One of our articles, Will It Stop Terrorism To Build Schools?, received a comment and I wanted to talk about it here because the point of view of the commenter is one of the most important barriers preventing the West from successfully defending itself against Islam's relentless encroachment.
In other words, if the issues the commenter brought up are not answered and answered well, I believe Islam will successfully Islamize the West. My answer (below) may not be complete enough, but it's a start, and I hope others will help out by adding their points in the comments to this post. So here goes...
The commenter's name was Ekblad. His first comment was, "Seems to me that you yourself, sir, is promoting hatred."
My response was, "Let me get this straight, Ekblad: Because I stated a fact: 'The primary doctrinal source of Islam, the Qur'an, teaches hatred and encourages violence against non-Muslims,' that means I'm promoting hatred?
"Who do I recommend hatred toward? Nobody, as far as I can tell. But if you quote a statement I have made that recommends people hate somebody, please let me know so I can correct it.
"Otherwise, what I am concerned with is a particular DOCTRINE. That is, a collection of written teachings. My main message is that anyone following those teachings will be necessarily dangerous to non-Muslims, and we non-Muslims best be aware of that fact and alter our policies accordingly. I'm talking about immigration policies, sedition laws, and our policies of negotiating with anyone following those teachings. I'm talking about policies toward allowing madrassas that teach these ideas to children, and I'm talking about policies toward what is said in mosques. Read more about that here.
"Many people do not know that inside the Qur'an are passages urging hatred toward Jews and Christians, and even greater hatred for those of us who are neither, and there are Muslims around the world who take these passages seriously and follow the teachings religiously.
"Do you recommend that we infidels simply stop talking about these teachings? Do you repudiate these teachings? Which passages of the Qur'an do you reject? Let's hear it, Ekblad."
Ekblad had this response:
"From your defensive tone I surmise your intention is in fact not to promote hatred. In that case I suggest you separate the Qur'an texts from its implementations, as we would do with Old Testament texts of similar content.
"An honest assessment of the implementation would no doubt result in the conclusion that the jihadists represent a tiny minority position within the Muslim world — and one that simply thrives on the kind of violence that has been the main tactic against them for too long.
"Bundling these extremists and their extreme interpretation of the Qur'an with all Qur'an followers is unfair and counterproductive.
"Greg Mortenson offers in my opinion a much more adequate and appropriate response towards the Muslim world, an attitude based on compassion for peoples living under difficult situations, regardless of creed."
Here is my response to that:
I think what you're bringing up here, Ekblad, is one of the most important issues non-Muslims will have to come to grips with in this century. Namely, is it legitimate to warn against the contents of the Qur'an and the Hadith? Or is wrong to do so? Is it being unfair to those who do not abide by every teaching of the Islamic doctrine?
I'm glad you responded, Ekblad. I was hoping for an opportunity to go into detail about this. To call my tone "defensive" seems oddly hostile. The reason I'm explaining so much to you is not only to answer you, but to answer your questions for the many others who will read this. And by the way, you didn't answer my question, which I still put to you: Are there any passages in the Qur'an that you repudiate?
But back to the main issue. I'm going to take your points one at a time. First you suggest we separate Qur'an texts from what people do with those texts (how they implement them). To which I would reply: I do exactly that. In the article you are taking exception to, I wrote, "Islamic terrorism (the implementation) has its roots in the ideology of Islam (the texts)."
I went on to say, "The primary doctrinal source of Islam, the Qur'an, teaches hatred and encourages violence against non-Muslims." Which is true. If you haven't read the Qur'an, I urge you to read it cover to cover as I have and find out for yourself. It is not difficult to read. Find out more about reading the Qur'an here. The passages are not hard to decipher. It is not written in vague language. It is vigorous and direct. And it does, very straightforwardly, encourage intolerance and violence against non-Muslims.
You should read it yourself before criticizing someone who talks about what's in it.
Your next point is that Jihadis are only a small minority of Muslims. If you mean violent Jihadis, I concede that point, although the minority who support the violence is much larger than most non-Muslims would guess (or feel glad about), and when you add up the violence worldwide, as Glen Reinsford does, this small minority of Muslims causes a great deal of carnage. But violent jihad is only one small part of the problem. There is a much larger and more dangerous issue — the political nature of Islam.
Islamic teachings direct Muslims to commit violence against non-Muslims, but the teachings do far more than that, and the options for waging jihad against non-Muslims are enormous. Violence is only one of many ways to wage jihad.
