Ibn Warraq makes another point that is critically significant in understanding the world today: that self-criticism is essentially absent in Islam. It is not in the Quran, and it has not been present in Islam in the past, let alone today. Whereas committed Jews routinely argue with God — and even criticize Him — and still remain in good stead as Jews, questioning Allah or criticizing Islam has no basis within Islam. Both Islam and Allah are regarded as perfect and unquestionable. To paraphrase a Christian who often participates in interfaith dialogue with Muslims around the world: At these interfaith meetings, “We (non-Muslims) praise Islam and then the Muslims praise Islam.”
Rather than engage in the soul-searching that the state of the Muslim world would demand of any moral Muslim, every major Muslim spokesman blames all of the Muslim world’s defects on outsiders. From late Columbia University professor and Palestinian activist Edward Said, to CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations), moral failings in the Arab and Muslim worlds are the fault of the West.
And the situation is worse than that. The best-known critics of Islam are murdered or go into hiding. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brilliant Somali woman who writes and lectures about the status of women in much of the Muslim world, travels with bodyguards and has no knowable address. Likewise the aforementioned ex-Muslim writer Ibn Warraq does all his work under that pseudonym in order to avoid being murdered. But there is no level of hate-filled rhetoric, let alone intelligent criticism, of Christians or Christianity, of America or Americans, or of Jews and Israel that makes the Western critic fear for his life.