How Should We Treat the Muslims in Our Midst?
In fact, the "extremists" are not any more "extreme" than the many devout followers of other religions. The difference is that the teachings devout Muslims follow are more definitively hostile toward non-followers than any other mainstream religion's teachings.
So we are in a quandary, and so are the innocents who call themselves Muslims (but who ignore or are unaware of Islam's intolerant teachings). We don't want to make the mistake of overgeneralizing and becoming hostile to someone just because he says he's a Muslim. But we don't want to support or encourage or befriend a Muslim who is following the teachings of the Koran because it says it's okay to pretend to be a non-Muslim's friend, but to never actually be their friend, and it says "kill the unbelievers wherever you find them." These are not the beliefs or motivations we want in a friend, or in someone we invite home to dinner, or even in someone we speak freely with.
We know how to deal with orthodox Muslims who are actively pushing for concessions from the West, but what about in our personal lives? Should we live in suspicion of all Muslims? Should we automatically hate someone we know is a Muslim? Would you want to live that way? No, probably not. Should you ignore what you know about Islamic doctrine and treat everyone the same? That doesn't seem sensible either.
We're in a real quandary, and so are heterodox Muslims who have rejected the worst of Muhammad's teachings.
Our difficulty can be resolved with a simple change in our personal policy. We can consistently treat the Muslims among us a particular way and it will solve our problem and hopefully bring this issue into the light of day where we can reasonably deal with it like adults.
Before I describe the personal policy I advocate, I need to clarify something. An "innocent Muslim," or what has often been called a "moderate Muslim" would necessarily have to reject jihad except in the sense of a "personal inner struggle." That would be a Muslim who rejects (or is unaware of) 97 percent of the references to jihad in the Hadith. For a Muslim to be truly innocent, she or he must reject (or be ignorant of) much of the "sacred" example of Muhammad, which means rejecting (or being unaware of) the 91 passages in the Koran that tell Muslims to follow Muhammad's example.
An innocent Muslim must also reject (or is unaware of) the intolerance, hatred, and violence toward non-Muslims in the Koran. And an innocent Muslim would reject (or be ignorant of) the subordinated position of women in Islamic doctrine.
For any non-Muslim who has studied Islamic doctrine, the above description is a reasonable starting point for a Muslim we can welcome in our midst.
What brought this up was reflecting over the last ten years. We started citizenwarrior.com in 2001, about a month after 9/11. And in that time, we've heard from hundreds of Muslims, all of them arguing that we don't know what we're talking about because "true Islam" is peaceful and tolerant.
In all that time, we have never heard from a Muslim — not once — that acknowledged the existence of the immense number of passages in the Koran that non-Muslims find disagreeable — passages that anyone with an IQ over 70 could understand are disagreeable to non-Muslims. And not once have any these Muslims acknowledged the existence of the egregious example of Muhammad — an example anyone with the slightest amount of human empathy would understand might be offensive or even frightening to non-Muslims.
What we've heard again and again was that it's all taken out of context, and that the terrorists have it all wrong and nobody else except the terrorists believe in or follow such teachings, or the teachings don't exist.
Over the years we've come across a very small number of genuinely jihad-rejecting Muslims, like Tawfik Hamid. And of course, if someone genuinely rejects the hatred, political ambition and calls to violence in Islamic doctrine, they don't complain to us about what we write here on Citizen Warrior. They don't have a problem with criticism of Islamic doctrine (they are strong critics of the doctrine themselves).
But after rejecting so much of Islam (given our definition of an "innocent Muslim" above), even Muslims have a hard time understanding why such a person would call himself a "Muslim," but who are we to say how any person should define himself?
THE RECOMMENDED POLICY
If Muslims want to be welcomed into this society, they need to start standing up and making their voices heard. They must openly acknowledge and unambiguously and categorically reject the hatred, misogyny, and violence in their core doctrines, or we must assume they don't.
Many of us are reading their source books. We know the doctrine. We would be foolish not to assume a Muslim believes in Islamic doctrine. So it is up to Muslims to tell us they do not believe in that doctrine, and to say specifically which parts of the doctrine they do not endorse.
What got me thinking about this was an article by Christopher Hitchens who said that Governor Mitt Romney (a Mormon) firmly stated "that he did not regard the prophet, or head of the Mormon church, as having ultimate moral and spiritual authority on all matters. Nothing, he swore, could override the U.S. Constitution."
