Monday, January 25, 2010

This Is Why

There's been some bleating from the usual suspects about a recent poll showing that Americans have a much more negative view of Islam than other religions. I've seen a number of articles implying or stating outright that these poll results show that Americans are ignorant of Islam, unfairly associate mainstream Islam with terrorism, or are outright bigoted. But it's difficult for any rational person to observe what goes on in the name of Islam, and not have a negative opinion of the religion. All you have to do is look at almost any majority Islamic state. Hardly a day goes by when there isn't some sort of incident that illustrates why there is nothing surprising about American dislike of Islam. There's the glaringly obvious example of Iran, the one state in the world actually ruled by Muslim clergy. There's Saudi Arabia, with its oppressive misogyny justified by its interpretation of Islamic theology. There's Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, and so on. And then there are Muslim countries you don't even hear much about, such as Bangladesh. 

"Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant." That's a story from Bangladesh in today's Telegraph.

Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.

Her rapist was pardoned by the elders.

The scum who did this aren't terrorists. They aren't fringe extremists. They are Muslim elders, acting on how Islam is practiced in large portions of countries such as Bangladesh. If you want to understand why many people seem to have a visceral dislike of Islam, whether they are ignorant of the details of the religion or not, look no further than incidents such as this. This type of disgusting treatment of women, and other barbarism is not exactly a rarity. And it is tied directly to how Islam is practiced in certain countries. 

There are plenty of current examples of evil perpetrated in the name of religion, whether Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or other. If this were say the sixteenth century, a case could be made for Christianity as the most odious religion. But at the moment, the misdeeds done in the name of Islam are far and away the most prevalent and egregious. Suspicion and dislike of Islam doesn't have to be based on bigotry, it can be based on reason and observation.


  1. Thank you for making a point that often gets lost in the general rush to not seem anti-Islamic. I recently read the Koran for a Middle East history course and can verify that the "extremists" are the only ones getting it right. There really is a difference between Islam and just about every other elaborate mythology involving one or more deities and a prescribed way of life. Most other holy books preach a lot of good morality with a fair amount of hatred, intolerance, misogyny, and murder thrown in. The Koran is exactly the opposite, preaching mostly hatred, misogyny, war, and intolerance with an occasional "render the alms levy" thrown in.

  2. Astonishing and outrageous. They clearly haven't got the moral sense that comes naturally to a piranha.