Harvard-educated Muslim leader: Why can’t I criticize my religion?

By Majid Rafizadeh

I refuse to be apologetic for radical Islam in the West. I refuse to gloss over the darkest consequences to which rampant extremism has led. I do not waffle beneath the idea of multiculturalism or tolerance; some things are not meant to be tolerated. The message of the apologists is clear: Get in line. Send out the same messages that others are: about all aspects of Islam being a loving and benevolent religion. Focus on this and sweep the crimes against humanity under the carpet.

I truly wish I could. …

When I first came to the U.S. to teach on a Fulbright scholarship during the Obama administration, it was intriguing to see how many institutions and figures did not like to hear or report any criticism of Islam. This flight seemed to represent a total double standard. While these Westerners appeared totally fine with strongly criticizing religions such as Christianity and Judaism, they did not treat Islam the same. It was a shock to discover, quite quickly, that it was acceptable for them to criticize their own religions, but not all right for me to criticize mine. It was not possible to make sense of it.

In Iran and Syria, where I grew up, one can get arrested, jailed, tortured and even executed for saying anything that may not be positive about the dominant religion of the land, Islam. On the surface, for those who wanted to reform Islam, the only place to do so appeared to be the West. After all, so many political leaders consistently boast about the value of freedom of speech and freedom of press. Where else could a reform of a highly restricted religion occur?

If something like this were attempted in a country where sharia law is enforced, one would … Read eye-opening article >>

…Please just accept a simple message: If you think criticizing Christianity and Judaism is constructive, and a way to modernize and create reform, then please apply the same rule to Islam.

The reason I criticize the radical elements of my religion is not because I have hatred in my heart, but because I desire to protect those who have been abused and abandoned by their leaders… Read eye-opening article >>

PHOTO CREDIT: Majid Rafizadeh speaking at the United States Congress, on December 7, 2017. (Image source: Valter Schleder/Wikimedia Commons)

Leave a Reply