It’s funny, Ben looks exactly like my brother and seeing him so passionately argue on TV makes me want to sympathize and defend the guy, because he looks like my fucking brother. The fact cannot be changed, though: Ben is wrong.
First, I think it’s important to note that Ben’s heart is clearly in a good place. He dislikes hatred and bigotry and racism and that’s something to be commended. The problem is not necessarily Ben himself, but our culture of “don’t-upset-anyone” politically correct bullshit. Ben has been misled.
The problems with Ben’s argument, that criticizing Islam is racist, are many.
1. Islam is not a race. In fact, some might even think it’s racist to say that the entire Muslim world is one race. We all know it’s not. There are white Muslims, black Muslims, Asian Muslims and Middle Eastern Muslims. Islam is colourful and diverse and spread to every corner of the World. It’s not one race. It’s a set of ideas. And just like if you found out, Ben, that your Mom or your brother or your best bud, Matt Damon, had been sucked into some sort of cult with scriptures that call for murder, you’d say something. When people are heart-deep in a bad idea, someone has to speak up. Someone has to try and bring that person, or people, back to reason.
2. Criticizing a religion should be just as acceptable as criticizing a political ideology. As a Canadian, I can freely express my distaste for the Conservative party. No one will call me a racist for doing so. Sure, I may get called names, but that’s generally just because supporters of the Conservative party are, in large part, unable to form better arguments. A political ideology is, just like a religion, a set of ideas. Why is it that one type of idea is open to criticism, while another type is not?
3. Ben, doll, you need to read the Quran. Not only are all the acts of terrorism committed by Muslim extremists justified, with perfectly clear and understandable language, by the holy book of Islam, but the moderate Muslims, rather than expressing their distaste with that part of the “Word of God” will defend it until they run out of oxygen. Let’s just, for a moment, think back to Charles Manson. Let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that your daughter moved in with the man before any of the murders happened, and when prompted for a reason why, she gave you some of his ramblings to read. In it, it called for the murders of several prominent people to spark a race war in America. In it, he called for his own followers to be the ones to commit such heinous acts. Your daughter explains, his word is infallible. When you question the call for violence, however, she explains that it’s taken out of context and that they all live peaceful and morally sound lives. Ben, hun, would you leave your daughter there? Would you refrain from criticizing the doctrine of Manson?
Let’s take a look at some of the passages in the Quran, shall we?
They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper. 4:89
Oh, hey look, Ben! I’m an atheist and the infallible word of God is calling for the murder of me! Of my Mom & Dad! Of my husband! But criticizing that, it’s racist, right?
[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.” 8:12
Ben, do you think it’s racist that I take issue with a call for my own corporal punishment, and all those who worship the book in which it is written?
Hey, Ben, this one’s particularly cute:
So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds. 47:4
You know what that one means? It means that every man and woman in the armed forces, who has been engaged in war in the Middle East, who does not identify as a Muslim and accept the Quran as the infallible word of God, should be beheaded. In war, behead those who disbelieve. Do you know of any troops who have fought in Afghanistan or in Iraq, against radical Islamists? Yeah. Those guys. Those guys should be beheaded, according to the perfect word of God.
It is written in the book that moderate Muslims pray to 5 times a day.
Moderate Muslims worship those words.
And you think it’s racist to criticize that?
Come on, Ben!
Ben, I think your heart truly is in the right place and your concerns come only from a place of love for your fellow human beings. You co-wrote one of the best movies ever made and it was not lacking anything as far as heart, compassion and brilliance went. You’re a smart man, you’re obviously a compassionate one, but Ben, you need to wake the fuck up. Criticizing Islam is the absolute only way to deal with it. It threatens everything you stand for, it threatens everything I stand for, and it threatens, directly and inarguably, our very lives. Defending it is self-destructive.
We should never allow ourselves to be shamed into defending a doctrine so heinous. A bad idea is a bad idea Ben, and it should be condemned with all the heart and compassion you can muster.