Differentiating between a practice and its practitioners

Almost every time I hear someone expressing some objection or another to Islam, they seem to feel obliged to add that they don’t dislike the Muslims, but Islam as an ideology.

I find something seriously wrong with that, and my opinion is the exact opposite. You see, there are many ideologies that sprouted during the course of history, and are now forgotten and irrelevant because nobody practices them. There were Mayan and Aztec ideologies that required human sacrifice and all sorts of cruelty and craziness, that now exist only as a sketchy historical recollection. I only theoretically disapprove of them, because I just can’t get all that worked up about an ideology that is not taken seriously by any living person.

The reason why I get worked up about Islam is exactly because I dislike Muslims. I dislike the way they think, I dislike the way they perceive the world and other humans, I dislike the way they perceive God, I dislike the way they treat their women, I dislike the way they think about non-Muslims, and I dislike the kind of world they try to create. Essentially, I dislike so many things about Muslims that I actually bothered to look into their beliefs in order to ascertain the source of all those things I find objectionable – it might be in the scripture, or it might be a fallacious interpretation that cropped up at a later point and was accepted as orthodoxy. I found out that the worst things about Muslims are actually the original scriptural decree, and the good things about them, such as their medieval achievements in science and literature, are heresy that was later destroyed and replaced with orthodoxy. Basically, the core is rotten, and it is inherently unreformable. It’s best to throw it away and accept something better than to attempt to reform Islam.

Also, I don’t understand how one could disapprove of Islam and like the Muslims. If the Muslims were all that likable, who in his right mind would disapprove of the thing that makes them so? For instance, I quite like the Sikhs. They have their own culture, dress code and customs, but they are very likable people who get along with other cultures just fine. I bothered to take a look at Guru Granth Sahib, their original scripture, and found that it’s something of a combination of Sufism with zikr/japa spiritual practice, a Vedantic interpretation of monotheism, and a very reasonable and emotionally acceptable superstructure. So basically it’s no wonder that likable people turned out to have a likable scripture. It’s like finding out that a smart person has good books in his library – hardly a surprise.

The thing is, an ideology without practitioners is a non-entity, like disease without actual sick people. The reason why people fear Ebola, for instance, is not that it exists in some test tube in a lab somewhere as a theoretical illness, but that there are actual sick people who suffer from it and are incredibly contagious. To say that you like the sick person and dislike his illness makes sense, because a person can be cured and thus separated from the problem. However, this doesn’t mean that you want to treat the sick person as you would treat anyone else, because the sick person is a serious problem. A sick person spreads the disease and thus increases the problem and threatens everyone else. You can love the sick person all you want, but that person needs to be quarantined unless you want the problem to become bigger. Also, you don’t cure the illness by accepting the sick person and treating him like anyone else. You do it by quarantining him and administering treatment until restoration of health.

Islam isn’t conducive to a normal state of consciousness or any kind of positive transformation or a lifestyle. It’s more like a zombie apocalypse virus that spreads in Mosques and turns otherwise normal people into limited hate-creatures that find the only pleasure in spreading Islam and establishing Islamic law as the only permissible civilization-template. To say that I hate the virus but love the zombies would be quite foolish of me. I hate the zombies, which is why I find the virus to be a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. If it didn’t produce hateful zombies, why would I even object to it in the first place?