It seems whenever anyone begins to criticize Islam, they are quickly deemed “Islamaphobes” or “racists” by Islamic apologists (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) as a means to halt any honest investigation of the subject. Many atheists and “freethinkers” will desperately attempt to divert attention to the history of violence in other religions or point out that other holy books have violent passages just like the Quran. However, Islam is different than other religions in the sense that it is also a political ideology. The question of what the true nature of Islam is has been a topic of heated debate. There are typically two distinct answers (1) Islam is a religion of peace and one of the greatest religions in the world or (2) Islam is a violent and brutal ideology that is incompatible with Western civilization.
To truly understand Islam, one must understand the prophet Muhammad. All Muslims will agree that “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger”. Many people know that the Quran is the holy book of Islam but they do not know about the Sira and the Hadith. The Sira is the biography of Muhammad and the Hadith are a collection of traditions and sayings of Muhammad. Studying the Sira and Hadith is just as important as studying the Quran. In the Quran, it is repeatedly stated that Muhammad is the perfect example of a man and that all of the world should strive to be like him. However, the Quran does not offer enough guidance on how to emulate Muhammad and this is where the Sira and Hadith come into play. Muhammad was much more than a religious leader; he was also a warlord and skilled tactician who spread his religion by the sword. It is also disturbing to note that Muhammad married a nine-year-old old child and consummated the marriage when she turned twelve.
A great deal of the Islamic doctrine is dedicated to the Kafir (a.k.a unbelievers). Kafirs can be polytheists, idol worshippers, Christians, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, or Pagans. Anyone who does not accept Allah and Muhammad as his messenger is considered a Kafir. According to the Quran, a Kafir:
Cannot be the friend of a Muslim– Quran 3:28: Believers should not take Kafirs as friends in preference to other believers. Those who do this will have none of Allah’s protection and will only have themselves as guards. Allah warns you to fear Him for all will return to him.
Can be terrorized– Quran 8:12: Then your Lord spoke to His angels and said, “I will be with you. Give strength to the believers. I will send terror into the Kafirs’ hearts, cut off their heads and even the tips of their fingers!”
Is cursed– Quran 33:61: They [Kafirs] will be cursed, and wherever they are found, they will be seized and murdered. It was Allah’s same practice with those who came before him, and you will find no change in Allah’s ways.
Can be beheaded– Quran 47: 4: When you encounter the Kafirs on the battlefield, cut off their heads until you have thoroughly defeated them and take the prisoners and tie them up firmly.
Islamic law, otherwise known as Sharia, is not merciful to non-Muslims living under Islamic civilization. It is also not very accommodating to women:
Quran 4:34: Allah has made men superior to women because men spend their wealth to support them. Therefore, virtuous women are obedient, and they are to guard their unseen parts as Allah has guarded them. As for women whom you fear will rebel, admonish them first, and then send them to a separate bed, and then beat them. But if they are obedient after that, then do nothing further; surely Allah is exalted and great!
Many Muslims and apologists cite the verse from the Quran which states “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). In the Quran, the concept of abrogation exists. Abrogation in the Quran is when later verses cancel out the earlier verses as the later verses are stronger and the word of Allah is infallible and perfect. For example, this later verse would replace the earlier verse of there being no compulsion in religion:
Quran 9:29: Make war on those who have received the Scriptures [Jews and Christians] but do not believe in Allah and the Last Day. They do not forbid what Allah and His messenger have forbidden. The Christians and Jews do not follow the religion of truth until they submit and pay the poll tax [jizya] and they are humiliated.
Under Sharia Law, there is little to no freedom for non-Muslims and women. Non-Muslim inhabitants of an Islamic society are referred to as dhimmis, or second-class citizens. Islamic law is simply not compatible with a civilized society. Non-Muslims would have to submit to their Muslim rulers and pay them taxes. The dhimmi in the Ottoman Empire were not considered equal to Muslims and were not allowed to carry weapons or ride on top of horses or camels. Even though Christians and Jews were allowed to live in the Ottoman Empire they were severely oppressed and persecuted. The justice system under Sharia is dualistic; there is one set of laws for Muslim males and another set for women and non-Muslims. Under Islamic rule, there is no freedom of religion, speech, press, expression, or thought.
According to a survey done by Pew Global, tensions between Westerners and Muslims remain prevalent with Muslims having predominantly unfavorable views of Westerners while Westerners have mixed views of Muslims. Another study done by Pew Research found that a large portion of Muslims around the world do support having Sharia as law of the land. Many Muslims support corporal punishment for theft or robbery, stoning adulterers (including gays and lesbians), and killing apostates. It should be noted that a majority of Western Muslims do not hold these views but this is because they are simply not following their faith as strictly as their foreign counterparts, or like how the prophet Muhammad intended them to.
Islam is not merely a religion but is also a political ideology that is antithetical to individual liberty and Western civilization. The prophet Muhammad is viewed as the perfect being and Muslims are commanded by Allah to emulate him. Many will attempt to compare Islam to other religions but this serves as a false equivalence. There is no other religion like Islam and no other religious figure like Muhammad. The only interpretation of Islam that truly matters is the interpretation of Muhammad.
General Muslim Stats:
According to the Center for Security Policy:
- 51% of American Muslims want to be allowed to be governed by Sharia Law
- 30% of American Muslims believe it is legitimate to use violence against those that insult Islam
- 25% of American Muslims said that violence against Americans can be justified as part of global jihad
- 33% of American Muslims said that sharia should take precedence over the constitution if they clashed
- In the US, only 26% say American first, 49% say Muslim first
- In “moderate” Turkey and Malaysia, 1 in 5 Muslims believe suicide bombings are necessary to defend Islam
- 84% of Egyptian Muslims support the death penalty for apostasy
- Educated Muslims also favor Sharia, including 55% in “moderate” Turkey
- 89% of executions in 2015 took place in just three countries: Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
- 52% of British (supposedly “moderate”) Muslims believe homosexuality should be illegal according to a channel 4 poll
The Economic Freedom Index of 2017 indicates the vast majority of predominantly Muslim countries (circled in blue) have abysmal property rights
Source: Beliefs About Sharia