Lonely men and incels (and Muslim extremists)

I do know lonely men and incels are different from each other. Unlike lonely men in general, incels are toxic cretins who feel entitled to sex and female obedience and they blame women for their loneliness.

So, I cringed so hard when Jordan Peterson cried after being mocked by Olivia Wilde as incels’ hero; he asserted that there was nothing wrong about giving the marginalised ones a voice.

Now, as a Muslim, I am going to compare incels to Muslim extremists. I can’t help but seeing the similarities.

Yes, people from both groups do need help….. in fixing their toxic selves. Their worldview compels them to harm others, especially those who don’t share their identities and beliefs. They are hated not because they are inconsequentially different, but because they are dangerous to be around with.

The last thing we need is letting those people feeling even more empowered. They deserve to feel ashamed of themselves.

Now, what if those people didn’t start as such? What if the incels started as genuinely lonely men? What if the religious extremists started as members of marginalised Muslim minorities or Muslims who feel aimless with their lives?

If that’s the case, it shows our failure as societies. Our negligence result them in their desperation to seek help….. and the extremists are the only ones who lend hands, hands which guide them to the dark paths. Then, we have the gall to act surprise.

But, even with such tragic origin stories, I still don’t see why we shouldn’t crap on them. Their idea of self-empowerment is cruelty against others; they cannot comprehend that it can be achieved through other means.

They are also defeating their own causes. They went from deserving our support to ones who deserve to be hated. They also give other assholes more reasons to be negligent and discriminatory towards the likes of them.

I also don’t believe all incels started as lonely men and all Muslim extremists started as aimless or disenfranchised Muslims.

If you are a man who grew up among toxic masculinity, you can easily become incels without going through the “neglected lonely man” stage. If you are a Muslim who grew up among fellow believers who make Islam their entire personalities, you can easily become an extremist without going through the “aimless or disenfranchised” stage.

Overall, in differing ways, they are all victims of circumstances which they had no control over; it is important to acknowledge how they become the way they are.

But, it is also important to acknowledge that the way they are is dangerous. Considering humans are grey, we can both the victims and the villains. I don’t see why we can’t feel sorry for incels and Muslim extremists while also harshly condemning them at the same time, especially when they have fulfilled their violent desires.

I don’t see how not condemning them benefit anyone.

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Monarchism, religion and colonialism

Vox made a video about how the English monarch is still the head of state of different countries. In the comment section, I posted this comment:

As an Indonesian, I find it weird that independent countries still have a foreigner living in faraway land as their symbolic head of state. It is even weirder that the faraway land has an entirely different cultural root.

From all any of English royalty-related comments I have made, I consider that to be the least cynical and disparaging and the most matter-of-fact. I mean, Indonesia does not have a head of state who lives in a faraway land; ours, who is also our head of government, is an Indonesian citizen who grew up in Indonesia and has identified as an Indonesian all of their life. Obviously, for people like me, the idea of having a foreigner as a head of state is weird.

But, that comment still manages to ruffle feathers.

As if almost on cue, people started chastising me because I am from Indonesia, a non-Arabian country dominated by a religion of Arabian origin that is Islam, which they deem as a colonising religion. With that fact in mind, they believe I have no right to criticise.

One thing first: I agree with them that Islam is a colonising religion. In many countries, it is undoubtedly a politically, socially and culturally influential religion with large numbers of adherents. It has the ability to devour smaller and less powerful religions without direct coercions and it has definitely done so, including in Indonesia. As an Indonesian Muslim, it is a fact that I have to acknowledge.

But, that’s the only thing I agree with them. I don’t believe a religion is a cultural colonising power.

In essence, religion is a set of spiritual rituals and worldviews. But, the latter are often expressed using ancient figures of speech which original meanings are unknown by modern audience; this allows anyone to create their own interpretations, which may or may not be influenced by one’s cultural backgrounds.

Sunni Islam – the disproportionately dominant Islamic branch in the world and in Indonesia – is a highly decentralised religion, which gives its adherents even more freedom to interpret… and also the freedom to follow any imams as they desire or to not follow any at all.

