We weren’t born knowing the true nature of Islam. It has been a slow, gradual revelation for most of us, a slow unveiling, like the dimmer switch slowly, slowly turned to lighten a dark room. It has taken many of us a decade or longer to acknowledge that Islam is radical; that there is no “moderate” Islam. And that the so-called “moderate” Muslims are often much less moderate than we are led to believe. Most do not yet understand this. Many do.
Robert Spencer, Bill Warner, Bat Ye’or, Pamela Geller, Mark Durie, Chris Logan, and many others came to this realization several years ago.
Our understanding of Islam is a journey. This journey, for each of us, is worth telling. Why? Because it humanizes who we are. That we were not born being bigots and Islamophobes, nor are we now. We are among those who bothered to learn the truth of Islam over years.
Elsa Schieder, who has a PhD in psychology, sociology, and literary studies, has not only taken this journey herself, but is putting together a video series about the journey many of today’s Paul Reveres have taken to arrive at the truth of Islam. HERE is her website. Sign up to see the results of her work and reflect on your own journey toward the truth.
My journey toward the truth of Islam began on 9-11. Up till then, all news stories were a blur of Middle East this, and Iraq that, and terrorists the other. Terrorism, hatred, intimidation, supremacism and vile behavior was rarely if ever associated with Islam in the news or in my mind. In retrospect, the media had already scrubbed Islam from their vocabulary of news reporting, even before 9-11. The day after 9-11, President Bush even declared “Islam is a religion of peace.” To mimic Michelle Obama’s line, I think that was my first time in my adult life I was really exposed to the essence of “cognitive dissonance.”
In the weeks following 9-11 I thirsted for an understanding of Islam. One of the few books available in the local bookstores on the topic was by Karen Armstrong. I read, I pondered, I shook my head while my inner red light was flashing. (I spent 3 years in the Intelligence Service of our military where I educated my “red light”, aka “crap detector.”) Years later I learned that Karen was and remains a consummate dhimmi Muslim apologist who provides only the peaceful Meccan side of Islam’s duality.
A few months after 9-11 a contest was announced. The folks responsible for rebuilding ground zero sought entries for design themes for the site. Still remaining in my relative Kum-bey-Yah stage of understanding Islam, I submitted a proposal for an Epcot like multi-religion visitor center promoting understanding and peace among and between all the world’s great faiths. In retrospect, I am amazed at the absurd thinking ignorance can generate.
A year or two after 9-11 I was on a car trip to Virginia from Florida. Along the way a radio station remained strong enough for me to hear the entire interview of Brigitte Gabrielle speaking on her experience in Lebanon during the Islamic takeover. From that time forward, I sought out those who had personal experience with Islam and who have devoted their lives to the study of Islam from a western or Christian perspective.
Robert Spencer was an early source of truth and influence. He appeared a bit more reserved in his opinions in 2003-04 than he is today. But some pointed emailed questions to him produced unequivocal responses.
Over the next several years, after reading dozens of books, listening to dozens of interviews, surfing hundreds of web sites, communicating with dozens of Islamic experts, and listening to hundreds of news stories of acts Islamic terror, I have acquired my current understanding of Islam.
Here is the progression of my understanding:
Pre-9-11: Islam? Is that a religion?
9-11: Muslims. Is that related to Islam? What’s going on? Why does the Islamic world cheer this atrocity?
First month after 9-11: There sure are a lot of conflicting opinions about Islam.
First year after 9-11: There is more to this Islam thing than most people are willing to admit. But experts say that Islam cannot be pigeon-holed . There are numerous sects of Islam. Most are peaceful.
2003-2005: There is a radical* Islam and a moderate** Islam; there are radical Muslims and moderate Muslims. It’s good that it is estimated that only 10% of Muslims are “radical” with the great majority being “moderate.” But gee, that means there are still, let’s see, 10% of 1.5 billion – hmmm, 150,000,000 radical Muslims.
2006-2007: I’m beginning to understand that the heart of Islam is based on the life of Muhammad, that Muhammad’s life is to be emulated by the faithful Muslim. Muhammad did what? He participated in and promoted what? Based on Islam being based on the life and teaching of Muhammad, there was no choice but that Islam could be nothing but a radical religion. There is no “moderate” Islam. I began to question why ACT for America insists that only “radical” Islam is the problem. But I still insisted that the majority of Muslims are moderate because, like Christians, there are cultural Muslims and non-devout Muslims who don’t really follow Islam. This period is when I first learned of the alliance between Islam and the left (progressives, Communists, and Fascists – yes, Fascism is just another repressive dictatorial system)
2008-2009: Islam is radical. And it is more of a political ideology than a religion because most of the Islamic Trilogy pertains to how the Kafir ought to be treated and coerced. Muslims promote a political agenda that is coercive and subversive - tantamount to sedition. There are not as many “moderate” Muslims as I first thought. Why did so many Muslims in my former home town of Fort Lauderdale turn out to demonstrate and protest against American action in the Middle East? I was inspired by Allen West’s warning of “when tolerance becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide.”
2010-2011: Islam is a fascist political ideology veiled in supremacist religious fervor. Those who suggest otherwise are part of the problem. Many Muslims in the US who were initially thought to be “moderate” turn out to be promoters of terror or supporters of terror groups. I posed the question about Zudhi Jasser: Is he representative of the consummate “moderate” Muslim?
2012: Not only is Islam radical, but it is impossible to distinguish a “moderate” Muslim from a “radical” Muslim. I thought not more than 10% of the worlds 1.5 billion Muslims could be classified as radical. Now I believe it is the greater majority. Zudhi Jasser, does NOT represent the consummate “moderate” Muslim. He portrays himself as a devout “moderate” Muslim (an oxymoron) while he claims to represent the “real” Islam when in fact he is considered an apostate in just about every Mosque in the US.
Where is your understanding of Islam and of Muslims on the above chronological continuum? Do you have a solid basis for what you believe, beyond the fact that you knew a very nice Muslim, or saw apostate Zudhi Jasser on TV saying that he represents the true “moderate Islam.”
My understanding of Islam and Muslims is still evolving. High on my list of understanding and concern is the fact that our nation’s failure to understand and forthrightly acknowledge what Islam is is a greater danger to our national security and freedoms than Islam itself.
* Radical: By this term is meant extreme in the sense of contrary to the norm based on Judeo-Christian morality and custom. Typically associated with irrational, intolerant, provocative, and violent teachings or behavior. However, once the ideology or allegiance is understood, the modifier ‘radical’ is no longer necessary. ‘Radical Islam’ becomes ‘Islam is radical.’ ‘Radical Muslim’ becomes ‘Muslim is radical.’
** Moderate: By this term is meant ‘reasonable’; consistent with Judeo-Christian morality and custom. Typically associated with an ideology or people who act rationally and peaceably. This term is associated with the aspect of Islam that is not currently in an aggressive stage and Muslims who are playing the role of ‘good neighbor/good friend’.