Criticizing Islamic Doctrine Will Turn Moderates into Extremists
In an article entitled, Taking the Fight to Islam, Andrew Anthony writes:
- Does [Ayaan Hirsi Ali's] bald delivery not further alienate Muslims, forcing them to cling to traditional values? Hirsi Ali is too smooth of skin and composure to bristle, but it is obviously an accusation she finds irritating. "Tariq Ramadan is filled with contempt for Muslims because he believes they have no faculties of reason," she replies in a beguilingly friendly tone, as though she had remarked that he had an excellent taste in shirts. "If I say that terrorism is created in the name of Islam suddenly they take up terrorism? He gives me so much more power than I have. Why don't my remarks make him turn to terrorism?"
This is a fairly common argument — that by educating non-Muslims about Islam, we are risking the possibility that otherwise peaceful Muslims will take up arms and join the third jihad.
This argument doesn't have much heft if you give it even ten minutes of thought. I heard Robert Spencer put it this way, in essence: Do you really think devout Muslims or even heterodox Muslims will be swayed by the teachings of a non-Muslim? That's ridiculous.
Spencer was commenting on the new limitations imposed on U.S. security agencies to avoid using such terms as "Islamic terrorists" because it might make "moderate Muslims" want to blow things up. He asked how anyone could think that a believing Muslim would use the U.S. government as a reliable source on the teachings of Islam? Good question.
A Muslim, of course, will be influenced much more strongly by their own personal (usually life-long) understanding of Islam, their own reading, their own imam, the teachings of their own sect and their own parents, etc. To believe that a non-Muslim pointing out the supremacist teachings of Islam would cause a Muslim to give up his own understanding of his faith and become a jihadist seems, to put it mildly, highly unlikely.
Let's look at this another way. By definition, a "moderate Muslim" must reject some basic Islamic principles. Of course, for someone who knows little about Islam, this will not be obvious. But once they learn about Islam, this much will be clear.
Does it make any sense that a "moderate Muslim" who rejects some of Islam's teachings would become a fundamentalist because I am educating non-Muslims about those rejected teachings? Will my educational efforts make our moderate Muslim embrace what he has rejected and become an "extremist?"
I got this comment on one of my articles (Message to Peaceful Muslims):
Moderation is the enemy of any extremist. They thrive in a black-and-white world. This post agrees with the vision of extremistic Muslims: either you're a Muslim or you're a non-Muslim. This post states that a good Muslim is not relevant, because it does not fit in this black-and-white world.
Not a good Muslim, but Citizen Warrior is helping extremist Islam to grow.
Saying that not the extremists but Islam itself is the problem, you are creating a Western version of jihad. "So you Muslims want jihad? Fine, we can do that as well! I will declare myself a warrior."
Good luck with it.
This was my response:
To think that what a non-Muslim says about Islam will change a believing Muslim's worldview is absurd.
Imagine Amhed, a peace-loving "Muslim in name only" (MINO) who thinks Islam means peace. He's a nice guy. He's never read the Qur'an, but his parents were Muslims, so he considers himself a Muslim.
And then he reads some non-Muslim blogger saying "true" Muslims are intolerant toward non-Muslims. Will Ahmed become intolerant toward non-Muslims now?
Don't hold your breath. I know enough MINOs to know they are not influenced by anything I say. They think I just don't understand. And devout Muslims would be even less influenced by a non-Muslim blogger.
If you are a Christian, would you be influenced by a Muslim telling you what Christians believe? Or telling you what it says in the Bible? Or how to be a good Christian?
Mike, what your criticism says is that what I write will influence Muslims who are against violence to become violent.
Not only do I have almost no impact on Muslim beliefs because I am a non-Muslim, but my audience is almost entirely non-Muslims. My job here is to alert the hundreds of millions of non-Muslims living in free countries to the basic and often surprising teachings of mainstream Islam. These teachings are being actively hidden by Muslims who have actually read the Qur'an because the political plan works best when non-Muslims don't have a clue.
So what you're asking me to do is to be silent on the slim chance that something I say will influence a Muslim to become intolerant, while at the same time leaving all the non-Muslims I might have reached in the dark.
Hmmm. Let me see...
Nah. I don't think so.
Upon discovering the intolerance and violence their doctrine really teaches, most good-hearted, peace-loving Muslims would be more likely to leave their faith than to become more devout. And even if some did become more devout because of something I said, the free world would still be better off if Islam's prime directive was widely known.
Right now, because of widespread ignorance of Islam, the initiatives of politically active Muslim organizations are proceeding almost completely unhindered. Orthodox Muslims, following the plan set forth by the Muslim Brotherhood (the largest international Muslim organization in the world), have successfully infiltrated and influenced Hollywood, newspapers, television news, textbooks, national security agencies, presidents and even comedians. How can they get away with this? Because so few non-Muslims know anything about Islam. And what many non-Muslims know about Islam is completely false because all these avenues of public education have already been compromised.
I propose to you that this argument was originally created by politically active Muslims in order to silence non-Muslims who are trying to educate other non-Muslims about Islam. This argument was then disseminated widely and taken up by devout multiculturalists because it served their own agenda, and it has now become widespread.
But however it happened, the argument is pathetic. Knowing what it really says in Islamic doctrines clearly has better long-term prospects than pretending it doesn't say those things and silencing anyone who tries to educate non-Muslims about it.