Answers to Objections When You Talk About Islam

Monday

BELOW IS A LIST of responses you are likely to get when talking about the terrifying brilliance of Islam to someone who knows little about it. The responses link to an article giving you suggestions about how to effectively respond.

If you ever come across a response not on our list, and you have difficulty answering it, please let us know; we'll work on it and add it to the list.

The good news is that the responses you will typically get are a fairly small number. You'll hear the same few objections over and over (1-7 are the most common). When you have some good answers to these objections ready at hand, you will be able to answer smoothly and with poise, without feeling tense or antagonistic.

We're hoping you will add more possible responses or advice in the comments on the articles linked below. And if you have any possible answers to the unlinked responses below, we'd love to hear them (email us).

 
When you talk about Islamic supremacism with people, they are likely to say one of the following:

1. But it is just a small minority of extremists.

2. My friend is a Muslim and he's really nice.

3. What you're saying is racist.

4. Aren't you being religiously intolerant? People in this country have a right to worship as they please. Isn't religious tolerance one of our most important principles?

5. Christianity is just as bad.

6. Not all Muslims are terrorists.

7. We can't go to war with 1.3 billion Muslims!

8. Are you an Islamophobe?

9. Isn't this bigotry?

10. Are you a hatemonger? I don't believe in promoting hatred.

11. You should really talk to some Muslims. You're getting all this from books.

12. There are peaceful passages in the Qur'an too.

13. People take what they want from any writings. You can pretty much justify anything if you quote it out of context.

14. There are millions of Muslims in this country and they're not blowing things up.

15. My family and my community is Muslim, and none of us are terrorists.

16. Fundamentalism is fundamentalism.


17. Haven't mosques and churches and synagogues sat side-by-side in the Middle East for a thousand years?

18. You're taking the verses of the Quran out of context.

19. But jihad is an internal struggle.

20. Criticizing Islam will push the moderates into the arms of the extremists.

21. You're cherry-picking verses out of the Quran.

22. Wouldn't it be better to support the peaceful Muslims (than to criticize the violent ones)?

23. What about the good verses in the Quran?

24. You are a xenophobe.

25. The majority of Muslims are peace-loving people.

26. Who are we to tell Muslims to change their beliefs?

27. What can we do about it?

I also have an all-purpose response to any objection you get. Simply ask: "How did you learn about Islam?" Your question will probably reveal to both of you how little the other knows about Islam, and that is a good place to start.

For more good responses, check out Frequently Asked Questions from Islam 101. The author, Gregory M. Davis, provides some good answers.

19 comments:

Ed 7:08 AM  

Excellent.

Kab-bin-Ashraf 6:57 PM  

Great work Citizen Warrior.

My comment:

For countering objection 1, "But it is just a small minority of extremists," I believe the most directly relevant type of evidence comes from polls and surveys that indicate that most Muslims want sharia law or for sharia to be at least a source of law.

The relevant polls [at least, those about which I am familiar] were done by World Public Opinion, PEW, and some others (including Gallup, which had Islam apologists running the study). You can find the WPO and PEW poll/survey findings online, though the Gallup findings are not available and have only been reported indirectly by apologists Esposito and Mogahed.

Support for sharia would be regarded by most non-Muslims as extremist, or at least not moderate. It is the goal of al-Qaeda, Hezbullah, and all such extremist Islamic militant groups, to establish sharia law in full. Hence, most Muslims agree with the goal of extreme Islamic terrorist groups in wanting sharia.

Source: Muslim Public Opinion on US Policy, Attacks on Civilians and al Qaeda. April 24, 2007. WorldPublicOpinion.org.

p. 21. “Most respondents express strong support for expanding the role of Islam in their societies, a view that is consistent with the goals of al Qaeda. Large majorities in most countries—an average of 71 percent (39% strongly)—agree with the goal of requiring ‘strict application of Shari’a law in every Islamic country.’ Pakistanis were the most enthusiastic with 79 percent agreeing. About three in four Moroccans (76%) and Egyptians (74%) also agreed. Indonesians showed the lowest support: 53 percent agreed and 40 percent disagreed.”

p. 22. “Majorities even agree with the ambitious goal ‘to unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or caliphate’ (overall average 65%). Seventy-four percent of Pakistanis agreed with this goal, as did 71 percent of Moroccans and 67 percent of Egyptians. However, in Indonesia, only 49 percent agreed while 40 percent disagreed.”

Also see 2009 World Public Opinion February 25, for a follow-up poll that yielded similar results.

