Lessons from Leaving Islamic Tyranny

Majid Rafizadeh (PhD), an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Dr. Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


tragiran (1)A few months ago, I took the oath and became a US citizen. Originally from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria, I grew up, lived, and worked for most of my life in these countries. I grew up under the theocratic regime of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the autocratic and repressive regime of Assad.

Although being an Iranian-Syrian is not a common combination in the region—since Arabs and Persians (or Sunni and Shia) have traditional rivalries and sometimes hold racist view against each other— I had the opportunity to grow up in both versions of Islamic religious societies: the Shia and the Sunni, as well as Persian and Arab (though some Syrians might call themselves Phoenicians).

This also allowed me to understand the on-the-ground socio-political and socio-religious platforms of these predominantly Islamic societies.

A few years ago, I came to the United States on a scholarship to teach at a university and later was planning to take my experience and acquired knowledge back to my countries. Nevertheless, the war erupted in Syria and my path changed. However, the issue that I would like to shed light on is that since I have become a citizen, I have witnessed an issue that has increasingly perplexed me. 

I have observed that many Muslims, who were born or grew up in the United States while enjoying freedom of speech, expression, assembly and whom this country has given shelter and a home, frequently judge the United States based on the Quran, Allah, Muhammad, and their Islamic ideals, not based on the Constitution or democratic principles and human rights. There are several researchers investigating this phenomenon. I have noticed that many Muslims criticize this country not based on real developmental or economic policies, but based on Islamic principles.

They criticize the United States for not being Islamic enough, for what people wear, for how people date, for how people listen to music, for how people drink, for how people dance, etc.

I must confess that this attitude has been extremely puzzling and frustrating to me. In the beginning, I thought that one approach to these kinds of people and proponents of Sharia and Islamic laws in the United States was to address the issue intellectually. I thought that the productive approach was to draw on the modern economic, political, social values, and human rights that are in contradiction with what Muhammad said, what the Quran said more than 1400 years ago and what Imams and Sheikhs say now. However, since their evidence is not based on logic or science, and is rather based on what Allah, Muhammad, and the Quran say, it is extremely difficult to have any intellectual debate with proponents of Islamic principles in the United States or other Western countries.

Since their evidence and logic is been based on the Quran— written more than 1400 years ago— Allah’s words, Muhammad’s sayings (since he is regarded as the ultimate model and paragon for how one should live), there is little one can say in response. I usually respond simply by asking why they do not live in an Islamic state or their country of origin. Why do they not return to their Islamic country? There are plenty of Islamic and predominantly Muslim societies around the world to choose from.

It seems that the answer is that if you do not like (or even hate) how the United States is structured and how the society functions, then you can return to your Islamic country of origin. No one is forcing you to stay here. If one is so angry and frustrated with the un-Islamic character of the United States, with how Americans live, drink, dance, listen to music, have parties, work and how the social values contradict Islamic principles, then they can return to their Islamic country, where Islamic social values are respected, ingrained and indoctrinated into every cell of the society and political structure.

There are many other Islamic countries and dominantly Muslim societies where the courts operate based on Sharia and Islamic laws, where the majority of the people are Muslims, where every aspect of Islam is practiced based on the Quran, Muhammad’s sayings, and Allah’s ideal society, where one is punished for violating Islamic laws.

I am not arguing against any kind of constructive criticism in societies. In fact, I do believe that an informed citizen should be consciously and intellectually aware of the political development in the country, in this case the United States, and should be capable of constructively criticizing the path the government is taking in case he or she believes that the policies are detrimental to the good of the society, and to offer solutions.

Indeed, it should not only be encouraged to participate in socio-political and socio-economic debate, but I believe that it is also the obligation and responsibility of each person to take part in the political and social process to hold their representatives accountable. I find it totally unconstructive and offensive to judge and criticize the society on the grounds of not complying with Islamic principles, what the Quran says, what Muhammad said more than 1400 years ago, and what Allah believes should be a perfect society.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • Michaelada

    For Muslims, the author Majid Rafizadeh is definitely regarded as an apostate denouncing Islam. He will finally get himself assassinated by those Muslims. Muslims have told me that they usually do not care that much about other non-Muslims writing against them; but it is very sensitive and it is a taboo if one of them, a Muslim, from within criticize them.

    • Joseph Flannagan

      They have a very simple logic that anyone who carries out an atrocity or a killing or a suicide bombing is NOT a muslim – DESPITE the fact that the perpetrators quite clearly and openly state that they ARE acting on behalf of islam or mohammed and DESPITE the fact that the motivation is taken from islamic teachings and always accompanied by the inevitable shouts of ” allah u akhbar ” . The muslims can then very conveniently deny responsibility and pretend that it is a peaceful , benign and harmless ideology which sadly so many people – particularly politicians – are prepared to believe.

    • Drakken

      Well the day is coming where us infidels are not going to care what kind of muslim they are, they will be dealt with the good old fashioned way. The Serb Option.

  • Bamaguje

    “…if you do not like (or even hate) how the United States is structured and
    how the society functions, then you can return to your Islamic country
    of origin. No one is forcing you to stay here” – Majid Rafizadeh.

