Islam is a great religion. Islam is a religion of peace. We must respect Islam.
These are common truisms that are spun out of the religious and political tension in the world today. They are usually summoned to the public forum shortly after an atrocity is committed by a radical Muslim. The purpose of this public affirmation is, I suppose, to convince ourselves that wholesale evil is not possible, at least not in the guise of a religion. Religions, after all, are good. Religious folks are assumed harmless until proven deadly, and even when proven deadly, we are assured that the offending parties are a very small splinter sect.
This is all wrong. These truisms are tossed about in a milieu of ignorance. An aura of “Religious Correctness” permeates our public view of Islam, leading always to a hesitant and perhaps Pavlovian communal acceptance of it. We do not understand it, we have not read the Islamic texts, we do not know its history, and yet we give it a free pass in the court of public opinion. This is because Islam is a religion, and we are taught that religions are somehow infallible, always pure, and all equally worthy of respect and protection. In the case of Islam we have been taught utter nonsense.
Not all religions are equal. The assumption that all religions are good and harmless is fallacious. There are examples so obvious that they are dismissed for being…too obvious? Jim Jones and his People’s Temple of Guyana yielded nothing but death and destroyed families. Scientology yields nothing but programmed zombies and the transfer of large sums of money from co-opted individuals to a spurious church. Even Christianity, with its Inquisitions, Crusades, sectarian conflicts, and suppression of the Jews, is not immune from circumspection. And Islam? Let’s talk about Islam.
How good can a religion be, when by its very doctrine, women are considered second class citizens? Women are stoned to death for infidelity. Women are subjected to a brutal form of female circumcision. They are abused by the imposition of an unhygienic and offensive protection of their virginity via stitched vaginas. They can be divorced by the mere utterance of such a decree by their spouses. They are forced to hide behind burdensome clothing in public. They are banished when they are menstruating. They can be beaten and abused with impunity, because in most Muslim countries, the public officials preside at the behest of the religious authorities. Worse still, Islam glorifies the abuse of children. They are taught hatred and intolerace in fundamentalist madrassas, they are trained to become human suicide machines, and their futures are funneled into the poverty of religious totalitarianism and anti-modernism.
How good can a religion be, when by its very doctrine, it has declared manifest destiny over the rest of the world? All people must convert and submit themselves to Islam, or be killed. Islam does not allow for cohabitation with other religions. Some may say that the verses in the Qur’an that state this manifest destiny are not to be obeyed or taken literally. Why, then, is the entire Islamic world surrounded by an expanding ring of violence and war? Why is there chaos in Ethiopia and Darfur? Why are school children being killed in Russia? Why is there civil war in Chechnya? Why are there resort bombings in Indonesia? Why is there genocide in Eastern Europe? Why are Hindus being killed in Kashmir? Why are Kurds slaughtered in Iraq? Why were Buddhist temples and statues destroyed in Afghanistan? Why were planes flown into the twin towers and the Pentagon? We know why. We have just been cowered into not saying it out loud.
How good can a religion be, when by its very doctrine, it must remain a secret from the infidels (the rest of us)? What is it that they don’t want us to know? Why can we not view images of Mohammed? Why is the Qur’an not permitted to be translated into other languages? Why are infidels not permitted to enter an Islamic mosque? Why are there secret sleeper cells in Europe and North America? Perhaps that is what they don’t want us to know…
How good can a religion be, when by its very doctrine, it refuses to confer respect on other religions? Muslim children are taught in mosques and madrassas to hate the west. They are taught that Jews are the scourge of the earth and that Israel must be wrested back from them. They are taught that Christians are Crusaders who must be destroyed, and that only imbeciles would believe that God begot a Son. They are taught to be suicide bombers, and that heavenly rewards await them if they destroy themselves while destroying heathens (us). We tell ourselves that we have to respect Islamic mores and customs in our societies. In their societies, they tell themselves that there is only Islam, and nothing else will be tolerated.