PEW, in a report published in August 2009, noted that “One of the ironies in the survey is the extent to which Pakistanis embrace some of the severe laws associated with the Taliban and al Qaeda, even as they reject Islamic extremism and these extremist groups. The new poll finds broad support for harsh punishments: 78% favor death for those who leave Islam; 80% favor whippings and cutting off hands for crimes like theft and robbery; and 83% favor stoning adulterers.

In the West, while Muslims tend to be somewhat more "moderate" than those reported above, a majority of Muslims still want sharia punishments for blasphemy (i.e., criminal prosecution and punishment
of those who are deemed, by Muslims, to have criticized or "insulted" Islam or Muhammad). Source: see Many British Muslims Put Islam First NRO: Survey Shows Many Are More Loyal To Fellow Muslims Outside U.K. Aug. 14, 2006 Patrick Basham

Note: All of the above references are available online. The WikiIslam site also cites some statistics on Muslims' opinions.

blootstellen 4:37 PM  

I suggest you try the following link, it is perfectly appropriate to this article.

http://blootstellen.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/out-of-context-%e2%80%93-the-propaganda-tools-of-hate-agenda/

Kab-bin-Ashraf 4:35 PM  

blootstellen,

Can you show, briefly here, how your lengthy linked article is relevant to this article by Citizen Warrior? Do you intend to suggest that Citizen Warrior has inappropriately taken something out of context?

Also, I am curious about a few things:

Can you provide me with the name of a non-Muslim critic of Islam whom you consider to be a reasonably good person and who has raised some reasonably good points about Islam?

Can you give me an example of a non-Muslim Islam critic who in your opinion quotes Quranic verses appropriately and in context?

Can you tell me anything about mainstream Islam today, or the contents of the Quran, with which you disagree?

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

I have another suggestion to add. You can point out that there is not a single mosque in the world where men and women are allowed to sit together. Out of more than a billion people, not one! Women always, everywhere have to go to the back of the bus.
This, along with opinion polls, shows the general fundamentalist nature of Islam, ie there is no such thing as 'moderate islam'. This is especially important to point out when talking to women. Play on the mistreatment of women under Islamic rule and point out the repeated attempts to bring sharia here to the west, that you are concerned about fighting for women's rights against that encroachment. Then the question becomes but how to fight? What are you talking about? And the answer should be: First understand that the problem is Islam because it is not a religion but a political party that is anti-women. The objective of the conversation is not to propose a global solution but just to get the person to see Islam as a whole as a political movement that is anti-women (sharia) and encroaching. Tell them, We have to say no to any hint of sharia don't we? They will agree. The key is to make them aware that Islam has a political agenda, to get them to stop seeing it in terms of religion and culture and to view it as a political party. Tell them, Islam is a political party. No other religion wants to impose sharia. Islam is a political party -- that's the key light bulb moment you want to impart.
Just my two cents . . .

Citizen Warrior 11:51 AM  

That is a really good point! Separating women like that is such a simple thing, but belies the nature of Islam. Excellent!

Citizen Warrior 12:52 PM  

Someone just emailed me with this:

I was reading Jihad Watch and someone linked your site in one of the comments. I don’t always read all the comments because there are so many of them, but I’m glad I saw that one! I’ve only now started going through your site. So far, I am liking what I see.

Here are some of the answers I use for some of these questions:

1. You should really talk to some Muslims. You're getting all this from books.

People are not always the most accurate representatives of their religions. Therefore, it is more important to look at what the religion actually teaches rather than just what individual followers may say or do. (This goes for any religion.)

13. People take what they want from any writings. You can pretty much justify anything if you quote it out of context.

With this one, I would say that I generally agree. But I’d go on to explain that the Koran is not like most books we are familiar with. It is mainly Allah speaking to Mohammad, so there is very little context to begin with. Also point them to the hadith, which are the sayings of Mohammad. These readings are helpful in clarifying the Koran. And since Mohammad is held up as the perfect example, Muslims are to emulate him.

14. There are millions of Muslims in America and they're not blowing things up.

Same answer as #1.

15. My family and my community is Muslim, and none of us are terrorists.

Same answer as #1.

16. Fundamentalism is fundamentalism.

My side note - Of all the objections I’ve heard, this one is the strangest to me. It makes no sense that someone would say this, because:

Fundamentalism in regards to religion means the basics, or foundational teachings of the religion. All religions do not teach the same things. And not just in minor details, but at their core. Therefore, we need to look at what the foundational teachings of the religion actually are.

