Deception of Non-Muslims
This essay grew out of a discussion at the Australian Politics Forum. The aim behind it was to compile a list of all the disingenuous tactics used by Muslim spokespersons and debaters on the forum when defending the religion of Islam. As such, it does not cite traditional sources for its conclusions, but the original discussions between the essay's author and other Muslims.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Tactics Used by Muslims
- 2.1 Exploiting Positive Assumptions
- 2.2 Dual Meaning
- 2.3 Arabic Terms
- 2.4 Simple Diversion
- 2.5 Already Answered
- 2.6 Islam Doesn't Exist
- 2.7 Islam Won't Exist
- 2.8 Disowning Islam
- 2.9 Hypersensitivity
- 2.10 Semantics
- 2.11 Dummy Spit
- 2.12 Answering Questions with Questions
- 2.13 Silence
- 2.14 Revising History
- 2.15 Misrepresenting Statistics
- 2.16 Editing News Articles
- 3 The Concubine Saga
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 See Also
- 6 Original Discussions
Muslim spokespersons employ a peculiar style of deceptive propaganda that so far has caught the media off-guard. It takes advantage of a common assumption among those who have only been exposed to other religions – the assumption that the statements of religious leaders can be taken at face value because religious leaders want people to understand their religion. It takes advantage of non-Muslim ignorance of Islam while at the same time seeking to maintain that ignorance. It takes advantage of people's tendency to see Islam as a religion in the traditional sense, rather than as a combination of a militant political ideology and a religion. Thus a Muslim religious leader should not be seen in the same way as most religious leaders. He should be viewed as a combination of politician and religious leader. When addressing a non-Muslim audience, he should not be viewed as a typical missionary, but as an astute politician addressing a hostile audience who won't like all of his policies - he will tell you what you want to hear. Viewing them as a politician can be a difficult task as they often combine this with a hypersensitivity to criticism or direct questioning that a politician could not get away with. 'How dare you accuse me of lying' is a powerful challenge coming from a cleric with his 'religious leader' hat on, but would be ridiculed if it came from a politician.
Tactics Used by Muslims
Muslims use a number of strategies to either conceal the more barbaric aspects of their religion or to deceive people about Islamic doctrine. The initial deception is semantic. Literally, they say one thing and mean another, the opposite of calling a spade a spade. This typically involves using a dual meaning that is generally only understood by Muslims, or using Arabic terms. The initial deception is followed up with a number of rhetorical techniques that create a barrier to effective communication. These are essentially a form of diversion. While some of these tricks are familiar to a western audience, some are largely unfamiliar and play on Islamic concepts with which the west is unfamiliar.
Exploiting Positive Assumptions
One of the most irony-laden discussions with Muslims revolved around the different concepts of lying within Islam. These rule permits Muslims to deceive people, break the law or commit blasphemy under certain circumstances. When asked whether Muslims are given free reign to lie to non-Muslims, several Muslims pointed out that it only applies in certain circumstances, such as war. This was an indirect response that relied heavily on the assumption that we are not at war. One of those Muslims later explained that he believed that the West had been at war with the Muslim world since the 1920’s and that the west had declared and carried out this war. This is a good example of a very subtle deception taking advantage of positive assumptions, in the context of discussing deception itself. This strategy works well when combined with hypersensitivity to discourage people from seeking a more direct response when only an indirect response was given.
The first tactic used is to attach a dual meaning to common English words such as war, peace, slave, innocent, rape, domestic violence etc. This is known as "Doublespeak". This tactic is so successful because it is so different from the typical 'western propaganda' approach of inventing new jargon. For example, where a deceptive western leader may talk about 'collateral damage' to make civilian deaths in war sound more benign, a deceptive Muslim leader may say 'no one was murdered', on the grounds that the killing was legal. In this case, the deception is obvious because most English speaking people understand the subtle difference between murder and kill. However, by carefully controlling how Islamic doctrine is translated into English, Muslim scholars have created a situation where many common words have an entirely different meaning when used in the context of Muslims or Islamic law. This is combined with an insistence that to 'truly understand' the Qur'an one must study it in Arabic , thus putting the context or meaning of the words used beyond the reach of most non-Muslims. Thus, Muslims will understand what their leaders are saying, even if most westerners do not. This can be quite blatant manipulation, such as when some UK clerics stated in public that it is wrong to kill innocent people, then said to their followers in private that only Muslims can be considered innocent.
