If It Sounds Illiberal, It’s Probably Illiberal

This article is part of a pro/con (called Liberty Faceoff) I did with Daniil Gorbatenko on the European Students for Liberty Blog. You can check out the entire post here.

When I left the Catholic Church at the age of 16 (yes that’s a thing, it’s some paperwork though) I felt refreshed. I had never been a fan of religion, church was boring and on the brink of the massive children’s abuse story going on at the time, nothing was really holding me back. As an atheist I didn’t fear supernatural repercussions to my act of apostasy. More importantly, I did not fear that my family or my (now former) church would call for my death. The same cannot be said for Islam.

In the efforts of being politically correct we can pretend that all sets of values are equal, that bigotry is equally spread among religion, and that by all means, radical beliefs are held by a mere fraction of a fraction of people. Neither is the case. The rule of law is BETTER than theocracy. How do I know this? Because under theocracy my article wouldn’t be on this platform and I would be subjected to flogging right after publishing.

A concrete difference between Christianity and Islam needs to be pointed out: Christianity did have a reformation, which affected both scripture and behaviour, while Islam did not. While the New Testament is not necessarily a book that all of us will morally adhere to, it does not call for death, does not glorify destruction or lay out the ‘enemy’ of the faith. Of course we can pretend that the hundreds of quotes from the Quran and the Hadith which are sexist, homophobic and all throughout bigoted by intent, are not representative of people’s actions or believes. Firstly, this would still not change the fact that Islam is intentionally illiberal, and secondly it is not backed up by reality.


Sharia Law is official Islamic Law, governing the behaviour of Muslims as well as those who are not followers of Islam. It promotes death for apostasy, death for blasphemy, death for homosexuality, domestic violence and the overall subjugation of women through not recognising her ability of holding property and giving consent. According to Pew Research polling, 84% of South Asian Muslims, 77% of Southeast Asian Muslims, 74% of Middle Eastern and North African Muslims, 64% of sub-Saharan African Muslims and solid 18% of Southern and Eastern European Muslims believe that Sharia should be the law of the land.

As libertarians we believe in property rights, the non-aggression principle, we believe in solidarity, plurality, respect and human decency. The set of values promoted through Islam are inherently contrary to liberty, and the only people claiming that it is not, are non-Muslim apologists.

Jesus Christ is by no means the equivalent of Mohammed. Jesus was an apolitical figure who did not regard his earthly mission to be related to political struggles: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36, although he did tell his followers to pay their taxes in Mark 12:13-17, which is close of being my biggest objection to him. Mohammed on the other hand was a political leader and an interventionist by definition. He promoted spreading Islam through violence, led military campaigns, owned slaves, committed murder and rape and married a 7-year-old (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234 and 236). There is no instance in which the prophet Mohammed was anything but an archetype of despicable morality.

If it sounds illiberal it’s probably illiberal. Every single country that follows Islam as a value system for legislation turns out to be fundamentally tyrannical and unjust, leading from institutional sexism over partial court systems to executions of those whose moral behaviour is judged to be contrary to holy books. Even in those countries that ban these practices, honour killings and genital mutilation of children remain a problem. That is not to say that we should try to legislate migration, belief or speech of Muslims, but that we should not chastise ourselves from criticising the apparent illiberal nature of Islam.

Islam is in dire need of a reformation. Its practice and value system are a threat to liberty.

Pictures are Creative Commons.

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About Bill Wirtz

My name is Bill, I'm from Luxembourg and I write about the virtues of a free society. I favour individual and economic freedom and I believe in the capabilities people can develop when they have to take their own responsibilities.

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