ThreadFreedom of speech debate heats up in France after death threats to 16-year-old girl who called Islam "religion of hate"
I do agree that some people go too far in saying you can't even criticise Islam as a religion, because that's allowing other minorities down too imo.
I think I have a somewhat unique perspective here as someone who:
1) Was raised a practicing Muslim their entire life.
2) Had a keen interest in Islam beyond what my family had taught me for many years, so I read up even deeper into Islam.
3) Has had their life very negatively impacted by Islam, as both a woman and member of the LGBT+ community (to the point that at one point, I wished I wasn't born a woman, because I felt my life would have been easier), and is no longer Muslim.
4) Has faced a ton of Islamophobia - to the extent that if I was asked if the racism, misogyny or Islamophobia I've faced from others has had a worse impact on my life overall, it'd be a hard question to answer - sometimes I faced bigotry because of all of these things at once.
I feel like this kind of gives me a lot of insight into the delicate intersectionality of these kinds of situations, and allows me to have empathy and understanding for everyone involved. Because as a practicing Muslim, I was routinely blamed for things I didn't believe in or do. I was even blamed for 9/11 by a school mate who I had been friends with for years. I've been called a terrorist more times than you can imagine, sometimes by men twice my size screaming in my ear. After a terrorist attack, I'd be frightened like everyone else, but also frightened that I'd be physically attacked because I was Muslim, even though I was staunchly against terrorism, and so was literally every single Muslim I'd ever met. One time my non-Muslim friend was out with me at night, and commented on all of the hostile looks I was getting, and asked why I wasn't scared. I told her I blocked it out, and didn't even notice it anymore, because if I did I wouldn't be able to live and function in society. So I'm privy to how frightening it can be for Muslims to simply exist in Western society due to the constant fear-mongering and being singled out for issues that are present in many religions, or for things that a very small minority take part in (terrorism) etc. I don't think I deserved that, and I don't think any of the Muslims in these countries do either. Not when I had no desire to force my faith on others, but simply wished to practice my religion privately.
But like I said in some earlier posts, there are also other victims here. Not only the LGBT+ community at large, but LGBT+ Muslims and women (or people from said communities who have left Islam, but who are still intertwined with said community) are not benefited by criticism against Islamic texts and beliefs being stifled. I know some people say not to generalise Islam, but I think for me there's a difference between the actual 'source material' so to speak, and the interpretations of that text by different Muslims. I personally believe all of the holy scriptures of Abrahamic faiths (I'm not well read enough on others to speak on them) contain some very problematic and sometimes hateful messages.
The reason I left Islam is that I felt though I could find a progressive interpretation for those verses (and did for many years), I didn't honestly believe that that progressive message is the message that was originally preached. And if it wasn't, then that would mean the god I worshipped was cruel and unjust. And I could not worship a cruel and unjust being, especially one that is often described as all-merciful, and supposedly incapable of mistakes. Once that happened, everything else fell apart for me, and I realised the only thing that was keeping me in said faith was the fear that I was indoctrinated with.
But that's just me. If someone manages to find a progressive interpretation, and sincerely believes that, and does not try to force their faith on others, this is something that should be encouraged. So I applaud all of the religious people who do this. If everyone in the world was like this, it'd be a much better place. I think making the distinction between how the religion been and practiced by some, making it clear that not all Muslims believe in that stuff, and pointing to a better alternative (the progressive form of Islam that many follow) is one way. Another thing is not singling out Islam with these criticisms, as there are many conservative non-Muslim countries that have issues with homophobia and misogyny for example. This might seem like a lot of effort to dissect a religion, but I feel it's the responsible and empathetic way to do it, that minimises the backlash against an already persecuted and marginalised community, while speaking up for other marginalised communities.