Thoughts on Islam and Religious Freedom

Skye Jethani has some good things to say about freedom of religion and the way Islam is sometimes mischaracterized.

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts on Islam and Religious Freedom

  1. Erik, you use the word ‘mischaracterized’ related to what I think are very legitimate and accurate criticisms against Islam, meaning that you (and Skye) cannot accommodate both religious freedom and the central tenets of Islam. They are at odds, meaning that each of us must choose to support either one OR the other. Pointing out this brute fact is not a ‘mischaracterization’ whatsoever. What IS a mischaracterization is pretending that Islam and the secular enlightenment value of freedom of religion are magically compatible. In this sense, both you and Skye are aiding and abetting adherents of Islam to avoid their civic duty to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from enemies foreign and domestic. That’s not a trivial charge I am making and you need to understand why it’s true, why it’s important, and why your message is terribly misguided and dangerous to us all.

    • I disagree because I believe that Islam does have a mechanism for being a part of a plurality of religions – in religious freedom. Do I think there are sects of Islam that wish to implement Sharia law over nations? Of course. But Islam is as varied, if not more varied, as Christianity.

      I disagree because you accused Skye Lethani and me of “aiding and abetting adherents of Islam to avoid their civic duty to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from enemies foreign and domestic” when neither of us is doing any such thing. Any citizen of the USA should be willing to uphold the Constitution. Neither of us said any such thing.

      Third, I disagree with you because you say my message (and all I did was repost something I thought would be useful in helping misinformed Christians appreciate a different point of view) is “terribly misguided and dangerous to us all.” Rather than responding to such a statement, I simply disagreed and left it at that.

      I don’t agree with what you wrote, which is why I respectfully disagreed. Don’t agree = disagree.

      • And this is why your tolerance of the intolerable is so very dangerous. You equate your beliefs about what is true in reality with what is true in reality and on this you are factually wrong. I have little doubt that your intentions are good… but you know where that road can lead!

        I urge you to talk to muslims about their faith. You will discover very quickly that there is no such thing as a ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ muslim; there are those who adhere closely to the Qur’an and those who do less so, that is to say the very definition of what constitutes a good muslim from a poor one is this adherence. This is a foreign concept to those of us raised in the tolerant west living with a plurality of religions and believers across a wide spectrum of literal scriptural adherence, assigning as we do fundamentalism to be ‘stricter’ to scripture than less fundamentalism. Even the word ‘fundamental’ indicates one end of this spectrum. There is no equivalency in Islam. All muslims are ‘fundamentalists’ in the sense we use it; some, however, choose to be less strict but in exchange for being a poorer muslim. A good muslim will accept the tenet that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger. Mohammed is the author of the Qur’an which reveals the perfect word of god. For any inconsistencies in the verse that make up the Qur’an, the doctrine of abrogation means that later verses replace earlier verses. People who quote the Qur’an about love, peace, toleration, and so on know these verse are abrogated by the verse of the sword (9:5) that renders you, Erik – and Skye and me – are idolators deserving of death. This is not tolerance. This is not respectful disagreement. This is not religious freedom. This is not mutual peace. This is a demand for your submission.

        Ask a muslim if he or she rejects sharia law. The Qur’an demands it and Mohammed champions it. To turn away from sharia is to turn away from Islam. There is no other man-made law that can be considered equal or equivalent and that includes freedom of religion. All law – including all proscribed rights and freedoms you now enjoy – must be subject to sharia, including Constitutional law. This is why I actually DO ask muslims what they actually DO believe about sharia and its role in my life. And it’s not tolerant, let me assure you.

        I have yet to hear a muslim tell me that they deny sharia or deny Islam to be the only rightful governing voice for government and law… eventually. Maybe not right now when adherents to Islam constitute the minority but yes, certainly when adherents number in the majority. But don’t take my word for it; go ask muslims. You will find a single, coherent answer to these questions, an answer that may shock you coming from local professionals and respected members of the local community who are also so nice and friendly and caring. It is not their religious allegiance inside their private lives that is cause for concern; it is the extension of these toxic anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-freedom, anti-enlightenment values imposed on the public domain that needs to be soundly and loudly condemned by all who wish to protect and defend our secular rights and freedoms. By not doing so, by not knowing that sharia and Islam are diametrically opposed to your freedom of religion, you aid and abet the spread of this toxic religion by assuming, by believing, it is an equivalently tolerant belief to your own. Look how quickly you characterize those of us who raise the warning flag as ‘mischaracterizing’ Islam. You couldn’t be more wrong. As someone who has lived and worked in several Sunni and Shi’i Islamic states, let me be crystal clear: Islam is antithetical to every secular value of rights and freedoms you hold dear.

      • I disagree, and I welcome you to take your opinions elsewhere. You don’t know the first thing about me, my experience with Islam or my knowledge of their faith. Your vitriolic remarks are not welcome here. You are welcome to have an opinion. You are not welcome to attack me.

        That is all.

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