Following the horrific attack in Paris, France on Friday, there was no shortage of opinions to be found on the matter. Before most people knew much about the heartbreaking details concerning the attack, I found myself engulfed in debates with two very different groups of people:
- Liberals defending Islam.
- Conservatives defending guns.
That’s when I had an epiphany of sorts: Defending Islam is to many liberals what defending guns is to many conservatives.
Before going forward, I know writing this is going to invite a litany of attacks from liberals who tend to do what they always do whenever someone like myself (or Bill Maher) factually criticize Islam. Many will ignore the facts, cherry pick certain comments I’ve made or respond with an emotionally driven, knee-jerk reaction to what I have to say.
I know this, because I’ve already experienced this before.
Let me start off by saying, I am in no way anti-Muslim. I’m very anti-organized religion – all organized religion. I’ve written many articles bashing the idiocy and ignorance of conservative “Christianity.” I also know that there are many peaceful Muslims in the world.
That being said, it’s undeniable that Islam, more so than any other major religion, is linked to violence, oppression, inequality, instability and anti-women beliefs. Even if you remove the radical extremists such as ISIS or al Qaeda, Muslim nations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait and Egypt aren’t exactly beacons for freedom, free expression, equality, women’s rights or many other ideas liberals claim to support.
That’s why I wholeheartedly agree with Bill Maher when he says it’s difficult to call yourself a liberal if you defend the culture of Islam.
As a progressive, I’m a staunch defender of women’s rights, gay rights, religious freedom and equality. Those are values I don’t see reflected in the vast majority of Muslim nations, especially in The Middle East and south Asia. Right now in Saudi Arabia there are people in prison for preaching equality and freedom. In several large Muslim nations, women aren’t allowed to be out in public unless they’re covered. In at least a few others, homosexuality is still punishable by death.
I’m struggling to understand this; can someone explain to me how any of that is liberal or why liberals would defend this religion, while seemingly never having any problems bashing right-wing Christian idiocy?
Like I said, liberals defending Islam is similar to how conservatives defend guns.
No matter how many horrific acts are carried out in the name of Islam, it’s never the religion’s fault – always the crazy extremists.
No matter how many die in the name of Islam, it’s never the religion’s fault – always the crazy extremists.
No matter how much evidence you produce showing how oppressive and anti-woman, anti-equality and anti-freedom Islam is all over the Muslim world, it’s never the religion’s fault – always the crazy extremists.
If you use facts to show that Islam and Sharia law are linked to a lot of this extremism and oppression, even in the non-terrorist aspects of Islam, liberals will often respond with ridiculous comparisons. They’ll harken back to the Crusades from a 1,000 years ago to try to make a point, or they’ll claim any white male who carried out a horrific act of violence over the past several decades is a “Christian terrorist.”
If a Muslim kills 5 people because they’re a lone psychopath, that’s not Islamic extremism. If a Muslim kills 5 people in the name of Islam, that’s Islamic extremism.
See the difference?
But it’s the same type of argument gun fanatics use to defend guns. It’s never the gun, or the gun culture, it’s just the “crazy extremists.” No matter how many statistics you show linking guns to violence, they’ll ignore the stats or dismiss them as biased or inaccurate. It’s never the gun, it’s always the “bad guys.”
It’s the same way many liberals react when confronted with stats about Islam. That’s ironic considering when it comes to guns, many liberals blame the guns just as much as the psychopaths using them. Yet that’s not the case when it comes to frequent bouts of violence driven by Islamic fanaticism.
This is what I call the world of “reactionary politics.” If liberals are for it, conservatives are against it and visa versa. It makes absolutely no sense, based upon normal political ideologies, why liberals would defend Islam. If I write something mocking Mormonism, Catholics, Baptists or Scientology, I’ll rarely see a single complaint from liberals. Yet on an article such as this, I’ll get slammed relentlessly and called a bigot and a racist for pointing out facts.
For the record, Islam is not a race – it’s a religion.
It never ceases to make me laugh when I’m told by liberals that I’m intolerant of Islam, therefore a bigot, whenever I use the same arguments against Islam that I do Christianity. The hypocrisy is palpable.
The truth of the matter is, the beliefs of a nation like Saudi Arabia aren’t all that different from a group like ISIS. In Saudi Arabia, Christianity is illegal, women are highly oppressed and homosexuality is sometimes punished by imprisonment and/or lashings. While ISIS is clearly a far… far more extreme interpretation of Islam, both are driven by the same belief in Sharia law. Which when you get right down to it, is at the core of most of the oppression, inequality and, yes, fanatical extremism found in the Muslim world.
It is the belief that a society should be ruled not by laws derived from freedom and equality, but by the Quran. And the truth is, most of the Muslim world supports Sharia law. Do they support ISIS? No, of course not. That’s not what I’m saying. But most do support laws that are against abortion, women’s rights, homosexuality and the general pretense of freedom and equality.
Again, this makes it all the more confusing why liberals are so quick to defend this religion.
Some liberals have asked me, “So, what’s your solution?” Are these folks asking me to solve the problem of Islamic oppression? If so – wow. If I had that answer, I’d probably be a very rich man.
The only way this gets “fixed” is by the moderate Muslims changing their own religion. Is that happening on some level? Yes. But it’s a slow… slow process. The number of moderate Muslims who embrace equality and liberal ideas is a slim minority that’s being drowned out by those who don’t.
Just ask Asra Nomani, a feminist activist for Muslim reform who’s frequently attacked by Islamic fundamentalists – and liberals, ironically – because she dares to call out the oppressive nature of many aspects of Islam, especially against women. And even though she’s a Muslim, she’s been accused of Islamaphobia. It’s absurd.
Again, I am not talking about terrorists, I’m talking about average, everyday Muslims from most of the Muslim world where Sharia law is still the preferred form of governing. The truth is we’ll never have a free, accepting society that embraces equality for all based on Sharia law – or any religious rule for that matter.
When it comes to liberals and conservatives, on the issues of Islam and guns, they choose what they want to blame based upon their own personal biases.
Many conservatives will blame all of Islam, not just the extremists, for Islamic terrorism. Yet when it comes to guns, they never blame the guns – only the extremists.
Many liberals will blame guns, not just the extremists, for gun violence. Yet when it comes to Islamic terrorism, they never blame the religion – only the extremists.
As for myself, I believe I’ve been consistent. When it comes to gun violence I blame guns and the gun culture the same way I blame Islamic radicals and the culture of Islam itself. In my opinion, it’s all linked.
I’m not anti-Muslim – not even close. The facts are, while all organized religions have their problems, there’s only one that’s frequently linked to consistent acts of global terrorism – and has been for decades.
Ultimately, my dream is to see a day where Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and anyone from any other group stood side by side, together. Because no matter which ways we might try to divide ourselves – be it by skin color, nationality, ethnicity or religion – the undeniable fact is that we are all humans.
Every other label we give ourselves is nothing more than a human-made construct meant to divide us. And at the root of that divide, throughout most of human history, organized religion has been at the heart of that division.
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