Why did Romney feel he needed to say that? Because many of us are aware of Mormon doctrine. So he openly reassured us as to where his loyalties lay.
Have you ever heard a Muslim do this? And yet Muslims are in a worse situation. They experience far more suspicion and hostility in our society than Mormons. But rather than doing what Romney did, what do Muslims do? Usually they blame us for the suspicion and hostility, and imply the problem is our lack of "tolerance."
So here's the situation: We've become aware of Islamic doctrine and we don't like it, so we naturally wonder where the Muslims among us stand, and instead of saying, "We acknowledge the intolerance and violence of our core doctrines, and we reject them totally," they tend to open up with hostility, and so deepen our suspicions. The hostility and finger-pointing and the avoidance of honesty are exactly what we would expect from someone who believes in the supremacist, intolerant teachings of Islam.
And weak, vague assurances are not good enough. "We reject the killing of innocents" doesn't work any more because too many of us know already that nowhere in the Koran does it imply non-Muslims are innocent. It implies just the opposite.
Muslims need to be clear and explicit, and we need to demand that of them without apology. From a non-Muslim's perspective, our open demand for honesty is a rational response to the facts, and nothing to be embarrassed about.
We need to make it clear what someone must do to be welcome in this society if they call themselves a Muslim. And we need to be clear that our "tough-love" attitude toward them is a sane response to what we know of their ideology.
Imagine you were putting an avowed communist in charge of the Federal Reserve. You wouldn't do it without very firm assurances from him that he completely rejects the economic model of communism. You have to demand that assurance because you are familiar with the basic tenets of the communist ideology.
You have to assume when someone says he's a communist that he believes in the communist ideology. It's an assumption we can take for granted. Otherwise, what does it mean to say you're a communist?
That's what it means: That you believe in the communist ideology.
Same with Islam: You say you're a Muslim. That means you believe in Islam's ideology. Fine. I am familiar with Islam's teachings. And no, I don't want you running the country or involved in law enforcement or teaching my children or writing textbooks or working in counterterrorism or joining the military, unless you can assure me about what parts of that ideology you reject. This should be plain common sense, but of course, it only makes sense to someone who is familiar with the Islamic ideology.
If you assume it is impossible for a religion to advocate intolerance, supremacism, mysogyny and violence to non-believers, this policy and this attitude would not make sense. If you assume the teachings of any religion could be used to justify anything, it would not make sense to you either. But if you are a non-Muslim and you've read the Koran, you know what I'm talking about.
Others are coming to the same conclusion, and I've seen many more direct challenges to Muslims who say they are moderate. They are being asked pointed questions like, "Do you repudiate what Hamas is doing?" and "I am a Buddhist; do you consider me a kafir?" and they're asked to sign the Freedom Pledge and if they won't sign it, they are asked why they won't. These are steps in the right direction.
But more interviewers need to become educated enough about Islam that they can ask stronger, more specific questions. And this challenge needs to become incessant from all of us, everywhere. Muslims must be made to face the discomfort. They must realize they have to come right out and say, "Yes, there is a political agenda in Islam, and I completely reject it" or they will not be welcomed or trusted (or invited to any "interfaith dialogs for peace and understanding").
For someone who is unfamiliar with Islamic doctrine, all this would sound terrible and unfair, but we would do the same for any person who openly declared their endorsement of a seditious or treasonous or intolerant or violent ideology and who wanted to live among us as equals.
WHY THE TOUGH LOVE ATTITUDE IS NECESSARY
There are three reasons Muslims are reluctant to say what parts of Islamic doctrine they reject:
1. It says in the Islamic doctrine they can't reject any part of the Islamic doctrine.
2. They fear for their lives. According to Islamic doctrine, the penalty for apostasy is death. They might also merely fear to be ostracized by their community. Heterodoxy, even if not accompanied by the death penalty, can be socially penalized severely in Muslim communities.
3. They don't reject it. They are going along with the Western society program until Muslims have greater political strength, at which time, they will start applying the political, supremacist teachings of Islam. This approach must be fairly common, given the patterns of modern Islamization.
It would take a very brave person, even if he was truly a jihad rejector, to volunteer an admission of apostasy. We must, in a sense, force their hand and then help protect jihad rejectors from reprisals.
This issue must be forced into the open or we will continue to suffer in a confused and paralyzed limbo while orthodox Muslims paint all of us into a corner (the non-Muslims and jihad-rejecting Muslims alike) by continuing their Islamization of the West.
