From the Editor

Muslims and Islam
 

"Don't judge the Muslims that you know by Islam and
don't judge Islam by the Muslims that you know. "



The first Muslim Miss USA... pole dancing.
(The rest of this article may not be as intriguing,
but please consider reading it anyway.)

 

 

Since we hear from so many critics who either don't take the time to read this site, or simply can't understand the distinction between Islam and Muslims, we thought it best to bring together in one place what we have said in so many others over the years.

Islam is an ideology - a set of ideas.  It is not defined by what any Muslim wants it to be, but by what it is.  No ideology is above critique - particularly one that explicitly seeks political and social dominance over every person on the planet. 

Muslims are individuals.  We passionately believe that no Muslim should be harmed, harassed, stereotyped or treated any differently anywhere in the world solely on account of their status as a Muslim.

As an ideology, Islam is not necessarily entitled to equal respect and acceptance.  Ideas do not carry equal moral weight.  The feelings or number of those who believe does not make the idea true or good. Bad ideas can and should be challenged.

Islam is not simply a belief about God.  Islam is a word that means submission.  Islam is a set of rules that define a social hierarchy in which Muslims submit to Allah, women submit to men and all non-Muslims submit to Islamic rule. 

Since we don't live in a Muslim country - where censorship, intimidation and brute force are shamelessly employed to protect Islam from intellectual analysis - we are still free to openly exercise our right to debate the merits of the Islamic value system against Western Liberalism. 

Are men really superior to women as the Qur'an
says?  Are women intellectually inferior as Muhammad taught?  Does propagating material (the Qur'an) that openly curses people of other religions amidst random calls to violence really make for a better social environment?  Is it right to keep women as sex slaves merely because the Qur'an goes well out of its way to permit this practice in numerous places?  Should atheists and homosexuals have to choose between the noose and an outward profession of faith in Allah?

Yes, there are Muslims who take issue with these aspects of Islamic theology, but that doesn't change what Islam is.  Don't confuse the ideology with the individual.  Don't draw conclusions about Islam based on the Muslims that you know, be they terrorists or humanitarians.  Islam must be understood on the basis of what it is, as presented objectively in the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira (biography of Muhammad).

By the same token, don't draw conclusions about the Muslims in your life based on the true nature of Islam.  Like any other group, not all Muslims think alike.  Even if there is no such thing as moderate Islam it does not mean that there are no moderate Muslims.

If our years of dialogue with literally hundreds of Muslims have taught us anything, it is that, irrespective of their confidence, most have only a superficial understanding of their religion.  Some are secular and very few made the choice to even be Muslim.  As with all religion, there are widely varying degrees of seriousness with which the teachings of Islam are taken. 

As Ayaan Hirsi Ali put it, "Muslims as individuals can choose how much of their religion they practice."  For example, many Muslims in the West do not advocate amputating limbs over theft, even though this is plainly mandated in the Quran.  Most simply choose to disregard (or explain away) what is inconvenient to their moral preconceptions.

The Muslims that you know are not terrorists.  More than likely, their interests in life are similar to yours and they have the same ambitions for their children.  They should neither be shunned, mistreated, nor disrespected merely because of their religion.  Their property should not be abused, and neither should copies of the book they consider sacred be vandalized.

Prejudging an individual by their group identity (or presumed group identity) is not only unethical, it is blatantly irrational, since group identity reveals absolutely nothing about a person.  Every individual should be judged only on the basis of their own words and deeds. 

Treat the ideology with caution and candidness.  Treat the Muslim as an individual.  Don't judge Islam by the Muslims that you know, and don't judge the Muslims that you know by Islam.


Glen Roberts, Editor of TheReligionofPeace.com

TheReligionofPeace.com 


 

 


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