s/Islam Is (No){0,1} Religion of Peace/Stop Arguing About What Islam Is/

If you've read my thoughts on the meaninglessness of labels such as ‪#‎Islam‬, you can see through the fog of war: Islam isn't one big monolithic thing and to say "Islam means Peace" is a meaningless subterfuge about nothing in particular.

Because of my unusual ideas about labels, I find a title such as Gay Muslim: Islam Is No Religion of Peace to be guilty of inviting the wrong kind of conversation. The article is a good read, by the way. More reinforcement that Islam is a manifold of subcultures trying to find their way in the world. But the gay subculture stands in stark contrast to outsider notions of how conservative the religion looks on average.

The article also reinforces this: Ideas Kill. Not directly, but by the people who act because they are emboldened by them. Self-loathing and mortal sin, combined with a few carefully placed notions of what it takes to achieve redemption seems to be particularly deadly in consequence.

It still comes down to this for me. If I view adoption of some dangerous ideas as a problem inherent with Islam, I feel like there's some panel I have to take it to for approval. I have no standing to challenge Islam nor any standing to ask Muslims to reject things they consider their identity. No way in. Access denied.

But I don't view it like that. My view is that there are bad ideas in the Muslim zeitgeist and some that have demonstrably bad outcomes. And we don't have to ask people to reject their identities to challenge some of their notions. Identities can be revised and refined and essentialized. If enough people who call themselves Muslims reject an idea, value, or custom, then the definition of muslim changes. End of story.

Now... If we as non-Muslims are moved to try to take down the bad ideas, "Us. Vs. Them" isn't going to work.

How do we influence the other whom we hold in judgment?

Answer: We don't even try. Judgment is final.

But, say instead... I view my brother as mistaken: overtaken by a bad idea that he is acting to perpetuate and spread... do I then see an opportunity to share a different way of seeing things? Possibilities abound.


Sects and Violence — Francis Luong

Gay Muslim: Islam Is No Religion of Peace - The Daily Beast