In a video profiling three American Muslims, who all presented themselves as regular American citizens, the Muslims seemed baffled as to why non-Muslims might look at them suspiciously, but they also seemed equally self-righteous about how silly and misguided that is, and not one of these American Muslims mentioned the supremacism and intolerance at the core of their doctrines. Worse, they acted as if no such doctrines exist. They acted as if such a notion was preposterous.
One of the women in the video even pointed out that believers of other religions don't get this kind of scrutiny or prejudice. I wanted to tell her, "That's right. It's been a long time since anyone worried about the Amish rioting, beheading people, infiltrating governments, threatening violence to silence their critics, changing the contents of public school textbooks, or blowing up buses. Ideology actually counts."
We don't have a situation where religions are all the same but one is being picked on unfairly. We have a situation where most religions share many principles about universal love and kindness, but Islam does not. According to Islamic doctrine, Muslims are the best of people and non-Muslims are the worst of people and deserve to suffer in this life and burn in the afterlife.
One Muslim man in the video implied that if only people could get to know him and his family, their suspicions would disappear. I wanted to tell him, "Whether or not your family members are personable is not what concerns us. We wonder whether you believe in jihad in any form. We wonder if you pay your zakat and thus potentially fund suicide bombers. We wonder if you participate in CAIR or ISNA or any of the other Muslim organizations under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood and we wonder if you've aligned yourself with the Brotherhood's goal to sabotage and undermine our government. We wonder if you believe in reverse integration and if you're striving in the way of Allah to Islamize America. We wonder if you follow the Koranic teachings to never make friends with non-Muslims — to go ahead and fake it, but never actually befriend them or like them."
If he is actively working toward Islam's prime directive, no amount of "getting to know him and his family" will matter. What might matter is if he acknowledged those teachings and told us he rejected them. That would at least be a start. But in the video, which would make any PR hack proud, you hear nothing that even approaches that level of honesty.
If these American Muslims are really so baffled, they should read their own doctrines. And if they have read them, their "bafflement" is a deceit because anyone reading the Koran or Muhammad's words and deeds would not be baffled in the slightest. It would be obvious what non-Muslims don't like about it.
Why does it matter? These Muslims are not a threat to national security, are they? Why not let them continue in their innocence? Because they are having children, and in a recent study in Britain, researchers found that second-generation Muslims are more "radical" than their immigrant parents. That is, they hold more orthodox views. In other words, they believe in Islam's prime directive. They are more committed to jihad than their first-generation parents.
Why would this be? Because of what I'm harping on: All these "perfectly nice Muslims" in the video are raising their children without ever telling them that supremacist and intolerant teachings are strewn throughout the Koran and Sunna, and without saying, "but we completely reject those teachings." No, they say nothing of the sort. They do just the opposite. They tell them being a Muslim is wonderful, that the Koran is the word of the Almighty, and that Muslims are being unfairly persecuted by non-Muslims around the world.
So our young Muslim grows up alienated from his surrounding culture and ignorant of Islamic doctrine and yet considering it an elemental foundation of his identity that he is a Muslim. This makes him fairly easy to recruit by devout Muslims who simply tell the kid to read the Koran and discover his obligations as a Muslim. The teenager is only too eager to see his parents as hypocrites, and becomes a devout Muslim, committed to jihad like it says in the Koran he is supposed to be. The result: Second-generation Muslims are more radical than their immigrant parents.
Another video, this one produced by teenaged American Muslims, who clearly have no clue about the doctrines of their own religion, yet feel self-righteously justified in vilifying non-Muslims who know more about their own religious doctrines than they do: The End of Islamophobia.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
In an article entitled, Why 'Islamophobia' is Less Thinly Veiled in Europe, the author, Robert Marquand, writes, "In university settings and among some Muslim moderates, frank reappraisals of the Koran are under way, which includes a tougher look at its calls for militancy." He presented this fact as if it should put all our worries to rest.
Some Muslims are taking a tougher look? That is not a big relief. Islamic doctrines are clear, straightforward, and easy to find. They don't need to be "looked at" — they have been looked at, studied, memorized, clarified, and analyzed for 1400 years. And they were pretty clear and straightforward to begin with. They don't need to be looked at. They need to be vociferously repudiated, explicitly and forcefully.
