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How do we distinguish ignorant Muslims from knowledgeable Muslims

Reader comment on item: Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men
in response to reader comment: The problem is not Islam

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Oct 7, 2019 at 22:23

Dear Dr Pipes,

Your reader Tasmia repeated the oft-repeated argument that the problem is not with Islam. According to her the problem is not even with Muslims. Problem is just with ignorant Muslims. Wait a second! Tasmia's argument is tautologically true. It can be applied to any group of people who are involved in bad actions. Only ignorant members of any group do bad things. An argument of this kind cannot carry any weight.

There is no way to look at a Muslim and determine whether s/he is ignorant or not. Muhammad Atta was pretty educated. He should not have been ignorant. He probably was not ignorant.

The problem is neither completely with Islam nor completely with Muslims. They both share the blame. There is a lot in the Islamic doctrine that is objectionable. There is not enough criticism of objectionable parts of Islam by Muslims or non-Muslims. Similarly, there are tons of things wrong in the behaviors and practices of Muslims. Similarly, there is not enough criticism of bad actions of Muslims (as a group) by other Muslims or by non-Muslims.

I think it is counterproductive to apologize for what is wrong with Islam and/or Muslims by saying that only bad/ignorant/uneducated/untrue Muslims do bad things. We have to face the problem openly and directly. We need to say that directly and bluntly that the Islamic doctrine leaves a lot to be desired in modern times and Muslim's behavior is also not suitable for the modern world. They both have to play catch-up. And fast.

Submitting....

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