Let me use a frivolous example for the sake of argument:

- Religion X has as one of its basic teachings that followers must go up to a different non-believing neighbor each week and say, “My God loves you and I love you too.”

- Religion Y has as one of its basic teachings that followers must go up to a different non-believing neighbor each week and say, “My God hates you and I hate you too.”

These are both the “fundamentals” of each respective religion. But you cannot say that they are equal or the same and therefore one is as bad as the other. One might get you strange looks. The other might get you a punch in the face.

***

That’s all I’ve got for now. I look forward to reading the site in detail. I just finished The Terrifying Brilliance of Islam. This is one of the clearest explanations of Islam as a whole that I’ve read. It was very helpful and I will be passing it along.

Thanks again.

Civilus Defendus 7:20 PM  

CW,
If you'd like, I could format a pdf of this list, too. Having this as a file to share and to print as a reference would be handy. Just a thought. 8-)
CD

Citizen Warrior 1:28 AM  

CD, what a great offer. Yes, I would like that. But I have two more articles to write to complete the list. They are already in the works, so maybe a couple of weeks from now? I'll let you know when it's finished. Thank you very much!

Civilus Defendus 1:53 PM  

CW,
Send it in a word file and I'll see what I can do. What a handy little booklet it could make...
CD

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

15. My family and my community is Muslim, and none of us are terrorists.

First, this is a dubious statement. Criticism of Islam does not accuse all Muslims of terrorism. But can they attend mosque and be unaware of attitudes against unbelievers? Can they be unaware of attitudes approving of the terrorists? Can they be unaware of Stealth Jihad? Are they opposed to Sharia?

If someone truly peaceful brings up this statement, a good explanation is here:

"Whether it was done intentionally or not, the message written in the Quran has been made difficult to sort out, and that discourages almost all non-Muslims — and a significant percentage of Muslims — from reading it.

Non-Muslims are almost entirely in the dark about the political duties incumbent on every Muslim revealed in the Quran, even though any normal bookstore in the Western world sells numerous copies translated into English. And most Muslims must rely on their imams to tell them what Islam is about, which explains much of the Muslim confusion about their own religion.

The doctrines of Islam divide the world into the realm of Islam and the realm of war (which is the realm of non-Muslims; that is, the realm of the not-yet-brought-under-the-rule-of-the-holy-system-of-law). In this permanent state of war, unsubjugated non-Muslims are "the enemy," so it would make sense to try to conceal the goals, plans, and methods of Islam from non-Muslims.

It also keeps ordinary Muslims — the soldiers of Allah — on a need-to-know basis, since they also find it difficult to understand the Quran. So the only ones who really know what's going on are the imams and the scholars. They're the ones calling the shots.

Their soldiers are out there defending Islam without knowing much about it. You'll see them all the time on web sites saying, "No, you have it all wrong." "

http://www.inquiryintoislam.com/2010/08/why-standard-versions-of-quran-are-so.html

T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper (tm) 6:51 PM  

Islam is the world's most intolerant and supremacist ideology, and the rest of the world must stand up to it or be absorbed, like with the Borgs on Star Trek. Too bad, they are currently ostriching and giving away the store.

To fight Islam you need knowledge. Keep up on daily global news at the best place, the free Islam Watch Blog from the Historyscoper:

http://tinyurl.com/islamwatch

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

One point you forgot - 'Do you know Arabic? If not, you do not understand the koran.'

infidel 12:59 AM  

Brilliant, like your entire blog. Keep up the good work!

CAPTAIN THURSTON 8:59 AM  

Bookmarked1

Victoria 4:04 PM  

I have a new objection. Nowadays the most common objection I get (from Muslims themselves and Muslim appeasers) is: those terrorists are not Muslims because they are not following the religion properly.
I even had people telling me the millions of Muslims in Saudi Arabia/Indonesia/Malaysia are not Muslims
So how do you reply to that?

Citizen Warrior 9:41 PM  

Victoria, if someone gave me that objections, I would say, "I've read the Koran, and guess what? The terrorists are following the actual teachings as written, and following the example of Muhammad."

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

To Victoria's Comment and C.W.'s Reply:

C.W. what would you say if the person you were talking to you still persisted in believing that " those terrorists are not Muslims" ?



Citizen Warrior 1:06 AM  

Do those people think of themselves as Muslims? Who are you to tell someone whether or not they can call themselves Muslims?

Or I might focus on convincing the person to read the Koran.

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