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.

  1. I love your posts. Spot-on! My best friends are Muslim too and it’s the same thing. Muslims need to evolve

  2. Oh wow. Did that really happen? That’s scary man. Another reason why I don’t particularly want to advertise my religious status. =/

    • bp
    • June 16th, 2011

    Wait till you die the second time. You’ll have all your answers. But that might put you at the risk of being barbecued, so if I were you I’d start looking for answers now and paying attention to what they say!

    • Dodo
    • June 20th, 2011

    As Steven Weinberg once said “With or without religion there will be good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evils things, it takes religion.”

    • Shruti
    • June 20th, 2011

    Is this really pakistan that you describe? I am about to marry a Pakistani..n i am not going to convert..! Will i be lynched? You scared me man..! I will be a christian on as to validate the mrrg..! But will it be a bad idea to live as a hindu there?

      • loneliberalpk
      • June 20th, 2011

      I would advise you not live in Pakistan if you have a choice to settle elsewhere. You won’t be lynched, but for your own safety, you may have to keep your religion (Hinduism, right?) a secret throughout your marriage. As an ex-Muslim who kept his conversion a secret for years in Pakistan, I should tell you that hiding your identity is an extremely arduous task and wears you down very fast. You’ll need a cast-iron will to make it through.

      Ultimately, the decision depends on how much you love your husband-to-be, and how much he loves you back. Because that’s pretty much all you guys will need to make this work, no matter how awkward the society makes this situation for you. Best of luck!

        • Shruti
        • June 20th, 2011

        Hmm..I hope i can live there without inviting much unpleasantness..! I hope things improve for u too..ATB buddy..! I hope such chirkut ideologies are eliminated from pakistani system soon..!

  3. well, will you like to debate if any Muslim does it with you in a cool rational manner???? to prove your Atheism true. If you’ll win…you’ll have more companions.

      • loneliberalpk
      • September 29th, 2011

      My intentions are often misconstrued by believers. I’m always willing to debate with theists, but not out of a need to convert them to Atheism hence gaining more “companions” (although I would not mind if that did happen). My focus is on developing an open communication bridge between the religious and the non-religious communities so that even if we do not adopt each others opinions, we at least develop a better understanding of each others’ ways.

      Would you like to hold the debate here?

    • khalid
    • October 2nd, 2011

    we need to restore sanity before we do some damage. organised religion is such intolerant thing that we should actively stop. seriously .

    • khalid
    • October 2nd, 2011

    believers should wake up now .

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