The political goal of Islam is universal Shari'a law. Political action toward that goal is a religious duty for a Muslim. One way a Muslim can work toward that goal is to use violence to strike terror into the hearts of non-Muslims. Or to intimidate non-Muslims into refraining from any criticism of Islam, as the "cartoon riots" tried to do (and in some ways they succeeded). Another way to wage jihad is to organize a YouTube video-banning project. If YouTube gets enough complaints about a video, YouTube makes the video unavailable to view. Muslims around the world have successfully banned many videos that were critical of Islamic teachings. Another way to wage jihad is to create an organization such as the Council of American-Islamic Relations and bring lawsuits against people who criticize Islam. Another way to wage jihad is to infiltrate the "chaplain system" of the penal system and try to convert prisoners to Jihadis.
The list goes on and on. All of these things and many more are being done in the United States and Europe. Jihad is being waged on so many fronts at once, it is astonishing. And frightening. The end-goal of all of these efforts is to establish Shari'a law — a seventh century form of law which removes human rights from women, among many other drawbacks.
Warren Mendleson said at a recent press conference:
Sharia "requires non-Muslims to live as dhimmis, second-class citizens... and be treated in a brutal and demeaning way... it mandates discrimination against women and non-Muslims, demands the murder of homosexuals, adulterers, and apostates, and requires violent jihad against all infidels, including Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and others." He continued that "Sharia law is seditious because it calls for the violent overthrow of governments like the United States and the replacement of democratic Constitutional law with its own bureaucratic code." He indicated that the nations practicing Sharia law today are "some of the most oppressive regimes in the world."
Another speaker at the same press conference, Wendy Wright, said:
In Shari'a law, "husbands can use physical force against their wives, the early forced marriage of a girl as young as nine, that men can have multiple marriages and multiple wives, that men can have the right of custody of children and mothers have no rights of custody, that homosexuals should be stoned to death, that women accused of bringing dishonor to male relatives should be killed."
R. James Woolsey, former director of Central Intelligence, commenting on Robert Spencer's book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, wrote:
"Robert Spencer makes a solid case that the major threat to our way of life does not come solely from those radical Islamists who embrace violence and terrorism. It also comes from those who do not accept that they must live side-by-side on a basis of equality with those of other faiths in a civil society and who instead work in multiple ways toward obtaining special standing for Islam in our society and, ultimately, toward theocracy. A vital wake-up call of a book."
So in answer to your question, Ekblad, I do not think it is especially significant or useful to emphasize that Jihadis are a "tiny minority" in the Muslim world.
This is why the core teachings of Islam are relevant and important to non-Muslims. The core teachings of Islam are aiming at the eradication of the values, principles, and way of life non-Muslims care about most. If Islam accomplishes its goal, governments protecting liberty and equality will no longer exist.
Your third point, Ekblad, is that it is unfair and counterproductive to bundle "extremists and their extreme interpretation of the Qur'an with all Qur'an followers." And here we arrive at the core issue. The Qur'an says what it says. It promotes intolerance toward non-Muslims in very direct language which requires no "interpretation." Since we can all read it, and since we couldn't possibly know for sure that at least some of the people who call themselves Muslims have decided not to follow some of those teachings, it is up to Muslims to declare themselves. It is not up to non-Muslims to avoid offending those liberty-and-equality-loving "Muslims" by assuming they are peace-loving, liberty-loving, and equality-loving people.
That is a big assumption to make for anyone who knows what is in the Qur'an.
This is so important, I want to make this perfectly clear. We non-Muslims can read the Qur'an. We can know what it says. Anyone who calls himself a Muslim, we assume, must believe the Qur'an is the word of Allah, which means he believes in (and is committed to) the passages in the Qur'an. Which means he is potentially dangerous to the liberty and even the survival of non-Muslims. For non-Muslims to have any inkling that a "Muslim" does not follow all the teachings contained in the Qur'an, he would have to tell us which passages he repudiates.
I have yet to hear any Muslim doing so (except the excellent people over at Muslims Against Sharia). In fact, it says in the Qur'an itself a Muslim may not reject or ignore any verses of the Qur'an. So both Muslims and non-Muslims are between a rock and a hard place. I don't know what the ultimate solutions will be for this problem, but I'll tell you what I know will NOT work: For non-Muslims to avoid or ignore or downplay the writings of Islam's most sacred book. For any solution to come about, we all have to be honest about what is written in that book.
