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Critique of Pure Islam

Contributor: Scott Allswang | Source: An Inquiry Into Islam

WHEN SOMEONE says that some of the passages of the Quran are violent, and that Islam itself is political, what do you call that? It's an important question. Strangely enough, I've heard it called "racist," which seems very odd. Islam is not a race. 

I've also heard it called "Islamophobia," which is also strange, because it's not a phobia.

It is religious criticism. But it's more than that, because Islam is not merely a religion. Islam is also a political system with political goals. So instead of racism or Islamophobia, we could call it religious or political criticism.

But if you call it that, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. In a free society, it is a perfectly legitimate activity to criticize religious doctrines and political systems. It's perfectly all right, for example, to point out that the Catholic church frowns upon birth control, or that communism and free enterprise are incompatible. 

So when someone explains the political ideology contained in the Quran, it is a completely legitimate activity, and anyone who calls it racism or Islamophobia either doesn't understand what they're saying, or, more likely, they are trying to censor the person. That kind of censorship is out of line in a free society.

The fact that exponents of pure Islam (let's call them "orthodox Muslims") will not tolerate criticism of Islam is one of the main criticisms of Islam. The fact that the Quran itself is adamant about disallowing any criticism of the Quran (and calls for a death sentence for doing so) is one of the most egregious things to criticize about the Quran.

If someone doesn't hire a Muslim simply because the applicant is a Muslim, that is discrimination, and that's a different issue. If someone beats up a Muslim because he's a Muslim, that is a hate crime and is illegal, immoral, and should be punished.

But criticism of Islamic doctrine? It can and should be done. Period. Anyone who tries to shut down the discussion with accusations of racism or Islamophobia is out of line.

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