Race, racism and Islam

This article points out that Muslims are not a race, as is often implied, but if they were then it would make Islam the world's most dangerous race-based supremacist ideology.

Islam is not a race 

Those openly critical of Islam are sometimes dubiously slurred as racists, regardless of what their true views on race may be.
In fact, Islam is not a race. Islam has nothing at all to do with genetics, nor is it an innate characteristic. It is an ideology – a set of beliefs about individual behavior and the rules of society.
People generally choose their beliefs; they do not choose their race. Therefore Muslims are not a race of people. In fact, there are Muslims of all races. Does a person change their race by adopting or leaving Islam?
Criticizing Islam is not racism. There is no such thing as "anti-Muslim racism" any more than there is "anti-Christian racism," "anti-Republican racism," or "anti-Capitalist racism."

So why would anyone claim differently?
It is because the battle over Islam is being fought in the West, the only arena in which it can still be critically debated. It is also here that repugnance toward racism is strong and nearly universal. From politics to high-risk mortgages and illegal immigration, fear of the race card is one of the strongest influences on public policy.
At the same time, it is nearly impossible to defend Islam on its own merits in the West in free and open debate. According to its own texts, the religion was founded in terror. Its political and social code is deeply incompatible with liberal values.
Muslims societies usually rely on threat of violence to suppress both intellectual critique of Islam and the freedom of other religion to fairly compete, which would be a slow death. Advocates in the West rely on the race card. If they can paint any criticism of their religion as "racism" then the massive evidence against Islam can be dismissed out of hand without having to contend with it.
Slinging the worst of all slurs to compensate for deficiency of fact and logic is weak enough, but it is ironic given that what is being defended in such cheap fashion is an ideology that is overtly supremacist in nature. In fact, Muslims who have learned to parrot allegations of racism are not thinking too far ahead...


But what if it really Is? 

It might seem that casting Islam as a race - or Muslims a race of people - successfully protects the religion. Tough examination, either of the common ideological tie or its social effects, could be dismissed as racism. But everything is not as it seems.
If Muslims are a race because of Islam, then it means that Islam is a racial ideology. Therefore, what this ideology has to say about its own and other “races” becomes very important.
In fact, the Quran posits an enormous qualitative distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims that is hard to miss. Believers are loved by God, whereas infidels are hated to the extent that they are tortured for eternity (3:32, 4:56) merely for not believing. Muslims are told not to take unbelievers as friends (3:28) and to shun them (3:118).

Those outside the circle are called “helpers of evil” (25:55), “wicked” (4:160), “fond of lies” (5:42) and compared to the worst of animals (8:55, 7:176, 7:179). Muslims are told to be merciful to each other, but ruthless to those outside of the faith (48:29). Violence is also sanctioned against those who are obstinate against Islamic rule (8:12-13, 9:5).
If Islam is a race, then Christianity and Judaism are races as well, meaning that if the Quran speaks of them as inferior, then it is a racist book.

In truth, the Quran does more than that. In a stunning burst of religious bigotry, Muslims are ordered to fight Jews and Christians "until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (9:29). There is no basis in the text for bringing Jew and Christians under the heel of Islamic rule except by virtue of their religious status.

No other religion filters perception through group identity to the extent that Islam does.


Around the world Christians, Jews and other individuals are routinely brutalized merely because they are a member of a non-Muslim group, not because they have done anything to personally deserve having their lives taken, their children maimed or their property torched.

Meanwhile, other Muslims are generally indifferent to this violence and reserve their true outrage for circumstances involving Muslim victims of non-Muslim acts, however unintentional or relatively slight.
So, if Muslims are a race, Islam would not only be a racist ideology, but arguably the most hateful and destructive in history.
Consider the words of Abul Ala Mawdudi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami party, and imagine that he is speaking about race (ie. substitute the word "white" for "Muslim" and "non-white" for "kufr"):

All those who are born of Muslim lineage will be considered to be Muslim, they will be subject to all Islamic laws, they will be compelled to perform the religious duties and obligations, and then whoever steps outside the fold of Islam will be executed. Following this announcement utmost effort should be made to save as many sons and daughters born of Muslims as possible from the lap of kufr. Then whoever cannot be saved by any means should be cut off and cast away, sadly but firmly, from his society forever. After this act of purification a new life for Islamic society may begin (source)

How much tolerance should there be for an ideology like that?
It is bad enough that hundreds of millions of people have been killed in the last fourteen centuries by divinely sanctioned Jihad and slavery, but to retroactively supplant the stated motive of religious supremacy with that of racial superiority is hardly a step in the right direction for a religion seeking the acceptance of an increasingly skeptical audience.



Race is an arbitrary label that has no legitimacy. Therefore anything based on race, including racism and racial discrimination is unsound at best and immoral and inhumane at worst.
Human beings are individuals and should only be judged as such. 
Islam is not a race. Muslims are not a race. Islam is an ideology that should be open to critical examination. Muslims, however, are individuals who should be protected from harm or harassment in the same way and for the same reasons as anyone else.


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