WHEN YOU'RE talking to non-Muslims and you say something unflattering about Islam, most Westerners will try to defend Islam. They tend to see what you're saying through the filter of "racism" or "bigotry," and toward such things they have an automatic response: Protect the poor abused Muslims from hatred and fear-based reactions.
They may envision lynchings. They don't want to see racial profiling. They don't want to have interment camps like the Japanese suffered during WWII. Since they see your criticism as bigotry or racism, they are unthinkingly and reflexively opposed to a perfectly normal and legitimate activity in a free country: Political and religious criticism.
One of our most treasured guaranteed rights is the right to critique the doctrines of any political or religious group. The fact that it might be offensive to someone is exactly why free speech has to be protected (if it didn't bother anyone, there would be no need to protect it). (Read more about that here.)
Hopefully you are not a bigot or a racist, but whether you are or not, racism has nothing to do with criticism of Islamic doctrine. Islam is not a race or an ethnic group. There are Muslims of every race. And there are more non-Arab Muslims than Arab Muslims.
If you're not a racist, whoever balks at your criticism of Islamic doctrines and thinks you're being racist actually agrees with you, and you should make your agreement on this issue crystal clear.
In fact, we can emphasize the racial issue as an important reason to solve the "Islamic encroachment" issue as soon as possible. Many people in the counterjihad movement think it will take a dirty nuke going off in Chicago or Paris before the free world wakes up. But after a tragedy or a major attack, people will be angry and afraid, and decisions under those circumstances aren't always the sanest decisions. In times like those, people can overreact. In times like those, they do things like put all Japanese people into internment camps. That was a fear-based reaction, and it was bigoted and racist.
We can avoid that kind of overreaction if we talk about Islam now, in calmer times. In other words, talking about Islamic teachings now can help PREVENT racism and bigotry by making sure everyone understands what Islamic teachings are about, and that everyone understands Islam is a doctrine, not a race.
This is a point you should stress when someone seems to resist talking about Islam and who seems irrationally against talking about it. They are probably afraid you're a bigot. They might be afraid even talking about it with you somehow condones racism.
Make it very clear right up front you're against racism, that Islam is not a race, and that conversations like these will prevent racism in the future if something disastrous happens. If racism is what they were concerned about, you will suddenly have their attention.
If those who are not racist think criticizing Islam is racist, it proves an important point. Namely, that it is vital more people understand Islam.
In other words, if you think criticism of Islam is racist, you are demonstrating that you don't understand what Islam is, and you are illustrating exactly why we need to talk about it and learn about it, because if YOU, who are so strongly against racism, think Islam has something to do with race, then how are racist people going to react if a nuclear weapon goes off in downtown Houston and kills a million people?
The world needs to know about Islam — needs to know what it is and what it is not — and this needs to happen as quickly as possible. If you want to help, start here.
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