What is It that You Don’t Understand?
21st July, 2006
We, the non-Muslims—the infidels, heathens,
unbelievers, apostates, enemies of Allah, najis (soiled),
as you prefer to call us—would like to know what is it that you
don’t understand and what is it that makes you behave so badly
toward us? You blame us for your problems and believe if we
embrace Islam and help establish the Islamic ummah, the
earth would be cleansed of us, transformed to paradise, and all
your problems disappear?
Respectfully, we disagree. We believe that you
and your system of belief are at the core of your problems; that
you need to critically examine the facts, rather than conveniently
blame others for your ills. Keep in mind that beliefs and ideas
make people human, that beliefs are roadmaps of life. To the
extent that the roadmap is rational and enlightened, the path of
life is illumined, pitfalls are avoided and obstacles are removed.
The terrain of life has greatly changed since the roadmap of Islam
was given to the wondering primitives of Arabian Peninsula.
The twenty first century presents great
challenges and opportunities that demand new ways of thinking and
behaving. The doctrine of Islam may have been appropriate for the
dessert dwellers of some 1400 years ago, the people you yourselves
stigmatize as “The Ignorant.” It is dysfunctional today to say the
least. As a matter of fact, Islam went astray from the very
beginning and inflicted a great deal of suffering on both its
followers as well as those who resisted its advance.
Early on, Prophet Muhammad explicitly said,
“There is no compulsion in religion.” He further confirmed that
admonition, “For you, your religion; and for me, my religion.” Why
is it that as soon as you gathered enough power, you violated
those exhortations and set out to force your belief and way of
life on others at the point of the sword? You further conveniently
ignored your own teaching by unsheathing your sword at “the people
of the book”—Jews and Christians. You spared them death only if
they converted or consented to pay you backbreaking religious
taxes of jizya.
Your cruel successful subjugation of the people
of the Arabian Peninsula whetted your appetite for further
conquests. You ventured into the civilized world—to Persia, the
Levant, Spain, and eventually to the gates of Vienna. Cruelty and
terror were your instruments of policy—weapons you liberally use
today whenever and wherever you are able.
Contempt and hostility toward non-Muslims living
under your rule as well as those outside of your domain have
characterized your attitude and behavior throughout the history.
Isn’t it enough? Is it not now the time to stand back and take a
good look at what is the root cause of this pathological state of
Life is precious. It is to be protected,
nurtured and celebrated. Mankind is moving, perhaps at a glacier
pace, toward reconciliation, ever-expanding inclusiveness without
any group or ideology imposing itself on others. Any attempt
against this trend of unity in diversity is doomed to failure, as
exemplified by the demise of fascism and communism.
Your charter, the Quran, in some parts, preaches
discrimination, death and imposition of its dogma on everyone. The
political system of Islam, just like fascism and communism, is a
dysfunctional ideology that needs to be abandoned. Humanity has
matured considerably since the time of Muhammad. In order to
continue its forward march, mankind must follow a roadmap
appropriate for its age and state of development. It is foolish to
insist that a book written over 1400 years ago must serve as the
one and only guide for humanity.
Progress thrives in a marketplace of free ideas,
where beliefs and viewpoints, not people, clash. It is through the
unimpeded clash of ideas that the best decisions and actions are
reached. Political Islam is anathema to this invaluable principle.
By forcing itself on any and all people it could, Islam violated
this vital principle and it aims to continue to do so to this day.
Islam’s inflexible and intolerant dogmatism is at the heart of
Islamic world’s stagnation and backwardness. It is evident that
staying put, so to speak, does not allow going forward. It is not
the non-Muslim world, the convenient scapegoat, but Islam itself
which is the culprit for your chronic ills.
The non-Muslims of the twenty first century
treasure freedom in all its forms and are not going to lend their
necks passively to the yoke of blind obedience and imitation.
Is the present argument too difficult to
understand? Is it too threatening to the security of your mindset
to concede its validity? Please have the courage and take that
fateful step. Inhale the life-nurturing fragrance of freedom.
Islam is a slaveholder. It feels that it owns you; it condemns you
as apostate to be beheaded if you dare to leave its chains. The
non-Muslims, by contrast, respect you as a free human and support
your inalienable right to believe whatever you want to
believe—even if it is a non-belief. If you still wish to wrap
yourself in your suffocating security blanket—Islam—please keep it
to yourself and refrain from forcing it on others.