I've been studying about this and writing about it for a long time, and I have heard from many Muslims over the years. Almost all of them have said they were "peaceful Muslims." But not one of them has quoted a passage from the Qur'an and said, "I do not and will not ever follow that passage."
What is a non-Muslim to do?
To be on the safe side, a non-Muslim should assume anyone who calls himself a Muslim follows the teachings of the Qur'an. Just as we would assume anyone who calls himself a Christian is following the teachings of the Bible. But as much as people always try to imply the two religions are similar, the Bible is a large collection of writings from many different writers and written at different times in history. Its message is not nearly as clear-cut as the Qur'an's message. And the Bible does not give its followers a political agenda. It does not explicitly tell its followers how to treat non-Christians.
For those and many other reasons, non-believers such as myself have no need to be as wary of Christians as we need to be of Muslims (read more about that here). This may not be "fair" to those Muslims who choose to ignore particular teachings in the Qur'an, but this is an important issue of self-preservation and the protection of liberty. We cannot risk such things for the sake of being "nice."
It is up to the Muslims to say which intolerant and violent verses of the Qur'an they reject. It is not up to the non-Muslims to assume every Muslim rejects those passages until they prove otherwise by their behavior — too much is at stake. "Innocent until proven guilty" is an important legal principle in a criminal court, but it would be foolish to follow the same principle in establishing immigration policies, for example. It would be foolish to assume all mosques in the free world are teaching a peace-loving, democracy-loving (altered) version of the Qur'an until after a generation of mosque-goers prove otherwise, especially when Undercover Mosque and Mapping Sharia have already shown quite otherwise.
The onus is on the Muslims. Sad but true. There is no other sensible way for non-Muslims to deal with our dilemma.
The whole issue is compounded further by the principle of taqiyya, or religious deception. This is an Islamic teaching that says, basically, a Muslim may deceive a non-Muslim if it furthers the goals of Islam. But that is a whole other discussion which I will reserve for another time.
The last point you made, Ekblad, is that Mortenson offers a more appropriate response toward the Muslim world than my response of educating non-Muslims about Islamic teachings. You are saying you think it is a better solution to build non-madrassa schools in Muslim lands than it is to educate non-Muslims about the contents of the Qur'an.
I really like what Mortenson is doing, as I said in the article. But given all the ways jihad is being waged against non-Muslims, Mortenson's solution is only a small part of the response non-Muslims should make. It is an important and worthwhile contribution, but will not solve the problem by itself.
By the way, you said it was unfair to bundle "extremists" and other Muslims together. I assume you mean I "bundled them together" by saying they both use the Qur'an as their holy book. But I didn't make that up. I didn't conjure that idea from thin air. All Muslims — "extremists" and otherwise — profess to follow the teachings of a single book. In other words, I didn't bundle them together. They have bundled themselves together by professing reverence for the same holy book and Prophet.
You also said it was counterproductive to educate non-Muslims about the unsavory teachings of the Qur'an. And here I finally agree with you. It is counterproductive to the Jihadis' goals for me to inform non-Muslims about Islamic teachings. Non-Muslims are more capable of resisting "Shari'a creep," as it's been called, when they know about it. When non-Muslims are more informed about Islamic teachings, we are better able to see through the taqiyya and to stop giving concessions to Islam's constant pressure. We are better able to defend ourselves.
I wonder how you would answer this question, Ekblad: Does it harm a truly peaceful Muslim (or Christian, for that matter) to inform non-Muslims and non-Christians that their books contain passages that promote violence?
If the person is truly peaceful, and if the person is truly a Muslim or Christian, then that person must already be fully aware of the passages in their primary holy books, right? Are they embarrassed by those passages? I doubt it.
So they know about the violent or intolerant passages and they are not embarrassed. Then where is the harm of mentioning those passages?
The only harm I can see is it might make people shy away from converting to those religions. But that's not a good enough reason to avoid warning the potential victims of the violence.
I see only one other way it harms someone: I can see that it harms the Jihadis' ability to fulfill their plans when people like me go around "giving away the game." It harms the Jihadi goal of imposing universal Shari'a law to let non-Muslims know that's what they want. That is a "harm" I can live with.
I asked you a question before that you have so far avoided answering: What passages in the Qur'an do you reject? Here's another: Are you a Muslim? If not, what do you hope to accomplish by your criticism?
One last thing, Ekblad. Awhile back I wrote a post you might be interested in. I have heard from so many Muslims in the past, I decided to write out my response so I could just send a link next time and save my fingers some wear and tear. Check it out: A Message to Peaceful Muslims.