Thursday, October 6

What is Islam, Really?

[Note: This question came up because of a background piece I’m writing for my Terran Empire series, and had to be answered before I could go on with it. You “lucky” folks get to see the cogitations leading to my conclusion. Yes, some of them are statements of the obvious, but that’s how I work when I have to get to basics.]

The question of what Islam really is had me stumped for some time, because it claims to be a religion, and does indeed seem to be centered on a deity called Allah. But it doesn’t act like any other religion I’m familiar with, and while I’m not a scholar of the subject, I’ve done a lot of reading on various religions, and am senior staff on a Pagan debate-and-discussion forum The Cauldron, so I do have a basic familiarity with a number of religions.

Islam does have a number of characteristics in common with most religions, such as a holy book (the Koran), and commentaries on it (the hadiths) regarded as authoritative. It also has defined religious practices, the Five Pillars, and designated places of worship, its mosques.

Even some of their mores that we find repugnant in the advanced countries today were fairly common not too long ago, such as reduced rights for women or harsh physical punishments for what are currently regarded as crimes not deserving such punishment. Even Christians, not too long ago, regarded heresy and apostasy as sins/crimes that warranted harsh punishment, at times including the death penalty.

But even when Church and State were closely entwined, as during the Spanish Inquisition, there was a separation of some sort between them. In Islam, according to the Koran and the Hadiths, that isn’t the case; Islam runs everything, by their “ideals”, even to such personal details as how to wipe after going to the bathroom.

To me, that alone removes it from the religious classification, despite the religious veneer. At best, if the religious aspect is considered as primary, it would be a theocracy, one of the most pernicious forms of government ever devised; if not, it certainly classifies as a totalitarian regime, also in the most pernicious category.

It is also invasive, both in the military sense (when it can manage that) and in the “invasive species” sense, simply moving in and overrunning the “native species” wherever possible, by sheer numbers and fecundity. (This essay doesn’t need to go into the details of their specific hostile behaviors, since regular readers here and on the associated blogs are well aware of them, so doing so would be redundant.)

I will concede that there are some purely-religious Muslims, but very few object (at least publicly) to the actions of their more violent fellow Muslims. That, to me, makes the silent ones complicit in the activities of the rest.

So, to answer the initial question: Islam, as it is currently constituted, is a hostile entity which does not qualify for or deserve the protections offered to a true religion. Individual practitioners must be treated cautiously, and the collective must be guarded against by any means necessary.

[If you’re curious, in story terms, Islam per se will be banned; individuals wanting to become Imperial citizens will be mind-scanned to check their motivations, and refused if there’s any hint of them wishing harm to the Empire or its citizens/subjects.]

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