I’ve only been in this fight against Islam for about a year. Some days, I am in total awe of those who have been writing, speaking, and investigating Islam for decades. How do they do it? How do they not get discouraged? How do they maintain their motivation even as they face obstacle after obstacle with a few small victories scattered in between?
Those are the tough days. The days where I feel so incredibly discouraged that I wonder why I bother at all. The days where I feel like I must be the crazy one.
The days where I find myself wishing I didn’t have to be part of the counterjihad movement at all.
Yesterday was one of those days.
I got into a few civil debates about Islam on Twitter. You know, the rare kind of debate where the person I’m having a discussion with doesn’t tell their friends to report me for harassment because I quoted their tweets and get me suspended for 12 hours for making fun of how silly it is to call someone a Nazi instead of debating their points. Ahem.
12 hour time out by Twitter for saying it’s stupid to call people Nazis instead of debating their ideas. Our world is truly in trouble.
And yes, we were discussing Islam, because of course we were. Sharia blasphemy laws are alive and well in the free West. #Islam #Censorship pic.twitter.com/VOGVn22Olz
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) March 26, 2018
But I digress.
These discussions yesterday were actually even more frustrating than the usual ones I get into, because they remind me of a broader problem that I experience all the time.
I’m used to leftists refusing to understand Islam. I’m used to conservative public figures refusing to speak fully openly about Islam even if they do understand it. Goodness knows I’m used to Muslims who understand Islam perfectly well and lie about it, as well as Muslims who don’t understand Islam at all but pretend their unicorn Feminists In Portlandia version is the ~*real*~ Islam.
The most infuriating thing is talking to normal and sane people, who know something is wrong within Islam, but refuse to see that that something is Islam.
People who think I’m painting all Islam with too broad a brush. People who think that there are many versions of Islam, and only some of them are bad. People who think that the problem is just too big, that I’m asking too much by wanting Muslims to actually leave Islam, and people who think that me saying “Islam is the problem” is just too extreme.
In a lot of ways, the conversations that frustrate me the most are with people that might in some ways count themselves among members of the counterjihad, because they oppose terrorism, Sharia, the glorification of the hijab, etc. I find these people to be more deeply discouraging than even those who promote Linda Sarsour as a role model for women’s rights and jihad as “#myjihad” against eating donuts.
Because they should know better. They know how to confirm if what I am telling them about Islam is true. And yet, they won’t. They back down.
I’ve always assumed that if I could really educate people about Islam and how bad it is, they would fight against it. I was wrong.
Of course educating people about what Islam really teaches is important. It’s hugely important. It’s why I’ve dedicated so much time to learning it myself, so that I may be able to use that knowledge to teach others!
I’ve written and spoken a ton about the topic. I’m always happy to answer any question anyone has about the subject (or to get the answer from far more knowledgeable friends if need be), to point to resources, or anything else that is needed.
Enjoy a few choice excerpts from authoritative Sharia. This makes me incredibly sad. It makes me want to fight this ideology.
Why does it have no impact on so many of us? Do we not care about women’s lives and freedom? pic.twitter.com/P7ft364MRW
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) March 27, 2018
Unfortunately, I don’t believe a lack of education is the primary factor as to why so many people can’t move from “Something is wrong with radical Islam” to “Islam is the doctrine of the enemy”.
There is no other situation I can think of in which we are this terrified to tell the truth about who our enemy is, and about what they believe.
There are all sorts of factors impacting this. Of course, there’s the educational aspect. While it may seem stunning to me in my bubble that anyone could not understand Islam, I speak to people on a daily basis who truly have never been taught nor learned anything useful about it. There’s also the fact of the societal cost of talking about it like I do, which is high. Not only am I called “extreme” in my views by the public, but even at times by people who generally agree with me about Islam!
I could probably think of several more reasons that we blind ourselves to this issue. But I think there are two fundamental ones, and neither of them are particularly easy to solve.
1) Our tendency towards love, kindness, and compassion makes it difficult for us to condemn an ideology that is sincerely followed by over a billion believers
The first one is so hard for me. It really, really is. I think that many people who follow me see me as this sort of tough firebrand on this issue, and in some ways I am, but I really do struggle with the idea of just how many people probably don’t understand that my real views on Muslims are nothing like they think I hold.
As in: Christ died on the cross for them, they are human beings with inestimable value, and I love and pray for them.
I have always believed in loving one’s enemies, being compassionate, and striving to put myself in the shoes of another before I judge or hold hate in my heart. With my recent return to faith? These values have only gotten stronger. Now, I go through my day with the understanding that I am publicly committed to trying to reflect Christ in how I live. No pressure!
When I speak about Islam, or write about Islam, it’s often in a very cold and clinical way. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with what I feel I must say in order to do good in the world and defeat evil.
Quite the opposite. I’ve struggled so much that it doesn’t seem like I struggle at all.
I have simply spent so much time and emotional energy in this area that I have been able to compartmentalize how I talk about Islam from how I would talk about, say, praying for Muslims. You can say this is good, or bad, but I’m not sure how else I could do it without having to quit.
You can only examine true evil so much before you risk taking it within yourself. So a lot of the time I cut myself in two. I let my heart stay in prayer for my enemies, and I let my mind speak the truth about what my enemies believe.
2) The reality we have to live in if the “extremists” in the counterjihad are right about Islam is too frightening to imagine.
This is the big one, I think.
If I’m right about Islam? We’re living in a very dangerous and uncertain world. Of course, we’re still living in that world whether we admit it or not. But words really do have power.
I’m not confident about that many things. I know how little I know, and how much I have to learn. Surely, I have more to learn about Islam!
But I am entirely and completely confident that in 50 years, our society will be wishing they listened to people who said Islam is evil and needs to be stopped. That’s a bet I’ll take any day.
I want to be wrong. I want so badly to be wrong. But I see zero evidence that I am wrong, and overwhelming evidence that I am right.
So where do we go from here?
We have two choices.
We put ourselves in a mental and emotional cage.
We pretend everything is not really that bad. We fight “terrorist groups” and “extremists”. We fight the bad guys, at least a little bit. Just enough that we can pretend we’re doing something to stop what’s coming.
We speak honestly about Islam itself being the threat, and demand that our leaders take the only position that has any precedent of working – and the position held by 100% of our jihadi enemies: Total warfare.