That is bonkers. It's even more bonkers when these people who attack me say, after all the arguing "well I don't agree with Islam either but you know, you should really just shut up about it because ..." and there the argument breaks down. I am never told why I must shut up about it. Is it to save their liberal sensibilities? Or is it because I'm not politically correct. Maybe even tactless. Is it because the Republicans also attack Islam and the Left simply can't bear to be seen to agree with anything their political enemies espouse? Are these people unable to get beyond Republican and Democrat? Is it really just about the enemy of my enemy, and for them it is the GOP? It is a brave woman who will stand up to the intellectual dereliction which surrounds our discourse on the subject of Islam. I am that brave woman. I know I'm right and I'll keep saying this for as long as it takes.
Islam is a political system of thought. Mohammed, an illiterate 7th century tribal peasant allegedly had the basics of Islamic doctrine (the Qu'ran) dictated to him by Allah, a supernatural entity who only speaks Arabic and conveniently told Mohammed that whatever he wanted to do was okay with him. You want to fuck 9 year old girls, Mo? Go ahead. You want to seize land, kill all non-believers and make yourself powerful by invoking My name? Go ahead. In fact you've hit upon such a brilliant ruse that you should just make Me say whatever is most self serving to your own desires. Call it the Uncreated Word of God. Make sure everyone knows that if they try to leave this religion, it is everybody else's duty who hasn't left the religion and is still cowering within the religion, to kill them. That should keep them obedient.
Thats basically it. Only its not it. Because that doctrine, that system of thought has been used over the centuries by successive Religious leaders to restrict, oppress and otherwise deny entirely, the most basic human rights which we in the West take blithely for granted. We all know its unwise to be a homosexual in Iran. It's very, very unwise to be female anywhere in the Muslim world. Its unwise to call a teddy bear Mohammed. Its unwise to publish cartoons which may depict the illiterate 7th century peasant as anything close to what he actually was, an illiterate 7th century peasant. And paedophile. (but shh don't say that because it's tasteless) In fact, its unwise to say anything, anything at all about Islam, Mohammed or Allah unless you want to be fatwa'd. In fact, the normal discourse we in the West use to debate, criticise, understand a political system, is denied us in this one case. Because Islam does not allow free speech. And we have submitted to that.
In this article regarding his book, "Flight of the Intellectuals", Paul Berman says:
“We used to have a zillion writers on the topic of communism, writers who were all over the map, politically speaking, but who made communism a real topic. It was a perfectly normal thing for American intellectuals to weigh in on the debate over the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. But it’s not normal for people to weigh in on debates on Islam.”Why the disparity? I ask. “People are mostly concerned that they’re not seen as Islamophobes. And if your principal concern is to show that you’re not Islamophobe, one way to guarantee that is to say not one word on the subject! Besides, people are frightened by a million things: They’re frightened by the topic, by the controversy that surrounds the topic, and obviously there’s a degree of physical intimidation that goes with this. There are, in fact, topics that no one in his right mind is going to take up for reasons of physical fear.
Perfectly understandable I say. People do not want to be seen as anything other than tolerant. However why are we now so tolerant that we are now tolerating the intolerant? We seek to appease this oppressive, totalitarian system of thought., to allow it space in our own hard fought-for democracies. Why? Why do we not use reason and argument to put our point across that we do not in fact tolerate the intolerant. We, as a society, do not hang men because they fall in love with other men. So lets stop pretending its perfectly okay when Muslims advocate it. We find it abhorrent. We find the stoning of women abhorrent. We find honour killings abhorrent. We find the burka abhorrent. We find the religiously sanctioned marriage of 9 and 10 year old girls absolutely abhorrent.
People who wish to defend the indefensible will say that the above examples are only practised by extremists. So called "Moderate" Muslims do not think this way. If, and its a big if, that is the case, where are all these moderate Muslims and why are they not organising and speaking out against these atrocities? Where is the grass roots Muslim opposition to these abhorrent crimes? Not in the Muslim community.
No, its in the Apostate community. One of the most vociferous and outspoken critics of Islam is my friend, I won't name him, he knows who he is. I will name him if he reads this and says its okay to name him. He is an Apostate. He knows how Islam works. He has been, by his own admission, damaged by his exposure to it. He is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and engaging people I know. I trust his judgement and insight. My point is that if he can speak up against this system of thought as an Apostate, and risk his life in the process, then I certainly can.
If we continue to appease Islam, by remaining silent, we effectively give it a free pass. Berman writes;
“I’m not one of those people who believe that everything is doomed, because I think that the very thing that makes the Islamist movement so dangerous—which is its modernity—also allows us to argue with it. So it’s possible to engage in discussions, and actually to win them.” But Berman regrets that we, as a society, “don’t engage in argument with Islamists, and it’s because of our understanding of the word ‘engage.’ The most common definition is to say that to engage with people is to lie down like a carpet in front of them. You don’t criticize them, you don’t argue with them, you concede, and you turn yourself into Mr. Nice. That’s what we do with Islam.“On the other hand, actually to engage with someone is to argue with them, to take them seriously, and if you’re an intellectual, it means read their books. But there’s a problem with doing that for a lot of people in all the Western countries. It’s as if to argue with someone is the first step toward going to war. If you’re arguing, they worry that’s going to lead to violence… so we shouldn’t even argue. They don’t see argument as an alternative to violence.”