Violent and intolerant teachings in Islamic doctrine are not superfluous addendum that can be easily discarded; they are embedded deep in the core of Islam throughout its doctrine and throughout its history. And orthodox Muslims are acting on these passages all over the world, killing people, destroying property, wrecking lives, and worming their way into positions of power. They're doing it right now, today.
Someone will die today because of these doctrines. By any definition, the situation is urgent. A "tougher look" doesn't cut it. Not even close. Does Marquand really think we can all relax now because some Muslim intellectuals at a few universities are taking a "tougher look?" He must be joking.
Marquand quotes Ahmet Mahamat, an immigrant from Chad who lives in France. Mahamat said, "Immigrants are linked to criminality or delinquency or fanaticism." He meant "linked in peoples' prejudiced minds." Poor Mahamat. We are supposed to feel sorry for him. But I wanted to tell him to suck it up and prove people wrong, just like every immigrant group before him has had to do.
Almost everywhere, when immigrants arrive on foreign shores, they face prejudice. And if they work hard and prove themselves loyal members of that society, they are eventually accepted and embraced.
That's how it works. You want to be on our team? Then prove yourself worthy. We don't owe you anything. We've already let you move here — the rest is up to you. If anything, you owe us.
But Mahamat is pursuing the example of Muhammad the Whiner. "I look in the eyes of so many people," he says, "and what I see does not correspond to who I am. They see another me."
I want to tell him, "Look, Mahamat, we know the ideology you supposedly believe in. You say you're a Muslim. We naturally assume you believe in Islam. We assume you are an adherent of Islamic doctrine, which would mean you believe in the supremacism and intolerance inherent in your ideology. Either stop calling yourself a Muslim or explicitly say, 'I reject jihad, I reject Muhammad's political, supremacist model, and I embrace Western values of freedom, women's rights, religious equality, etc.' It took me all of ten seconds to say that, so what's the problem? If you can't honestly say those things, then our suspicions are correct, so quit your whining and get used to permanent rejection because you do not belong in this society."
YOUR PUBLIC DECLARATION OF YOUR IDEOLOGY SHOULD INFLUENCE MY BEHAVIOR
When you know something about an ideology, you treat the person differently, and you should. You don't feed a Jain a steak dinner when they come to your house (Jains believe you should not kill any living creature). You don't invite a Buddhist with you on a deer hunt (Buddhists refrain from harming living beings).
If you know about someone's ideology, you usually will (and definitely should) treat them differently.
And in the same way, if someone's ideology calls for unrelenting jihad against non-Muslims until the whole world submits to Islamic law, generally speaking, you don't invite them to come live in your country and bring their wives. And if they are already in your country, you usually will (and definitely should) be wary of them until they prove their devotion and loyalty to your country and the principles your society is founded on.
This should be common sense. If it doesn't make sense to you, your first step should be to take the pledge and read the Koran.
For those who unevasively reject jihad in their speech and action, we should treat them like anyone else. No better, no worse.
I know many will think, "I don't care what they say. They could be lying." And of course that's true. But this is the place to start. The next step is to see if their actions match their words. This is true with anyone. If someone says they are on your team, you don't automatically trust them with your children. You get to know them. If their behavior doesn't match what they say, you stop trusting them, just as you should.
But the point is, none of us should be at all shy about speaking frankly about the principles in Islamic doctrine. Speak openly about it, and ask Muslims directly where they stand.
This policy will be hard on everyone in the short run but ultimately it will solve a huge problem we now face, which is that heterodox Muslims are reluctant to speak up about what they really believe, and that leaves us not knowing how to treat them. Who is committed to jihad and who isn't? We don't know who to trust or how to treat them. We are collectively filled with an awkward uncertainty about Islam.
Meanwhile, true believers in jihad are busy Islamizing the West while we hesitate, paralyzed by our uncertainty. This has got to stop immediately.
We call on all non-Muslims in the free world to join us in this stand — to put the onus on each individual Muslim (not just "Muslim organizations"). We must make this clear to every person who calls himself a Muslim: If you do not openly reject the doctrine of jihad when given an opportunity to do so, we must assume you abide by it and believe in it since it is a central part of your religious doctrine.
The result will be an openness and clarity that will allow us to move forward, stopping the orthodox Muslims from proceeding with their Islamization project, freeing the heterodox Muslims from their prison of silence, and freeing ourselves from having to live with uncertainty, suspiciousness, or hatred in our day-to-day lives.