Controversial, Unpopular Opinions
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ISIS Is A Muslim Problem, Period

I’ve always maintained the view that political correctness, not terrorism, is the one that’s eventually going to kill us all.

Society automatically labels anyone who dares raise their valid concerns about Islam as “Islamophobes”. Anyone who dares criticise this supposedly perfect religion is deemed a bigot and racist (ironic considering Islam isn’t a race in any sense). Even Muslims or ex-Muslims who does not take the “ISIS isn’t Muslim” stance are met with calls of betrayal, disloyalty, and pandering.

And this has led to a worrying number of (potentially productive) dialogues and discussions being halted in the name of political correctness – people’s feelings are too easily bruised these days. “How dare you say ISIS are Muslims! Can’t you see they attacked Muslims during the month of Ramadan! ISIS has nothing to do with Islam you Trump-supporting pig!” they’ll scream.

And so, cue the ad hominem ‘backlash’, we become content. We become satisfied with adopting “if you dare link Muslims with terrorism, you’re a (insert insult)” as the official narrative for the whole ISIS situation. True enough, as the terror group tear through Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Dhaka and Lahore etc. over the past few months, people have been quick to denounce the link between the terrorists and Islam.

ISIS-Children-014430934057.jpg

But is it really our fault, the fault of the general, non-Muslim public, that we link ISIS and Islam to terrorism? These monsters scream “Allahu Akbar” before they detonate themselves. They cheer and worship Allah before tossing blindfolded people off the top of buildings. They quote passages from the Quran before chopping their heads off and cite verses from it to justify raping women and torturing children. In short, they use their religion to justify their barbaric actions. Is it us, the non-Muslim public, making the link/connection, or should the blame be deservedly shifted to these group of vile human low-lives?

Or think of how most Muslims are perpetuating the notion that Islam is a problematic religion without realising it. It is not a secret that the Quran contains verses that are extremely questionable – some advocate for killing of non-believers, others propose beheading them. Yet, whenever these points are brought up, Muslims would usually reply with an “oh, those are Allah’s words. You must have misquoted them, or maybe the real meaning got lost in translation.”

What kind of message is this sending out to non-Muslims out there? By constantly proposing alternative interpretations instead of confronting the verses (and insisting their own interpretations are the only valid ones), Muslims are essentially telling us that hey, something is wrong with the book. Or more specifically, one that insinuates the person who wrote the holy book is utterly incompetent. Think about it, this is Allah we’re talking about. Allah is considered a divine being. If what he had written is supposedly perfect and cannot possibly be wrong, why do you have to keep explaining to others that he is being misunderstood? Or being misquoted? If someone neutral has to listen to you, an average joe, and your persistent explanations, over what Allah, someone who’s divine, wrote himself, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it?

To quote Pakistani writer Ali A. Rizvi, who’s a Muslim himself,

not in zone.002

If it’s of any help, here’s a summarised representation of the above paragraphs:

You walk into a restaurant, the waiter brings you to your table and gives you a menu. You see an appetiser called “Fresh Oysters”. You call the waiter over and tell him,

Islam Representation.001

How is the rest of the world supposed to feel when they see Muslims defending the very same book that these Islamic radicals quote to justify their despicable behaviors? And to insist that it’s perfect, that any verses even remotely hinting at violence are automatically taken out of context, I honestly don’t blame people for detesting Islam because of ISIS. There’s only so many things we can blame on our governments.

“You condemn all kinds of terrible things being done in the name of your religion, but when the same things appear as verses in your book, you use all your faculties to defend them.” – Ali A. Rizvi

I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t fair to most Muslims, to those who practice their religion peacefully, and to those who wish for nothing but harmony and prosperity on our planet. But here lies the inconvenient truth: this isn’t something you can put it down purely on the hate or “ignorance” of people. 

ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and contrary to popular belief, isn’t one that exists because the people in it are stupid (entirely). Those who support Hillary Clinton aren’t necessarily hedge fund managers or slimy Wall Street bankers; those who support Trump aren’t entirely jobless rednecks or racist Southerners. ISIS exists in a spectrum – yes, the core is made up of brainwashed, angsty and betrayed folks filled with hatred, but its membership extends to highly-educated professionals and decorated businessmen. These people pray to Allah and read the Quran like every Muslim would, but somehow, somewhere, they’ve been tricked into believing that ISIS are the good guys.

But as Maajid Nawaz, columnist and ex-advisor to David Cameron, puts it so succinctly,

religion is as bad.001

The problem will not go away until Muslims can acknowledge that, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

I’m hardly a politically correct person by my own admission, but amidst everything I just wrote, it’s getting more and more painful to see these tragic headlines appearing on my newsfeeds everyday. For all the talk about media desensitisation, every episode of the war against terror still hurts. Innocent people and their hurting families, devastated in an instant by the senseless acts of fellow human beings. Victims that could have very well been us.

