I really do try. I read, I listen. But I don't often say much, because people who say words tend to reveal their lack of understanding, and I don't want to tip my hand.
But something has been bothering me for a while, and I just wanted to say it.
I was reading this morning that the Pakistanis are now accusing Pervez Musharraf of masterminding the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Whether that's true or not, I do not know and do not even pretend to know.
And there's a good reason why I don't know.
Well, okay. There are a lot of good reasons why I don't know. For starters, I don't even live there.
But hear me out.
How does anyone in the Islamosphere know what's true or not? When untruth is a built-in feature of your religion, how can you possibly know truth? And how can you ever negotiate in good faith with anyone who's a Muslim?
I'm talking, of course, about the doctrine of taqiyya. Basically, it's in the Quran that it's okay to be untruthful to an infidel.
And even if a Muslim person were to read this and thoughtfully comment upon it, refuting it, how do I know if they're telling me the truth?
When news reporters put Muslims on television and ask them questions, do we know they're telling the truth? Or are they just trying to tell us what they want us to think?
This bothers me. A lot. And it makes me much less likely to trust anyone who's a Muslim. I don't want to be this way -- I really don't. It's not in my nature to be suspicious of people. But I can't view the rest of world through my own set of principles anymore. I can't assume that everyone else in the world operates from the standpoint of truth and equal justice, from what I know to be right and wrong. What's right and wrong to a Muslim person is very different from what's right and wrong to me.
And I just don't know how I can ever get past that. I will never treat someone ill who's a Muslim simply because they're a Muslim, because that is just not how I operate. But I don't know if I can ever trust someone who's a Muslim, either, for the simple reason that their seminal document gives them permission to lie when it suits them.
A person I love very much has several dear friends who are Muslims. And they seem to be genuinely returning the honest feelings of friendship. But how do I know?
That scares me.