidels," for example, are very fundamental to mainstraim Islam. Is that true, and do the parents endorse it? The questioner could try asking his parents about that, in the spirit of his own greater understanding of their outlook, if there is any doubt.

answered May 22 '11 at 04:12

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

While a literal reading of Islamic texts could show that "death to infidels" is "very fundamental" to Islam, calling this "mainstream" esp. in the US is a bit hyperbolic. If you speak to a cross-section of Muslims in the USA, you discover that their views resemble those of other religious folk in the USA. They generally do not follow literal doctrine at all (similarly to Christians who no longer stone adulterers). The difference is that medievalist, literalist Islam is still a virulent force while the Renaissance/Enlightenment largely de-fanged theocratic Christianity.

(May 22 '11 at 13:20) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

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Asked: May 21 '11 at 11:47

Seen: 1,350 times

Last updated: May 22 '11 at 13:20