In Indonesia, the Javanese and Sundanese people – the biggest and second biggest ethnic groups, respectively – are predominantly-Muslim and yet, their traditional arts are still dominated by South Asian influences; the Santris are the only ones who embrace more Middle Eastern ones.

There are indeed Muslim-majority ethnic groups whose cultures have strong Arabian influences. But, they don’t speak Arabic and they certainly do not identify themselves as Arabs. The actual Arab-Indonesians themselves are uninterested in Arabising their homeland; not even all of them can speak Arabic.

Most Indonesian mosques constructed before the 20th century utilised local architectural styles. Oh, and Indonesia’s national official symbols are taken from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies, as a tribute to the region’s Hindu and Buddhist roots.

And even a centralised religion is not that rigid. Yes, the prospect of having spirituality dictated by someone living in a faraway land unnerves me. But, it is still culturally flexible.

In Indonesia, some Catholic congregations love incorporating traditional cultures into their liturgies. Languages, costumes and music, they have no issues staying in touch with the local traditions.

If I use my detractors’ logic, that means I have to see the entire western world as a Middle-Eastern colony, considering Christianity is also from the Middle East.

Regardless of its place and culture of origin, regardless of how centralised the leadership is, a religion can be moulded to fit to any cultures as one pleases… as it has always been since forever.

Meanwhile, a living monarch does not have such malleability. No matter how non-white and non-English your Commonwealth realm country is, no matter how much you try to twist it, the living white English-born and raised monarch will always be white and English.

Oh, and the bit of info about national symbols? It shows how Indonesians aren’t interested in having their country represented by anything Islamic. On a symbolic official level, many of us prefer to be represented by our Hindu and Buddhist ancestors.

If you see Indonesian tourism ads and take a peek at what Indonesian festivals abroad have to offer, you will see Islam is barely mentioned or depicted, if at all. Islam takes centre stage only when the occasions are specifically religious (e.g. Ramadhan fast breaks or Idul Fitri celebrations).

Every time Islamists champion Sharia-fication of Indonesian law, they get harshly reminded by moderate Muslims that Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country and NOT an Islamic one. Unlike the Islamists, the moderates are actually considerate about the religious minorities.

Basically, if you want to call me a hypocrite for posting that comment, make sure a living monarch is entirely comparable to religion and prove that Islam has been used to symbolically represent Indonesia as a whole.

Those “rebuttals” were not even the worst I received. Someone took it to a next level… by claiming that the legitimacy of the Indonesian president is the exact same as the King of England’s. Just like how the monarch hasn’t lived in every single Commonwealth realm, the Indonesian president hasn’t lived in every single Indonesian province, they say.

Okay, then.

Yes, it is true Indonesian Presidents haven’t lived in every single province. But, those provinces are… you know… provinces. They are not sovereign states, they are territories of a sovereign state. While presidents have always been Muslims and of Javanese descent (which unfortunately is a sign of poor ethnic and religious representations), they are elected by the people (at least after the fall of Soeharto); citizens from all provinces have the right to vote.

Meanwhile, not only the English monarch is the head of state of different independent countries, it is also a hereditary position and the person holding it was never elected by the people. Apples and oranges, but far more idiotic.

Those are just reminders of how monarchists – especially English ones – are borderline cultish.

If they are not borderline cultish, they wouldn’t do whataboutism, they wouldn’t project, they would try their best to argue using facts and commonsense…

And they certainly would not get riled up by one of the least offensive and provocative anti-monarchist comments ever made.

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They are not stupid, they are worse

As a Muslim, I have had many online arguments with anti-Muslim bigots. But, a handful of them stick out.

In one, someone babbled about how literally every Muslim in the world was morally obligated to fight ISIS directly, as in we have to go to the Middle East – – even though many of us are not from the region, let alone being directly complicit – and sacrifice ourselves fighting those extremists. While this is not my first time encountering association fallacy arguments, this one is the most extreme examples.

But, that’s not even the most memorable thing about the encounter. He also said ISIS soldiers were idiotic.

That surprised me. He could have used other words like barbaric, monstrous, animals, savages or even assholes. But, he chose idiotic.

In this case, I consider it a lightweight insult because – thanks to its mundanity and borderline childishness – it fails to convey sincere, impassioned and righteous anger. But, this is not even the main problem.

