The only good Muslim is a BAD Muslim

2015-06-17-good muslims

This post was prompted by comments made to one of my previous ones:

“Dude if you make a title that includes the words “the Muslims” as a group, you immediately set off the asshole detector.
Are you a libertarian?
Try thinking about people as individuals.”

I am not going to argue his assessment here, but I will try to answer the question that is lurking behind it: what does it mean to be a Muslim in the Western world? What is the meaning of identification, self or otherwise? Humans are social animals and they do group themselves in various ways. We are all individuals belonging to many different groups small and large and those groups DO define us to some degree.

Self-identification

Am I a Christian? I was born in a Christian country…… no, wait, I was born in a communist country that used to be Christian and now it is Christian again. I was baptised by the Hungarian Archbishop himself. No, he did not introduce himself, I know only because it was a big deal for my mother and she told me several times as I was growing up.
Am I a good Christian? Not exactly. I never took religions seriously. Well, I wanted to know as much about as many of them as I possibly can, but I have never been a believer. I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon, but I never bought into any.
Am I a communist then? If the cold war ever turned hot, I would have been the enemy. The communist. Simply because I lived in a communist country. If I was drafted into the army, I would have been identified as a communist soldier.
Was I ever a good communist? Not exactly. I was brainwashed enough to dive into it as a teenager, but I came up for air very quickly.

Am I a Hungarian? Without a doubt. I was born in Hungary, Hungarian is my first language, I was socialised in the culture, learned its literature and history, sang its songs and danced its dances.
Am I a good Hungarian? Not exactly. I left the country when I was 27. I live in Canada and I want to identify myself not just with the country but its culture as well. How far can I go doing that is a question.
I cannot erase the Hungarian in me nor would I want to, simply because it would be a futile attempt.

What I do not want is bringing Hungary here with me. Most Canadians who know me would agree that the part I cannot be free from is more than plenty. If I wanted to be a good Hungarian, I would live in Hungary, not in Canada.

I left the most important question for last:
Am I a libertarian? Well, I totally buy into the ideology, I support the cause, and I am ready to dedicate considerable effort into trying to move the world in a libertarian direction. Am I a good libertarian? Not exactly. I am not an all-out Anarcho-capitalist and for those folks I might as well be the statist devil himself.

STILL, if you asked me to define myself, my believes, motivation and convictions would be in the centre of that definition. I am a Canadian culturalist libertarian because I define myself as such.  When it comes to others, I also tend to rely on self-identification. If you are from Egypt and identify yourself as an Egyptian, I think of you as such, if you say you are a Muslim, then that is the definition I will go with.
Self identification is probably the most important component of our identity, but it is not everything. We also have to consider the particular group’s willingness to accept us as one of their members and the perception of the group by the outside world.

When I ask whether I am a libertarian that is a question of self-identification. When I ask whether I am a good libertarian that is group identification asking how well I fit into the group I wish to identify myself with. When I am called a libertarian that is the public perception of the group that is projected onto me as an individual. All of these layers of my identity are shaded and enhanced by my professed believes, my behaviour and even my appearance. Wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Che Guevara on it would be a clear signal of my political identity. I couldn’t credibly call myself a communist with swastikas tattooed onto my arm.
The world’s perception of me is based on my actions and the various manifestations of my believes.
The perception of Muslims is based on their actions and the various manifestations of their believes.
The world’s perception of me is also influenced by the actions of the groups I identify myself with. The same is true for Muslims.

Group identification

What makes someone Muslim? Their ethnic background? Their beliefs? Their degree of adherence to the tenets of the faith? Acceptance of the social norms professed by their communities?

