The Problem of Islam

The existence of Islamic doctrine presents the non-Muslims of the world with a problem. On the one hand, being a Muslim — at least in theory — means believing in the written Islamic doctrines (the words written in the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira), which advocate relentless striving to bring all the world under the rule of Islamic law (and authorizes the use of force to do so), teaches that women are worth less than men, and teaches non-Muslims are "the worst of creatures," among many other equally unsavory teachings.

On the other hand, many people who call themselves Muslims don't abide by most of those teachings. They either don't know about the teachings, or they have decided not to follow them. This group may, in fact, be the majority of Muslims.

But the existence of even a majority of Muslims who ignore the written doctrine doesn't prevent Islam from being a problem to non-Muslims. Enough Muslims believe that the Islamic doctrines are valid and strive mightily — even to the point of death — to put those doctrines into practice. And many of them are actively trying to reach the more ambivalent Muslims of the world and convince them that because they don't follow the teachings, they are hypocrites, which is a very bad thing according to Islamic doctrine. So bad, in fact, the penalty for it is death.

A study in Britain found this surprising fact: The children of Muslim immigrants are more likely than their parents to be "radical" (to believe Islamic doctrines should be followed diligently). Recruiters talk to young teenage Muslim boys and tell them that their parents are hypocrites. They are told to read the Koran for themselves and then look at their parents and ask, "Do they actually follow the teachings, or just give it lip service?" And what teenager isn't happy to deride their parents for being hypocrites? But it pushes them toward fundamentalism.

Another aspect of our problem is the indiscriminate acceptance of Muslim immigrants into free countries, and then a lack of pressure by the host country to integrate them into the larger society, which creates the conditions for what Daniel Pipes called "semi-autonomous sectors" to develop. Others have called them (somewhat — but only somewhat — mistakenly) "no-go zones." These are areas where Muslims concentrate, and as their numbers increase in that area, the more devout among them start exerting pressure on the rest of the Muslims to conform to Islamic standards. And of course, the Muslims-in-name-only cannot successfully argue against these Islamic standards because it's all written down in clear and forceful language in the books they supposedly believe are sacred. So they conform. The women cover up. The men attend the mosque (or they are harassed), dress differently, grow a beard, etc. The non-Muslims in the area are also harassed until they move away, making room for more Muslims to move to the area.

This is all in accordance with Islamic teachings and the example of Muhammad: If a group of Muslims can, they should enforce Islamic standards (they are Allah's standards, after all, and should be the standards for all people), and when Muslims gain political power, they should impinge these standards on everyone, including non-Muslims.

This manifests itself in a different way by shutting down free speech by force. When the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists made fun of Islam, for example, 12 of them were murdered for it. When Theo Van Gogh made a film critical of Islam's treatment of women, he was shot to death. Salman Rushdie wrote a novel critical of Islam and the devout Islamic ruler of Iran ordered his assassination. So far, he has avoided being murdered. The examples go on and on.

Muhammad himself did the same thing. And it says in the Koran (91 times) that a Muslim should follow Muhammad's example in all things. People during Muhammad's lifetime were assassinated with Muhammad's approval or request for the "crime" of criticizing Islam or Muhammad.

To some degree, the method has worked: Islamic standards have been imposed on non-Muslims. The Islamic standard referred to above says nobody can make fun of Islam or Muhammad. By rioting and killing, devoted followers of Islamic doctrine are instituting this Islamic rule worldwide on everyone. After the 2006 "cartoon riots," very few newspapers in the world had the courage to re-publish the cartoons. Almost everyone was cowed into silence. In other words, free speech was shut down on that subject. There was even a book published about the whole event, and the book didn't even show the cartoons! It wasn't quite as bad after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, but many major newspapers refused to re-publish the cartoons.

Another problem with Islam is that the penalty for leaving the religion is death. Freedom of religion is not an option with Islam. The death penalty is actually enforced in some Muslim countries, and a reasonable argument could be made that it is enforced in some non-Muslim countries too, if we count Muslim parents killing their daughters for going out with a non-Muslim boy or in other ways acting non-Muslim. These are called "honor killings" and they are carried out because the parents are following the written Islamic teachings.

In other words, many of the regular, mainstream teachings of Islam are major human rights violations when they are put into practice. We can't ignore this problem, but we can't really "solve" it either. What can be done when a billion and a half people claim allegiance to an ideology that is incompatible with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and human rights, especially for women? Going to war with all of them would be ridiculous. Not doing anything at all would be equally ridiculous. But what can be done?

That's the problem of Islam.

So far, we have only one strong conclusion: The solution will begin with learning what Islam really teaches and dealing with an accurate understanding of the written doctrine, rather than trying to make each other believe things that aren't true. Whatever solutions non-Muslims come up with should at least be based on reality and not on wishful thinking. That much seems clear. Learn some ideas about what might be done here.


