Islamic leaders are playing all of us, constantly using our nation’s respect for religion, all religions, against us.
As long as we treat Islam as a religion, and only a religion, they have the advantage. It would be politically incorrect for anyone to criticize a religion, even if that religion aims at subverting our form of government, our laws and our way of life.
Would criticism of Islam still be “off limits” if Islam itself wasn’t allowed to define itself solely as a religion?
What if we looked at Islam as having only the patina of a religion and much more evidence of a political philosophy and codification of a culture that is mired in the ninth century?
True, the Koran does have passages that bear a striking resemblance to many segments of the Old Testament.
But, then, the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had passages that sound like they could have been dictated by Thomas Jefferson.
It is the actual behavior of people who claim to be acting in accord with their “religious” writings that is a much better litmus test of religious authenticity than just their claims.
The word Islam itself means “submission” and the citizens of Islamic nations are required to be completely submissive to authority. Unless, of course, they wish to be stoned to death for simply being accused of transgressions.
The most thoroughly admonished transgression in the Islamic world is the “sin” of apostasy. An apostate is “a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.” (Random House Dictionary, 2011) In other words, in the context of Islam, one who fails to submit to the authority figures that rule the nation is subject to arrest and punishment as an apostate. In the United States, such an individual might be socially isolated. They might be dismissed as a fringe member. They might not be invited to the neighborhood barbeque. They might even lose their job. In an Islamic culture, however, they would be subject to the death penalty.
Yet its defenders continually describe it as being only a religion of peace, and completely benign in its outlook. This, keep in mind, is the same Islam that requires four male witnesses to testify in order to prove that a rape occurred. Absent these four male witnesses, the rapist is exonerated, but the victim herself is punished for lewd behavior. That sounds peaceful, right?
Apologists for Islam can claim that all nations require submission from their citizens regardless of religion. This is true, up to a point. Secular nation-states do not, however, stone their citizens for merely asking “Why?” In Islam, questioning the dictates of the state is synonymous with questioning the doctrines of their religion. And since there are no democratic republics that function under Islamic law, regardless of the ballyhoo surrounding “elections” in Iran, it is clear that the elected Iranian President, and the elected parliament or legislature of Iran are merely carrying out the wishes and whims of the supreme religious leader who was not elected by anyone.
Any person who is not elected, has no legal restraint on his or her actions, and yet can, with complete impunity, execute one of their own citizens (or order the death of someone not even within the borders of their own country) for simply questioning the legitimacy of their position in the political hierarchy is by no definition a moderate or a reformer. They are either a totalitarian dictator or a sociopath…or both.
Even Josef Stalin would have gagged a bit before ordering the execution of an American citizen, living in America, during the worst of the Cold War. Yet Islamic religious leaders, on the other hand, can generate fatwas, or rulings on Islamic law, that call for the death of anyone who disagrees with them, or raises questions about their faith. Even if the questioner is not a Muslim.
In 2006, Theo van Gogh was shot, stabbed and nearly decapitated in Amsterdam over his film “Submission,” which portrayed abuse against women in the name of Islam. His killer was a Moroccan-born, Muslim Dutch citizen named Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri was a deeply religious man, but one should keep in mind that in Islam, strong religious feeling is exemplified by mindless submission to the pronouncements of religious authorities.
The author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie has had to live in hiding since the late and unlamented Ayatollah Khomeini of the Iranian revolution ordered his death via fatwa. Rushdie’s death was decreed because of what he thought or said. Thinking and speaking were equated with rebellion against the state.
That occasionally brings to mind the political concept of net neutrality. But I digress.
And while this so-called “religion of peace” shows a disturbing tendency to issue fatwas that have ordered the deaths of those who cannot accept the concept that Islam is truly desirous of peace with the rest of the world, there was never a fatwa issued against Osama bin Laden or any member of his merry band of murderers for their apparent disregard for the “peaceful” tenets of Islam. It would seem that by claiming that any abhorrent act is in defense of a perceived attacks on Islam provides an excuse (as well as absolution) for behavior that is not only barbaric, but could even be perceived as apostasy in its abandonment of the “peaceful” nature of Islam.
These kinds of things certainly tend to undermine the whole “Islam is a religion of peace” narrative. Even Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who wrote The Gulag Archipelago, wasn’t sentenced to death by the Soviet Union, and the government that sentenced him to the Gulag didn’t even try to convince people that it was founded on a primarily peaceful philosophy.
However, if we view Islam not as a religion, but as the embodiment of a ninth century primitive culture and as an imperialistic, totalitarian political philosophy, then viewing it as an adversary becomes much easier and developing a rational defense against it becomes greatly simplified.
Just as we would not deny Americans who belong to the KKK the right to march and speak their minds (we do have the First Amendment, after all) neither would we deny Muslims the right to speak their minds. It would allow us to label Muslims the same way that we currently label the KKK (or the American Communist Party) as essentially un-American, and not worth listening to no matter how much they proclaim their love of “peace.” We could eliminate the special tax privileges that we offer mosques as churches. We could eliminate the burden placed on employers who must currently accommodate the “religious” preferences of Muslim employees who need more than the usual number of breaks in their workday to accommodate prayer times, or their objections to handling non-halal food products because of their “religion.” When the lens of religion is replaced with the lens of imperialistic politics, these demands from Muslims appear to be simple the opening gun in an effort to subjugate non-Muslims, or infidels (to use the word they themselves prefer since is sounds sort of religious), to the demands of Islam.
We should recognize that the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a political lobbying group and that it acts as a conduit for Islamic propaganda that seeks to sap any resistance to their ultimate goal of world-wide domination by Islam.
We need no more respect Islam as a religion than we should have respected Marxism as a religion. We should respect Islam as a religion only when Muslims actually show as much respect for Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Shinto as religions as they demand for their own beliefs. Not just claim that they have respect, but show that respect. Some restraint from bombing Coptic churches or the beheading of Coptic Christians would be a good first step.
So long as Islam acts as not simply a source for good works and moral behavior, but the basis for the governments of secular nation-states, it is not simply a religion. It is a political philosophy and a statement of the cultural norms of many Muslims. As such, it is necessary for Western cultures and governments to condemn in the strongest ways available the violence inherent within political and cultural Islam, and to laugh off any implication that we, not Muslims themselves, are responsible for their own barbaric behavior.
Published at Canada Free Press on February 19, 2015