By, Brian Hendrix
Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and comments.
“The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam.”
“Reality is an illusion, albeit incredibly persistent.”
Paraphrased Einstein quotes make my day. I like them because, when quoted in a public venue, they inevitably lead to a discussion on what Einstein actually said and did not say; what flew from his lips versus what has been falsely attributed to him.
But my take on it is simple: Judge not the validity of the attribution but rather the meaning of the statement.
Same thing with “The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam.” This is attributed to Sam Harris. Did he say it? Hey, I read it via the Internet, so… who knows? What matters is that the sentiment is true. The base fundamentals of Islam, the foundations on which Muslims’ religious doctrines were constructed, are horribly antithetical to freedom and democracy and western liberal values.
Look at it this way: If a Christian in the west is against same-sex marriage, apostasy, and abortion, said Christian is considered a radical fundamentalist about to protest military funerals with the Westboro Baptist Phelps family. When a Muslim holds these exact beliefs, and worse, we consider them moderate.
A Muslim is considered a moderate up until which point said Muslim maims or murders. A Christian is considered extreme if he or she simply wants a cross displayed in a public place. How skewed must our standards of judgment become with dealing with Islam?
In a western society wherein Islam picks off innocent people at random on so many occasions, how do we honestly go about stopping them?
Former President George W. Bush tried his hand at waging war with multiple countries. That got us about as far as a sprint in quicksand. Former President Barack Obama tried so many drone strikes on so many Islamic nations that my Windows 7 calculator experiences an error when trying to compute the actual number. Did we get anywhere with it?
On the reverse side of warring tactics, we see true submission to Islam in places like Germany, Sweden, and now even in Canada, to an extent. London, England, has pretty much turned itself over to Muslims by allowing for their no-go zones, and by allowing their hate preachers to preach their hate against the west free and clear of the laws that would fine and stop a native Londoner from doing the same against Islam.
Both of these tactics are bad. Warring destroys the fruit of the tree, never the roots, and Islam just grows more fierce. Kowtowing to Islam via separate—and demonstrably, objectively ridiculous—standards just emboldens Islam to grow more quickly.
In my opinion, the only true way to slow Islam, an eastern religious nightmare on steroids, is to treat Muslims as westerners treat westerners. Do not treat all Muslims as the enemy, and do not treat all Muslims as some coddled special needs child who cannot bear to be critiqued in public. Hold Islam as a whole to the same standards our western system of justice and societal outrage holds westerners.
No western nation has ever done anything to treat Muslims as equal members of the west, subject to being told their ideas stink and that they should be ashamed for holding them! We’ll do that to white westerners all day, but never Muslims.
No, that is not to say they’ve been being treated in a bigoted fashion; it’s more to say we’ve carved out special exemptions regarding how they’re treated, so they end up being treated better and softer than westerners. What message does this send to Islam? Give ’em an inch—or your metric system equivalent—and they’ll take a mile. That’s how it is. But what about the radical idea of just treating them like westerners for once?
Hear it out. Now, we call the Phelps’ lunatics for what they do. We tried in America to take them to court to stop them. We protest their protests. We say, “Bad, bad Phelpsies! You can’t do that!” But when a radical Islamic cleric stands in the middle of Washington D.C. and preaches hatred toward Zionism and death to the west, we hang our heads in America and treat them per special standards. “Let them do this, or they might get upset,” we tell ourselves. Okay. Upset? Relative to what? Driving automobiles into crowds of innocent people multiple times every year? Bringing down buildings with airplanes? Stabbing policemen just because? And in some nations in the west, you are not even allowed legally to criticize that cleric. How preposterous do we plan on becoming as westerners?
But what if we simply exercised something extremely radical and shamed a bad idea in public, full stop? Ideas do not deserve protections. Individuals do. Groups do not deserve protections. Individuals do. Ideas should be called out if bad and rotten; if they’re from the Bronze Age and expose us to the sort of barbarity we only read about in history books, why don’t we all say they’re horrible ideas and we will not stand for hearing them? They should be called to the carpet. Everyone else is. Why not Muslims?
Obviously I don’t believe this is a surefire way to forever stop Islam. Too many Muslims want to murder infidels and will never accept the west until which point the west becomes a desert of our bones and resembles the barren wastelands of the east. That is what it is. But just imagine, if you will, how many recent terrorist attacks could have been prevented outright if we simply treated Muslims spewing hatred like we treat white westerners spewing hatred. These weren’t sneak attacks. These men and women were radicals and never hid it because they didn’t have to hide it. We accept in the west these hateful ideas being shouted at us, and we curl up in a ball, cross our fingers and hope being nice enough to Muslims will make them want to kill us less.
So far that hasn’t worked; it’s only made it worse, in fact.
I am fully confident that if enough Muslims are treated by the standards to which we hold our fellow westerners, enough of them will realize they can’t en masse become a hate cult without resistance.
Resistance! Remember that? Remember how the west used to act in the face of death?
There’s a reason the Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church hasn’t grown past two dozen people. And there’s a reason that radical mosque—throw a dart at the board and pick one—has grown exponentially in membership. With one of these groups, we’ll shame and criticize and make it socially unacceptable to join. With the other, we’ll hang our heads low and fine, arrest and insult as Islamaphobic any who speak out against what is objectively pure hatred.
At which point we in the west are ready to hold Muslims to the western standards we’ve spent centuries creating, maybe we can cut into the percentage of westerners killed in radical Islamic terrorist attacks and Muslims radicalized by bad ideas.
Just a thought. Perhaps an illusion.