  1. Some basic problems with having islamic communities alongside secular democratic ones.

  2. before a problem can be addressed, people have to know about it; the truth has to be brought to the attention of free people everywhere. once people understand this murderous, monstrous cult, we can discuss what to do about it. until then, we get leaders who are led to the coming slaughter by islamic liars who terrorize politicians with the "islamophobe" bomb.

    after 2001-09-11, president bush of the U.S. called islam a "religion of peace," and i actually believed that. i wanted to know more about islam, so i went onto some islamic websites and struck up conversations with muslims i found there. i am a born-again christian and am familiar with the idea of proselytization, so i was not surprised when they welcomed me and tried to convert me. when i started looking into the quran, however, i was horrified to find that muhammed was a monster who started an evil supremacist cult that sanctions lying, theft, murder, rape, and child molestation (to name a few of its practices). i'm guessing that most muslims either don't know or don't care to know about their fundamental beliefs, because few people look deeply into their basic traditions; they do what they do because they have always done it. christians are no different; lots of folks who claim to be christian don't know or understand what christianity as laid out in the new testament really is (i was brought up in the faith and rejected it, only being saved years later). that said, i have seen statistics that anywhere between 50% to 75% of muslims worldwide think sharia law is great and should be imposed everywhere. the really bad muslims - the fundamentalists - will attempt world conquest by hook or by crook, and the vast majority of "safe" muslims won't lift a finger to oppose it, because the bad guys just have to point to the founding texts to fully justify their evil acts.

    1. Well said, Anonymous from July 5. Thank you!

  3. Don't those texts that justify violence subject to different interpretation, like Bible does?

    1. The texts themselves aren't subject to different interpretation, exactly. It says what it says and it's pretty clear what both the Bible and the Quran say. What is different is the degree to which the violent passages can be ignored. Two things are different about the passages in the Bible and Quran:

      1. The violence in the Bible is explicitly contextualized. In other words, it says that God commanded the Jews to kill the Canaanites. There are no longer Canaanites to kill. In the Quran, the violent passages are mostly open-ended. Allah says Muslims should kill nonbelievers wherever they find them.

      2. The language of the violent passages in the Bible are in the past. The language of violent passages in the Quran are for all time.

      Read more about these differences here:

      Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam?

  4. I believe, not comment, but constructive suggestion is more appropriate. In point of terrorism, men can be divided into three major groups: (01) Normal (non-terrorist), (02) Terrorists and (03) 'Peliters' (abbreviation for 'Persons likely to become terrorists'). Terrorists can be easily identified because they fight in various places under different names. It is extremely difficult to identify the 'Peliters' who roam in the society with innocent looks, and then all on a sudden expose their ugly faces.

    Even though the terrorists may come from many religions, in this age it comes mostly (if not entirely) from one single religion. Earlier we felt ashamed to mention its name. But after the destruction of WTC, damage of Pentagon, Paris incident etc. we love to openly declare its name, and it is Islam. Definitely all its followers are or will not be terrorists, but all of them can be taken to be 'Peliters' for good reasons.

    The sufferers or probable sufferers of terrorism should remain vigilant about the 'Peliters'. They can be identified by their dresses, associates, food habit etc. In every country the government should form organizations for identifying and keeping watch on the 'Peliters'. The patriotic citizens should be invited supply their information and so on.

    At present only the followers of Islam should be included in this program. New religions may be included later in this list depending up on the situation.

  5. I believe the correction in the ideology has to come only from and within the moderate and right thinking
    people of this society. They have to openly reject laws like sharia of 6th century or honour killing and
    accept the principle that all religion are the same as all of them worship or prey to the same almighty
    whom we call by different names like Allah,God,Ishwar
    or oopewalla.This is the only way for peaceful living
    in the 21st century.

  6. It is our ethical responsibility to protect our lives against representatives of any ideology, theology, etc., which would seek to dominate us, just as we defend our lives against people who would do us harm otherwise. That is a Basic Human Right.

    The problem of Islam haunts me because I cannot understand how anyone in his right mind would adhere to such a hateful "religion." Please, I adjure all non-Muslims to read the Koran in order to understand what warped irrationality, what rubbish, is believed by such a huge segment of humanity, to prepare yourselves for the all-out war.

  7. We not only need to tell the truth about Islam; we also need to hold our leaders and Muslims themselves accountable for telling the truth about this creed. Islam is NOT, and never was, a "religion of peace". In fact, it barely resembles the traditional concept of religion at all. Islam is primarily a violent, imperialistic, totalitarian political ideology with a thin veneer of religion to make it more respectable. Like other totalitarian ideologies, it rejects human freedom and human rights. As such, it does not deserve the protections automatically extended to genuine religions. Any belief system that advocates the violent overthrow of a legitimate government in favor of its own laws (sharia), should be carefully monitored for signs of violent, criminal or treasonous activities. We don't permit the more extreme forms of Stalinism or Fascism to operate freely inside western democracies, so why tolerate Islam? I support the right of individuals to believe whatever they please - in private. When their beliefs violate the basic precepts upon which my free, liberal democratic society is based, however, there is no room for them in the public sphere.