Being so simple, this tactic is most often employed in press releases. As an example, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens appeared to support the fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie during question time after giving a lecture at a western university. The next day he released a statement to the press reassuring the public that he does not support vigilantism. Of course, he was not available to give any further details. Most assumed he did not want Rushdie dead. However, closer inspection appears to show that Cat Stevens did not actually oppose the death penalty for Salman Rushdie. He did think it would be wrong to shoot Salman in the back of the head in some dark alley. Rather, Salman should have been hauled before the relevant cleric, who had already found him guilty, so that he could be stoned to death in an orderly, 'civilised' manner.
According to Islam, men have authority over their wives' (and slaves') bodies and do not need their consent to have sex with them. However this is not considered rape and Muslims will deny that Islam permits rape. Consider also this classic quote from a Muslim on the forum about domestic violence: "Domestic violence is a disease which must be stamped out of all societies. But it has nothing to do with giving your wife a 'smack' when she's gotten out of control" How they actually define rape and domestic violence is deliberately kept vague, but there is usually a strong implication that an act is only rape or domestic violence if it goes far beyond what Islam permits. Rape and domestic violence are redefined as acts that are forbidden in Islam, allowing Muslims to proclaim that Islam forbids them, thereby giving non-Muslims the false impression that Islam is benign. Furthermore, these 'transgressions' are carefully linked to problems considered to be 'western', effectively blaming rape and domestic violence on rights and freedoms that the west permits but Islam forbids, while at the same time permitting it under 'appropriate' circumstances.
Another common example is the claim that Islam is peace, or is peaceful. The utlimate objective of Islam is indeed a peaceful existence, however this peace is achieved by Islam conquering the world. Until that time, all non-Muslim areas are considered to be at war. Those areas that are ruled by Islam are by definition at peace, even if Shi'ites and Sunnis are blowing up each other's Mosques. Thus, 'Islam is peace' is a technically correct statement about the 'final solution' of Islam and about those lands that are ruled by Islam, but is totally deceptive to those who do not already know what it means.
Muslim leaders will claim in public that Australia shares a lot of values in common with Islam, or that Australia is a Muslim nation, or that Australians already practice Muslim values. In private, they will call for the destruction of western decadence. They will express outrage at new citizens being expected to acknowledge the Judeo-Christian tradition as the basis of Australia's values system. They will claim that Muslims strive to obey local laws, but will also call on other Muslims to reject anything other than Sharia law as heresy. They will claim friendship with non-Muslims, but privately preach that friendship with non-Muslims is wrong and should lead to ostracism. They will claim that Islam is peace, but privately preach that there can be no peace until the entire world has been subjugated to Islamic law. They will make friends with Christians, then preach in private that Christianity is vile. There are even passages in the Qur'an that promote the use of terror. By redefining equality, Muslims will claim that Islam creates equality between the sexes, even though it gives men authority over women and allows them to be beaten until they are 'green'.
Rather than making a plain English translation available to the general public along with explanations, the Qur'an is made impenetrable by mixing up the verses so that they are out of order and the context is lacking.
Rather than inventing new jargon, Muslims insert Arabic terms into English. These terms have a complex meaning that is relatively well understood to most Muslims, but is totally unknown to the target audience. A Muslim spokesperson can thus make a statement that appears to be a universal principle, but which Muslims understand only applies to certain situations.
Taqiyya, ironically enough, refers to deception. A Muslim may say for example that Taqiyya forbids lying, which is technically true, depending of course on the context. However it does not appear to forbid deception. Furthermore lying is only allowed in certain situations, such as war. But remember the dual meaning – any non-Muslim land is a place of war. Using the word Taqiyya in public carries all of these complex and contradictory connotations, which are known to Muslims. Thus Muslims are not lying even when non-Muslims get the wrong idea.
These two tactics are usually sufficient to dupe most disinterested audiences. They work well in press releases where further explanation is not available, as the media has no choice but to pass them on as-is, leaving the public unaware that the true meaning is totally different from the face value. However several more interesting techniques are used in on-line forums where dialogue is inevitable. Even though this medium encourages direct questions and the resolution of ambiguities, it can still be remarkably difficult to get the real story from a Muslim. Muslims achieve this by creating as many barriers to effective communication as possible. Again, this relies on the underlying assumption that a Muslim would want you to know what Islam is really about. However, in reality a Muslim is more than happy to wait until some time in the future when your country has been conquered by Muslims before you find out how nasty it can be. All of these strategies have been observed on the OzPolitic forum.