Idiocy means you fail to utilise your common sense; when your nonsensical actions do harm others, you never intended to and you may feel guilty about it. Meanwhile, immorality means you have little or no regard about your fellow humans’ well-being: either you don’t care about the impacts of your actions or you purposefully inflict harm upon others.

If you are a full grown adult who are smitten by blatant propaganda, then you are unequivocally a fucking idiot. If you are a teenager, I would still call you one, albeit with a gentler tone.

But, we know damn well ISIS is more than just that.

ISIS soldiers beheaded people, pushed queer men off the top of buildings and sexually enslaved women and girls. ISIS sympathisers either wholeheartedly support the atrocities or tolerate them.

If you commit, support or tolerate the unspeakable, you are not an idiot. You are someone which even the worst expletives cannot adequate describe you. Yes, you are worse than a cunt.

I don’t know why that person chose to call ISIS members idiotic. He might think morality and intelligence were interchangeable. He might think the lack of intelligence was the worst sin of all. I can only assume.

But, one thing for certain: he trivialised the victims’ sufferings.

They suffer because of others’ ungodly actions. But, by claiming that idiocy was the worst sin committed by ISIS, he made it sounded like the victims’ trauma was caused by the routine stupidity we encounter in our daily lives AKA they were snowflakes. While he didn’t intend it that way, the unintentional insinuation is there.

Even without his backfiring moralistic anger, this person was already problematic (you have issues if you don’t see anything wrong about guilt by association). But, I think everyone can learn from him.

Even if your anger is sincerely righteous, you should think twice about how you express it. Make sure your choice of words and imagery do not infantilise the people you want to defend… or, like in this case, unwittingly make light out of their sufferings.

Like it or not, being moral also requires us to use our heads, which – I admit – is harder than it sounds. I am certain I have committed similar sins.

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Does mask policy help normalising face veil?

No, It doesn’t.

People of Chinese lineage and anyone perceived ones living in the west are turned into punching bags; they suffer from verbal abuse and violent acts, some of which are fatal. Considering where the virus is reportedly from, the history of anti-Chinese sentiment and the hostility towards Beijing, this phenomenon unfortunately does not surprise me.

What surprises me is the COVID-related anti-Muslim sentiment. It is not prevalent; I have only seen it among a handful of conservative Americans. But, its mere presence is not what attracts my attention.

For years, many rightwing westerners have spread the conspiracy “theory” about the Muslim takeover of the west. Among those who love virtue signalling about women’s rights, they believe every woman in the west will be forced to wear burqa. Literally, the only evidence they have is mere presence of Muslims.

And COVID health protocols really trigger their paranoia. They see the mask policy as an attempt to normalise face veil and governments being complicit to the so-called Islamisation.

I am not going to argue in details why they are stupid. But, I can give my perspective as a Muslim living in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

In Indonesia, Aceh is the only province where hijab is mandatory and there is not a single province where face veil is. It is not to say veiled women don’t exist. But, they are extremely rare, even among the most religious Muslim women.

After the enforcement of face mask, you still can tell which women wear face veil.

For one, they always wear loose and long dress; they never wear shirts and pants. It is a contrast to some hijabis who are often seen wearing pants and shirts.

Secondly and most importantly, they never bother to wear the masks. Why should they do when they have their niqabs? While I doubt they are as medically effective, the supermarkets I go to don’t seem to mind.

If face mask policy fails to normalise niqab in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, what makes you think it can do so in the predominantly-non-Muslim western countries?

You don’t need the pandemic to realise this. If something sticks out like a sore thumb, then it is definitely weird and definitely not seen as something that has been normalised.

Mind blowing, I know.

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What I, a Sunni Muslim, think of the seemingly endless Catholic Church atrocities

Obviously, to say they are an affront to mankind is an understatement. Unless you are a special kind of human being, you don’t need me to realise that. But, there is something which many people don’t seem to notice: it is also a case of giant missed opportunity with horrendous consequences.

Let me go on a tangent first.

