In the wake of the Islamic State atrocities in Paris, you may have noticed social media going into a complete frenzy of denial and pro-Islam proselytising as Muslims and Leftists seek desperately to exonerate Islam and paint all those who noticed that the attacks were a little bit Islamic as crazy extremists.
Well, I've noticed it, anyway, and it's disheartening for me to realise that I have so many family and friends who are so utterly clueless and compromised on this issue.
I thought I'd go through a couple of the most popular memes I've been seeing online in recent days, and dissect their shallowness and stupidity in that way that I like to do sometimes. The first one I want to look at is this video which is being posted all over the place, of Muslim apologist Reza Aslan's appearance on CNN last year, responding to comments about Islam by left-wing American comedian Bill Maher.
The most common version I have seen of the video on Facebook comes with the caption: "You need to watch this! Reza Aslan killed these two "journalists". They weren't able to salvage a shred of dignity because they are simply stupid, ill-informed, racist. Party on CNN!"
While it's somewhat hilarious to see CNN depicted as some kind of far-Right news outlet, it is certainly more tragic to think that so many people regard Reza Aslan's arguments in this interview as the epitome of reasoned argumentation.
In response to a question about female genital mutilation, Aslan states that this is not an Islamic problem, but merely a "Central African" problem - before going on to cite two countries (Ethiopia and Eritrea) that are not in Central Africa. He also adds that "nowhere else in the Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue."
With regards to the African issue, UNICEF data from 2013 actually show that of the 10 most prevalent African countries for FGM, 9 of them are Muslim-majority, as demonstrated here. But the claim that FGM is not practised in any Muslim country outside of Africa is flatly false. It is a massive problem in Indonesia, for example, where the country's top Islamic advisory body endorses it on religious grounds, and where it simply did not exist before the advent of Islam. FGM is also practised in Iraq and the Maldives, among others.
Aslan also completely omits the fact that while the followers of other religions, particularly in Africa, do indeed perform FGM, only in Islam does it have divine sanction. Islamic hadith take for granted that female circumcision is allowed, and do not condemn it, although they do warn against it being "too severe" - a subjective judgement:
A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.41, no.5251)
The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory. (Sahih Muslim b.3, no.684)
The mainstream Islamic legal manual Reliance of Traveller, whose English translation was endorsed by Sunni Islam's nearest equivalent to the Vatican, Al Azhar University, says: "Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called Hufaad)."
Moving on, Aslan proceeds to offer the same smear of the West as a writer at the Independent recently did, about Muslim countries having had more female heads of state than Britain or America have - ignoring the fact that Western countries as a whole have had far more than Muslim ones. He then cites Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Turkey as examples of Muslim countries that treat women with absolute equality.
Just a few problems with that:
- Indonesia, aside from having the aforementioned problem with FGM, also has hundreds of bylaws that discriminate against women, according to Human Rights Watch.
- Malaysia was named as one of the two worst-performing countries in Southeast Asia in the World Economic Forum's 2014 Gender Gap report, and implements numerous discriminatory laws which negatively affect women.
- Women face widespread inequality in Bangladesh, including in employment and inheritance.
- Turkey tops Europe and the US when it comes to the number of incidences of violence against women. It was also named by the Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum last year among the 20 absolute worst-ranking countries for gender equality. (As an aside, 19 of the bottom 20 countries have a Muslim majority).
And once again, he fails to mention anything about the doctrinal basis within Islam for all of this.
In light of this repeated stream of falsehoods and nonsense, it is actually Aslan, and not his interviewers, who is exposed as the intellectual fraud, and the one incapable of using facts or reason. His smooth-talking soundbites merely have the effect of lulling people into an inevitably suicidal sense of complacency that will ultimately lead to more injustice towards women, and more terror attacks on the scale of Paris.