Islam and Political Correctness
"The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.
To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization." -SH
On Feb. 23, 2017, the director of the National Security Council, General H.R. McMaster, reiterated his stance that Islamic ideology is essentially irreligious, and that Jihadi terrorists are not true to the religion they claim to be part of.
He discouraged the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” because “terrorist organizations like ISIS represent a perversion of Islam, and are thus un-Islamic.” In December, McMaster warned us to “never buy in or reinforce the terrorist narrative that this is a war of religion.”
Although commonplace, this argument is simply wrong. Even as we rightly acknowledge that it's perfectly possible to follow Islam without committing or encouraging terrorism, we cannot ignore the link between doctrine and behavior.
It is impossible to deny the role that islam, as a set of ideals, plays in international terrorism and gross abuse of human rights in the countries where it is enacted by law.
When it comes to religion, doctrine matters. And how can anyone hope to have a productive discussion about the tenets that make up Islam when even the mildest criticism of the doctrine labels you bigoted, racist or (gasp), Islamophobic?
As an atheist, I stand outside the reach of all religions equally, and recognize that religious history and doctrinal differences matter.
Generally, public criticism of any religion, ancient or contemporary, is completely acceptable, and should be encouraged. It is noteworthy, then, that criticism of any other religion nowadays will earn you, at worst, a dose of invective, whereas saying the wrong words or drawing the wrong cartoons about Islam will get you killed in any country where Islam is the official religion, and liable to earn you physical repercussions in countries where it is not.
Why is it that in Western countries, merely pointing out the similarities between the writings of the Qur’an and the Hadiths and the violent and intolerant preachings of groups such as ISIS is cause for censure?
We certainly have no problem holding Christianity responsible for its part in the horrific Spanish Inquisition, nor do we stutter at recognizing Christian scripture as having encouraged anti-Semitic attitudes along European history.
Ah, I can hear the rebuttal already: “Of course there are horrible passages in the Qur'an. It was written at a different time, and there are similarly horrible ones in the Bible!”
Without a doubt, the Bible is a bloody, violent book filled with unspeakable atrocities. But then, why is it that no Christian feels personally targeted when Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which encourages the public stoning of disobedient children, is criticized?
It is because Christianity has gone through, over the past few hundred years, a modernization process where it has been ejected out of civil law, and where its most vile an intolerant preaching are no longer ordained as official doctrine by the church’s institutions.
With some exceptions (such as enduring Medieval attitudes toward homosexuality and fundamentalists' rejection of science in favor of creationism) the most vile, intolerant, and backward parts of Christian practice have been abandoned.
Islam, on the other hand, has become more intolerant than it was a millennium ago, when Muslims were creating algebra and algorithms and naming the celestial bodies. The result is that Christians can shake off most criticisms of their own scripture and their beliefs, but the Islamic world seems a lot more thin-skinned.
I however, reject the often brought up and dangerous notion of this conflict being a “war of civilizations,” pitching the united secular West against the similarly united dogmatic Islamic world.
This is wrong simply because it is an inaccurate depiction of both sides. This particular struggle is far more complicated and it is certainly not contained by international borders or racial origin. This is a war of ideas, not of skin color.
Which is why the first victims of Islamic extremism are almost always Muslims: Women, apostates, homosexuals, modern Muslims seeking the evolution of their faith, and yes, even just Muslims who belong to the wrong traditional Islamic sect.
Similarly, the people often most opposed to helping the victims of islamo-faschism, those who refuse to hold Islamic ideas accountable for their role in these crimes are not Muslims at all, but westerners brandishing multiculturalist arguments.
Meaningful change can only come from within the Islamic world, from the reformist voices that want to modernize Islam to fit today's standards of human decency and compassion. These are the people whom we must try to empower today by giving them coverage, a platform to speak out of and most importantly, by acknowledging their suffering and struggle.
It is for this reason that we must not delude ourselves with the idea that all cultures are equally good in every way. We should not shy away from sensitive conversations about the role of religious dogma, even at the risk of being called racist or Islamophobic. Such insults are minor and insignificant compared to the atrocities that the victims of this violent and intolerant doctrine suffer every day.