Alternative Title: Defending Muslims is amazing. Defending Islam is not.
A lot of Western Leftists get particularly uncomfortable when Islam is criticized, but not without good reasons. They are concerned that Anti-Islam rhetoric would alienate religious allies, while it may also reinforce the talking-points of the Far-Right and their anti-Immigration agenda
For the past year, I decided to turn my gears away from religion and more towards issues regarding Capitalism, precisely for these reasons.
Meanwhile, other Ex-Muslims continue to find themselves voiceless within Leftist circles. In the Middle East, Ex-Muslims are typically silenced through intimidation, heavy fines, jail sentences and sometimes even assassination.
In the West, where ex-muslims expect to have the freedom to speak on the issues they were never able to bring forth back home. There is a major taboo within Leftist circles when desdain is expressed towards the religion of Islam.
The plight of Ex-Muslims is generally unknown, and Leftists are often wary of the intentions behind open criticism of Islam in today’s political climate.
For these reasons, Ex-Muslims find themselves in constant need to deliver their speech with a tremendous set of nuance in hopes to avoid having their rhetoric associated with (or exploited by) The Far-Right.
As an Ex-Muslim on the Far-Left, I am against Far-Right supremacist ideologies, Trump’s racial profiling, The Democrats’ Neo-Liberalism, Israel’s airstrikes on Palestine, hate crimes against minorities, and of course; Capitalists extraction of value by gun-mandated laws that permit the ownership over natural resources and the labor of others.
I also oppose political Islam.
Having been in an Islamic school for 7 years of my life in Bahrain (where I still live) it’s inconvenient to avoid criticizing an ideology that is:
1. Blatantly Anti-Civil Rights (Source; Quran, Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim).
2. Affecting my life and hundreds of secularists, women, LGBT, liberals, atheists, Non-Muslims, and Ex-Muslims daily in the Muslim World (And communities). The World is not North America and Europe. Islam is the second largest religion on earth.
In the Middle East, Muslims aren’t a minority. Non-Muslims are. Just as the US suffers from a Far-Right White Supremacist phenomenon, we are experiencing the Far-Right Islamist version of this. In online Leftist lingo: Muslims are the “White People” of the Middle East (The majority) and Islamists are the “Far-Right”, with popular support.
By shunning those who experience and oppose Islam(ism), critics may just be shunning minority voices half a world away “in the comfort of their privilege blindness”. From where Ex-Muslims stand.
Leftists are the voice of dissent in your own communities. So are Ex-Muslims in Muslim communities. The voices many Western Leftists choose to amplify when it comes to Non-Western nations aren’t those of resistance and dissent — but those that are the loudest. In other words, it is akin to a scenario where the Leftists of the world neglect or shun your own voices to platform the mainstream voices (Liberals and Conservatives) the Western World instead.
Leftists may defend the rights of Muslims as human beings. I hold the position that it’s a moral obligation. We are together in our fight against Muslimphobia. Most of Ex-Muslims families are also Muslim, and most of us “look Muslim” (Whatever that means) we are aware Muslims are everyday people like anyone else. No one deserves to be degraded anywhere.
Speaking of which, this brings us to the topic of Islam and Civil Rights. Here are three videos of the most prominent, mainstream progressive Islamists on the topic of Sexual Slavery and Rape. Picture living where this ideology is largely mainstream while you are the minority. This is our situation in the Muslim World. If watching these videos feel somewhat difficult, imagine it’s coming from “White American Republicans” to better relate to the experience of Non-Muslims in Muslim-Majority communities.
Nouman Ali Khan
“The practical reality is the these situations will occur. Women will be in that situation. So what do we do? Allah put them under the authority of the believers.”
“Is (Sexual) slavery justified? I say why not? We all know it is internationally banned, but do you know what’s happening in Guantanamo bay?”
“Where do they go? The women become the custody of the state. They go to the men who were fighting, they will be provided for but those women have to work for their keep.”
“ You don’t want to take responsibility for being a man — the largest part of that responsibility being to dominate and control women.”
“ Rape is a part of war and it always has been. It is a necessary way to strike fear into the hearts of ones enemies, and it’s going to happen either way.”
The last two quotes weren’t by an Islamist. They were by a leader of the Alt-Right, though strikingly similar in nature.
Having said all this. Most Muslims aren’t as fundamentalist as those Imams, nor necessarily knowledgeable of the religion they were born into. Muslims aren’t Islam. Muslims are some of the most diverse populations on earth, with vastly differing (Often conflicting) beliefs and practices. Muslims can be lax, progressive, reformist or all-out secular. The differences can be so vast that equating Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia to Muslim-Majority Albania would be as absurd as to equate Christian-Majority California to Christian-Majority Ethiopia. Luckily, this isn’t a problem in the Left.
This isn’t to say that criticisms of Islamic communities aren’t legitimate. Many Muslims recognize the need for change in Islamic communities, while others hold more conservative positions. One of the issues being the following:
When the Burkini was banned, hundreds of secular French women protested in defense of French-Muslim women’s right to cover up, until the ban was officially suspended by the French Administrative Court.
When a liberal, secular Blogger was sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in Saudi Arabia, there’s been disproportionate silence by Arab communities regarding this issue. Muslims’ rights are defended by secularist, whereas those who hold secular and progressives values are forsaken within Muslim-majority communities. In the Muslim World, Ex-Muslim lives don’t matter.
Highly Recommended video –
Should Muslims Like Me Be So Critical of Ex-Muslims: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bVA6TbSGUU