The more violence that comes out of the Islamic world, the more that the Left insists Islam is a “religion of peace.” The rise of ISIS has inspired Western leaders to redouble their attempts at reeducation. Appointing themselves Islamic authorities, they declare that ISIS is “not Islamic.”
These Western leaders are far more protective of Islam than their own historic religion. They are willing to subject Christianity to scrutiny for its supposedly reactionary teachings, even as they hold that the doctrines of Islam are flawless and beyond criticism.
At Yale this week, student groups that typically sponsor critics of Christianity denounced the appearance of a critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on campus. Had Ali arrived to blame Ray Rice’s domestic violence on patriarchal American culture, she would have been welcomed with open arms. But, instead, she came bearing a message they didn’t want to hear: that Islamic culture mistreats women. As a victim of genital mutilation and forced marriage at the hands of Muslims in Somalia, Hirsi Ali is understandably baffled by the Left’s enthusiasm for Islam.
Were Hirsi Ali a victim of domestic violence in America, no liberal would dare lecture her on what she should and should not say. But Yale’s female chaplain, Sharon Kugler, felt no such hesitation, dismissing Ali’s views of Islam as hate speech. “We understand and affirm Yale’s commitment to free expression within an educational context,” she said. “We are deeply concerned, however, by Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s long record of disparaging, and arguably hateful, comments about Muslims and Islam.”
NFL commentator James Brown was applauded by the Left for his wild attempt to connect the Ray Rice incident to a sexist culture in the NFL: “When a guy says you throw a ball like a girl or you’re a sissy, it reflects an attitude that devalues women and attitudes that will eventually manifest in some fashion.” But when someone like Hirsi Ali makes a far more serious case for violence against women grounded in Islamic tradition, the Left throws a fit.
“Many well-meaning Dutch people have told me in all earnestness that nothing in Islamic culture incites abuse of women, that this is just a terrible misunderstanding. Men all over the world beat their women, I am constantly informed,” Hirsi Ali has written. “In reality, these Westerners are the ones who misunderstand Islam. The Quaran mandates these punishments. It gives a legitimate basis for abuse, so that the perpetrators feel no shame and are not hounded by their conscience of their community.”
Liberals at Yale find this speech “hateful,” but in almost any other context and aimed at any other religion they would find it refreshingly brave. The one religion for which liberals will endlessly apologize is the most illiberal one. They falsely accuse the Catholic Church of waging a “war on women” for not financing free contraceptives, then close their eyes to an actual war on women in the Islamic world. They praise Sandra Fluke and boycott Hirsi Ali.
This week John Kerry, talking about the need to defeat ISIS, said that we need to “put real Islam out there.” The politically correct West has been putting what it considers true Islam “out there” since 9/11 and it hasn’t done a bit of good. There are more jihadists today than on 9/11. If anything, it seems to have inspired the most devoted followers of Islam to protect and promote Islamic orthodoxy. Muslims across the world resent decadent Western leaders arrogating to themselves the authority to define what is and what is not authentically Islamic.
The Obama administration can’t even bring itself to acknowledge that militant Islam is a branch of Islam. That’s an impermissible thought in an administration that defines jihad as “self-improvement” and rules out religion (except the Christian one) from the start as a motivation for terrorism.
After years of failed propaganda about Islam as a religion of peace, why don’t Western leaders try the novel approach of truth telling? Why not just take jihadists at their word? As Hirsi Ali says, “Reality is not easy, but all this make-believe doesn’t make it easier.”