Many Western educated Muslims can relate with being able to look at events from two different world views. We put on our “Western lenses” and see things as the West sees them; or our very own “Islamic lenses” and see things as Muslims see them.
To me, it’s a tremendous advantage, akin to being able to talk two languages – or rather, to think in two different languages. An almost immediate effect is an ability to see commonalities and points of agreement; in a way, I can see the Islam in the West and the West in Islam.
Doubtless, with this advantage comes a responsibility to bridge two worlds, but this is not my intention in this work. This, I must stress, is not an outreach project; rather, it’s an attempt to document the “Islamic lenses” – being the lesser known of the two, even by Muslims.
A Shout out to RonPaulForums.com
Even though I’ve been using the term “The Islamic Paradigm” for years, it only exploded into a hundred articles quite recently. I have to introduce my muse, the brain-prod that would inspire me to write: Liberty Forest (www.RonPaulForums.com, or RPF for short).
I’ve been a fan of Ron Paul since the lead up to the Iraq War. After his courageous run for President in 2008, some of his supporters set up LibertyForest to discuss and promote his political positions. It soon grew to be among the most active libertarian-leaning forums on the ‘net.
I joined about a year ago, and started taking part in the discussions – often heated, always intellectual, never dull. But with each post, it became clear to me that there is a huge gap of understanding between the Islamic worldview and even the smartest, most open minded Westerners.
A hundred articles in two weeks
Thankfully, the wonderful folks at RPF met my occasional clarifications with a welcoming curiosity. What’s most important, they realized the importance of these clarifications; Ron Paul has emphasized time and again that a culture of hate is a prerequisite of perpetual war, itself a prerequisite of statism and authoritarianism.
I owe the recent explosion of “The Islamic Paradigm” to a little post by Matt Collins, in which he asked “Why are Social Conservatives so afraid of Muslims?” Matt was commenting on the fresh wave of Islamophobia that’s washing over America, and even finding its way into RPF.
I set out to write, and before I knew it I was into the twentieth page. Shortly afterwards, I took a two-week break coinciding with the last third of Ramadan and the Eid holidays; during this break, the “article” grew past its hundredth page, having exploded into over a hundred articles.
Structure & motivation of this project
In a way I always knew I had to write this some day. A devout “Islamist” Muslim who identifies as a libertarian cannot go too long without being asked to explain himself. How can I reconcile my “anti-liberal” religion and worldview with the ideals of liberty?
For the moment, it’s structured as 100-something articles, each starting with a “jumping off point”, typically an Islamophobic quote or argument. The articles are ultra-summarized; I guess it’s more apt to call them “abstracts”.
My intention is to allow these to grow through active discussion and debate. Everything you see here is simultaneously posted on my site, on RPF, and on a mirror Facebook page. In a way I’m dropping a super-dehydrated pill into a sea of smart people, who’ll allow it to expand to its final form.