"More and more Muslim reformers / ex-Muslims either get on the Trump Train, defend the Muslim Ban, or join the 'alt-right,'" Eiynah says. "And on the left, secular liberal Muslims continue to be censored or culturally erased. This tips the scales massively toward high visibility of right-wing critics of Islam. Well-known ex-Muslim Breitbart editor Raheem Kassam has said things like 'If Merkel took a million rapey migrants, Hillary will take 20 million.' Then we get to the more disturbing 'red-pilled' ex-Muslim types, who believe no Muslims are peaceful." Like the ironically named "Imam of Peace," who claims to speak for Muslims but boosts white supremacists and peddles conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over Australia.
There are a ton of Muslims in the world, so it's only natural that they disagree on some pretty big issues. You're all but guaranteed to find Muslims who have supported every fringe belief in the world, including those maniacs who insist Tabasco is the best hot sauce. But you can't blame that on the entire religion, because they're simply not one unified entity.
Islam Is Frequently Reduced To A Political Talking Point
There are not two sides vying for the fate of Islam. You might assume that Eiynah agrees with folks like Reza Aslan, the Muslim theologian and star of several viral videos wherein he takes down ignorant news anchors. Well, you'd be wrong. "It's not just a disagreement I have [with him]," she tells us. "I consider him to be quite a fraud in the way he's marketed himself, and not a reliable source of info." She provided this article as an example of why a lot of his arguments are "wrong, or technically-correct-but-actually-wrong."
Ali Rizvi, an author Eiynah does agree with, says that overzealous defenses of Islam actually allow anti-Muslim bigotry to fester. A quote from him:
"It is more important now than ever to challenge and criticize the doctrine of Islam. And it is more important now than ever to protect and defend the rights of Muslims."
This is part of the reason Eiynah doesn't like the term "Islamophobia": "Allowing any criticism of Islamic fundamentalism, homophobia, etc. to be labeled as 'Islamophobia' gives right-wing fundamentalist Muslims a chance to shield their religion from valid criticism. It's essentially the same thing right-wing Christians [do]. Think of the absurdity of the 'War on Christmas' to get a feel for how 'Islamophobia' sounds to us. That's why I prefer the more precise term 'anti-Muslim bigotry.' The problem is not theological criticisms of Islam or criticisms of literalist interpretations -- it is the generalizations, hatred, and fearmongering around Muslims."
"Islam is not a monolith -- neither its adherents nor its critics," says Eiynah. "Just like Islam can be interpreted and practiced in a million different ways, so too can criticism of it come from different angles and politics. It's important to be aware of the general Trump-era anti-Muslim climate, but it's also important not to erase the secular, liberal, and/or progressive Muslims who exist."
So the solution is "Remember that the world is a very complicated place, resist generalizations, and advocate for change carefully"? That'll never fit on a crudely scrawled protest sign.
Have a story to share with Cracked? Email us here.
Also check out 6 Realities In A Super Religious Family That Wants Me Dead and The Dystopian Realities Of The Modern Pilgrimage To Mecca.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out How ISIS Uses Video Games & Hollywood Tricks For Recruiting, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!
Follow our new Pictofacts Facebook page, and we'll follow you everywhere.