Since 9/11 those on the Right have been exceptionally vocal in their criticism (and sometimes disdain and hatred) of Islam. This is understandable—the criticism, not the disdain or hatred. Muslim extremists and terrorists attacked our country and killed 3,000 innocent civilians. If the terrorists had problems with the policies of our government and military, then they should have attacked a military facility instead of a place of public business. But then again, terrorists have never been accused of rational behavior or attacking appropriate targets. All they want to do is cause chaos and terror, thus strapping bombs to their chests and blowing up children and flying planes into private buildings. The fact that people are angry with those responsible is only natural. So why are those making all the noise seem to be the ones on the right side of the isle?
My theory is that while most of the Left are just as angry at the terrorists as the Right, they don’t want to add their voice to what they see as the cacophony of anti-Islamic rhetoric. Obviously not everyone one on the Right holds anti-Islamic beliefs, but a large number of people do and boy oh boy are they vocal about it. So even though there are people on the Left who feel critical about elements of Islam, I believe that they tend to stay quiet about it because they don’t want to be associated with those that truly do hate Islam and Muslims.
But is this a good thing?
I submit that it is not. While there are lovely, peaceful, and beautiful elements of Islam, there are also elements that are barbaric and cruel. And it is these medieval elements that are still embraced by Islamic countries and communities that much be eradicated. What is needed is an Islamic Enlightenment in which Muslims come to the same type of realizations that the West came too in the 1700-1800s (not that these were perfect or that we in the West aren’t still struggling with these issues on a daily basis, but at least you don’t see stories of western judges considering paralyzing someone as an appropriate punishment of a crime). Because of this there needs to be criticism that is not based on hatred, disdain, or from a stance of religious superiority. There needs to be voices that call for equal rights for women and an end to eye-for-an-eye punishments (just to name a few).
The sad reality is though that this will probably never happen. Those on the Left are too busy hating those on the Right to offer any real criticism or ideas to help move the world forward (not that the Right is any better at this mind you). The world has become so polarized that things like common sense and facts don’t matter…especially to the polemics. Hopefully we can find the common ground and common decency to move forward in confronting the problems of the world. But then again I may just be a naïve optimist.