    Exactly!! Those troublesome Muslims are hypocrites.
    Note also that Muslims fleeing Islamist hellholes prefer migrating to the West, rather than to other Islamic countries.
    Boatloads of Afghan refugees risk their lives on a long perilous journey to Australia – tens of thousands of miles away – when Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Gulf Arabs are closer by. Even Islamist rabble rousers often seek asylum in the West, rather than other Muslim countries.
    Yet when these ungrateful Muslims get to the West, they strive to turn the West into the same Sharia hellholes they escaped from.

  • johnlac

    This country was founded on the idea of government staying as much as possible out of the lives of its citizens. I would say that the U.S. is also built on the idea of economic free-enterprise. Many people (we know the usual suspects) would like to change that to a country built on Euro-socialist economic principles and gov. controlling as much as possible the thoughts and actions of its citizens. . I urge those people to leave the U.S. as soon as possible the better to enjoy the Euro-socialist lifestyle.

  • Joseph Flannagan

    And of course the most glaring question of all is – WHY is the traffic so one way ? We see Afghans , Somalis, Syrians , Egyptians , Sudanese , Pakistanis , Bangladeshis etc seeking refuge and asylum in USA , Europe , Australia , Canada etc but NO citizens of those nations having to flee to ANY muslim country for safety , security or sanctuary. Oddly muslims cannot see the irony or contradiction in this situation and continue to try and replicate the very sh*tholes they ran away from.

    • liz

      This displays their unfathomably profound ignorance and arrogance.
      If this country is so beneath their contempt, they have no business being here in the first place.
      But just like Communists who make their pilgrimages to Russia and Cuba, Muslims only return to the pure, undefiled “paradise” of sharia they came from to learn how to destroy this one.
      It is suicidal idiocy to allow either kind the undeserved privilege of citizenship in a country they so hypocritically despise.

  • DK

    The reason mohamidists reject the Christian based US is because mohamidism isa satanic religion ideologically and inalterably opposed to Divine principles, like most US university professors. Their objective is to defeat Christianity by any means. Therefore their continued hatred for western culture makes perfect sense even as the mohams take advantage of the freedoms of our culture. The sad part is that the Christian base is rapidly dwindling into humanist secularism and the satanic forces are ahead on points.

  • punditwannabe

    It is because, perhaps, when they “escape” their oppressive societies, they begin to feel guilty about the license around them in their “sinful” new countries. Also, perhaps they came here thinking they would find financial freedom and mobility, but can’t take the decadence that goes with it and try and change it?

  • Lulubi2012

    Thank you for sharing such true words!

  • wileyvet

    The Egyptian Sayyid Qutb is a classic example of a Muslim who upon spending time in the United States railed against the things he saw, that offended his Islamic sensitivities. He expounded on this and then exhorted his co-religionist to reject western ideas and revert back to a pure Islam in his book Milestones. He was a key figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, and was executed by the Nasser regime in 1966. The reason Muslims in the west behave this way, is that they are not here to be equals with their fellow citizens, but to dominate America, destroy western civilization from within, as they are the vanguard of the stealth jihad, dedicated to replacing the US constitution with Sharia. It is incumbent on all Muslims to wage jihad in the Dar al-harb until every nation of the world is brought under Islam. Every non-Islamic country belongs to it. We are fair game to Muslims. Our leaders would have us believe that we are not at war with Islam, but nobody has told that to Islam. Ask the Byzantines and Persians how things turned out.

    • Infovoyeur

      You have NAILED the *one* important point in this whole issue of one-way immigration-influx. Subversive Jihad, and kind of related to, like, the survival of Western Civilization.

    • liz

      Yes, and any sane, competent Western leader would recognize them as the enemy and bar them from entering his country.
      But we have leaders who identify more with our enemies than they do with us. This used to be called treason. Now it is politically correct.

    • Mousa

      Just imagine if an American moved to Paki and began railing against that sh*thole of a country. The first word deemed to be insulting to mohammdeadandagoodthingheis would result in his head rolling down the street amid crowds of cheering sh*theads.

  • Popeye55

    You are missing their (muslim) point, Its not about moving away from an islamic country, it’s about making yours one. This article may help to explain. http://hlaoo1980.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/malaysia-once-was-buddhist-land-called.html

  • DogmaelJones1

    “…it is extremely difficult to have any intellectual debate with proponents of Islamic principles in the United States or other Western countries.” This was probably a reality check for the author of this column: that no intellectual debate or discussion with brain-dead Muslim manques is possible. Islam does not encourage the development of an intellect, not even in its noisiest spokesman, and especially not in its rank-and-file.. All they can do is parrot what Mojo, the Koran and Allah (aka, Wontonka the All-Knowing) say. This is why debating these creatures on “interfaith” panels is pointless.

  • Walter Sieruk

    Thomas Jefferson had it right then he stated “I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over mind of man.”

  • 1Indioviejo1

    Majid, it’s not an intellectual problem with Muslims, but an emotional problem. For instance, Muslims are proud of their home countries even if they lived in squalor, and are proud of their religious cult even if they studied their history, their Koran, Haddith, Sunna and what have you, because deep down they can’t admit to themselves they are shiit. They want to be in denial because Islam is their identity going back centuries of family and tribal alliances. I say “Houston, we have a problem.” Until you people renounce Islam and apostate, you will never embrace freedom. It is the antithesis to Islam.