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In today’s Wall Street Journal comes this provocative op-ed on how Islam treats women in its own community.

It is a great debate on my campus, and one that is always present in my own mind because I have friends in Egypt and Kuwait, as well as friends who are a part of the Faith in question here.  Is there something wrong with the religion itself, as Bill Maher and others claim?  Or has it been hijacked by a few radicals who are changing the religion from a peaceful to an oppressive one? There are those, like at the New Republic, who give Islam as a religion a pass entirely—which is odd since that magazine does not do that for Christians. Still, they contend that individuals, not religion, are responsible for radicalization.  In that sense they are squarely on Ben Affleck’s side.  Be that as it may, there is only one religion presently engaging in violence and persecution to the level we are seeing worldwide: Islam.

Aly Salem’s criticism is blistering of both parties in the U.S.:

Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask: Why? Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral: The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, the jihadists are a minority who don’t represent Islam, and I am fear-mongering by even wondering aloud.

This is delusional thinking. Even as the world witnesses the barbarity of beheadings, habitual stoning and severe subjugation of women and minorities in the Muslim world, politicians and academics lecture that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia routinely beheads women for sorcery and witchcraft.

In the U.S., we Muslims are handled like exotic flowers that will crumble if our faith is criticized—even if we do it ourselves. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats alike would apparently prefer to drop bombs in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, because killing Muslims is somehow less offensive than criticizing their religion? Unfortunately, you can’t kill an idea with a bomb, and so Islamism will continue to propagate. Muslims must tolerate civilized public debate of the texts and scripture that inform Islamism. To demand any less of us is to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations.

If any other religion engaged in such acts, the condemnations would be loud, and there would be a large contingent of people who would be wondering whether, Christianity for example, is responsible for encouraging the violence.  Those Imams and religious leaders in the Middle East control the destiny of Islam, and in countries without religious freedom, and in a faith that has not yet had its own reformation, we are seeing the effects of a religious despotism gone unchecked.