The first trick usually employed on forums is a simple diversion. If you ask 'do Muslims think it is OK to do this?', they will respond by listing examples of where something similar (no matter how remote the similarity) has been done to Muslims. This shifts the debate away from Islamic doctrine and how it seems immoral to most westerners, to a blame game over who is responsible for past atrocities. Thus Islamic doctrine is not exposed and the debate switches from moral standards to politics or history.
The most obvious example of this is terrorism. Most Muslims will say that terrorism is wrong as it is unavoidable, but they then go on to list all the grievances of the Middle East. They may also deny that Muslims bear any responsibility for reigning in Islamic terrorists. Many claim that the reigning in of terrorists should not be a first step in the peace process, but rather a last step. However that is where the explanation stops. Muslims will not explain why they think this. Instead they will bring up some media report of an accidental civilian death attributable to a western army. I suspect that Muslims think this way because they see all non-Muslim lands as being a place of war. One hint of this is that they will refuse to distinguish the deliberate mass murder of civilians by terrorist organisations for which no person or nation can be held accountable, and the accidental death of civilians in an armed conflict with a guerilla army that hides among civilians. Thus, destroying the twin towers is an act of war in a place of war and is no different to the death of civilians in a 'real' war zone. However, no matter how hard I try, I cannot get a Muslim to either admit to this or to offer some other explanation for why terrorist organisations should be given free reign until their various (largely unspecified) demands have been met.
The next trick is usually to claim that the question has already been answered. This is usually combined with the implication that you are stupid for having to ask for clarification. This trick is basically a throwback to the deceptive use of dual meanings and unfamiliar terminology, except that it avoids the need to explain it again and risk giving away too much information. This trick is usually first used when you start asking more specific questions that are getting closer to exposing the particular deception.
Islam Doesn't Exist
This is a more interesting form of diversion. If you ask why something happens in a specific Muslim country, you will be told that that country is run by a western imposed dictatorship, monarchy, democracy or whatever. Even though the particular barbaric practice strongly resembles Islamic law, it is the west's fault for preventing Muslims from setting up a 'perfect' Islamic state. For example, it is the west's fault that Saudi women must cover up from head to foot because they are responsible for the Saudi royal family, which prevent the 'correct' Sharia law that allows women to expose their face and hands, provided other standards of dress are met. It has nothing to do with 1400 years of Islamic law that instilled a belief that women are responsible for their own rape if they act like a 'piece of flesh'.
In an amazing feat of mental gymnastics, Muslims will also do the opposite, sometimes even in the same discussion. If you ask them about an aspect of Islamic law they wish to hide, they will claim that it is irrelevant because there are no true Islamic states. That is, if no country in existence today is ruled totally by Sharia law, you have no reason to be interested in what Sharia law is.
Islam Won't Exist
A slightly different approach is taken when Muslims insist that their only goal is the short term goal of converting a few people, while pretending that the long term goals of Islam do not exist. They will conveniently deny that they seek to overthrow the Australian government and destroy personal freedom and other Australian values, and justify this by claiming that they aren't in the process of plotting the actual takeover. Yet it would be an inevitable outcome if they were sufficiently successful with their short term goals. They expect to openly promote an ideology of dictatorship and servitude, but not get criticised for it because they don't yet have the numbers to follow through with it. It is as if the Nazi party started recruiting in your neighbourhood, but insisting they don't want to kill Jews because they're only goal at the moment is to recruit more members.
A tactic that attempts to play down the significance of support for the unpalatable aspects of Islam (particularly shariah law) by denying direct responsibility for the consequences, for example by arguing that support for the death penalty is irrelevant unless you have a job as an executioner.
The next trick is usually employed if you try to justify a request for clarification after Muslims insist that questions have already been answered or that you have no reason to be interested anyway. The Muslim will become hypersensitive at the suggestion that you do not trust them to give you a straight answer. Alternatively, they will accuse you of asking 'loaded' questions, as if there is something wrong with discovering the truth about Islam. Curiously, the more specific and direct the question is, the greater the tendency to claim it is loaded, even if it carries no assumptions at all, or only assumes what has just been verified. That is, a question is loaded if it is a simple, direct question about Islam.
