Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a well-known activist in the Islamic community, wrote an article for the Huffington post, Protecting Islam by Telling the Truth. In this article, he called upon the leaders of Islam from around the world to raise their voices and defend Islam from those who have corrupted its teachings.
“It is time — past time — for the leaders of those countries that have the political and religious influence in the Islamic world to shape and lead the global discourse on Islam to stand up and loudly condemn this crime and all of the other crimes committed by extremists who preach violence in the name of Islam.”
The good news is that there are many in the Islamic world that are trying to do exactly what Imam Rauf is calling for. Unfortunately, the media who “shape and lead the global discourse,” prevent these voices from being heard. Ali Salem, an Egyptian writer, wrote in the Wall Street Journal about this very issue.
“Many of my fellow Muslims are trying to reform Islam from within. Yet our voices are smothered in the West by Islamist apologists and their well-meaning but unwitting allies on the left. For instance, if you try to draw attention to the stark correlation between the rise of Islamic religiosity and regressive attitudes toward women, you’re labeled an Islamophobe.
“My own experience as a Muslim in New York bears this out. Socially progressive, self-proclaimed liberals, who would denounce even the slightest injustice committed against women or minorities in America, are appalled when I express a similar criticism about my own community.
“Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask: Why? Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral: The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, ‘the jihadists are a minority who don’t represent Islam’, and I am fear-mongering by even wondering aloud.”
For the necessary changes to occur in the Islamic world, the institutions of the West that shape public opinion must provide a platform for those who question, and are critical of Islam. The current sate of affairs in the academic world and the media, if you are disagree them about Islam, than you are labeled an Islamophobic. Let’s face it, the reason the left demonizes their opponents, is so they don’t have to debate the issues. Bill Maher quoted Christopher Hitchens a few months ago about those who use accuses others as being Islamaphobic This “is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.”
Take for example Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a courageous woman and a member of the Dutch parliament who put her life on the line (literally) for criticizing Islam’s treatment of women. She made a documentary called, Submission, which brought to light the way women are treated in Islam. Keep in mind that this documentary was only ten minutes. After the documentary’s release in August of 2004, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered by a Dutch Muslim for his involved in the film. His death was so brutal I cannot even recount it here. Ali went into hiding after van Gogh’s murder and a series of death threats aimed at her.
One would think that Hirsi Ali would be a hero to those on the left, especially in the arena of women’s rights. Instead, she has been demonized by the left and accused as being “Islamophobic.” Recently, Hirsi Ali was invited to Brandeis University to receive an honorary degree, but reversed its decision after an outcry from the left. Not surprisingly, those who lead the campaign to silence Hirsi Ali were members of the Islamic Studies department and the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR).
It’s not surprising that so many Universities disinvite anyone who disagrees with them; After all, they are more committed to activism and social justice than they are to the truth. It’s ironic that the left champions intellectualism but instead silences anyone with dissenting voices, especially in our Universities.
Dinesh D’Souza said on the Bill Maher program, “I always thought that the purpose of the University is to have intelligent people come together to challenge and offend the opinions of the predominant forces of the university” (Dinesh D’Souza). I guess for liberals it means challenging the opinions of right-wing Christians.
The bad news in all of this is that the intolerance exhibited by Brandeis University in uninviting Hirsi Ali, is but one of the limitless examples of how the left stifles any honest discussion about Islam. Until those who occupy the most powerful institutions in the west allow for an open discussion about Islam, things will only stay the same.