It is not easy to be Muslim. Islam has heavy demands on its adherents. The first of it is being Muslim. Both Christianity and Judaism has a coming of age ceremony (the Bar mitzvah and confirmation). It is, of course, just a formality, but it is also a sign that ‘faith’ is not automatic.
If, on the other hand, you are born into a Muslim family, you cannot, at the age of twenty say that “sorry, but I don’t buy this BS, I never agreed to be Muslim, I am out.” In an increasing number of countries, that would be a self-signed death warrant. You cannot identify yourself as gay without creating the same effect. You cannot criticise the faith or its prophet as that would be seen as blasphemy. You can guess the effect. Even if we forget about these rather harsh limitations, Muslim will still be left with some weighty expectations. You cannot call yourself a GOOD Muslim unless you believe that:

  • Islam is the only acceptable religion and there is no God but God.
    If you believe that people should be free to believe whatever they wish, you are a bad Muslim.
  • Islam will conquer the world and at some point we will all be subjects of the Caliphate.
    If you do not believe in the destiny of Islam, you are a bad Muslim.
  • Sharia is the only law with ultimate legitimacy
    …. but at the least, it is superior to ‘man made law’ and Muslims should be subject only to Sharia.
    If you do not support the calls for the implementation of Sharia, you are a bad Muslim.
  • That you must fight for the protection and the advancement of your faith. (Jihad, Dawa and taqiyyah). The Qur’an is absolutely clear on this one.
    If you do not fight for your faith, you are a bad Muslim.

This is not an academic subject. Islam has a tendency to radicalise itself.

Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive (Jihad) against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.”
The scope of violence here also include the “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.

Even if Islam conquered the world that would not be the end of jihad as those who believe in a more literal interpretations of the faith will keep fighting those they consider hypocrites.

The above short list is only touching on the most fundamental aspects of Islam. If you wish to understand how insanely stupid that religion is, you need to entertain yourself with the little green book of the Ayatollah Khomeini and understand that in an Islamic state you could be punished for breaking such rules.

Public perception

Let me tell you a joke.

There are four people standing on the four corners of an intersection. Santa Klaus, the tooth fairy, a moderate Muslim and a radical Muslim. There is a 100 dollar bill in the middle of the intersection. Who will get to it first?
The answer should be obvious: the radical Muslim because the other three are just figments of our imagination.

Like every good joke, this one also has a serious message: you cannot call yourself a Muslim unless you are a radical. If you are a Muslim, you are radical because Islam is a totalitarian religion that does not condone half–hearted devotion. So called ‘moderate’ Muslims are enablers of the radicals by their silent acquiescence. Whether their silence is the result of approval or fear is irrelevant.
Even if we assume that ‘moderate’ Islam does exist, how can we know which one is the real Islam?

Muslims, like Christians and libertarians come in all sort of colors. I know both Muslims and Jews who would happily wash down a bacon-wrapped pork-chop with a glass of red wine, and I know some with whom it is a drag to go out to eat because they are so stuck up on their dietary restrictions.
Can the pork-eating, booze drinking, Ramadan non-observing, no mosque attending muslims still call themselves Muslims?
Can the folks of Muslims for Liberty call themselves both Muslims and libertarians without distorting either into something unrecognizable by either group?
There are some moderate Muslims, individuals and organizations, who claim that they represent true Islam, that the radicals are an anomaly.

How can you tell who is right? How can you tell which group is more representative of the faith? I could say that you can by looking at the evidence (such as this Pew research) but maybe even that would not be a convincing answer. “Moderates” will still claim that their interpretation is the ‘real’ Islam.
I believe that actions speak louder than words. Words are cheap and words are the only thing that moderates have. I find their violent brethren far more convincing. All I need to do is to watch some beheading videos and mass executions to make up my mind about the true nature of Islam. Studying the results of the Pew survey or reading the wisdom of the Ayatollah is just the icing on the cake. The radicals are the real Muslims as they follow their instructions to the letter. For some more details on this point, read The False Dichotomy- Moderate Muslims vs. Radicals

Being Muslim is not immutable, it is not even a social construct like ethnicity. It is not as easy to walk away from it as it is from other ideologies, but it is possible. Here is a long list of people who renounced Islam.
Short of that, any Muslim can choose to be a bad Muslim which is what I suspect and hope most muslims in North America are. They are the ones we call moderates.

I want Muslims to be bad. They make me feel safer. More comfortable. Being a bad Christian, a bad communist and a bad Hungarian I feel that I have something in common with them.
I want Muslims to be ex. I want the apostates, the ones with the intelligence and the courage to walk away from that most oppressive, most anti-freedom ideology.

