• The Politically Correct Way to Demand Political Correctness


    Islamists and their non-Muslim sympathizers often use a select number of tactics to defend the indefensible, when the good old Islamic rules of blasphemy and heresy cannot be enforced. In addition to dismissing all criticism of Islam as hate speech and unworthy of a response (as readers of this blog will remember, for instance, American Muslims for Palestine did), a known line of attack they often employ is accusing critics of Islam of lacking “nuance”. See, there are plenty of possibilities for different viewpoints in Islam, and hence blaming Islam as a whole is crude and unfair.

    This is how the accusation is usually worded.

    [In Islam] There’s plenty of wiggle room and then some. On anything that is not established as theological Truth (e.g. God’s existence, the finality of Prophethood, pillars and articles of faith), there is ample room for examination, debate and disagreement, because it does not undercut the fabric of faith itself.


    We Muslims are free. Our prophet left no heir. We have never had a pope or a clergy. We are commanded to worship God alone, and for our sins we are answerable to no one but Him. The doors of Muslim ijtihad (religious reasoning) have always remained open.

    Here is another version of this statement:

    Yes, there are literalists out there, who insist on some reading of a religious text, and do harm to promote and defend that reading. But outside of certain (increasingly easy to identify) regions, for example Saudi Arabia, to say that both person X and person Y are Muslims, or Christians, is to say very little.

    This is a noble sentiment-or it would be, if it weren’t patently ignorant or deceitful. Quite clearly, disagreement on articles of faith are prevalent among Muslims, sometimes lethally so. That being said-this by no means indicates that all issues can be openly debated (even among Muslims living in Western nations) regardless of how many individual Muslims may harbor unorthodox views. For example, when it comes to imposing Islamic blasphemy rules on everyone including non-Muslims, at least at the state level, Muslims show no diversity of opinion whatsoever. Further, some of the doctrines that even the “wiggle room” propagandists consider untouchable (say, the finality prophethood) in the real world have deadly consequences.

    But the real problem is deeper than this. The accusations of Islam’s critics not being “nuanced” because we don’t get the vast diversities of opinion among Muslims come from Muslim moderates. And yet the same people have shown us, time and time and time again, they completely dismiss the Muslim faith of Islamic militants, accuse them of having corrupted the religion, and make the claim that their ideologies are not even Islamic, and bringing the “no true Muslim” fallacy to perfection. One may ask, then, if there is so much wiggle room in Islam, why is it wiggling toward violence is not allowed? Are Muslim moderates willing to accept pluralism, but only for themselves? Puzzling enough, even some having this view at one point proceed to become militants themselves!

    The obvious objection of double standards not withstanding, it would really help to take the “wiggle room” crowd more seriously if they actually lead by example-for instance, if they brought up any of the orthodoxies up for debate. And I have a few suggestions to get the matter moving: Is the Koran infallible? Is Sharia still applicable in the 21st century? Is the doctrine of Jihad still valid? There doesn’t appear to be much willingness to discuss these ideas openly, despite the fact that according to the polls, globally, there is considerable difference among Muslims regarding some of them. Worse, rather than renouncing the infallibility of anachronistic scriptures, they sometimes try to twist them so they can be used as the source of modern ideas-with hilarious consequences:

    Dr. Heba Kotb is tackling a taboo in the Arab world unlike anyone else: She’s talking about sex openly on a show broadcast all over the Middle East.

    So she started researching while wondering why her part of the world was so averse to talking about sex. It was something Kotb wanted to change and she found a way in the Quran: a passage that discusses sex between husband and wife.

    The passage reads: “Your wives are as a tilth [land or soil to be cultivated] unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah.”

    That verse, she says, makes it known that sex shouldn’t just happen when the husband wants but that the wives have rights too.

    “I was so proud of my religion when I saw that. My religion was advanced enough to talk about women’s rights in sexuality how many years before modern science did?”

    To be sure, women’s rights are not based on science, but on ideas by secular activists such as Margaret Sanger and Elizabeth Cady Stanton-but seriously, equating women to agricultural fields is what gives women “rights”? Who has ever heard of pieces of land having rights? Your pets have more rights than your farmland does! And unsurprisingly, her conclusion is not even remotely hinted at in the passage. But this is what happens when you are intellectually dishonest and having self-delusions: you see what you want to see, not what is actually there. If there were wiggle room in Islam, as we are told, she could simply state that there are noble and valid concepts in the modern world for which a scriptural basis does not exist.

    In the end if the “nuance” claims continues to be heard with no actual reforms or even debates on matters of orthodoxy, it won’t amount to much other than just one more attempt to shield Islam from criticism. And those not buying in to it can, ironically, repeat the words of a Jihadi, even though clearly not meaning exactly what he meant by them:

    “As time goes on I care less and less about what other people think of me, or my views on Islam.”

    Category: Secularism

    Article by: No Such Thing As Blasphemy

    I was raised in the Islamic world. By accident of history, the plague that is entanglement of religion and government affects most Muslim majority nations a lot worse the many Christian majority (or post-Christian majority) nations. Hence, I am quite familiar with this plague. I started doubting the faith I was raised in during my teen years. After becoming familiar with the works of enlightenment philosophers, I identified myself as a deist. But it was not until a long time later, after I learned about evolutionary science, that I came to identify myself as an atheist. And only then, I came to know the religious right in the US. No need to say, that made me much more passionate about what I believe in and what I stand for. Read more...