By Jeffrey Swindoll
There is an evident obsession with defending Islam that has taken hold in the United States and elsewhere. Everyone from President Barack Obama to Rosie O’Donnell have contributed to the ongoing PR campaign for Islam. Even David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, has suddenly become an apologist for Islam.
Many of these self-appointed apologists go out of their way to defend Islam, making sweeping proclamations about Islam and about religion in general. “All religions are essentially the same. The only problems we have are with ‘extremists,’” they screech.
There are a lot of problems with the national discussion about the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS or ISIL), terrorism, and Islam as a whole. The majority of those problems come from non-Muslims that are bending over backwards to defend Islam without a leg to stand on. Conversations about Islam among non-Muslims is poisoned with non-factual arguments and liberal* dreams, void of reality.
About a month ago, American overseas journalist James Foley was beheaded in cold blood by the Muslim terrorist group commonly referred to as ISIS (also known as ISIL). Not soon after the news came out about Foley, liberals started sounding the alarms all the way to the White House, scrambling to run some pro-Islam PR. Obama made his way to the podium for a press conference and said, “No faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” Secretary of State John Kerry made some points about Islam resembling those of Obama’s, such as, “There’s nothing in Islam that condones or suggests people should go out and … you know, cut people’s heads off.” Let’s look at the facts, though.
Here are some verses from the Quran, the religious text of Islam:
“Fight with them until there is no more unbelief.” (Quran 8:39)
“Kill [infidels] wherever you find them… [disbelief] is worse…” (Quran 2:191)
“Strike off the heads of those who disbelieve.” (Quran 8:12)
Criticism for over 100 verses similar to these come from religious and non-religious people alike. Atheists especially scrutinize the Quran for its excessively violent verses, commanding Muslims to kill infidels and those who don’t believe. Does Islam really command its followers to decapitate unbelievers, or are these verses to be interpreted differently?
TheReligionOfPeace.com, an informative website about Muslim doctrine, describes violent Quranic text this way:
“In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent episodes to far more peaceful mandates, the Quran travels the exact opposite path (violence is first forbidden, then permitted, then mandatory). The handful of earlier verses that speak of tolerance are overwhelmed by an avalanche of later ones that carry a much different message.”
Another point brought up on that website is the “violent episodes” in the Old Testament are very specifically tied with a historical context for a specific occasion or purpose. Quranic verses, on the other hand, are considered applicable to more than just one historical instance, and are to be taken as a command towards.
A survey done by Pew Research Center done in 2013 reveals that the majority of Muslims in the world believe in a literal, word-for-word interpretation of the Quran. Specifically in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, literal interpretation is above 90 percent on average. Not all Muslims believe in a one-dimensional view of the Quran, but, according to Pew Research Center, the majority of them do. In other words, a majority of Muslims stand by those horrific verses you just read.
Unfortunately, Obama isn’t interested in addressing the reality of Islam. He’s more interested in making the American worldview a liberal pipe dream. Liberals are using one hand to throw Christianity out of the window while using the other hand to pull out the chair for Islam to sit at the head of the table. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Islam – “a proud tradition of tolerance” as Obama claims? Myth. The Pew Research Center survey revealed that Muslims are overwhelmingly against homosexuality. Across the board, in all the Muslim regions of the world, Muslims believe homosexuality is morally wrong, (Southeastern Asia, 83 percent; Central Asia, 85 percent; Southeastern Asia, 95 percent; South Asia, 79 percent; Middle-East and North Africa, 93 percent; Sub-Saharan Africa, 91 percent). It’s not even close.
I’m bringing up the president’s embarrassing comments to criticize the argument that is virtually identical to those that I hear from people in my own life. Like Obama, some of my fellow Bears are in denial. Being that Islam is a system of beliefs, it makes perfect sense that people could have intellectual disagreements with that system. And yes, that means you can disagree with Islam and not be a bigot.
Sam Harris, author of “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” recently appeared on the political talk show “Real Time,” hosted by Bill Maher. In a debate about Islam, Harris pointed out the biggest shortcoming in the current discussion of Islam: “Liberals have really failed on the topic of theocracy. They’ll criticize Christians; they’ll still get agitated over the abortion clinic bombing that happened in 1984, but when you talk about the treatment of women and homosexuals and free thinkers and public intellectuals in the Muslim world, I would argue that liberals have failed us. And the crucial point of confusion is that we have been sold this meme of ‘Islamophobia,’ where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry toward Muslims as people. That’s intellectually ridiculous.”
The incompetent way that various public figures have addressed the issue is revealing of the inconsistency and incoherence in dialogue about it between “everyday Americans.” The apparent contrasts in doctrine between terrorist organizations and the majority of Muslims are being shoehorned into the conversation to forge the politically correct narrative: that bad Muslims are just this minority group of terrorist nut-jobs that really aren’t even Muslims and the good Muslims are the majority group of peaceful, conservative folk just minding their own business.
It’s a signature liberal thought process. The validity and truth of an ideology is of little or no interest. The main concern is whether something is politically correct or not. In Western culture especially, an idealized portrayal of religions other than the well-established Christianity is high up on the agenda.
I also want to bring to light that many people disqualify ISIS as a basis for any criticism towards Islam solely for political correctness. They want to give Islam the benefit of the doubt in the arena of religion because that is the socially sensitive thing to do. It’s a knee-jerk, emotional reaction of righteous indignation containing no substance.
There are many non-Muslims jumping to the defense of Muslims, and many ignore the facts I just presented and substitute reality with their painted picture of liberal paradise. For the most part, non-Muslims defending Islam are on a pseudo-intellectual, liberal soapbox that is more about their moral standing with their peers than it is about justly representing Islam. Rise above it.
Jeffrey Swindoll is a junior journalism and film and digital media double major from Miami. He is a sports writer for the Lariat.
*Note: “Liberal” in this case does not necessarily mean Far-Left Democrat. It is the more literal interpretation of the word, meaning an ideology founded on equality, specifically in areas of civil rights, freedom of religion, etc.