The Islamophobia Card!
“One min i’m sitting here explaining why stoning is gud and the next min they all strt abusing me?! Bloody Islamophobes!”
These are the actual words of a perplexed Muslim. I met him at an online forum in the midst of a heated discussion on sharia law. He openly endorsed punishments like lapidation, flagellation, chopping off appendages and even crucifixion, providing ample evidence from the Quran and Sunnah to support his stance. When people condemned these verses, calling them “violent” and “bloody”, he conveniently played the Islamophobia card and fled the forum. Indeed, we were the bad guys.
It’s not just about the extremists anymore. Fanaticism is the foundational teaching of all religions, some of which are worse than others. Even the bible condones such draconian measures, but most Christians no longer take their holy book literally. Most Muslims, regrettably, have not evolved to that level.
Quran claims that unbelievers are vile beings who deserve to be roasted in hell for all eternity. This is among the basic lessons all Muslim children are taught. If a person, in the light of such teachings, begins to despise non-believers, like myself, should it come as a surprise?
For instance, a rival of yours goes around your neighborhood slandering your good name, and teaching everybody that you’re an immoral person. As a result of this brazen propaganda, if your neighbors begin to distance themselves from you or start discriminating against you, would you blame your neighbors or the propagandist?
All of my best friends are Muslims, but I know for a fact that they don’t treat me with such love and respect because of their religion…they love me in spite of it. They are among the dying breed of moderates who have learned to compartmentalize their religious convictions and their social circle. They choose to judge me for who I truly am, in lieu of what the Quran says I am. In return, I respect them despite my clear repugnance for the religion they follow.
I don’t deny the suffering of innocent moderate Muslims who indeed have become victims of Islamophobia. It is imperative that the focus of our criticism remains the ideology of Islam, not Muslims. Is that possible? Yes, just as hating Justin Beiber doesn’t necessitate that you hate all Justin Beiber fans too (my younger sister is quite fond of that annoying kid, but I don’t love her any less because of it).
As for Islam, you cannot have your stonings and your lashings and your crucifixions and kill people for blasphemy and kill people for apostasy and keep chopping off body parts and expect to be called peaceful at the same time. It’s nonsense.
A few years back when I was in med school, my blog (in which I had been criticizing religion, though not as harshly as you’d expect) started receiving some unwanted traffic. My colleagues discovered it, and all hell broke loose. Even before they had actually confirmed that the blog had been written by me, they bombarded me with hate messages. There were texts flying around the campus warning people that I had become an Atheist and should be excommunicated. Some even went as far as to threaten me to stay out of the campus or prepare to die.
These people were neither Taliban nor Al-Qaeeda agents. They were very normal Muslims who I had once called my friends. These were people whom I’d never wronged – or even greeted without the warmest of smiles. Yet something sinister had transformed these very normal men and women into my lynch mob.
So don’t tell me that my fear of Islam is “irrational” or “exaggerated”. I’m not paranoid and I don’t get paid to smear Islam’s name. I know the threats I face, and I know that they’re perfectly real.