Since the moment I began criticizing religion in public, I have argued that Islam merits special concern—because it is currently the most militant and retrograde of the world’s major religions. This has always made certain people uncomfortable, because they find it difficult to distinguish a focus on Islam—specifically, on the real-world effects of its doctrines regarding martyrdom, jihad, apostasy, and the status of women—from bigotry against Muslims. But the difference is clear and crucial. My criticism of conservative Islam has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or nationality. And, as I have often said, no one suffers the consequences of this pernicious ideology—the abridgments of political and intellectual freedom, the mistreatment of women, the fanaticism and sectarian murder—more than innocent Muslims.
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