In 2012, the Associate Press stylebook discontinued “islamophobia” from its stylebook because “…a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate.”* Indeed, to brand a political opponent as mentally ill is more than inaccurate; it’s slanderous. In the press, applying “phobia” to someone who does not have the requisite psychiatric disorder is libelous and could be pursued as a cause of action in a court of law.
Islam is an idea. Often, those who disagree with the principles of this idea are branded as racist when in fact; disagreeing with the idea of Islam has nothing to do with race. The principles of Islam attract criticism from vast and varied sources. Let’s examine a few schools of thought to explore whether there are legitimate grounds to disagree with the principles of Islam.
On religious grounds, Islam placed itself in contrast with Judaism and Christianity through its usurpation of Scriptural authority. The Qur’an repeatedly references and alters principles from the Tanakh and the New Testament. Starting from Surah 2 “The Heifer” where Muhammed paraphrases and alters the stories of Adam, Moses, Jesus and Mary, Islam advances ideas that are grounds for legitimate criticism from Jewish and Christian scholars alike. It’s safe to assert that millions of words from religious scholars have been written in rational criticism of Islam; criticism that is devoid of irrational psychological defect.
Scientifically, there are innumerable bases for legitimate criticism. The end of the Golden Age of Arabic science (800 – 1100 AD) was primarily caused by Islamic theologian Abu Hamid Al Ghazali imposing Islam over science. In an opinion piece from The National, Hassan Hassan writes of the demise of Arabic science,
In a remarkable intellectual shift, he (Al Ghazali) concluded that falsafa (which literally means philosophy but included logic, mathematics and physics) was incompatible with Islam.**
Now, for centuries, Islam has stood in the way of scientific progress for most a millennium. Even today, Muslims are very inconsistent in their acceptance of science. A purist Salafist may be more accepting of science, as in what might be called progressive Saudi culture, yet a radical Salafist, like the sect that helped bring the house of Saud to power, may want to destroy all that is not Islam (Wahhabist). Whether or not Islam will accept science is a moving target
Though many disagree with current social justice themes, there are plenty of grounds for criticism of Islam from a social justice point of view. In dominant Muslim societies such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and others, apostasy and blasphemy principles in Sharia law squash freedom of speech. Islamic law is used to justify the killing of rebellious wives, homosexuals, apostates, blasphemers and many others who don’t live according to the ruling faction’s interpretation of Islam. Even in the USA, Islam is used to discriminate against infidels and homosexuals; try getting a gay wedding cake at a halal bakery.
Religious, scientific and social justice grounds are just a small sampling of the rational, thoughtful areas of ideology where Islam opens itself up to criticism. If anything, “Islamophobia” is an anti-Western slur used against people who do not buckle under the imposition of Islam on a free society. Islam’s customs and its Sharia law may evoke fear from people, but it is a rational fear. To freedom-loving people, Islam is the bane of a free society.
It is difficult to parse and extract the religious elements of Islam that should be allowed in a free society. In the U.S., where religious liberty is a cherished freedom, the opportunity for purveyors of Islamic supremacy to run rough-shod over the rights of non-Muslims is a realistic threat. Over the course of 1400 years, Muslims have learned well how to insert their ideology into a foreign culture, overtake the culture and overthrow non-Muslim governments, dominating non-Muslim peoples. Many countries have altogether banned Muslim immigration due largely to this issue.
Japan and Angola are two countries that have laws on the books banning Islam altogether, while others restrict the expression of many elements of Muslim law and tradition. France, Belgium, Bulgaria and others have banned the burqa and niqab. Sharia law has been banned in 16 of the United States as well. People-groups throughout the globe have employed legal means trying to eliminate all or part of Islamic ideology, while to some degree trying to allow the religious elements of Islam. The global effort to figure out how to tolerate religious Muslims while straining out the toxic elements of Islamic ideology is ongoing. The world has been for centuries, trying to figure out how to live in peace with this ideology that encourages war with all who oppose it.
For the Christian, the Bible expresses a two-tiered answer for dealing with ideologies like Islam; the corporate and the individual tiers. As a group, Christians have corporate principals regarding how to comport ourselves. Individually, a Christian has a different but complementary set of principles useful for dealing with ideologies that threaten their existence. It is important for Christians to not get the two sets of principles confused.
Corporately, Christians must adhere to the Bible interpreted by employing thoughtful exegesis. Two passages from the Old Testament come to mind when a body of Christians is dealing with the evil that the world would impose on them.
Isaiah 1:17-20 (NLT)
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
Psalm 82:3-4 (NLT)
“Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.”
Putting up a united front in defense of those who cannot defend themselves is a principle that affirms defending the corporate body from those who would deny them God-given rights. The American Declaration of Independence harmonizes with these principles, as do fundamental legal documents of other nations. There is Biblical justification for limiting the rights of others to the extent that one’s rights don’t infringe on someone else. Islam requires that all submit to Allah or to the dominance of Muslim adherents in society. The submission that Islamic ideology requires cannot be allowed by a body of Christian believers of any size, whether a prayer group or a nation.
Christians cannot be relieved of the individual requirements taught to us by Jesus Christ. The Greatest Commandment to love God and our neighbor requires genuine, tangible application. Paul captures the essence of this principle in his letter to the church in Rome:
Romans 12:17-20 (NLT)
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
It is worth noting that Christians misunderstand their role in ministering the Gospel, often crippling the efforts of others to share the Gospel of Love with Muslims. God’s Word depicts Christian witness more as a lifestyle bathed in the attraction of God’s love, thinking of one’s self as lower than others (Philippians 2). The “offense of the Gospel” should be accomplished by God’s Word, not by aggressively and mean-spiritedly trying to force feed selective passages and “truths” to those still fighting the Holy Spirit because of errant teachings such as Islam. Street preaching to try to shame Muslims out of their belief is completely wrong-headed as this video would depict:
Interactions such as are seen in the video give fuel to the arguments of those who try to fabricate claims of so called “Islamophobia”. Islam, the idea, is deserving of rational fear on its own and needs no help by Christian street preachers. It is loving one’s enemy and letting the Gospel work that actually accomplishes the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). As we wait on the Lord to do His work in His ways, Christians should reject Islam and defend ourselves corporately against the oppression and evil that it would impose. Perhaps one of the best ways we can defend the weak, as a body, is by not giving ground when Muslims and their liberal “useful idiots” try to use the evil and divisive language that manufactured words like “Islamophobia” would impose on free people.
Let me close with the video of one of the greatest testimonies of God defeating the ideology of Islam with His love. It is an interview with Mosaab Hassan Yousef, known as the Green Prince and the Son of Hamas, and his journey from Muslim terrorist hierarchy to Christian defender of Israel. It’s a video and a testimony that should give any Christian pause to marvel at the power of Jesus Christ on any willing human heart.
I look forward to reading your comments, and thanks for reading.
*AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told POLITICO.”; AP nixes ‘homophobia’, ‘ethnic cleansing’
By DYLAN BYERS 11/26/12 03:16 PM EST
**How the decline of Muslim scientific thought still haunts, Hassan Hassan, February 9, 2012