You have to hand it to Shireen Qudosi. It takes as extraordinary amount of courage to stand up and speak out against your “own” people, and it takes even more courage when you’re a Muslim. By arguing against the narrative provided by organizations like CAIR, ISIS, and the Obama administration, Qudosi isn’t just risking excommunication; she’s risking her life.
But that doesn’t stop her from appearing before Congress and writing essays like the one published on The Hill this week, and for that, she deserves all the credit in the world. Even if you don’t agree with everything she says, you can’t deny her backbone. And frankly, most of what she says is right on the money. And like a lot of painful truths, it’s a message we don’t hear often enough.
“In order to defeat radical Islamist terror, we must first normalize our relationship with Islam itself, treating it the way we do Christianity, Judaism or any other religion over the last century,” she writes.
Now, if you just stopped there, you’d wonder what the big deal was. She sounds like any other liberal who wants us to destigmatize Islam. If you found out the above quote was from Obama or Hillary, you wouldn’t be surprised at all. But you’d be quite surprised if either of them said what Qudosi says next.
“My fellow Muslims must be able to countenance criticism of Islam, from within and without—the theology, the political ideology, everything,” she writes. “Only by approaching the religion’s tenets with a new spirit of inquiry can we ever disentangle the Islamic faith from the Islamism that is a metastasizing threat to human rights around the world.”
Criticize Islam!? That…but…but that’s…that’s Islamophobia! We can’t…oh…what are you doing…this is insane!
Qudosi says that liberals and Muslims would be better off recognizing the truth about the religion they’re defending.
“We must not be afraid to approach and contend with the complexity of Islamic law and history, the good, the bad, the ugly and the viciously anti-democratic,” she writes. “Muslim grievance professionals and well-intentioned liberals whitewashing the aspects of the Qur’an that conflict with the values of American society in the 21st Century do us no favors.”
If voices like Qudosi’s begin gaining traction in the Muslim world, it won’t be long before Islam is indeed embraced into the fabric of American culture.
Unfortunately, we’re a long way from that point. Currently, Islam’s defenders can only say, “Hey, ISIS doesn’t represent us. Islam is peace.” But they can’t go much deeper than that, since any cursory examination of the religion proves how untrue the claim is. When you total up the beliefs held by most moderate Muslims and their spokespeople, you’ll realize that the only difference between them and the terrorists is in the extent of their devotion.
That’s what makes ISIS propaganda so dangerous and alluring. When you really look at the facts, their version of the theology is closer to reality than anyone wants to admit. They just have to open the Quran, point to the verses that blatantly call for slaughter of infidels, and ask, “Who’s lying? Us or them?” And that’s all they have to do.
You don’t nullify that argument by pretending that those verses mean something ridiculous and contrary. You go in and consciously reform the religion so that it reflects truly peaceful beliefs. Truth always wins.
You just need people brave enough to speak it.