A lot of rhetoric on the topic of Islam ricochets around the blogosphere and in the media every day. Islam is a deadly danger and must be eradicated on the one hand. Muslims are victims of persecution by Islamophobes on the other hand. Assertions such as these are uncheckable and irrefutable, since they are based solely on ideology.
Suppose instead that we could make assertions that were checkable, ones that could be verified or refuted. Instead of grimacing and shaking our fists at each other, we might compile a checklist that we could mark up, based on the evidence at hand.
Here are the first ten items on my list:
|1.||Islam means “peace”.|
|2.||We are in a religious war.|
|3.||Muslims are unfairly discriminated against in the West.|
|4.||Islam is tolerant of other faiths.|
|5.||Islam is a political ideology.|
|6.||Fighting terrorists in Iraq means we won’t have to fight them at home.|
|7.||Islam has no expansionist designs.|
|8.||Not all Muslims are radicals.|
|9.||Islam can be reformed.|
|10.||Our hope lies with the “moderate” Muslim.|
And the final mark-up:
– – – – – – – – – –
Islam means “peace”.
No, it doesn’t. “Islam” means “submission”, specifically the submission of the believer to the will of Allah as revealed to his prophet.
If the will of Allah is that men be at peace, then Islam means peace. But, since the will of Allah is detailed in the Koran, there is ample evidence that Allah’s will mandates continuous warfare against non-believers until the whole world submits to him.
Regardless of Islam’s historical behavior, current events indicate that Islam is an extremely violent religion. The incidence of violence committed by Muslims in the name of their faith is several orders of magnitude greater than that of the world’s other great religions — Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism — combined.
We are in a religious war.
Yes, we are. You may be totally secular, and agnostic or atheist, but you are still a combatant. The enemy regards you as a legitimate target, and has license to exterminate you if you fail to convert to his religion.
This is a religious war, whether you like it or not.
Muslims are unfairly discriminated against in the West.
This is a favorite complaint of CAIR, MAS, ISNA, and the other organizations that claim to represent Muslims in the West, but there is no evidence that it is true.
One way to check it is to compare the number of crimes attributed to Muslim immigrants to the incarceration rates of Muslims. This can be hard to determine, because Western governments are loath to collect such statistics, particularly in Europe.
Even so, Fjordman’s exhaustive efforts concerning the statistics in Scandinavia demonstrate the fallacy of this assertion. Muslims are indeed convicted and imprisoned in excess of their proportion in the general population, but at a lower rate than the estimated incidence of crimes committed by Muslims.
Islam is tolerant of other faiths.
This assertion is not supported by the Koran, despite the frequent citation of the verse: There is no compulsion in religion. The number of verses which require the killing or subjugation of non-Muslims far exceeds the number of verses promoting tolerance.
Islam is a political ideology.
This is very clear. Both as demanded by the Koran, and as practiced in all Islamic countries, Islam specifies more than the private moral behavior of individuals. It insists on a specific code of laws enforced by a government that rules over all Muslims.
According to Islam, religion and government are not distinct from one another.
Fighting terrorists in Iraq means we won’t have to fight them at home.
This is only partially true. There are indeed many dedicated mujahideen being martyred in Iraq, but there are plenty more attempting to enter the United States so they can be martyred in the belly of the Great Satan.
There are also many Islamic terrorists already here. And not only immigrants — there are thousands of home-grown terrorists, such as the members of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, scattered across the country, waiting to be activated.
Islam has no expansionist designs.
This is disproven both by the Koran and by the statements and behavior of devout Muslims the world over. Osama bin Laden is not the only Islamic leader calling for the return of al-Andalus and the Balkans to the bosom of the Ummah.
In fact, you could spend your life poring through the dusty archives of Islam and never find a single prominent scholar who repudiates the ideal of reclaiming al-Andalus.
Not all Muslims are radicals.
This is true, but only in a limited sense. There are many Muslims — probably a majority — who reject radical action. The big question is how much silent support they give to the terrorists, or whether they will actively work against the fundamentalists.
So far the signs point to a passive acceptance of the Islamists in their midst.
Islam can be reformed.
This one is still up in the air. The fact that there have been peaceful, benign forms of Islam — such as certain branches of Sufism — gives us a slender thread of hope.
But in the here and now, there is no sign of a vigorous peaceful branch of Muslim with any claim to a large number of adherents. Once again, passivity seems to be the rule of the day.
Our hope lies with the “moderate” Muslim.
This is definitely true. The moderate Muslim is not necessarily an engine of Islamic reform, but more likely will serve as a conduit out of Islam.
For the peacefully-inclined Muslim, moderate Islam can be a stepping-stone to secularism, atheism, or conversion to a more benign faith.
The problem for any moderate Muslim or apostate is that he lives in constant fear of death at the hands of the radicals, with little hope of help from the passive majority.
But, I as I have said repeatedly, these folks are our natural allies, and need to be encouraged in whatever way possible. The alternative is an apocalyptic war of extermination.