Opting in, opting out

Elisabeth Mahase, Editor-in-chief of Brunel University’s Student Newspaper….. etc., etc. (twice) published a post on Huffpost UK she titled “You Can’t Opt Out at Islamophobia
It is an intriguing title, as half of the article was about opting out ‘of’ Islamophobia, not ‘at’. I couldn’t judge whether this was intentional or just sloppy as the article itself is flowing in an out of the two concepts in a way that could be accidental. It is not a good article and at first I discarded it as useless but then decided that it is symptomatic and talking about it could be a good introduction to more important subjects.

Let’s start with the overall messages, ‘of’ and ‘at’:

  1. Poor, innocent Muslims are victimized by the prejudices, the generalizations, the irrational fear of the privileged white people and the system of discrimination they created. No matter how decent, moderate and law abiding these Muslims are, they just cannot opt out OF Islamophobia
  2. The ‘at’ message is a little more underhanded: We know that you are a good person, we know that you care, you must therefore understand that you have to stand up against discrimination, that “You can’t just opt out at Islamophobia” If you want to be a good person, you will have to go all the way embracing and defending Muslims.

The article is a strange mix of these two messages. An expression of collective guilt with a hint toward the possibility of redemption. These deep humanitarian messages in Elisabeth’s article made me think about this rather important question. What does it take to opt in and out? What are we opting in and out of? Who are the real victims here and who are the aggressors? Who created the situation in which such questions can be asked and indeed, who has a better chance to ‘opt out’?

Opting out of Islam is not easy

Can we, the kufr’s, opt out of the world Islam created for us in our own countries? Can we opt out of the shoeless shuffle at the airports? Can we opt out of the ever-increasing size of the security bureaucracy, the ever-increasing waiting lines and the humiliating treatment we are all subjected to at the airports? Airport taxes have grown to be a third to half of the price of the tickets. Can we opt out the cost of all of that? The Western world is spending billions on trying to protect itself from Muslim terrorism. CAN WE OPT OUT???

Maybe I could be a little more charitable to Elisabeth, the obvious millennial, who is too young to remember what pre-9-11 air travel looked like. She may actually believe that the process she describes in the first paragraph of her article is normal, except, of course, the completely unjustified, Islamophobic, racists treatment of Muslims. She may be too young to understand that the whole setup exists ONLY because of Muslim terrorism. To the rest of us, to those old enough to know, this new, Muslim terrorism created world is NOT normal. Yet, we submit to it. We deal with it. We tolerate it.
A few years ago we were flying to Mumbai through Jedda with Saudi airlines. My wife and I were clearly the only two non-muslim, Arab, or Hindu on the airplane. Some black blobs, supposedly women, in full niqab were breezing through the security checks without any photo-ID confirmation. Guess who got the pat-down? My wife. We must have looked like a real threat. Not only is there no discrimination at airports, but the political correctness makes the molestation of 80 year old nuns and petrified 3 year old girls far more likely than any such thing happening to a Muslim woman.

When can we finally opt out of Muslim terrorism? The police states it created? The constant spying on us? The stoning, raping, beheading, execution and mutilation videos flooding Youtube?
When can we opt out of Muslim lawfare, of Muslim rape gangs and no-go zones?
Of honor killings, FGMs and child marriages? How can we opt out of the never ending demands for accommodation? The Halal certification, the religious accommodation at workplaces, schools and just about any other public space? How can we opt out of the culture war, the relentless drive against the values of our civilization?

The answer is, of course, that we cannot. Muslims don’t make it easy. Compared to that, opting out of ‘Islamophobia’ is a cinch.

Opting out of ‘Islamophobia’ is quite easy

Any Muslim can opt out of Islamophobia any time.
All they need to do is to keep their faith to themselves. Just like the followers of ANY OTHER RELIGION do.
All they need to do is to stop making a spectacle out of displaying their religious identity.
All they need to do is to stop abusing our tolerance with the manifestations of their own intolerance.
All they need to do is to stop making their identity so into-our-face obnoxious.
All they need to do is to stop being confrontational.

I could continue but I’m sure you got he picture. There is not a single biological feature that can identify a Muslim. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Everything in the appearance of a Muslim is a matter of choice. If they drop the submission garment and the warpath beard they will be indistinguishable. If they drop the demands on the rest of society, nobody will care about the ideas in their heads.

Being called a Nazi does not make you one. If you are a Nazi, but keep it to yourself, nobody will know what you are. If you tattoo a swastika on your forehead, everybody will.

Being Muslim is no different. In the end, Islam itself is a choice. You can opt out. You can opt out of the faith entirely or to any degree you wish. Samina Ali (the woman on the right above), rejecting the hijab could be an example, but I could give you dozens more.  People who made a career out of rejecting the objectionable parts of Islam. I know many Muslims whom you could not identify as Muslims. I know some who are Muslim in name (and heritage) only. Opting out is easy.

Opting in

Does any of the poor victimized Muslims ever ask why they are singled out for discrimination? Can any of the apologists of Islam explain the curious lack of racism and phobias about other religions? Why we do not have to worry about Semite, Jain, Buddhist, Coptic, Yazidi, Sikh, Hindu or Baha’i phobias?
Is there not a single Muslim out there with the mental capacity for self reflection?
The moral courage and decency to identify the very real and rational concerns that the apologists dismiss as phobias?

The answer is, unfortunately, NO. In a way, I can understand. Muslims know better than anybody else how dangerous that could turn out to be to their personal safety. It’s no wonder then why so very few Muslim ever want to opt out or do any degree of self reflection.
The message is always the same: That is not ‘my’ Islam; those muslims are not real Muslims; we should not paint with a broad brush; Islam should reform from within; most Muslims are peaceful; Islam is the religion of peace and the radicals do not represent its ideals; there is nothing to see here, just move on.

What Amal Kassir, Reza Aslan or any other apologist of Islam do is a form of jihad, a struggle for the advancement of the interest of their faith. They do their work through lies, distortions, insinuations, misdirection and misrepresentations; sometimes so subtle it is difficult to notice.
We could take apart the sleazy TEDx speech of Amal (meaning ‘hope’), but let’s just look at the picture of her in the middle above.
She is wearing an American flag as a hijab. Is there a message in that? Could there be? What could it mean, this mixing of two symbols: the symbol of freedom and the symbol of submission?
Between the giggles, she calls herself an “un-a-po-lo-ge-tic Mu-slim woman. Syrian, American, hijabi, activist, social justice advocate”, which still does not explain the flag hijab. Is it cute or insulting? Is it just naive, misguided stupidity, an expression of Patriotism or that of Muslim assertiveness? Can the fashioning of an American flag into a symbol of submission be seen as a claim that this is a Muslim country now? What is it more likely to be: an attempt of reconciliation or an un-a-po-lo-ge-tic Mu-slim claim of dominance?

In and out, in or out, Muslims are NOT the victims. We should stop bending over to accommodate them.

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