The Catholic Church is not just a religious establishment, it is also a highly centralised organisation of clergymen, complete with ranks and uniform admittance processes. Meanwhile, Sunni Islam – the disproportionately dominant denomination – is a highly decentralised religion; we don’t have our own equivalent of the pope and bishops and – in some countries, at least – becoming clerics do not require formal certifications and we are allowed to choose imams and/or Islamic institutions that suit us.

To sum it up, Roman Catholic church is packed with global and official interconnectivity. It is comparable to a unitary country with strong central government. The Sunni one……. well….. I don’t know how to describe it eloquently.

If I have to describe the Sunni world, it is like a country with barely functioning central government, allowing millions of regional authorities to reign over. Each of those regional authority has a varying level of authoritativeness and varying size of jurisdictions…… and many, if not all, of those jurisdictions overlap with each other. Not to mention the citizens are of diverse cultural, racial and political backgrounds – which may or may not greatly influence their religious identities – and they have varying level of experiences with diversity.

As a Sunni myself, I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, it feels nice there is no stranger in a faraway land formally dictating my Muslimness. But, on the other hand, it makes tackling religious extremism extremely difficult.

Obviously, that’s not an excuse to do nothing. If you see something, the least you can do is to say something. But, people should realise that the unrelenting convolutedness means tackling Sunni extremism is not as easy as flipping a table.

Now, about this blogpost’s title…

It has always been crystal clear the church is powerful. It has the ability to micromanage the characters and behaviours of every single person within its ranks. While nothing can be 100% effective, it could have easily reduced the abuses to a handful of rare and isolated cases.

Instead, it chooses the complete opposite path.

It consciously protects the many sexual predators within its ranks by not reporting them to the local authorities, consequentially turning Roman Catholic clergyman into a dream profession for sexual predators.

It consciously let the Magdalene laundries to freely abused the “fallen women” for many years and, to this day, the Catholic orders involved still refuse to take responsibility, unrepentantly painting themselves as heroes.

It consciously let some members of its ranks to support Canada’s cultural genocide against the indigenous people by participating in some of the residential schools.

Don’t even forget about the goddamn inquisition.

I am not going to pretend overseeing one of the world’s biggest organisations is easy peasy. I am also not going to pretend the church never does anything noble; I mean, Catholic schools – in some countries, at least – are known for their high quality, a fact which even many Muslims wholeheartedly acknowledge.

But, it is infuriating how an institution chose to not inoculate itself against evil despite having the enormous power to do so, consequentially letting itself becoming a global and historical super spreader of human depravities.

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I also have to exclude the Shia Islam – the second biggest denomination – from this conversation because not only Shia extremism is far less globally consequential, I also know almost nothing about Shia islam. I have heard that Shia leadership is more centralised. But, I don’t know to what extent and I don’t know if it differs from one sub-denomination to another.

Don’t even get started on the even smaller denominations. I don’t know if extremism is even prevalent in any of them.

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Those positive Muslim stories no longer entice me

In fact, as a Muslim, I find them nauseating nowadays.

I used to relish on them. I used to believe those feelgood stories would help tackling anti-Muslim bigotry; even if they didn’t, they would give the bigots the finger.

But, slowly, I started to feel uneasy about such stories. Then, I realise they can be problematic for two reasons.

Reason one: they exacerbate some Muslims’ denialism

There are some Muslims (focus on the word SOME) who genuinely believe the Muslim world is inherently problem-free. Consequentially, those particular Muslims dismiss Islamic extremism a conspiracy by the CIA and/or Mossad. Either that or they see it as harmless expressions of faith, hated only by “fake Muslims” and “Islam-hating infidels”.

The more they encounter those saccharine stories, the more they feel entitled to praises just for doing the bare minimum.

Reason two: they are infantilising

Oh, a group of Muslims behave like decent human beings? So fucking what? How is people doing the fucking bare minimum worth the news?

If our decent behaviours are worth the news, it means you are still surprised by our ability to be virtuous. Therefore, regardless of how “woke” you claim to be, you still see us as mere stereotypes. You still expect the worst from us.

So, should we keep the negative media coverage, then?

Well, yes…. with a big but.

On one hand, we have to keep making a big deal out of Islamic extremism. We have to keep reminding everyone -especially Muslims- that it is not something to be tolerated, let alone embraced.

