May 26, 2017

What This Liberal Thinks About Islam

Twilight of Islam and ChristianityI am a liberal. When it comes to the left-right political spectrum, I am far to the left. And when it comes to the libertarian-authoritarian pole, I am far to the libertarian side (you can see a visual representation of where I fall if you are interested). Admittedly, this might be somewhat misleading because I am also a freethinker. That means that I do not toe the line on any particular ideology. I am liberal on many economic issues but not all of them, and the same goes for being libertarian on many but not all social and cultural issues.

As a freethinker, I don't blindly follow any political party, dogma, or accepted narrative. I consider the issues and think for myself. I know of no political candidate I would not criticize, and I reject the claims that any particular ideology is somehow beyond criticism. Bad ideas must be criticized, regardless of their source, and better ideas must be offered as alternatives.

Here are some things this liberal freethinker believes about Islam:
  • I despise religiously-motivated terrorism regardless of which religion is behind it, and I make no exceptions for Islam.
  • I think it is both possible and desirable to be critical of Islam (and every other religion) without being bigoted against Muslims (or other religious believers). We do this, at least in part, by specifying which Muslims we are talking about when referring to Muslims.
  • I believe that equating the criticism of Islam with bigotry and/or throwing accusations of Islamophobia at those who criticize Islam are counterproductive.
  • I think that liberals need to reject the self-imposed taboo against criticizing Islam that some on the left are pushing.
  • I believe that some of the open-border immigration policies we see in Europe have failed, causing more harm than good. When a nation admits large numbers of immigrants who blatantly reject the values of the host nation and fails to properly integrate them, trouble seems likely.
  • I am well aware that Islam is not a race and, with all due respect to Ben Affleck, criticizing Islam is neither "gross" nor "racist."
  • I believe that Islam must be mocked on a regular basis (just as we mock other religions) until Muslims stop killing people for failing to follow their religious prohibitions, and that means I applaud those who continue to draw Muhammad.
  • I recognize that some on the left are speaking out against Islam, and I believe that they deserve our support.
Why did I write this? I see several conservatives complaining about how clueless, out-of-touch, backward, regressive, wrong, or whatever else liberals are when it comes to Islam. I do not doubt that these are valid criticisms of some liberals; however, I'd urge these conservatives to avoid issuing such sweeping generalizations about all liberals. I am confident that I am not the only liberal who might agree with at least some of what they think about Islam. By continuing to paint us all in this manner, they are depriving themselves of potential allies.