Azeem Ibrahim, a research fellow at Harvard Kenny School’s International Security Program has recently published an article in the Huffington Post describing “The Biggest Lies About Islam” that are supposedly told and perpetuated by the Western media. Oh my, this article is a wellspring of cloudy reasoning. Azeem is bending so far over backwards to be politically correct that it hurts to read. Here I have devised, in response to this article, “The Biggest Lapses In Reasoning of Azeem Ibrahim.”
Lapse in reasoning 1:
“. . .And its central finding was that the conventional wisdom that Muslims worldwide feel overwhelmingly negative toward the Western world is completely false.”
Ibrahim is confusing consensus opinions of Muslims as a whole with the actual teachings of the Koran. This is very neotenous way of thinking about the issue. To draw a parallel: A consensus of Christians think that stoning people is wrong, despite the fact that the Old Testament gives many instances where it would be your duty to do just that. Just because most Christians ignore those passages, as well as many others containing abhorrent barbarism, doesn’t mean that to expose the passages amounts to lying about Christian fundamentals. You could say that it is a lie that most Muslims don’t condone violence, but it would be simply incorrect to say that the fundamentals of Islam do not condone violence. Islamic fundamentals are not just what a majority of Muslims happen to rationalize. There are no fundamentals apart from the holy texts.
Lapse in reasoning 2:
“The best way to illustrate this lie is by an analogy, a little thought experiment. How would you feel if every time you opened a paper or watched the news you heard newspaper columnists, TV pundits, politicians, and even some academics telling you that Christianity is a religion of hate.”
Uhh, I would say that they’re right. To say otherwise would be hypocritical. The Bible condones more atrocious acts than does the Koran by far. A Christian would no doubt be offended by statements claiming how Christianity is a “religion of hate,” but their taking offense is simply a case of them having false ideas about what their religion actually says.
Lapse in reasoning 3:
He says that Muslims do, in fact, condemn violence in the name of Islam. Sure, many might say they do, but how many would, if asked, agree that the teachings of their holy book are wrong regarding what to do in the case of apostasy? If you don’t know, the punishment for apostasy is death, according to the Koran. Find that a majority of Muslims condemn this teaching (I doubt you’ll find it), and then I’ll believe that most Muslims condemn violence in the name of Islam.
Political correctness is a flimsy belief that society will somehow benefit from people doing everything possible to not step on each other’s toes, or dare offend anyone. I believe that true benefit to society will materialize when people stop cowering away in over-arching respect for belief systems where no respect is actually due.