It is also something which does not feed on attention-seeking. Its growth will continue regardless of our (in)attention. Unless you are one of the Muslims who care more about our image than our moral integrity, you would want the negative coverage to continue.

But, on the other hand, many western media outlets (which are unfortunately globally influential) seem incapable of reporting extremism without pigeonholing the Muslim world. They don’t always interview Muslims. When they do, they interview extremists and present them as good representatives. When they do interview peaceful Muslims, they often treat the peacefulness as a bombshell; worse, they also accuse those peaceful Muslims of being complicit to extremism, simply for sharing a religious label with the extremists.

Obviously, journalists must suppress their preconceived beliefs. Unfortunately, we are talking about humans here; it is easy to succumb to prejudice. Even if they try their best, they have prejudiced higher-ups to bow down to.

But, regardless, those saccharine narratives are still the wrong way to go. As mentioned earlier, they belittle our ability to be dignified human beings and they encourage some Muslims to exaggerate the goodness of the Muslim world, discourage them from acknowledging the problems.

Whether we like it or not, the negative coverage must go on. Because feeling good all the time benefits no one.

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So, you think you hate Islam and Muslims? Well, I have questions for you

  1. What are the five pillars of Islam?*
  2. What are the six articles of faith in Islam?*
  3. What is Sunnah?*
  4. What are the names of the first two Surahs (chapters) of the Quran?*
  5. How many verses does each Surah have?*
  6. How are Hadiths different from the Quran?*
  7. How many times should Muslims pray in a day?*
  8. What is the total daily Rakaat?*
  9. What is the Quranic chapter we silently recite in every Rakaah?*
  10. What is the phrase we recite before doing any activities, especially reciting prayers?*
  11. What is the phrase we recite to show gratitude?*
  12. What is the phrase we recite when we seek divine forgiveness or when others say outrageous things?*
  13. What is the phrase we recite when tragedies strike?*
  14. What is the phrase which is the Islamic equivalent of “Oh My God”?
  15. What is the phrase which we recite while making promises, even empty ones?
  16. What is the name of the fasting month?*
  17. How long should Muslims fast in a day?*
  18. When are Muslims prohibited from fasting?*
  19. Name at least four Islamic holidays.*
  20. Who are the first, penultimate and last prophets of Islam?*
  21. Name at least four other prophets.*
  22. Name the three holiest cities in Islam.*
  23. What is the name of the water spring highly revered in Islam?*
  24. At which holy city is it located?*
  25. Name each city’s main mosque.*
  26. Is the Islamic calendar solar, lunar or lunisolar?
  27. What are the two major denominations of Islam?*
  28. How did Islam branch into those two?
  29. Name the other smaller denominations.
  30. Which denomination is accused of creating its own last prophet?
  31. Which denomination is perceived as pantheistic rather than monotheistic?
  32. What are the countries with the largest and second largest Muslim populations?**
  33. At which parts of the world are they located?**
  34. Name at least four Muslim-majority countries.**
  35. Which of those countries declare Islam as their state religion?
  36. What is each country’s dominant denomination?
  37. What are the most commonly-spoken languages in those countries?
  38. What are the most commonly-spoken languages in the Muslim world?**
  39. How do Muslims call the headscarves?**
  40. What are the contributions of the Islamic Golden Age?
  41. What are the differences between Jihadism and Islamism?***
  42. Which extremist groups are Jihadist and which are Islamist?***
  43. Did you know that the Muslim world is not a monolith and therefore, many Muslims will not like how I frame the questions, particularly the snide ones?**

If you know the basics of Islamic rituals and mythology, * would be easy to answer. If you know the basic human facts about the Muslim world (yes, we are humans), ** would be easy to answer.

If you know the basics of Islamic extremism, *** would be easy to answer.

If you struggle to answer any of the marked questions and somehow you still hate Islam and the Muslims, then you hate them without knowing shit about them.

Basically, you are a bunch of fucktards.

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The (so-called) United States of Islam 2

In the previous essay, I talked about how cute it is that non-Muslims are more obsessed with Muslims’ so-called unity than we are. Now, I will focus on my interactions with them. Disclaimer: I cannot confirm whether my fellow Muslims share my experiences.

