Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
A sermon delivered by popular Saudi Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid clearly demonstrates why Western secular relativists and multi culturalists—who currently dominate media, academia, and politics—are incapable of understanding, much less responding to, the logic of Islamic intolerance.
During his sermon, al-Munajjid said that “some [Muslim] hypocrites” wonder why it is that “we [Muslims] don’t permit them [Western people] to build churches, even though they allow mosques to be built.” The Saudi sheikh responded by saying that any Muslim who thinks this way is “ignorant” and
Wants to equate between right and wrong, between Islam and kufr [non-Islam], monotheism and shirk [polytheism], and gives to each side equal weight, and wants to compare this with that, and he asks: “Why don't we build them churches like they build us mosques? So we allow them this in return for that?” Do you want another other than Allah to be worshiped? Do you equate between right and wrong? Are Zoroastrian fire temples, Jewish temples, Christian churches, monks’ monasteries, and Buddhist and Hindu temples, equal to you with the houses of Allah and mosques? So you compare this with that? And you equate this with that? Oh! Unbelievable, for he who equates between Islam and kufr [non-Islam], and Allah said: “Whoever desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers” (Koran 3:85). And Prophet Muhamad said: “By Him in whose hand is the life of Muhamad (By Allah) he who amongst the Jews or Christians hears about me, but does not affirm his belief in that which I have been sent, and dies in his state (of disbelief), he shall be of the residents of Hellfire."
What’s interesting about the sheikh’s zealous diatribe is that, although “intolerant” from a Western perspective, it is, in fact, quite logically consistent and reveals the wide gap between Islamic rationalism and Western fantasy (despite how oxymoronic this dichotomy might sound).
If, as Munajjid points out, a Muslim truly believes that Islam is the only true religion, and that Muhammad is its prophet, why would he allow that which is false (and thus corrupt, cancerous, misleading, etc.) to exist alongside it? Such gestures of “tolerance” would be tantamount to a Muslim who “wants to equate between right and wrong,” as the sheikh correctly deplores.
Indeed, not only does Islam, like traditional Christianity, assert that all other religions are wrong, but under Islamic law, Hindus, and Buddhists are so misguided that they must be warred against until they either accept the “truth,” that is, converting to Islam, or else being executed (Koran 9:5). As for the so-called “people of the book”—Jews and Christians—they may practice their religions, but only after being subdued (Koran 9:29) and barred from building or renovating churches and synagogues and a host of other debilitations that keep their (false) religious practices and symbols (Bibles, crosses, etc.) suppressed and out of sight.
From an Islamic paradigm—where Allah is the true god and Muhammad his final messenger—“intolerance” for other religions is logical and difficult to condemn.
The “altruistic” aspect of Islamic “intolerance” is especially important. If you truly believe that there is only one religion that leads to paradise and averts damnation, is it not altruistic to share it with humanity, rather than hypocritically maintaining that all religions lead to God and truth?
After blasting the concept of interfaith dialogue as beyond futile, since “what is false is false—even if a billion individuals agree to it; and truth is truth—even if only one who has submitted [a Muslim] holds on to it,” the late Osama bin Laden once wrote that “Battle, animosity, and hatred—directed from the Muslim to the infidel—is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them” (The Al Qaeda Reader, pgs. 42-43).
Note the altruistic justification: It is a “justice and kindness” to wage jihad on non-Muslims in the hopes that they convert to Islam. According to this logic, jihadis will always be as the “good guys”—meaning that terrorism, extortion, sex-jihad, etc., will continue to be rationalized away as ugly but necessary means to altruistic ends: the empowerment of, and eventual world conversion to, Islam.
All of this logic is alien to postmodern Western epistemology, which takes for granted that a) there are no objective “truths,” certainly not in the field of theology, and that b) religion’s ultimate purpose is to make this life as peaceful and pleasant as possible (hence why “interfaith dialogue” in the West is not about determining the truth—which doesn’t exist anyway—but finding and highlighting otherwise superficial commonalities between different religions so they can all get along in the now).
The net result of all this? On the one hand, Muslims, who believe in truth—that is, in the teachings of Islam—will continue attacking the “false,” that is, everything and everyone un-Islamic. And no matter how violent, Islamic jihad—terrorism—will always be exonerated in Muslim eyes as fundamentally “altruistic.” On the other hand, Western secularists and multiculturalists, who believe in nothing and deem all cultures and religions equal, will continue to respect Islam and empower Muslims, convinced that terrorism is an un-Islamic aberration destined to go away—that is, they will continue disbelieving their own eyes. Such is the offspring of that unholy union between Islamic logic and Western fallacy.