Islam vs the Muslim Identity

I think several people I am friends with could get some insight from this conversation between Ali Rizvi and Dave Rubin about the Muslim identity and how both the left and the right have reacted completely the wrong way when it comes to both 9/11 and the Islamic State.

– The left argued that Muslims have to be protected as a minority
– Any criticism of Islam is bigotry

– The right (Fox News narrative) argued that Islam is a violent religion
– We must profile everybody and clamp down on immigration
The mistake both made was conflating “the ideology with the people/identity.”

Most people are Muslim as a birth identity, just like someone may be Jewish as a birth identity but actually be an atheist (or a member of another religion). Ali Rizvi is an atheist, but considers himself to be a Muslim by birth and tradition – in the same way people who are born within a Christian culture celebrate Christmas and other traditionally Christian celebrations.

So the left is making the mistake of conflating the religion, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a thing of evil, with the people who are committing evil acts under the name of Islam. In conflating them and arguing “any criticism of Islam is bigotry” and defending the Qur’an and Islam, the left is actually doing a disservice to the religion. People who are scared about what’s going on in the Middle East are pointing to the terrorists and the IS quoting, correctly, from the Qur’an and other religious texts and the left is defending those religious texts and the religion. That doesn’t quell the fear and concerns of those people and actually leaves the door wide open to far right-wing politicians with better, though incorrect, answers than the left is willing to give.

The right is making the mistake of conflating the religion with the identity of terrorists and the members of the IS as well – out of the same ignorance of the religion as the left is. The right is taking the terrorists/IS on their word and, as a result, are reacting in a way that feeds both the left and the Islamic supremacists. The right is making the point for the terrorists/IS to other Muslims and those Muslims who don’t side with the terrorists/IS see this and react in a way that convinces them to support the IS – arguably with reason.

When the Muslims are seeing their cities being bombed and western countries are barring refugees who want to get away from the madness that is ISIS, they see themselves as being penned up to be eradicated by the west. Of course they’re going to become more open to whatever it is the Islamic supremacists are saying. The poor nerf herder in Syria who just wants to live a simple life but can’t out of fear of their land being bombed aren’t going to see or hear the rationale the bombers are making to do the bombing. They will not recognize their lands are being bombed because ISIS is on their lands when ISIS members are telling their own messed up narrative about the west wanting to eradicate all Muslims. They’re going to join ISIS.

Both the left and the right are making this absolutely devastating mistake and both are equally at fault for the surge in the right-ring: the left for not providing the answers because those answers might seem bigoted (The discussions about terrorismĀ don’t have to be bigoted, but the left won’t bother talking long enough to realize that.) and the right for not taking a more nuanced approach to the Middle Eastern situation.