Western Courier

Left shies from Islam debate

Kyle Davis

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We often spend so much time debating the differing ideologies of the Republicans and the Democrats that we forget there are debates within each camp. One such debate in the Democratic camp is centered on the uprising of fundamentalist Islam, also referred to as radical Islam, and how we address this issue in our discourse.

 Here is the divide: A majority of liberals are afraid to criticize the doctrine of Islam, either because they see the theology of Islam as not the real problem or because they are afraid of the ramifications. This group of liberals have been phrased “the regressive left” by author and neuroscientist Sam Harris who has been debating this topic since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

 They are called the regressive left because these liberals do not stand up for liberal principles. For example, when a terrorist attack occurred at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, even CNN pundits were asking questions like, “did the cartoonists take a joke too far?” To ask this question is moral bankruptcy.

 As Sam Harris responded, “Cartoonists have died for making cartoons, end of moral analysis.”

 The regressive left is also unwilling to criticize the doctrine of Islam because they feel that conversation will not do any good and that larger political variables are what trouble the Middle East.

 Two thought experiments could push us past this. First, imagine an island of people with no history of the outside world. Somehow, this island has been separated from everyone until right now. If we taught them the text of the Quran and left them for another ten years, what would happen? We would not be surprised to see the people on the island living in accordance to terrifying Bronze-Age thinking. Yet, when we see this same behavior with fundamentalists in the Middle East, we chalk it up as something more acceptable to talk about.

 Next, think about what it takes to hijack a plane and fly it into a skyscraper. Only religion can supply this ultimatum. The hijackers may have been politically frustrated but they were also religiously insane. Their religious text promises bliss after a noble death and this is what drives fundamentalists to blow themselves up.

 We need to have a larger conversation about Islam in the Middle East. This is not to be misconstrued as lambasting all Muslims as evil people. To think of it this way is inaccurate. Moderate Muslims, like those that we find here in the United States, need to be part of the conversation and need to help bring the more fundamentalist Muslims to the center with them.

 As liberals, it is our job to criticize bad ideas and, as with other religions, Islam is a wealth of bad ideas. The regressive left loves to wallow in the abortion bombings of the 1980’s but refuses to criticize the bombings that happen as you read this article. It is okay to abandon political correctness to criticize bad ideas — our future depends on it.

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Left shies from Islam debate