I am very liberal. You should know that about me. But when it comes to Islam I have struggles that set me apart from other liberals. I think for most liberals (and most of my friends) defending Muslims is the same as defending any other minority. We care about people having equality and being safe and having the ability to practice their own beliefs without persecution. We believe in that for everyone (yes even those in the majority, even Christians here and Hindus in India). So I think for my friends, fighting for equality for Muslims in America is straightforward. It fits the philosophy of their life to help everyone of any religion and belief gain equal rights.
It’s hard for me to look at Muslims that way because the religion isn’t just like any other. The equal rights for all religions assumes all religions are equal. In theory that’s true, in theory I believe that, but the beliefs of Islam are completely antithetical to my faith.
In my attempts to be kind to Muslims I’ve already been getting back some disrespect for my religion. It’s super challenging to defend the rights of those who would ideally like to see my religion disappear. The way I look at the world and the way a Muslim looks at the world are not compatible. There’s almost no overlap, it seems.
It’s hard to defend people of a religion that says it is the only true path and all others are sinning against God by not converting to their religion.
I know Christians who don’t think Christianity has to be exclusive, who don’t take literally the idea that only Jesus leads to God. So it is possible for Christians to be open to sharing the world with people who have different beliefs. But the Islamic statement of faith is that Allah is the only God. It’s pretty much the whole basis of the religion.
I don’t know how to reconcile that.
My conclusion at the moment is that I can dislike Islam and like Muslims. I can be a friend to Muslims even if I don’t like their religion. But can I really? Can I be a friend to those who don’t think my faith has any legitimacy?
Are there Muslims who believe in coexisting with other religions? Please speak up and tell me!
What does the ideal future look like? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. If we liberals get what we want and there is freedom for everyone to practice their religion and Muslims are no longer discriminated against, what happens then? Do we all live in peace, share our resources, help one another out? Is it possible to have such a world?
I just don’t know. I would really like to hear from Muslims about how they envision the future. What do you think it would look like if Muslims were no longer discriminated against in America?
How can Islam coexist with other religions that do not believe in one God separate from his creation?