If you have joined any conversations about Islam and/or Muslims, you would have heard of taqiyya and how people intentionally misinterpret it.

I won’t talk about the taqiyya-screaming crowd. Conversing with them is like to talking unhinged sentient walls that run in circles. I will talk about the ones who were open-minded enough to move the conversations forward, but still close-minded enough to move the goddamn goal posts.

Instead of dissecting those individuals one by one, I will summarise the gist of their belief as a group.

Most of the time, it started with my complain about our image as a monolith, which disregards our vast racial, ethnical, cultural, political and yes, even theological diversity. Even some Muslim-majority countries boast a high level of cultural diversity which tokenist westerners can only dream of.

If they didn’t use the Taqiyya card, they would “refute” me by claiming that Muslims do have a pope. But, they could not think of a single name! Those who could usually mentioned rulers of countries like Saudi Arabia or Jihadists who proclaim themselves as rulers of all Muslims.

Anyone with basic knowledge about Islam and Muslims know how brainless those people sound.

First of all, there are two main branches of Islam: Sunni and Shia; globally, the former is the majority while the latter is a minority. Mind you, I still haven’t mentioned the relatively smaller branches like Ahmadiyyah and Sufism… and how each branch has its own different madhabs or schools of thought.

How can the ruler of Saudi Arabia rule the entire Muslim world? Never mind the non-Sunnis, even many Sunnis would not be happy about having their religious lives dictated by someone who doesn’t share their madhab. Don’t forget about the ever-volatile Middle Eastern politics being a contributing factor.

I should also mention there are non-Turkish Muslims who believe Turkey -with Sultan Smeagol as the president- should take the lead. They genuinely believe in Neo-Ottomanism despite not being of Turkic heritage. They are like the Turkish version of Weeaboos.

In my home country Indonesia specifically, Muslim citizens have a long list of religious authorities to choose from. There are organisations like the ministry of religions, MUI, NU, Muhammadiyah and FPI.

You can also choose one out of many celebrity preachers or the imam in your neighbourhood mosque. You can choose more than one authorities at the same time and cherrypick their words or none at all and choose to interpret the teachings yourselves.

The self-proclaimed popes “refutation” was obviously their gotcha attempt. They didn’t take into account that I was not dumb enough to think authority -whether de jure or de facto– was valid without recognition.

If I proclaim myself as your ruler out of the blue, your immediate reaction would be seeing me as someone who needs psychiatric interventions and deserves a swirly, NOT as someone worthy to be led by.

Here’s a tip: unless you want to be seen as a pitiful human being with underused brain, never use the words of madmen we never associate with as your smoking guns against us.

At this stage, some would start using the taqiyya card. Those who didn’t would acknowledge the non-existence of a Muslim pope.

But, the venom-spewing didn’t stop there.

Instead of respecting our distinct sense of collectiveness, they insisted we should be more centralised like the Christians are if we want to be free from extremism. Of course, this insistence is problematic.

For one, it is naive. The idea that simply having a pope will help us fighting extremism means we have to believe every authority figure is morally upright… and we know damn well only bootlickers believe that.

Christian denominations like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism and Roman Catholicism are highly-centralised yet still afflicted with social illnesses, some of which are undoubtedly caused and perpetuated by the leaders themselves; Roman Catholicism in particular is infamous for interfering with countries’ domestic politics, even to this day. Should I also mention about how centralised ISIS and Al-Qaeda are?

Secondly, Christianity is not centralised. Its denominations are. Believe it or not, only Roman Catholics acknowledge the pope as their spiritual leader.

Lastly, they were obviously irked with me shattering their make-believe. If they weren’t, they would have gladly moved on and learned from their mistakes. Instead, they demanded us to fit into the pigeonhole. They believed it was our moral duty to abide by their words.

They also unwittingly contradicted themselves. They demonised us because supposedly being one giant organisation made us prone to radicalisation. But now, they demanded us to become one giant organisation if we actually care about fighting extremism, framing our refusal to abide as a triumph for the extremists.

They are like parents who verbally abuse us for not doing something and then verbally abuse us for doing it.

They don’t care about the truths and they don’t care about humanity. They just want excuses to shove their beliefs down our throats and to make Uncle Toms out of every Muslim they encounter.