If both of these tricks fail, the next option is another diversion. This time instead of diverting to politics or history, the Muslim diverts to semantic issues. This takes advantage of the control that Muslim scholars have over translation of the Qur'an. It works in a similar manner to criticising someone's spelling in the middle of a heated debate – except of course that it is part of a broader strategy. First, they simply point out that you used an incorrect term. The correct term is not suggested and the actual question is ignored. If you ask for the correct term they may suggest you ask someone else. They cannot possibly 'just answer it anyway' and explain what the issue is.
One favourite term for this is cleric, which is used in the media to refer to Muslim religious leaders. If you ask why a cleric said something, or why a person is still a cleric after doing or saying something objectionable, they will simply respond that there is no such thing as a cleric. Technically this can be true, but only if you assume that cleric means clergy, rather than the currently accepted additional meaning of Muslim religious leader. The absence of an 'official' clergy has another advantage for Muslim propagandists, in that it allows total diffusion of responsibility. There is no leader or institution to be held accountable, therefore Islam is not to blame. More specifically, a Muslim leader who does or promotes evil acts can be simply dismissed on the grounds that they are not a 'genuine' Islamic leader, while at the same time denying any responsibility among the broader Muslim community for actually preventing it. Despite direct requests, I have still not been able to get a straight answer on how a non-Muslim should go about verifying what is a 'genuine' Islamic law (other than not asking direct questions in the first place). Muslims will even claim that there is no such thing as a Muslim leader in the absence of a perfect Islamic state.
On another issue, I had been asking a group of Muslims for some months about two issues – slavery and sex. I had been lead to believe that sex outside of marriage is punishable by death, and that Muslims are only allowed four wives. This had covered just about every conceivable 'crime', including prostitution, extramarital affairs, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, masturbation etc. Naturally it eventually came up in one of the slavery topics, as a simple question about sex slaves, which had been mentioned in a media article. The usual tricks were employed – diversion to examples of sex slavery in non-Muslim countries, insisting all my questions had already been answered, accusations of ulterior motives and 'loaded questions'. When I still kept asking, I was told that sex slave is the wrong term, so there are no sex slaves. Eventually I figured out what the correct term is – concubines. By this stage it was fairly obvious that Islam does permit concubines, but I had no idea under what circumstances. In fact I still don't, because when I asked about concubines, I discovered the next trick....
If all else fails, spit the dummy. Make more accusations of ulterior motives, stirring up trouble, asking loaded questions etc. Then, simply refuse to answer. After one such dummy spit I started a new topic specifically about concubines and after more criticism of my questioning style, I got a limited affirmative response, but no more questions about concubines and their treatment have been answered. Yet I have been told in great detail how badly the west treats women.
Answering Questions with Questions
For example, demanding to know how elections are run before saying whether Islam supports democracy, demanding to know what the law is before saying whether Islam supports justice, demanding to know what the truth is before giving an honest answer.
Silence as a tactic is reserved for the more disturbing aspects of Islam. While it was employed to a limited extent on the issue of sex slaves, it was employed far more diligently for the issue of the treatment of Hindus, atheists, pagans etc. Muslims will go to great lengths to put a positive spin on Dhimmitude – the institutionalised humiliation of Christians and Jews. However if you ask them about the treatment of those who are not ‘people of the book’ they will likely pretend you don’t exist. The issue of sex slaves was generally avoided, partly by accident. However, numerous questions were asked over a long period of time about the treat of non-Dhimmi non-Muslims. Even when I started a new thread asking specifically about the treatment of these people, it was ignored. I started raising the issue in a few other related threads and posting links. It was still ignored. Only after I posted evidence that Islam promotes wholesale slaughter of these people, and others began complaining that they can’t get a straight answer either, was a response posted by resident Muslims. Of course, these responses did not answer the question about Islamic doctrine regarding the treatment of these people. For the most part, the actual question was ignored, as best it could be. When it was approached, the reverse “Islam does not exist” argument was the most common tactic (after the obvious deflections to the ‘evil west’). Where Muslims will usually respond that the various unfortunate situations across the middle east have nothing to do with Islam, in this case the argument was that the situation in the middle east is the only valid indicator of what Islamic doctrine is. Thus the mere presence of these other religions in the middle east is now ‘proof’ of the positive approach to them in Islamic doctrine. Perhaps this is one of the few occasions where Muslims have risen above doctrine and acted in a ‘more civilised’ manner. Interestingly, the treatment of pagans was approached in a remotely honest manner. Apparently Islam calls for their destruction, but bloodshed was avoided through mass conversion to Islam.
