Most Muslims Are No Different Than Their Jewish and Christian Kin, They Never Actually Read Their Holy Book

Why is Islam so different, so quick to rush to death threats, when Mohammed or Islam itself is insulted? The answer is in the Qur’an

Two Muslim women wearing hijab
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

The tombstone of the third president of the United States reads: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” 

To Jefferson, who personally designed his headstone, these were the three accomplishments he was most proud of, even more than his presidency.

Both the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom were achieved by the time he reached middle age, but it wasn’t until his final years that he saw the fruition of the University of Virginia.

 Jefferson referred to setting up an American educational system as the “hobby of my old age.” This system, to be set apart from the European way of restricting educational privilege only to royalty, aristocracy, and clergy, was long in the making. 

When he served in the Virginia General Assembly, Jefferson attempted to pass bills to authorize a public education system, but they never garnered enough votes. And while serving as Ambassador to France, he still held on to his vision. 

In 1786, he observed in a letter to George Wythe that, “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom, and happiness. 

If anybody thinks that kings, nobles, or priests are good conservators of the public happiness, send them here. It is the best school in the universe to cure them of that folly.” Jefferson recognized that limiting access only to the privileged classes undermined a good educational system. 

He also frowned upon a limited curriculum. His goal was to establish a university where there was no set course of study, allowing students the freedom to read, debate, attend lectures, conduct experiments, and enrich themselves in whatever subject they saw fit—apart from theology, which Jefferson completely forbade on the campus. 

And to make a point of keeping out an aristocracy or age-old authority, no church or chapel was included in the plans. Instead, the focal point was the “Temple of Knowledge,” the library. The surrounding trees and landscaping creating an “Academical Village” instead of the traditional large works of architecture to house it all. 

When it opened in 1819, the University of Virginia was, in essence, the first of its kind—one without an underlying seminary, one that placed the real sciences, real experiments, and student choice above clergy order. 

Since its founding, the University of Virginia has been a model for American universities open to no set curricula, where students and professors are allowed to pursue their own areas of study without interference. 

But even schools with set curricula have at their core the principles of free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas. 

These ideals have been under attack recently by those who take the Qur’an at face value, and institutes of higher education in the United States are caving to Muslim demands to self-censor. 

In March 2014, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Illinois at Chicago were both scheduled to screen the documentary Honor Diaries but canceled the events at the behest of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). 

What was the problem? Honor Diaries documents the testimony of nine Muslim women as they recount genital mutilation, honor killings, and female submission in the name of faith. Under the exploited charge of Islamophobia, CAIR demanded that the screenings be canceled. 

CAIR could have taken this opportunity to denounce these practices so that Islam can move beyond the brutality, but they did not. Their choice to yell loud enough until the showing was canceled demonstrates complicity and approval of, I repeat, genital mutilation, honor killings, and female submission. 

Qanta Ahmed, M.D., one of the experts consulted in the making of Honor Diaries, had this to say regarding the cancellations: “Perhaps better than anyone else, Americans understand the sanctity of the separation of church and state and defend the right of all who take shelter here to freely express their religion. 

But what many Americans forget, to the great benefit of the political Islamist, is that the right to religious expression does not mean that one faction can encroach upon and dominate public space. Public space can be shared only if it is defended for all, not conceded to some.”1 

Good point. These universities are not the only ones canceling events due to Muslim outrage. On May 18, 2014, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the bestselling autobiography Infidel and a contributor to Honor Diaries, was scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate from Brandeis University.

Hirsi Ali is a well-known critic of Islam and a supporter of women wishing to escape the restrictions imposed on them by that religion. And, because of this, said degree was not awarded to her. 

At the helm of this campaign, again, was CAIR and other Muslims who scared—I find this to be the only proper expression—Brandeis into bowing out. 

Yet again, instead of taking the opportunity to apologize, commit to change, and move into the twenty-first century, the most vocal fanatics still living in the Bronze Age won the day. Hirsi Ali also wrote the screenplay for the 2004 film Submission. 

Directed by Theo Van Gogh, the film shows Muslim women abused through the practices of Islam. In came the death threats, and while Hirsi Ali remains alive, Van Gogh was not so lucky. On November 2, 2004, he was assassinated at the hands of a Muslim man who took his holy book much too seriously. 

