The Islam Twist

by | Dec 8, 2002

“Suicide bombers twist true Islam.” So goes Muslim apologists’ standard song and dance. Well, let’s test their theory out with a little dance of our own, one I call the “Islam Twist.” Here’s how it’s done. First we identify an essential tenet of Islam. Then we twist it to mean something totally different– as many […]

“Suicide bombers twist true Islam.” So goes Muslim apologists’ standard song and dance. Well, let’s test their theory out with a little dance of our own, one I call the “Islam Twist.”

Here’s how it’s done. First we identify an essential tenet of Islam. Then we twist it to mean something totally different– as many insist bin Laden and company do. We repeat that process for each of Islam’s fundamental philosophic principles. Finally, we compare our results to the so-called extremists’ beliefs. If there’s a match– if our twisted version resembles the fanatics’ “twisted” version, then Islam is off the hook– the claim that terrorists pervert an otherwise “peaceful religion” will hold water. Our focus here is exclusively on the big picture, because it matters most. Lesser issues we’ll leave for clergymen–those masters of minutia–to debate. So let’s don our dancing shoes– and thinking caps– and hit the floor.

Muslims believe in two realms, a natural and a supernatural. The latter, they say, is more important, because that’s where people go when their earthly days are done, Muslims to heaven and infidels (non-Muslims) to hell. Thus, the “material world” shouldn’t be the center of one’s attention; life here is just a test run.

Ready to do the Islam Twist? Okay, let’s twist that dogma so that instead of two worlds, we ascribe to only one: the natural realm. In fact, let’s just dismiss outright all arbitrary assertions of the supernatural. No promise of heaven or threat of hell, only this physical universe and the time you have in it.

Got the hang of it? Let’s Twist again.

Islam ranks faith above reason. If, for instance, a devout Muslim encounters a fact that clashes with Mohammed’s teachings, he exudes faith and brushes that pesky fact aside.

Let’s twist that principle by crowning reason king and making faith the court jester. We accept as true only that which is derived from sensory evidence or logical inference therefrom. We revere rationality and reject appeals to authority, tradition, revelation and all forms of “just knowing.”

Shall we dance some more?

Islam holds self-sacrifice as a premier virtue. If one’s personal desires conflict with Allah’s demands, morality entails sacrificing those desires.

Imagine that we warp Islam until it promotes not self-sacrifice but self-interest. If you want to become a doctor, or enter a beauty contest, or earn a million bucks, you are not required to surrender that dream for anyone– not for Allah or Mohammed or Jesus or Buddha or voodoo-man or your neighbor or ten thousand neighbors. You own your life, and our moral code endorses your living it.

One final number.

Islamists integrate state and church. If a citizen violates Islamic creeds, or some local “authority’s” interpretation of them, clerics can sic the government on him. You possess only what “rights” the faith-based State permits.

Let’s imagine that our twisted translation of Islam upholds the primacy of the individual, not the religious collective, and casts government in the role of defending man’s– and woman’s– rights. Moreover, we erect a constitutional fence between state and religion, so one can’t run roughshod over the other. You may practice any or no religion, but you have zero right to enforce your opinions at the point of a gun– or through decree backed by the threat of a gun.

Now that we’ve twisted more than Chubby Checker, let’s retrace our steps.

Pure Islam champions the supernatural realm, faith, self-sacrifice, and religious collectivism. While our “twisted,” “impure” variety extols this world, reason, self-interest, and individual freedom.

Which of the two then more closely approximates the suicide-bombers’ views?

Well, terrorists rate the alleged supernatural above this physical life — as does true Islam. Terrorists appraise faith above reason– as does true Islam. Terrorists exalt self-sacrifice– as does true Islam. Terrorists see politics as a handmaiden of religion– as does true Islam.

Gee, rather than Muslim extremists twisting Islam, as we are repeatedly told, it seems they’re merely practicing what it fundamentally preaches. Oh, there may be some factional infighting, there may be some squabbling with “moderates” over this doctrine or that — when have any two religionists completely agreed on anything containing much specificity? But on the essentials, Muslims speak with one otherworldly voice.

True Islam–indeed, religion in general– is itself so “logically” twisted that any additional contortions, as this exercise shows, only help straighten things out.

Wayne Dunn writes about political and cultural events from an Objectivist perspective.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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