Will things change anytime soon? I sincerely hope so.

But realistically?

Not a fat chance.

This is a deep-rooted issue with no end in sight, and one which resolution involves something wholly complex and intricate, and I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers while comfortably sitting behind the relative safety of my computer screen.

All I know is this:

Don’t say that ISIS aren’t “true Muslims” in the wake of a disaster. No matter how many times we light up landmarks with flags, overlay our profile pictures with those same flags, create hashtags to display our support and give speeches about strength, unity, and tolerance, things will never change this way.

For Muslims aren’t just part of the complicated solution;

They are the solution.

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18 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Real Irony Behind Trump Jr’s Skittles | Lhu

  2. NPP says

    i came here after the recent furore over this article on Twitter, and as a Muslim myself, I’m here to lend you my support. I honestly don’t see anything that’s wrong with this article. the concerns brought up are extremely valid, more so in such troubling times right now in the world.

    i just hope the people who are against this article actually read it in full in the first place. It seems as though most of the hate are generated from a herd mentality. Your thoughts aren’t anything new – and as you quoted them yourself, they’re actually similar schools of thinking by respected Muslim academics and public leaders. Fellow Muslims, we always preach about love, unity, freedom of expression and understanding, but whenever anyone, Muslims included, propose looking for solutions within our religion, you guys freak the fk out and go all defensive and attack whoever agrees with the solution. Like what the writer has written above, how can we make people believe that we’re a peaceful religion when you guys attack people who don’t share your beliefs. Is this what Allah advocates for? Is this what the Quran advocates for? To mindlessly attack people who disagree with us? What kind of message is this sending to non-Muslims? As a Muslim, I am truly ashamed.

    I really apologise on behalf of the people who have attacked you. This article dsnt warrant any hate at all. As you mentioned below, the only way to move forward to through discussion, but I’m afraid with the pc and herd mentality in Singapore, your efforts will inevitably go to waste. No one dares to speak out their support for such a controversial yet inconvenient truth. I admire your courage though, but I’m afraid things will not change anytime soon.

    • Thanks for reading the article and for your support as well, I appreciate it! Opinions like the above article are inevitably controversial and are bound to attract hate/disagreements, so it’s something I have to deal with. I do hope things change in the near future and that people will be more receptive to such content.

  3. Jack Lim says

    You know what I find funny? People in the comments launching ad hominem attacks, literally proving EVERYTHING the author has written in the article above. The above points the author has wrote isn’t some sort of hippie thinking by some atheist megalord, it’s a thinking that has been prevalent among religious leaders for sometime now. All the examples quoted in this article are written by Islamic public figures, Muslims with a great deal of influence and in some cases, authority as well. Islam obviously has something to ISIS (one simply has to just look at the ridiculous comments being posted in here), and for all these lefties who are going apeshit blaming the author for bring up an uncomfortable truth really need to start accepting things for what they are. Don’t use the article and its author as a convenient scapegoat; if you truly believe that the points made are wrong, question the MUSLIMS who made those points in the first place.

  4. Athirah says

    Why would you deny muslims from defending ourselves when we NEED to condemn everything ISIS has done? We know that those who believe in the warped ideologies presented by ISIS are clearly misguided. Its also more than likely that they get trapped into this organisation which threaten not only their lives but their loved ones.

    At the head of this organisation, the people in charge are gangsters, using religion to mask their criminal nature. Their motive is far from anything religion-based. At the root of it, its clear they are only motivated by money and power.

    They kill more muslims than non-muslims. In addition to the fear of an ISIS attack that both muslims and non-muslims face, we fear alienation because of all the terror attacks that now seems to be our fault when we are victims of it even more so than the non-muslims. It is unfair, to put it all on us to put an end to it. We would, if we could. We hate this more than you do, trust me. It brings me to tears.

    Imagine you had someone using your name, wearing your clothes, trying to pass off as you but CLEARLY their actions show a DISTURBING DIFFERENCE in values from those you have. But those who are ignorant of your true nature, think its your fault anyway.

    I am a muslim, I love my religion and I love the peace we share in Singapore. While I understand the fear ISIS has triggered in non-muslims, ignorance only breeds hate in the world that we don’t need. Believe that the rest of us are just fighting the greater war, the one within ourselves. We are not interested in creating a disturbance towards others, what more killing?

    Open your heart to learning the religion, it is not enough to pick what you like from the Quran to “support” your claims, by doing so, you’re no different from the ignorant. At least make a true effort before slamming my God down, branding Him with “incompetence”. Hang out with your muslim friends, hang out with me. And you would know, we’re nothing monstrous like ISIS. So defend us, in a world that seems to be unsure of us. In the comfort of the peace we share, you should know best.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I sincerely believe you misunderstood the point of this article. No one is stopping you from condemning ISIS – did I mention specifically that oh, ISIS shouldn’t be condemned? It’s wrong for Muslims to condemn this evil organisation? No.

