Painting All Muslims with the Same Brush

Painting All Muslims with the Same Brush

As a result of my unapologetic and justified criticisms of many of the more harmful doctrines of Islam, many have confused my stance and used my work to further a hateful anti-Muslim narrative, one which paints all or most Muslims with the same brush. This has never been my intention, nor have I enjoyed the company of bigots and misanthropes who employ overly simplistic narrative devices to divide humanity and silence the desperately needed voices of progressive and liberal Muslims. I am writing this short post to make it perfectly clear that my work against the religion of Islam is in no way different from my work against Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism. I’m sure many who linger just to the right of the left will interpret this post as “virtue signalling”, but I am forced to constantly qualify my criticisms of Islam because of the anti-Muslim bigotry that appears to have besieged not only small-minded conservative bigots, but some of my fellow liberals – women and men who, as a result of justified criticisms of the Regressive Left, have fallen prey to bigoted paradigms of “thought”.  My criticism of religion is, and has always been, focused on addressing the problems of specific scriptural dictates, but most importantly, the atrocities that manifest when people are indoctrinated to uncritically cherish inherited beliefs over thoughtful skepticism and free thought.  Islam, as I am forced to repeat to members of the Regressive Left ad nauseam, is a religion, a collection of beliefs and practices that vary widely depending on geography, socio-economic status and numerous other social and psychological variables. It is not a person worthy of human rights, but an intangible system of beliefs and practices that should be subjected to scrutiny, criticism, revision and even ridicule in some instances. When members of ISIS hold up chapter eight of the Qur’an to justify the sex-slavery they have become infamous for practicing, it is incumbent upon us to put religious sentiments aside and address the problematic nature of such medieval teachings. The same is true of barbaric and backwards apostasy and blasphemy laws which zealously operate in many Islamic states. This being said, too many appear to now believe that all or most Muslims follow the Qur’an in exactly the same manner, and although there are polls to show that homophobia, for example, is rife amongst many Muslims, it does a disservice to liberal Muslims who stand with the LGBTQ community when we paint all Muslims with the same brush. If we continue to propagate this myopic narrative, who will lend a soapbox to the gay Muslim, the feminist Muslim, or the reformist Muslim? The egregious problem with painting all Muslims with the same brush is two-fold: It disenfranchises the voices of progressive Muslims and it causes the criticism of Islam to be conflated with anti-Muslim bigotry.  Needless to say, such hindrances to progress are counterproductive to not only the wellbeing of Muslims suffering under tyrannical Islamic regimes, but also to those non-Muslims who become the victims of jihadists and Islamists.  I sincerely hope that I have made my humanist stance clear, and that should you come across someone who uses my work to paint all Muslims with the same bigoted brush, you will share this post with them.

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