With violent protests against the United States and other western countries continuing to spread around the Muslims world as a result of a Youtube video criticizing Islam, I feel compelled to ask – is it time that people in the west accepted that there may be good reasons to criticise Islam?
The reaction from western leaders to the furore surrounding the short YouTube clip posted as a trailer for a film about the prophet Muhamed has been unanimous, as expressed perfectly by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who described the film as reprehensible. The White House has also been pressuring Youtube to censor the video in the United States and across the whole world. Amongst our political leaders and our media alike there has been no alternative to this view expressed. In fact the suppression of alternative voices goes even further than this. Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential candidate who will challenge President Obama in the November election, expressed the view a White House statement on the deaths of American diplomats in Libya should not have begun with a condemnation of the film, but should rather have begun with a condemnation of the violence. This stops a long, long way short of accepting that the film, and other such criticisms of Islam, may actually have a point. But yet the American media has united in its condemnation of Romney for this seemingly reasonable comment.
So why is it that western leaders and western media seem to agree with the Islamist fanatics who claim that any criticism of Islam is reprehensible and should be condemned? Christianity, and other religions, are afforded no such protection from Criticism, satire, or dislike. I am perfectly free to say that I do not like Christianity, if I so wish, but yet if I were to say anything about Islam I would be condemned as a reprehensible ‘Islamaphobe’.
In fact I would also be condemned as racist. The fact that Islam is not a race at all, but a religion, would not stop people from calling be a bigoted racist. But I can not allow myself to be silenced – because I truly believe that there are good reasons to criticise Islam, and I do not agree with the notion that Islam is some special thing which must be set apart from all other philosophies and religions as above reproach.
Let me begin by making clear what these protests are about – they are an attempt to enforce Sharia law on America. Depicting the prophet Mohamed (curses be upon him) is a serious crime in Sharia law, so people have taken to the streets across the Muslim world to demand that this crime be punished. This is at the heart of one of my main criticisms of Islam. The fact that most Muslims are peaceful and would like to think of Islam as a peaceful religion, does not mean that it actually is – it just means that most people around the world are basically peaceful because of their innate human nature. Islam demands submission – in fact that is the literal meaning of the word Islam. It demands this of its followers, but ultimately it demands this of the whole world, and this submission is enforced through Sharia Law. Mohamed himself had people killed for criticising his religion. Mohamed was not a peaceful preacher like Jesus Christ, for example, he was a warrior who killed many, many people to spread his religion; he also committed war crimes according to today’s standards, by murdering prisoners who had surrendered to him.
The idea that not only Muslims, but also non-Muslims must be subject to the Sharia law against depicting or criticising the prophet Mohamed is just one example of this. The Koran is filled with verses of a war like nature whose purpose is to enforce Islam and Sharia law on the world. To give just cople of examples, quite apart from the fact that ‘jihad’ or ‘holy war’ designed to bring the whole world under submission to Islam is a central concept of the religion:
According to the Koran, anyone who tries to leave Islam must be killed. According to the Koran, the life of a non-muslim is worth less than the life of a Muslim – a Muslim cannot be put to death for killing a non-muslim, even though this is the punishment for the murder of a Muslim. The Koran states that it is ok to make war on Islam and kidnap non-muslim women. The Islamic attitude towards women, which is sometimes criticised for their rampant sexism, is also designed as an instrument of war – something I can attest to from having lived in majority muslim areas in England for over a decade. The reason I say this is because a muslim man is allowed to do what he likes with a non-muslim woman. The non-muslim woman is deemed as a sinful prostitute for not adhering to Islamic precepts, and thus is ‘fair game’, but it is strictly forbidden for a Muslim woman to be together with a non-muslim man, because she is pure and virtuous. Combined with the allowance for Muslim men to have more than one wife these rules are designed so that when a Muslim community and non-muslim community live alongside each other the Muslim men engage in a kind of sexual war whilst professing peace. There is no way for muslim men to have more than one wife, unless others have less than one – and that is the point.
But ultimately you do not need to look at the Koran, you only need to look at the actions of Muslims themselves to get a clear picture of what Islam is all about. As LD Jackson writes in ‘The Religion of Peace Strikes Again‘:
I am getting tired of hearing that Islam is a religion of peace. Its followers proclaim it at every opportunity. Loudly and forcefully, they tell everyone how Islam is a peaceful religion, yet their actions speak louder than their words. The attacks on our embassies in Egypt and Libya are just the latest attempts to show just how peaceful they are. Other attempts would include their persecution of women, and other factions of Islam who disagree among themselves. If you haven’t noticed, Sunni and Shitte Muslims can not get along with each other, much less anyone else. I’ll not bother to go into the differences they have, but suffice it to say, their favored method of showing their disagreement is to shoot, behead, blow up, and otherwise kill the followers of the other sect. Yeah, that sounds really peaceable to me.
The fact that the majority of Muslims are not violent does not negate the point that Islam promotes violence and war – it just means that most people do not want to live in perpetual war and hence do not fully follow all of the requirements placed on them by their religion. But yet there adherence to the religion still offers moral support and sustenance to the ‘fundamentalist’ who do actually practice Islam as it is presented in the Koran.
I agree with LD Jackson – it is time that we called a spade a spade and recognised that Islam is not a religion of peace, and that criticising Islam is not reprehensible – it is logical, reasonable, and necessary.