They just want excuses to be tokenist, gas-lighting, goal post-moving, delusional cunts.

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The (so-called) United States of Islam

For years, I wondered why many non-Muslims insist the entire Muslim is one giant organisation in which literally every member knows each other and shares the exact same admittance, trainings and goals and acknowledges the exact same centralised religious authority.

Basically, they think the Muslim world is more structurally rigid than any Christian churches. You know, a factually incorrect belief.

I still don’t know exactly why they posses it. Maybe they have Christian-centric views of religions. Maybe they want an easy path of dehumanising the others (just like they do to Jews and LGBT people). But, I do notice something else: some of them are obsessed with the concept of ummah.

In Islam, the Arabic word for community also specifically refers to the entire Muslim community, transcending literal and figurative border. We Muslims are encouraged to unite with our fellow believers. Ideally, that’s how the Muslim world should be.

Of course, reality is never ideal. We are anything but united.

Sunnis and Shias waging war against each other, Sunnis violently discriminating against Ahmadis, Iraq-Iran war, Qatar Gulf crisis, the unstable relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia, Bangladeshis still harbouring grudge against Pakistan, the Arab spring, the Somali civil war, ISIS killing fellow Muslims, just to name a few.

When we do care about the plights of Muslims abroad, we only think about ones like the Uyghurs and the Palestinians. You know, the ones persecuted by non-Muslims. Even then, we shoot our own feet by ignoring the nuances, not realising that religion may not be the only factor of persecution, if at all.

From my personal experiences as an Indonesian, the word umat -the Indonesian spelling variant of ummah– has a strong nationalistic connotation; every time I hear Indonesian says the word, they almost always refer to Indonesian Muslims specifically.

In fact, if you add the word manusia after umat, you will have the Indonesian for ‘mankind’. Basically, when we use it to refer to a global community, it becomes entirely non-sectarian.

As I said, I still don’t know exactly why people insist on seeing us as one giant organisation. But, it goes to show that they really overestimate our ability to unite and they certainly take our terminology more seriously than we do.

It is so cute, they should have be the Muslims, not us.

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Being PC with Islam

As much as I am opposed to the many stances of western conservatives, I agree with them on one thing: western liberals and leftists are too PC with Islam.

If Christianity -a religion with long history of atrocities- can be easily criticised, then the same thing should also apply to Islam -also a religion with long history of atrocities.

If you really care about the truths, then you should open to the idea that nothing is free from scrutiny. You should be open about seeing your beloved religion from entirely new and possibly unfavourable lights.

Of course, many western conservatives don’t think that way.

They don’t care about intellectual honesty. They are just grumpy that not everyone in the world adheres to and cherishes their beloved religion.

They probably think they can avert any negative attentions away from Christianity. Of course, that’s stupid… especially if you are from the west

There is a reason why many western liberals and leftists despise Christianity: many grew up dealing with awful Christians.

The homophobes, the transphobes, the racists, the religious zealots, the history distorters, the conspiracists, the bootlickers, literally some of the worst people they encountered growing were practicing Christians!

Don’t forget that those same Christians constantly insist how any ideologies other than Conservatism are inherently incompatible with Christianity.

I am not saying it justifies the anti-Christianity bias; as it is can be a slippery slope to bigotry against Christians, I feel uncomfortable about condoning it. I am not saying progressive Christians don’t exist; believe it or not, there are Christians who are as progressive as non-religious liberals and leftists, if not more.

What I am saying is the anti-Christianity bias did not appear out of thin air. If you consciously assert yourselves as representatives of your fellow believers and ugliness is all you can offer, you don’t have the privilege to be shocked when people end up despising your religion!

It is literally your fault people hate your fellow believers and your beloved religion!

If it is acceptable for non-Muslim migrants from Muslim-majority countries to be Islamophobic, then it should be acceptable for non-Christians from Christian-majority western countries to be anti-Christianity.

I condone neither. But, you have to be consistent: if one is acceptable for you, so should be the other one.

Oh, and you cannot claim to be concerned about Muslims’ misogynistic and homophobic behaviours when you and your fellow conservatives are guilty of the same thing.

We know damn well you are virtue signalling.

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