Welcome to Handbook for Infidels, a candid, unflinching appraisal of the religion that keeps making the news, around the world, day after day. This site attempts to shed some light on just why Islam keeps making the news, and why that news is never pretty.
The Handbook is intended to serve as a wake-up call for some of my dozy (or less scrappy) fellow progressives, who seem unaware that we're now engaged in a global War of Ideas that's much bigger, and more threatening, than the absurdly-named "War on Terror" suggests. HFI is one-stop shopping for the secular progressive who wants to get the skinny on what we're facing in the Muslim world, and what we can do to protect our more enlightened, life-embracing culture from the advancing shadow of grim, aggressive Islamism.
Some key points to get out of the way:
1) This site is NOT about hate. The Candid Progressive is too happy to be a hater. But not so blissed-out as to be unperturbed by a barbaric, woman-hating, freedom-squelching ideology with hordes of violence-prone True Believers, who are just aching to drag us all back into the Seventh Century and make us slaves to ancient superstition. That sort of jangling, in-your-face insanity does manage to puncture my cozy little bubble of bourbon-fueled bonhomie from time to time -- and from my (relatively) civilized, femme-loving, liberty-addicted perspective, that whole scenario seems more than a little f’d up. Toss in the fact that I consider religious superstition to be the greatest impediment to intellectual, moral, and spiritual enlightenment, and the result is a politically incorrect book that treats Islam with exactly as much respect as it deserves, and gives faint-hearted multiculturalists the "vapors”.
2) This site is NOT about racism. I have nothing but respect for former Muslims, regardless of their race/color/ethnicity. And I consider bone-headed white converts to Islam to be just as great a threat to democracy and human decency as rabid Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. The trick (which many of my fellow Lefties have not yet mastered) is to ignore skin color, language, and geography, and focus on the ideas that motivate people, and on their resulting actions. Race has nothing to do with it.
3) If white people behaved in the ways that millions of dusky-hued Muslims do every day, liberals would be literally foaming at the mouth in their condemnation of them. On MSNBC, they would never shut up about those vile, pedophilic, wife-beating, honor-killing, homo-hanging Scandinavian bastards. But since the miscreants (and the victims, for the most part) are swarthy people from "developing" nations, the mainstream media seems to have nothing but respect for their ideology and culture. Apparently they get a special Brown People Dispensation, and are thus beyond reproach. That, of course, is bullshit. Bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of who is hacking off their pubescent daughter's genitalia, or stoning someone to death.
4) This is a critique of an ideology -- an ideology that is inherently hostile to democracy, free speech, freedom of the press, women’s rights and other fundamental human rights -- principles that all progressives should support wholeheartedly. Islam's brutal subjugation of women should be reason enough to make all liberals unite in heated opposition to it. (And the fact that this has not happened indicates that something very strange and unlikely is going on here, between Islam and the political left.)
5) The idea that Muslims should somehow be exempt from having their ideology criticized (in a way that Catholics, or Mormons, or Christian Creationists, for instance, are not) is a bigoted position, because it’s based upon the assumption that they are too uncivilized, or too immature, to handle it. It’s actually more respectful to treat them as adults, like everyone else, and expect them to deal with criticism without reacting violently, just like everyone else.
6) Some cultures are clearly far more enlightened and humane than others. A brief look at what goes on in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan makes this fact obvious. Cultural relativism is a lie, and it serves no purpose, except to prevent backward cultures from engaging in the kind of honest self-criticism that leads to the development of happier, healthier, more progressive societies.
7) Political correctness is totally counter to the spirit of free speech, and prevents the discussion of important truths. It might make superficial people feel more comfortable, but it has serious, real-life consequences. Political correctness is an unacceptable hindrance for serious people who want to see the world become a better place.
8) Ultimately, the problem here is religion in general -- a problem of people accepting “revealed” truths without sufficient evidence, and confidently acting upon those beliefs, regardless of the consequences. Magic-thinking still causes a vast amount of misery around the world, and prevents the development of more enlightened intellects and moral codes. That being said, no other religion in the 21st Century continues to promote medieval barbarism on such an epic scale as Mohammed’s “spiritual” legacy. Islam is religion taken to its most diabolic extreme. [...]