What I don’t want around me are the good Muslims.

I am finishing this post with a sense of utter futility. Those who agree with me, know the above already and those who do not, will not get it anyway. I find it sad to see some libertarians sucking up to a community representing the most oppressive ideology that exists in the world today. What the libertarian movement needs is not Muslims (meaning: those who submit) but those who walked away because they won’t (submit). We want those who will NOT want freedom to go to hell.

Some references:

The Problem With The Libertarian View Of Islam – The Brussels Journal – excellent article

The World’s Muslims- Religion, Politics and Society – Pew Research Center – excellent research
The False Dichotomy- Moderate Muslims vs. Radicals

Some independent sources:
List of former Muslims – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Minaret of Freedom Institute – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Little Green Book of the Ayatollah Khomeini

And some Muslim propaganda

M4L » -There is no compulsion… –

Reason Interview- Is Islam Compatible With Libertarianism- – Independent Political Report

3 replies on “The only good Muslim is a BAD Muslim”

  1. zorkthehun says:

    Comment from Facebook:
    Shahira Afrin There’s so much going on here that I want to counter but let’s keep it short and just address what you believe is the criteria for a good Muslim. I agree with you on number one. A Muslim is a believer of Islam this they believe it to be the true religion, and that God is one. But that is a belief Muslims would hold and I cannot expect non-muslims to share that belief because then they’d be Muslim. Second point: Islam will conquer the world and subjugate you with a caliphate. No. That may be possible, that may not. For all we know aliens from another Galaxy will come and enslave us under they’re tyrannical empire. Human beings cannot tell the future. But we can guess, and I’m guessing that everyone in the world accepting Islam is pretty unlikely. Point 3: Sharia is the best law and Muslims must only follow it. Sharia means the way or path to follow Islam. It applies only to Muslims. There are two parts of Sharia, the laws ordained by God which cannot be changed (don’t steal, don’t drink, fast during Ramadan etc.) and those that are up to human interpretation aka fatwa (such as how to wear a hijab, whether getting car insurance is fine when you have no alternative etc.) Fatwas cannot be enforced (though they probably are in areas because statism) and neither can the laws ordained by God which result in no victim (rape, theft, fraud etc. Are punishable, drinking alcohol or not praying are not). Certain laws such as those against adultery do have punishments but they act more like a deterrence because of how hard it is to meet the conditions (specifically in the case of adultery you need 4 eye witnesses who saw the act at the exact same time, none are related to the actors, and they must prove that they did not have any hand in the act or were scheming anything). The reason for these limitations is because there is no compulsion in Islam, one cannot be forced to follow the religion. Note should Muslims follow only Sharia? Ideally, if they lived in an actual Islamic state. But that doesn’t exist today. There are Muslim majority countries but I wouldn’t call any of them an Islamic state. So while a Muslim is not living in that fantasy land they are subject to the rules of the country they are living in. For example, in Canada polygamy is illegal so a Muslim cannot be a polygamist because it is haram (forbidden) for them while they live in Canada. But that is because polygamy, for example, is acceptable but not required. Prayer on the other hand is required, and even if Canada were to outlaw it, I’d still have to pray. Last point : Muslims must fight for the advancement of Islam through jihad taqqiya, and dawah. Let’s define this terms first. Dawah means spreading the knowledge of Islam. It can be done by words, such as what I’m doing right now, or actions such as being kind, and honourable etc. A Muslim us encouraged to spread knowledge and understanding, but the burden of advancement is not upon them. I may tell someone about Islam but whether they believe me or not is not up to me. I don’t even have to spread this knowledge because I want people to convert,most of the time its just to clear misunderstandings, like I’m doing right now. Next term, jihad means struggle. There are different forms of jihad, the greatest being that of the self. Can I finish reading the whole Quran during Ramadan? Can I will myself to stop drinking? Can I love someone for the sake of Allah? These are examples of internal jihad. Then you’ve got jihad of the pen, or words. Which is the second best. An example of this would be Muslim women fighting for the right to wear a hijab and go to university in France. The third jihad is that of the sword. It is the last resort, done only in defense, and with the approval of the ummah (community of all Muslims). In the past the Prophet then the caliphate could declare jihad but that was because the Ummah was United under them. That’s not the case today. ISIS may be trying to create a new caliphate (terribly) but the majority of Muslims do not accept then. Nor do they accept Al Qaeda, or the talisman or boko haram or any of these groups declaring “jihad”. So really, a true jihad of the sword is kind of impossible. What these groups are conducting on the other hand is war. And that’s an interesting thing to note : jihad is always done in self defense, it is never the aggressor. Now the last term is taqqiya which actually is a part of Shia Islam, (Sunni Islam had something similar but under a different term) . Taqqiya basically gives Shia Muslims the right to lie and say they have renounced their faith under cases of extreme duress. Example, someone holds me at gunpoint and tells me to abandon Islam and easy pork or else they’ll kill me. On that case, according to Taqqiya, I’d have the right to lie to protect myself so long as my intentions are pure. I hope that cleared up some misunderstandings and sorry for the exorbitantly long post. smile emoticon

