Criticizing Islam

One of my themes when it comes to blogging is we live in a day when there are certain things we might want to say but to do so will mean we get penalized or socially ostracized, and as a result, there is a tendency not to say anything. It appears to me there is a sliding scale of things we can criticize, with far right extremists at one end of the spectrum and Islam at the other (with Christianity in the middle). It is unlikely that Churchill would get away with it today if he said:

Winston_Churchill

As part of the trigger for making this blog was watching an interview with the leader of UKIP, Gerard Batten (see here). I had noted he had been described by some of the usual suspects as being a hateful, far right extremist, racist and Islamophobic (whatever that is). Part of the interview was getting him to give his views on Islam. This interested me particularly for a number of reasons, one of which was my own interest in and concerns over Islam and the increasing part it is playing in western society and another was whether in this post Farage, Kipper era, at a time the party was looking to be on the wane, whether or not UKIP could be a credible alternative for non-extreme types like me who are disillusioned with the main parties.

He was given a grilling by an unsympathetic interviewer and in my view acquitted himself well. He pulled no punches and in so doing even made Nigel Farage look like a pillar of the establishment, and while one may disagree with what he said I couldn’t see anything that would qualify him for all those derogatory terms. He was quite sure that Islam was a death cult though and cited the shameful treatment of its citizens by countries that are Islamic. He cited as an example the Koran that allowed Muslim to take female sex slaves from among non-Muslim women, pointing to instances that are now daily occurrences of Muslim men living in western countries, who take their authority from Islamic teaching, sexually abusing women.

I have written on Islam a good deal (see my “Immigration and Islam” e-book) and have tried to be fair. I have met many Muslims and some I count as friends, who I have the highest regard for. Just like Batten, I distinguish Muslims from Islam. My criticism concerns the latter ideology. According to some definitions it makes us both Islamophobic and thus a target. It is a shame our leaders have been sold the narrative that Islam is a religion of peace when there are many verses in the Koran to suggest otherwise. The same could be said about Judaism of which Christianity could be regarded as a sect. After all, Joshua and Saul, to name but two, were called upon by God to wipe out whole cities, including women and children. The difference I suspect, and it is an important one, is I see very few if any Jews or Christians citing these texts to act in order to act in a violent way, but I see many Muslims doing so and part of the reason is it is something their religion appears to endorse. It is why I believe Islam is a threat. It is a shame an honest debate on these matters can’t be had with leaders of all religions called to account. While I can’t speak for others, I would encourage people with my views to adopt the true, necessary and kind principle when debating.

Besides believing people should be allowed to criticize what they want (even if they are wrong), as long as it doesn’t wrongly and demonstrably harm others, I believe it is unfair to give Islam special treatment out of fear of upsetting Muslims or being politically incorrect. Moreover, it is foolish and dangerous to disallow criticism of Islam when as an ideology it poses a threat to the national good. By shutting down debate, it creates a climate for extremists to operate, when what is needed is honestly addressing the legitimate concerns of moderates. I don’t see this happening with Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems, but will I with a moderate UKIP?

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2 thoughts on “Criticizing Islam

  1. Linda Goodman says:

    “Besides believing people should be allowed to criticize what they want (even if they are wrong), as long as it doesn’t wrongly and demonstrably harm others…” That sentiment subtly validates censorship and is an assault on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  2. I was intrigued by your comment Linda. While I am a great believer in the First Amendment, which is coming under increasing attack, I was specifically addressing the UK context. My worry if we allow ALL criticism is that it can allow hate speech to go unchecked. I don’t know who has the moral authority to make that decision though, which makes that a weakness in my argument.

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