I spend a lot of time at this blog speaking critically of those Muslims who, even if they would never dream of committing acts of violence themselves, nevertheless make no effort to speak out against terrorism in Islam’s name. I’d therefore like to take a moment here to give a shout-out to a Muslim man who wants Islamic reformation — a goal that, of necessity, involves calling out Islam, Islamists, and passive-aggressive Muslims on the violence that’s lately seemed like the most prominent and dominant part of the faith.
We’ve had many discussions here about whether Islam and violence can be severed. After all, the Koran is the word of the Prophet and theoretically cannot be challenged. To the extent that the Prophet explicitly mandated the hatred and murder of Jews; the forced conversion, subjugation, or murder of Christians; the permanent denigration of women; the righteousness of wars for conquest and rape; the appropriateness of tactical lies; and the necessity of taking over the world, there’s really not a lot of room for reform. Nevertheless, to the extent that more than a billion people around the world adhere to this faith, it behooves all people of good will to figure out if there is a way to reconcile Islam with more peaceable cultural mores.
Raheem Kassam is one of the people fighting this good war, a war that carries with it the possibility of bringing hundreds of millions of people out of Islamic backwaters into a more freedom centered prosperity and that might tame the Islamists’ love affair with bloodshed. As a warrior in this fight, even thought he hasn’t donned battle gear, Kassam is taking very real risks. In a Breitbart post, he tells us that the oxymoronically-named Islamic Human Rights Commission has awarded him “Islamophobe of the Year.” An honor such as this one pretty much paints a target on someone’s back.
What was my alleged offence, you ask? In 2009, I set up and have since held a position at the counter-extremism pressure group Student Rights, which helps root out extremism in all forms on university campuses in the UK.
Forgetting that we have highlighted far-right speakers in addition to the wave of Islamists that fraternise at UK universities, the IHRC in its wisdom has decided that as an ostensibly self-hating Muslim, I am as eligible for the award as Britain’s Home Secretary Teresa May, who had the temerity to extradite Tahla Ahsan, who recently pleaded guilty to two counts of “conspiring to provide and providing material support” to terrorists.
Hurrah for Mr. Kassam! I wish him success, I applaud his courage, and I hope that he inspires many more like him over the years.