How good can a religion be, when by its very doctrine, the value of life is marginalized? Muslims must do as Mohammad did, even if there is no rational reason for emulating the behavior of someone who lived 1400 years ago. Why must they fritter their days praying at five intervals, ritually scrubbing their feet, eating only certain foods, circling mosques and climbing hills? Free thought and individualism are discouraged. There is only the Qur’an and the Hadiths. Conformity is prized above creativity, resulting in an impoverished lifestyle for millions. Sadly, the penultimate expression of life in Islam is to commit suicide and become a martyr. There is no mention of a harem of virgins waiting in heaven for winners of the Nobel peace prize.
How good can a religion be if the believers slay each other when there is a disagreement in doctrine about how to interpret the words and acts of Mohammed? Muslims have so little respect for life that they are slaughtering each other, Shi-ites versus Sunnis. There have been wars between Islamic countries over this dispute. There have been civil wars within Islamic countries over this dispute. This has gone on for centuries in the past, from the inception of Islam itself, and will continue for centuries into the future. To be sure, other religions have differences, including between various Christian sects such as Mormonism and Catholicism, but these differences are rarely settled by sword, bullet, and grotesque mutilation. Not only do Muslims slaughter each other over disagreements about Islam, they are obligated to murder any Muslim that slips away from the faith. Apostacy and other crimes of thought are cause for execution.
How good can a religion be, when its chief Imam, Osama bin Laden, declares a jihad against the western world? What does it mean for a religious spokesperson to do such a thing? Imagine the specter of the Pope declaring death to Arabs! We would all surely be appalled, and the world outcry would be deafening. Why, then, are we not appalled by the constant call to holy war by the Imams of the Islamic world? Why is only the silence deafening among world critics? It is because Islam is so far outside the mainstream of civilization that we simply overlook the most glaring barbarism.
How good can a religion be when its representatives issue fatwa’s against its own dissidents, essentially sentencing them to death by stamping their imprematers on their murders? Salman Rushdie is but one example. Criticism of Islam is not permitted. They have even intimidated the media outlets of the world into suspending criticism and refusing to air satires that poke fun at it or to display pictures of its founder. Such virulent opposition to open debate and criticism can only mean a few things, and they are all bad. The possibilities are: Islam may be a sham to begin with, it may have very bad intentions today, or the tyrants who have co-opted Islam are using it as a ruse for their power grabs.
How good can a religion be, when by its very doctrine, there is no separation between church and state, between the civil and the religious? One of the great advancements of the west, as defined by the American Declaration of Independence and its constitution, was to recognize the difference in these magisteria. Even Christianity marks the difference in the words of Jesus, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” Islam makes no such distinction. Its religious law, the Sharia, is also the civil law. And the Sharia is a brutal regimen, lacking any civil authority to temper it. And the practicing of the Sharia leaves no room for a civil government within which for Muslims to participate. It is all or nothing for them. How, then, can they assimilate into our society? They cannot, and will not, in the long run. But yet they are among us.
How good can a religion be when its history is one of unremitting warfare? Mohammed himself engaged in an extraordinary number of wars to solidify the hold of Islam, and his immediate followers violently expanded the Islamic empire into Persia, Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and Turkey in a few short years. Our western histories are silent on these battles and the atrocities that came from them, but to read of them now is to set your stomach churning and the hairs on your neck to stand on end.
How good can a religion be when its allegedly moderate leaders remain steadfastly silent when its radical elements commit murder and mayhem around the world? Why is al Jazeera TV broadcasting images of celebrating Arabs when innocents are killed by Muslims? Where are the Imams that condemn Osama bin Laden? Where are the clerics that decry the random slaughter of innocents by Muslim suicide bombers? Where are the Imams that demand the hate-filled jihadists to cease and desist? They are in their mosques, collecting money to be fed to these jihadists. They can call themselves peaceful moderates, but what is apparent by their silence and inaction is that they tacitly approve of the holy war.
We can no longer allow Islam the privilege of hiding behind the general immunity of being classified as a religion. It is an anachronistic, brutal, close-minded cult. The only difference between it and the People’s Temple of Guyana is that is bigger, and more ruthless. It is intent on conquering the world, and it will attempt to do so without following any of the rules that we have grown accustomed to in the West. We must call it to an accounting, in the cold light of reason. We do not owe it respect, because it has not earned respect. We owe it suspicion. To fail to do this is to invite and encourage a growing disaster of a magnitude that civil people will not be able to contemplate sanely. Sleep with one eye open, America.