In the age of the internet, a university is no longer confined by geography. This is something Jefferson could not have foreseen. But his vision remains alive in cyberspace. 

Students can attend university classes from anywhere in the world if the chosen university is equipped. Yet the medieval perspective is still able to creep into our telephony and cabling. 

In 2014, Rokomari.com, the first online bookstore to be based in Bangladesh, received death threats for carrying the book The Virus of Faith by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi engineer and writer living in the United States, who received his own death threats for writing the book, and later was hacked to death by terrorists On February 26, 2015. 

Rokomari eventually pulled all of Roy’s books from their inventory. But the censorship didn’t end there. Rokomari issued the following statement: “After the recent controversies, we received a strong message. . .A review committee has already started working to shape a policy under which no book that raises controversy will be shown on our site.”2 

Why is Islam so different, so quick to rush to death threats, when Mohammed or Islam itself is insulted? The answer is in the Qur’an.

Read where the faithful are expected to put “terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” (3:151) and “kill them [unbelievers] where ever you find them” (2:191), and then you’ll know why. 

The book itself could be considered one big instruction manual on how to abstain from friendships and alliances with unbelievers and punish people who ignore the “revelations.” 

The vast majority of Muslims do not engage in such atrocities. In fact, most are no different than their Jewish and Christian kin, in that they never actually read their holy book, and they attend services out of a sense of ritual and tradition more than a desire to seek deeper knowledge or answers. 

But there exists a growing population that has enough power to change the course of university teachings and cause a free inquiry to be stifled. 

As the youngest of the three great monotheisms, Islam has yet to shed its violent baggage, which is upheld, directly or indirectly, by its major organizations. 

One of the most horrendous attacks on free speech and human life itself occurred in Paris on January 7, 2015, when two gunmen yelled “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greatest!) stormed the offices of the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo and slaughtered twelve people. 

Their reason? The magazine routinely publishes articles and cartoons lampooning Mohammed. Never mind that they poke fun at every other sacred cow as well. Mere drawings were enough for two people who take the Qur’an way too seriously to end the lives of twelve others who didn’t. 

Not deterred in the least, the surviving staff carried on and published their next issue right on schedule. On January 11, 2015, over a million people, including more than forty presidents and prime ministers from around the world, poured into the streets and marched through Paris in a show of solidarity. 

Many held black and white signs bearing the slogan that had become ubiquitous around the world for denouncing this attack on free speech: “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). 

But are we? To be Charlie means to continue to practice despite threats to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Many American publications and broadcasters have refused to reproduce the Charlie Hebdo cartoons not out of fear of violence, but out of a reluctance to offend. 

As a result, Islamic censorship is winning. Thomas Jefferson was an eyewitness to the events in Paris on July 14, 1789, which included the storming of the Bastille. 

It was the beginning of the French Revolution, which he supported, although he criticized the violence that it brought. This revolution, coupled with the American Revolution that preceded it, was the beginning of the end of ruling monarchies and theocracies worldwide. 

Jefferson retired from his ambassador role and left France for good in 1789. If there had been the equivalent of a Je Suis Charlie t-shirt back then, I suspect he would have worn one on his voyage home. 

Because of the way, he faced terrorism in his own day, and the way he carried on to turn his ideas into reality despite the odds, I believe he was like Charlie. In 1820, the year after the establishment of the University of Virginia, Jefferson wrote a letter to William Roscoe. 

In it, he said, “this institution [University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” 

Most American universities and media outlets consider themselves aligned with these ideals, so why are they backing down in the face of a challenge from the Bronze Age? 

And while it is true that Judaism and Christianity also impose their will in higher education and the media, it is only Islam that does so at the point of a (insert your choice of weapon here).

More on Islam:

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Eric Wojciechowski



As a father of two, Eric Wojciechowski is working to pass on to them a world based on reason and logic. He is ready to assist in ushering the Abrahamic gods into a retirement home.

Footnotes
  1. Qanta Ahmed, “Honor Diaries: Silence Speaks Volumes,” NationalReview.com, April 4, 2014.
  2. “Bangladesh Online Bookstore Drops Author after Death Threats,” UCANews.com, March 18, 2014.
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