Posts Tagged shame

Those awful books and pamphlets

One thing I absolutely don’t miss after having left my conservative Muslim community: much of the reading material on Islam available in English.

Every so often, there’s a minor dust-up in the media when some non-Muslim reporter or advocacy group or curious individual runs across a book or pamphlet in an “Islamic bookstore.” Or gets a glimpse of teaching materials used in weekend “Islamic schools.” Or something of that nature.

Nowadays, I’m afraid that my response to such media attention to what some Muslims apparently read (or want their kids to read) is two-fold. First, I look the article over, and think to myself, “What? They’re only fussing about that?” And then I realize that I have become pretty much unmoved by so many ideas often found in Muslim books and pamphlets (and nowadays, on the internet) that in any other context, I would find shocking or outrageous.

Down through the years, the usual response of most Muslims that I have observed to such media dust-ups has tended to fall into three main categories: First, those who shrug and refuse to get excited about it one way or another (i.e. the majority). Second, those who go on the offensive, claiming that this is an issue of freedom of speech as well as religious freedom, and challenging the media to go after other religious groups propagating illiberal ideas instead for a change. And third, those who assert that this is an anomaly; that it isn’t representative of the literature that most Muslims in North America write or read, and that the media is blowing the issue way out of proportion.

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