Posted: 03 Feb 2011 02:27 AM PST
WHEN I TRY to educate my fellow non-Muslims about basic Islamic doctrine, they often automatically assume I hate Muslims. They don’t have a way of reconciling my criticism with any model of the world they are familiar with, and the only way to understand me is to conclude I must just be a “hater” or have a prejudice against Arabs or Muslims. But I have found some success in clearing this up by explaining how I look at the whole subject. Something like this…
I think of Muslims as being divided into three categories. There are those who understand the doctrine well and believe in it and are committed to following its dictates. This is a relatively small percentage, although nobody knows how small. I would guess it is somewhere between five and twenty-five percent of Muslims. That’s a pretty big range, I know, but like I said, it’s hard to know for sure.
The second category of Muslims are those who know about the doctrine but secretly reject parts of it. They do it secretly because it says in the doctrine they are not allowed to reject any of it, and also because in many parts of the world it is physically dangerous to reject any part of Islamic doctrine publicly. I believe this group is another ten to twenty percent of Muslims. That’s just a guess.
The third category is the biggest. These are Muslims who don’t know what their own doctrine says. They grew up Muslim, their parents were Muslim, and they never thought of having a choice about being Muslim, but they’ve never been interested enough to find out what Islamic doctrine says.
With an understanding of the three categories, I can now explain that I do not hate “Muslims.” What bothers me is that people in the first category — the true believers — are successfully exploiting the third and very large category of ignorant Muslims, and successfully fooling most of the non-Muslims.
And even that doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that the true believing Muslims are successfully exploiting and fooling so many people simply because people refuse to look. It’s not like the information is hard to find. The ignorant Muslims have not taken the time to explore their own doctrines enough to accept or reject them. And the ignorant non-Muslims essentially refuse to look. They make assumptions instead, and self-righteously defend their assumptions. But the doctrines are widely published and abundantly available. That’s what really bothers me.
I feel like Winston Churchill must have felt during the 1930′s. He read Mein Kampf. The book was available for anyone to read. Churchill was trying to get people to simply look, but for the most part people did not want to look for fear of what they would find. What a frustrating, angering situation. That’s why I appear frustrated and angry sometimes when I’m talking to people. It is not hatred toward Muslims. It is anger at our ridiculous situation: A group is actively working toward a terrible goal which has been widely published in the open, but so many people do not want to know about it. Under the circumstances, I think intense frustration is a normal response.
Anyway, when I explain it this way, I think people better understand my passion for the subject and see it differently, and that helps them listen to whatever else I have to say. It prevents them from “shutting their ears,” so to speak. It prevents them from just dismissing what I have to say (because they won’t listen to “hatemongers” or prejudice people).
If you feel the same way, try explaining it to people when you can see they are misunderstanding your passion for the subject. And tell us how it worked (or didn’t work) on Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims.