How is it that after all these years since 9/11, and all these thousands of instances of Islamic violence, that so many people still believe that Islam is a religion of peace?
The answer is, they don’t. They know the same thing the rest of us know, but feel obliged to tell a white lie when it comes to this subject.
A handful may be trying to be polite, but the majority are simply trying to spare themselves an unpleasant reaction to the truth. That’s what’s behind every white lie. You tell your sister her new hairstyle makes her look younger when it actually makes her look ridiculous, because it’s better than six months of the silent treatment if you tell her the truth. And hundreds of millions of Westerners tell each other that Islam is a religion of peace because to criticize Islam as a religion of violence will incite Islamic violence. Maybe it’s harmless to tell a little fib to your sister about a little thing. I doubt it. But I can see that when an entire civilization is repeating the same white lie about the same black fact for years on end, it brings on a new Dark Age. Society can’t respond rationally to a threat it is forbidden to speak openly about.
No one who really believes that Islam is a peaceful religion will interpret Islamic violence as a logical outcome of criticism of that religion. As David French points out at NRO:
the fury against Pamela Geller is motivated mostly by fear — by the understanding that there are indeed many, many Muslims who believe that blasphemy should be punished with death, and who put that belief into practice. It’s motivated by the fear that our alliances with even “friendly” Muslim states and “allied” Muslim militias are so fragile that something so insignificant as a cartoon would drive them either to neutrality or straight into the arms of ISIS. (“Pamela Geller’s Critics Are Proving Her Point ”) .
It’s not the fear I’m criticizing. I share it. It’s the self-deception that’s causing the problem.
Anyway, maybe you have this fear, and it makes sense to you that people like Pam Geller and Robert Spencer and Terry Jones should be silenced because the things they say and do are poking the bear. Then at least be consistent and admit that the animal they’re poking is a ferocious and easily-enraged carnivore, and not a harmless bunny.
It would be something. It would be a start.