Revising history appears to be a favourite pastime of Muslims. They made vast contributions to science. For example, the bloke who jumped off a tower with feathers glued to his arms, making a nasty stain on the pavement below, made a valuable contribution to our understanding of flight. One of the most outrageous claims is that the Caliphate (Islamic empire) was peaceful and spread only through self defence. Muslims actually expect people to take this absurd version of history seriously. A favourite justification for this claim is that Christians welcomed Muslims into Spain with open arms, in order to get lower taxes. What really happened is that the Muslim hordes allied themselves with one Spanish kingdom so they could cross a massive natural protective barrier (the Mediterranean) and slaughter another Spanish kingdom. Then they turned their swords on their allies and slaughtered them too. Then they slaughtered their way across the whole peninsula. Then they started sending raids into modern day France. Eventually the French and Italians booted them out of Europe.
Muslims often attempt to misrepresent the threat posed by Islamic terrorism with statistics that equate attacks such as 9/11, the London bombings, Madrid and Bali with vandalism attacks by other extremist political groups. They do this by measuring the 'rate' of terrorism by the number of individual events, rather than a more appropriate measure of risk, such as death toll.
Editing News Articles
An example of a more direct and traditional form of deception from a Muslim on our forum. This involved editing a Reuters report, removing all mention of its claim that Rohingya Muslim mobs were seen "setting alight houses". Even going so far as to edit the title of the news report (Reuters called it "Muslim, Buddhist mob violence threatens new Myanmar image", after waving his magic wand, it was renamed "Buddhist mob violence threatens new Myanmar image").
The Concubine Saga
Initially, the topic of sex slaves was asked by another member in the 'women in Islam' thread. This discussion is what originally drove me to write this article. After writing the first draft, I went back through that particular discussion and noted all the different deflection tactics used. I was actually quite surprised at how 'thick' the discussion was with various deceptions.
A summary of the various deflection tactics which were employed over the next 53 posts is given below (the number of each link indicates the post number in the thread):
- Semantics, Islam doesn't exist, deflection with an insult, accusation of loaded question (112)
- Deflection to other religions, direct answer to related question that doesn't paint Islam in a bad light (112)
- Deflection to judaism (125)
- Attempt to justify deflection to other religions (128)
- Refusal to answer and already answered - ironically in same post, semantics (134)
- Islam doesn't exist, respond to question 'is it allowed' with 'it is not a priority' (136)
- Islam is 'realistic', but won't say how (138)
- Deflects to attacking democracy, Koran can only be read in Arabic (140)
- Deflection to generic attack on 'the west' (142)
- Ad hominem (insult), refusal to answer, already answered (144)
- Deflection to homophobia in Europe, other religions, semantics, deflection to history rather than Islamic law, deflection to Catholics, Islam doesn't exist, response on whether it is required rather than allowed, subjectivity of immorality (145)
- Ad hominem, already answered, lie (false claim that sex slavery does not exist in Islam), deflection to the west (146)
- Deflection to other religions, ad hominem (149)
- Islam doesn't exist, deflection to other religions (152)
- Deflection to 'the west', Islam doesn't exist, refusal to answer (155)
- Semantics (159)
- Deflection to other religions (163)
- Deflection to other religions (167)
It was only after I started a new thread that I got a direct answer to the question of whether Islam permits sex slaves. However, no further details were given.
Part of the reason for the attempts by Muslims to deflect all 'difficult' questions about Islam, is that Islam itself forbids people from asking questions they may not like the answer to. That is, they are only allowed to try to inform themselves of those aspects of Islam which they personally approve of. With this in mind, the deception of non-Muslims can be viewed as an extension of this mandatory self deception through omission.
All of these tricks ultimately take advantage of ignorance. The antidote to this is to make people aware of them. A lie becomes ineffective when enough people see it for what it is.
- Lying - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Lying
- Help and Advice - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Help and Advice