I WAS TELLING someone yesterday about The Undercover Mosque program, and I mentioned that the women are not allowed in the main hall of the mosque. They have their own sequestered part of the mosque.
He said, "Orthodox Jews do the same thing."
He had done this kind of thing before: When I say something about Islam, he says something about another religion that's similar. The underlying point he is making is that "religions are religions; they all have their bad sides." The implied point to the underlying point seems to be: Quit picking on poor Islam.
But there are two very important differences between Orthodox Jews and Muslims. One is that an Orthodox Jew is free to leave his or her religion. It might cause upsets in the family, but she can renounce her religion if she really wants to. In Islam, the penalty for leaving the religion is death. This penalty is being exercised today all over the world.
The second difference is that Orthodox Jews are not trying to take over the government. Muslims are actively working to take over governments, and have succeeded in many cases, even recently. It is a fundamental principle of Islam to show your devotion to Allah with political action — it is your duty to try to make the whole world follow Shari'a law — by force if possible; but if not, by any means.
This answer (about the two differences: freedom to leave, and political aspirations) could be given to almost every one of the "equivalents" anyone has given me before.
I'm not a religious person. I don't care if someone else is or not, as long as they don't interfere with me or try to impose their religion on me. I don't really have anything against someone thinking Mohammad was the last prophet. I don't care if they want to cover their faces or disallow women to join men on the main floor of the mosque. But it isn't right that they make their women cover their faces, that the women cannot choose for themselves, and I do not like (and will actively fight against) their strong push to subvert the freedoms I enjoy in this country.
In other words, because of these specific differences, Islam is unique. It is different. It is not the same as other religions in at least these two important ways. I suggest we memorize those two differences and respond with them when we get the "equivalents" reaction.
For more ammunition, here are some of the concessions Muslims have wheedled out of Western democracies recently: Concessions to Islam. They're chipping away at our freedoms one by one.
And here is a list of basic principles of Islam, many of them significantly different than any other religion: The Terrifying Brilliance of the Islamic Memeplex.
Not all religions are the same. That is the biggest mistaken assumption people make about Islam. And that mistake is the main reason Islam has so successfully encroached on the West so far. Let's clear it up for our fellow citizens before Muslims get any farther.