ALMOST EVERYONE in the free world firmly believes in the principle that people have a right to worship as they wish. Even people who are avowed atheists will defend this principle. So to hear anyone (you, for example) criticize any religion offends the sensibilities of people who know nothing about Islam (but assume it is one of many similar religions).
The negative reaction to your criticism of Islam is even more pronounced if they are a believer in another religion because they hear your criticism of Islamic supremacism as a threat to the freedom of religion, and they will often defend Islam on that basis alone.
So how can you respond to this objection? Here are some ideas:
1. I am actually defending religious tolerance. What should you do with a religiously intolerant religion? What can you do with a religion that will try to stop, defeat, undermine, and even abolish all other religions? If you want to preserve religious freedom, you had better keep the aggressive, intolerant religion on a tight leash. You had better be aware of what they're doing, and you'd better prevent them from getting their hands on the reins of power or it will be the end of religious tolerance.
2. There are two aspects of Islam. One is religious and the other is political. The religious part has to do with fasting and prayer. The political part has to do with subjugating non-Muslims, working to establish Shari'a law in places where it isn't already established, and repressing the rights of women. Islamic supremacists do not believe the religious part is separate from the political part because according to the Qur'an and the example of Mohammad, they are not separate, and it says in the Qur'an over seventy times that a good Muslim must follow Mohammad's example.
But some people who call themselves Muslim are perfectly willing to violate the tenets of Islam and separate the two. They only want to practice the religious aspects of Islam, which is private, and I have nothing against that at all. I think they have every right to do that.
But it behooves those of us who might be on the receiving end of their political action to be aware of the political aspects of Islamic teachings. Those teachings impact non-Muslims and restrict human rights for Muslim women, and that isn't right.
In many places in the free world right now, Muslim women do not enjoy the full rights of freedom because those areas are politically controlled by Islamic supremacists, who never let up on their relentless push for political and legal control. There are areas in Britain, Germany, and France where Shari'a law is legally practiced (examples here and here). The governments have conceded to Islamic pressure. This must be stopped because the pressure for more concessions will never stop. It is a true Muslim's religious duty to bring the whole world under the rule of Islamic law.
In the USA, Islamic supremacists are influencing American textbooks, misleading students as to the nature of Islam and the history of violent and aggressive Islamic expansion. This is a breach of the separation of church and state, it is an example of Islamic supremacists tireless political aggression, and we must not concede to it. This is not a suppression of religious freedom. It is a repression of unfair, one-sided, freedom-denying political practices (carried out as a religious duty).
3. After the Protestant Reformation, and after many years of persecutions and wars, Britain established a new policy which is the root of our model of religious tolerance today. Any religion or sect could worship as they choose without fear of persecution by the government or anybody else.
Churches that had once enjoyed a monopoly resisted this new policy. They were intolerant of other religions. So Britain told them: You will be tolerant of other religions or you will not be allowed in this country. And if you think about it, this is the only way religious tolerance can work. You can't allow an aggressive, intolerant religion free reign.
Right now 75 percent of the mosques in America are preaching hatred toward non-Muslims. This is a dangerous religious intolerance. You can't have everyone allowing everyone else to worship as they wish except one group who will only tolerate their own religion. That's the definition of supremacism and it is a threat to the freedom of religion. Everyone has to abide by the principle or it doesn't work. So being critical of Islamic supremacism and stopping its relentless aggressive encroachment is, in fact, an essential goal if the freedom of religion is to survive.
Those are three answers to the accusation that you are being religiously intolerant. I invite you — no, I urge you, I challenge you — to come up with an even better answer and add it to the comments below. Let us continually outdo one another with better and better responses.
I also encourage you to add your two cents about which answer we come up with is the best. Add your vote as a comment below.
Minds need to be changed, and it is right here that we can make it happen. Let us arm ourselves with effective weapons in this war of ideas. Let us forge the weapons here that will help us win the war against Islam's relentless encroachment and protect our freedom.