It's easy to view #muslims as a monolithic other. But 1-billion plus others is a lot of people.
Agreement is Rare
I want to take us into a thought experiment in the lives we know best... our own. Consider any ism that you have ever been a part of. Libertarianism, Vegetarianism, Christianity-ism.
Now take a random sample set of yourself and any 1 or 2 other people whom you can think of that have self-identified under that label.
Then ask yourself the question: "did we agree on everything that fell under the principles of that ism? Did we agree on how those principles translate into action?"
No matter what ism, you will not find 100% agreement on principles and implications. The more people you add, the lower the overlapping level of agreement in the massive venn-diagram.
One Billion Ideological Carbon Copies?
How then does this apply to a billion such people? It becomes impossible to believe that they see exactly the same things as true and important and worthy of action. Except for the sorts of things that most human beings have in common:
- we want to live our lives
- we look out for the well-being of those we care about
We, as non-muslims, can take a moment to fully take in the heterogenity of the full body of muslims. Not all of them will be conservative or bigotted or sexist. Some of them may not even care about politics: live and let live.
Ideas come and go in perpetual motion and there is constant change on which ones are fashionable.
Our mainstream media do a bad job of representing reality in a statistically correct way. Anything that gets reported on seems to be statistically prevalent to our easily-fooled psyches. People who want to just live their lives are not news. People getting along with one another is not news.
We have this conception that "news" is information. And while this is true, as far as statistical impressions go, it is total misinformation.
Regardless, I'd like to take heart in the news story listed below under References (1), "Tunisian Islamists Ennahda move to separate politics, religion".
The separation of church and state is a fundamental principle with huge implications to liberty. Every innovation, including the ones made in the realm of liberty, begins as heresy against the mainstream fashion that came before. Heresy is attacked with prejudice by any state that is involved in policing your ideas.
We must support the freedom to express ideas and therefore we must support any effort no matter how small toward states and political movements that compose themselves as independent of religion. We must support secular politics and we must denounce and resist any effort to marry state with religion as an attack upon our lives and liberty.
So what can we do?
People in the mainstream media can certainly do something: stop putting forward the loud obnoxious conservative bigot muslims as their "authentic" voices. You are not an authority on one billion plus people.
People who are not media can stop watching CNN and Fox News. They are not in the business of informing you. You are not "learning" when you hear their interpretations. Remember: They are in the business of selling your eyes to advertisers.