      Your entire comment simply proved my point about ISIS being an unfortunate by-product of Islam, one that exists solely because the latter exists as well. Take note, I am not equating Islam with ISIS, I am simply pointing out that Islam has something to do with the sheer existence of ISIS. Without Islam, there wouldn’t be ISIS. That’s a FACT, period. Claiming religion has nothing to do with terrorism is as harmful as saying religion = terrorism itself.

      I feel your pain and understand your frustration, but I am not in anyway condemning your religion or anything. Is Islam something that’s inherently bad in any sort of way? Absolutely not. In such times of chaos and uncertainty in the world, we need to have more of such discussions and intellectual discourse without any shades of political correctness involved in order to move forward and find a solution, but as your comment above shows, it’s very problematic when any argument put forth to stop ISIS that involves Islam itself is met with howls of bigotry and ignorance.

  5. DatDamnGd says

    “In short, the phenomenon known as “ISIS” is not a temporal aberration within Islam but rather a byproduct of what is considered normative thinking for Al Azhar—the Islamic world’s most authoritative university.”

  6. Roy says

    It doesn’t matter does it? When the community choose to be defensive, it defeats the purpose to even have a proper engagement or dialogue.

    Even within Islam they’re divided by the different denomination claiming that theirs is the true Islam. That ‘perfect religion’ syndrome will never end.

    Read the Quran, they say. It is the perfect book, they say.

    If they choose to remain ignorant, it isn’t the fault of the rest of the world is it?

  7. Amiro says

    There are soo many things you are wrong about in this article..
    but i dont blame you.. if i was a non muslim id be thinking so too..

  8. Sena says

    Yes ISIS consider theirselves Muslims. But it easy to say your with a religion while not honoring it correctly. Anyone can stand behind a name but it doesn’t mean that’s the true meaning of it. The Quran is not confusing, it has its stages of time like the Bible. In the Bibles beginning there was a lot of violence. The two books read very similar, with the exception of the Bible giving more detailing to it. Catholics priest have done some horrible things to kids, and everyone has still considered them Catholic priest. Christians have done horrible things, like brainwashing people into selling everything for God and giving it to the church, and some of the incidents like Waco, Texas and the ‘prophet’ who talked everyone into drinking poison and killing theirselves because he said Jesus was coming. But before he went through all that he made sure they cleaned out there bank accounts and sold their properties as well. Charles Manson claimed he was murdering for God too. Well my point is that its not the religion, it’s people. If America could get away with what ISIS is doing, trust me, they would do it too. All religions focus on God and peace and love and faith. It’s up to us to have the knowledge of good and evil. It’s really not that hard though. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. While I have no issues with your opinion, I think whatever you just said simply proved my point about Islam having something to with ISIS. I’m not saying that ISIS equals Islam, I’m saying Islam has something to do with ISIS. The terrorist organisation only exists because Islam exists. I hope this clarifies the point of this whole article.

      • “I’m not saying that ISIS equals Islam, I’m saying Islam has something to ISIS”.

        And there you have it. You answered your own question. It all comes down to proper education. In particular in the Middle East, there is a lack of one unlike Singapore. You have youths easily indoctrinated. And these people would indoctrinate others too even though they pretend they are not terrorist (the recruiters). Wolf in a sheep’s clothing. And it becomes a damn cycle. It’s only in recent memory that terrorism flourish. Did we have suicide bombings prior to 1980’s. I doubt so. So thousands of years of Islam when there is none and for it to be judged by the recent atrocities committed in it’s name. It only started when war flourished down there due to meddling of the west.

    • Islamic sharia laws too does the same kind of ungodly killings for this pagan pre Islamic moon god called allah, executions for those who wanna leave Islam, amputations of usually only the poor that can’t pay diyya blood money that allows the rich to rape n kill n getaway, stoning of women for zinc unless she get four males witnesses??!! Sex slavery of kafirs, Hundreds of verses in the quran to kill or hate kafirs, child 👶 marriages legalized pedophilia, mohamed marriages to ten women even to his adopted sons wife, and a disputed is it six year old aisha or was it 9 years old 👵? Saudi barbaria invented Islam 1400 years ago n till today they kill often most poor migrants by sharia at chop chop square and no churches temples synagogues are allowed no freedom of religion or thought the way Islam loves it, yea then the moronic o.i.c organisation of Islamic nations ungrateful for the allied saving thier asses from nazis n japz overturns the universal human rights laws to establish the barbaric Cairo sharia based “human” rights that allows executions for those who dare leave Islam… Have I got it covered?

      • Sena says

        Actually you don’t. But I just gave my opinion not to debate. Read both the Bible and the Quran, completely.

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