  2. zorkthehun says:

    E-mail comment (from a jewish friend):
    Dear Zork,
    I certainly did not interpret anything you wrote as “some sort of bigotry.” In any discussion of orthodox Muslims I am acutely reminded of the similarity between them and orthodox Jews — special attire, special diet, analogous religious rituals and requirements, the status of women … So I feel very reticent to comment. The big difference between orthodox Judaism and orthodox Islam is that Islam (and Christianity too!) is a supercessionist religion, as you point out, while Judaism is not. Orthodox Jews don’t want to convert anyone except maybe non-observant Jews. They accept, at least in principle, that non-Jews have a ‘place in the world to come,’ even though they generally want to have as little as possible to do with ‘the goyim’. The belief that everyone should be Sunni (or Shiite or Catholic) and not be Buddhist or Druze or Jewish or Baha’i is totally pernicious.

  3. zorkthehun says:

    Thank you Shahira for your thoughtful response. I hope you will forgive me for not finding it convincing. I cannot engage in theological discussions with you as I do not know enough about the state of these discussions within the Muslim community. What I know is this: you are presenting one possible interpretation of Islam, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Taliban and even countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran are presenting another. Yours are just empty words, theirs are substantiated with hard facts and actions. Massacres, rapes, executions and mutilations, the destruction of priceless human heritage and I could go on. Their argument is far more convincing than yours. Any decent human being should be deeply ashamed of an ideology that can create such monstrosities – instead of trying to find excuses for it. The possibility for their interpretation is in the Qur’an and the hadith.

    Neither am I going to point out the glaring contradictions in the Qur’an or your blatant disregard for the notion of abrogation. There is no compulsion in religion and the penalty for apostasy is death. Now which one is it? Are you telling me that you cannot see the contradiction? Or that you do not know about such cases TODAY in the Muslim world? According to the PEW research to which I linked in the article, the MAJORITY of Muslims in South East Asia and the Middle East approve of the death penalty for apostasy, stoning to death for adultery. THE MAJORITY.
    There is no such a thing as MODERATE Islam but this article can make the case for this argument better than I:
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/majid-rafizadeh/the-false-dichotomy-moderate-muslims-vs-radicals/

    In the end I think that you are a perfect example of what I call a bad Muslim in your desperate attempt of trying to justify your faith. I AM GLAD THAT YOU ARE.
    I am a man of reason, I do not believe in any supernatural baloney but if I had any ‘spiritual need’ there are several religions that would satisfy that need far better than your faith.
    I suggest you open your mind and look at the alternatives. If you take an honest look at the options, you will soon realize that Islam is by far the worst.
    In Jainism you would find peace and an amazing cosmology.
    In Buddhism you would find personal enlightenment
    In Hinduism you would find spirituality
    In Sikhism you would find the most amazing community spirit
    In Christianity, you would find love and the true meaning of grace and forgiveness (ir Rahim ar Rahman)
    In Baha’i you would find universality
    In Taoism, you would find wisdom

    ….but being truly grown up would mean that you do not need any of them.

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