Progressives and liberals do not tolerate beliefs or actions they consider unjust, yet they demand conservatives do so. Nearly every criticism of Islam is met with a chorus of condemnation from Democrats (and distress from some Republican “moderates”). This is not only wrong, but highly irresponsible.
Opposition to Islam is no different than opposition to communism, or fascism, or any other belief system that seeks to control human conduct. Every American (indeed, every human being on Earth) has basic human rights—the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property—and every belief system with principles that violate these rights is unjust. In short, anti-communism, anti-fascism, and anti-Islam are the logical, fact-based positions for every rational person seeking justice, whether in America or anywhere else in the world.
Nevertheless, Progressives and liberals personally attack the critics of Islam, vilify them, and falsely accuse them of “Islamophobia.” Clearly, this accusation is nonsense. Opposition to the beliefs held by an individual or group is not a phobia, nor is opposition to the actions of an individual or group, including the customs followed by people.
Progressives and liberals, though, insist that opposition to Islam is based on fear, or hate, or both. Again, this is nonsense. Opposition to Islam is based on knowledge, not fear or hate.
Ultimately, claiming that people who oppose Islam are “Islamophobic” is as ridiculous as claiming that people who oppose Marxism and Nazism are “Marxophobic” and “Nazophobic.”
Now, while many Progressives and liberals refuse to address the legitimate reasons why people oppose Islam, some take a different approach; basically, they acknowledge the dangers and injustices of Islam, but they also invoke the Protestant Reformation that occurred in the 16th century, and they argue that people in the West must wait—however long it takes—for some version of an Islamic reformation. But this argument is false on many points; two in particular.
First. The Protestant Reformation was marked by a rejection of relatively new developments in Christianity; it did not involve a reinterpretation of Christ’s teachings.
Second. The central text of Islam, the Koran, claims to be the final word of god. So, while some Muslims have been trying for years to reinterpret the Koran and “reform” Islam, true believers have never and will never accept such a change because it would represent a rejection of their god.
The Koran simply cannot have a single error and still honestly be called the word of god, and the Koran’s original meaning (which also was its continued meaning, for century after century) cannot be erroneous, if Islam is true. To clarify, Islam has always held that an angel (Gabriel) revealed the word of god (the Koran) to a prophet (Muhammad). And indisputably, god would not have allowed either the angel or the prophet to make a mistake and then—in the name of god—spread a false message to the people of the world.
Notably, Christianity does not have this burden. For example, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as written have been dated many decades after Christ’s resurrection, and none of the authors were prophets. Therefore, for the sake of argument, it logically is possible for a Christian to believe that some of the specifics in the various Christian texts (written by men and not finally agreed upon by the church until centuries later) could be erroneous, while still believing (like the earliest Christians) that Christ is the Lord.
As for Islam, the Koran instructs Muslims to violate the most basic of human rights. For example, among other things, the Koran instructs men to hit women, and not in the context of self-defense only when necessary, but merely for disobedience. (See Koran 4:34.) Additionally, Sharia law—derived from the Koran (and from the words and conduct of Muhammad)—imposes severe injustices.
With regard to relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, the Koran instructs Muslims to engage in jihad, which imposes a duty to fight nonbelievers (see Koran 2:216; 4:76; 9:5), and to continue fighting until Islam is supreme (see Koran 8:39; 9:29; 61:9). Consequently, after the Koran was revealed in the 7th century, Muslims spread Islam with violence—by waging “holy war” against nonbelievers—throughout the Middle East, northern Africa, and southern Europe. (For holy war, see Sahih Muslim 19:4294 and Sahih al-Bukhari 53:392.)
Furthermore, the Koran promises Muslims eternal paradise for killing, and being killed, in the fight against nonbelievers for Islamic supremacy. (See Koran 9:111.) This promise is a key source of the Islamic terrorism plaguing the world today. Essentially, these Muslims are waging holy war against the United States and other nations in the 21st century, and they are doing so following the Koran as it had originally been interpreted by Muslims in the 7th century.
There was a time when some on the political left understood the dangers of Islam. For example, Samuel P. Huntington, a highly-respected political scientist and lifelong Democrat, served in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. In his 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Huntington wrote, “Some Westerners, including President Bill Clinton, have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamic extremists. Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise.” He added, “The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam.” And he concluded, “Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam [Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa], Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors.”
In the years since Huntington provided the West with that warning, the situation has become even worse, especially in Europe.
Unfortunately, the current Progressive-liberal positions on Islam are not based on reality. History has shown that when people wait too long before facing unpleasant facts, the consequences are deadly. In the 1930s, as the Nazis in Germany were preparing for conquest, the leaders in the United Kingdom and France adopted policies of appeasement, based on their hope for peace and their belief that confrontation would provoke the fascists into committing further injustices. One voice of reason, Winston Churchill, repeatedly spoke in favor of the United Kingdom taking strong measures to counter the dangers of fascism. For several years, though, Churchill was denounced by the political establishment, the media, and the public. However, time proved Churchill right and his detractors wrong.
A key lesson from history for dealing with an unjust belief system like communism, fascism, or Islam is the importance of describing the system with complete honesty and developing policies based on that honest description. During the Cold War, roughly one-third of the world was communist, yet that did not stop Ronald Reagan from labeling communism a disease, and then as president, labeling the Soviet Union an evil empire. Reagan was denounced by Progressives and liberals who claimed that such comments were endangering America by making communists more hostile than ever.
Today, when attacking the critics of Islam, Progressives and liberals are using (with slight variations) many of the arguments that were used against Churchill and Reagan. Moreover, President Trump’s efforts to date have been met with protests and the use of slogans like “hope over fear” and “love trumps hate.” But hope is not a policy. Neither is love. And to repeat, opposition to Islam is based on knowledge, not fear or hate.
The clock is running; the time to accurately describe Islam and develop policies accordingly is long overdue.