These guys are painfully wrong about Islam: 3 things that every anti-Muslim zealot needs to admit

Qasim Rashid
Written by Qasim Rashid

Bill Maher & Richard Dawkins continue to disparage a religion that, in all honesty, they know little about

(Oriinally published at Salon)

As a practicing Muslim, I don’t believe Islam is above criticism. I do believe that Islam backs free speech. I also believe that Islam champions secular governance. But what’s significant about my beliefs is why I believe them — which is because they are precisely what the Qur’an teaches, and what Prophet Muhammad exemplified.

Perhaps this is why I find arguments like the one put forth by Jeffrey Tayler in Salon earlier this month — written in the aftermath of the “Draw the Prophet” shooting in Texas and Charlie Hebdo’s controversial PEN award — to be yet another straw man, one that avoids three realities critics of Islam continue to ignore. For example, Tayler’s claim that “Prophet Muhammad was a triumphant warlord leading military campaigns that spread Islam throughout Arabia” is but one example of the numerous historical fantasies he writes; a fantasy that is wholly contradictory to Prophet Muhammad’s well established rules of war. (SPOILER: Islam forbids spreading faith by the sword and permits fighting only in self-defense).

Had Tayler presented his arguments as a criticism of several Muslim majority political regimes — Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia to name a few — I would have largely agreed with his claims. He runs into trouble, however, when he unwarrantedly conflates political regimes with the religion of Islam as a whole. Further exacerbating Tayler’s position is his reliance on comedian Bill Maher and internationally recognized hatemonger Pamela Geller as presenting some sort of authentic reality of Islamic teaching. Maher, I’ve heard, is actually a nice guy in person — but that characteristic does not somehow make his commentary Islamic scholarship. Geller, meanwhile, is on hate watch lists for both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and is banned from the United Kingdom for her hatemongering; she has zero academic credentials on the subject of Islam. And lest there be any confusion, the United Kingdom is definitely not an “Enforcer of Shariah” — a term Tayler uses to describe the 204 authors who signed a letter dissociating themselves from a free speech award given to the surviving artists of Charlie Hebdo.

Indeed, the United States has a proud free speech model — one I support as an American, as a Muslim, as an attorney and as a person who regularly receives death threats for speaking my mind. America’s current free speech model is not only unique in its own history, but unique when compared to the contemporary developed world.

And here is the first reality critics like Tayler ignore: Most of America’s staunchest allies enforce speech laws much stricter than what Islam teaches — yet no one accuses such Western nations of being free speech obstructionists.

For example, Article 415 of the Italian Penal Code states, “Whoever publicly incites… hatred between the social classes, shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years.” Likewise, Article 261 of the Swiss Penal Code states issues up to a three-year prison sentence for anyone who “publicly disseminates, organizes, or encourages participation in events promoting ideologies that have as their object the systematic denigration or defamation of the members of a race, ethnic group or religion.” Our neighbor Canada’s Criminal Code Section 319 offers a two-year prison sentence for anyone who “wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group [by] communicating statements, other than in private conversation.”

About the author

Qasim Rashid

Qasim Rashid

Qasim Rashid is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller in Islam, EXTREMIST, and the critically acclaimed The Wrong Kind of Muslim. The Wrong Kind of Muslim received the Kirkus Star and was selected as Kirkus' Top 100 Indie books of 2013.

He regularly publishes across a wide array of media including TIME, The Washington Post, USA Today, Daily Beast, NPR, and CNN.

Qasim is an award winning member of the Muslim Writers Guild of America, having previously co-authored and co-edited two books, (Towards a Greater Jihad and By the Dawn's Early Light). He is a National Spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

He received his Bachelors degree from the University of Illinois and his Law degree at the University of Richmond. Follow Qasim at Twitter.com/MuslimIQ and on Facebook at The Wrong Kind Of Muslim.

11 Comments

  • That so ever this kind of misguided people would say about Islam is just a repeatation of what their great grand fathers had said,Islam is pure and far away from all negativity,Allah has promise to keep Qur’an intact and his Deen leading,Insha Allah human tongue or write-up would bring no harm or alteration to our Religion of peace and justice#Islam

  • Their time will be up quickly as were their predecessors.Leave them to digging their own trenches and move away from a world that is coming closer to Islam.

  • Plz May Allah protect all Muslims in the whole world and punish those against it.Truely these people are serious because even in our country Uganda these anti-Islamic group are killing our beloved educacated Islamic leaders aiming at reducing those aware of Allah’s law,so plz let’s pray for all Muslim everywhere they are.Assalam Alaikum WaramatullahWabarakatuh.

    • Murdering human beings because they have violated some ridiculous rule of islam is pure evil. God gave us The 10 Commandments. ‘Thou shalt not murder’, is one of them. Jesus our Christ also told us to ‘Love our neighbor as ourself’. Start practicing Love and Forgiveness. Or do you want to ‘Lord over someone’?

  • quran say kiling a single inocent peaople as killed the whole humain kind let the anti islam nation & people rejoise there ill intetion killing muslim and abusing our beloved prophet make dhuwa to give sabar to all our muslim brother insha allha as our propehet had said the day will come islam will enter every house truth prevels falls will parish as salam walekum o rahhamathulla hi barkathu

  • Brothers in Islam, you should not be swayed by their blasphemy or anything they are saying regarding the Prophet Muhammad SAW, though as a Muslim is terribly painful, leave them, ALLAH knows how to deal with them. They will do everything possible to criticize the True Religion and deny those who are willing to embrace it. Remember in the suratus saf verse 8, Allah Subhanu Wa Ta’ala says “They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may averse”. Pls do not argue with ignorant folk. They used that opportunity to Insult Islam and the Noble Prophet SAW.

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