By Amil Imani
Detoxification is the physiological or psychological removal of toxic substances from a living organism. "Toxic Islam" is a type of dependence inducing "potion." In the same way that, let us say, alcohol is. Millions and perhaps billions of people imbibe alcohol. A great majority of these consumers qualify as moderate and social drinkers. Drinking alcohol may do them some psychological good but may also inflict some health problems and a monetary price. Yet, a vast number of human beings find enough "comfort" to put up with the monetary, health, relationships, and other costs of their drinking.
A certain number of these people are the heavy drinkers who are severely dependent and reliant on the drug. And there are those who are infrequent drinkers. They may have some wine at Christmas or on their birthday. And finally, there are those who are teetotalers. They never touch the stuff. So, you have what statisticians call a "bell curve" -- people distribute themselves along the drinking dimension as a bell-shaped function. Some are on one extreme, some on the other, with the great majority between the two extremes.
The same bell curve applies to Muslims. Islam is habit-forming. Just like alcohol. How strongly habit forming? It depends on the person and his circumstances. Is Islam "beneficial" to the person? For some it is. For others, toxic Islam is life itself, just like booze for the skid-row alcoholic.
Islam, from its inception, discovered the crucial secret of getting to the young mind early by adhering to the dictum: Instruction in early childhood is akin to carving in a rock. In the same vein goes the Jesuit saying, "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man." The immense importance of getting to the young mind is also emphasized by non-religious doctrines as diverse as the Freudian psychoanalytic theory and Watsonian behaviorist psychology.
Total or major replacement of beliefs, particularly as one gets older, becomes less likely, yet it happens occasionally. Paul's sudden transformation from a rabid Christian-persecutor to a devoted believer of the faith of Christ is a familiar instance of such a dramatic change. Ideas, on the other hand, are much more amenable to change, replacement, or discard, as long as the ideas do not substantially undermine the integrity of the main framework -- the belief.
In the same way that people need to go through detoxification programs to free themselves from physical dependencies, they also must undergo detoxification programs to wean themselves from toxic Islam.
How to do that? The best way in my opinion is exactly what many concerned citizens, writers, bloggers, and experts are doing. Explain and expose toxic Islam and its harm. They also need to further expand the re-education effort by writing and translating in their native Muslim nations' languages. Radio and television programs are also vital. It is a long process. Yet, the bottom line is this blind dependency on toxic Islam that promises and provides easy answers for much of humanity's underclass.
I am very optimistic about the country of my birth. I believe Iran will be the first Islamic state to carry the torch of liberty. This is indeed the dawn of a new era in Persian history, a true renaissance for our world. Over 1400 years of darkness has reached its inevitable end. People on the mountaintops are clearly discerning the rays of the new sun that inevitably will chase away the gloom of darkness. It is time to celebrate the new day by enlisting all of us in the work of ushering in the light of freedom. I am calling upon all Iranians, whether at home or abroad, to join this natural movement in ushering in the new day and to contribute whatever you can to make it a truly magnificent change of fortune for the new Iran, as well as for the entire home of humanity, by weaning yourselves from toxic Islam.
It is going to be a slow process, much slower and much more difficult than we would like it to be. Toxic Islam is a long-term deep dependency with many attractions. It is going to take a great deal of work and perseverance to free Muslims from its grip.
There are some 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, the overwhelming majority of which are "Cultural Muslims" who are generally called moderate Muslims. Why moderate? Because they were simply born into Islam, where a great many of them never go through the process of deciding for themselves if they want to be Muslim. It is not a religion that they choose; it is a belief they inherit. For whatever reason, this great majority of these "Cultural Muslims" are Muslims of this type without fully toeing the line of Islam. "Toxic Muslims" are the jihadists, a small minority who live and die by the dictates of the Quran and the Sunna, the life examples of Muhammad.
Islam is a powerful magnet for the masses that are unable to deal with the uncertainties of life and death on their own. It is from this population that the majority of diehard jihadists emerge.
Humanity has matured considerably since the time of Muhammad. In order to continue its forward march, mankind must follow a roadmap appropriate for its age and state of development. It is foolish to insist that a book, which demands terrorism and was written over 1400 years ago, must serve as the one and only guide for humanity. I believe that "Cultural Muslims" hold the key. They hold the balance of power.
The great majority of jihadists emerge from the ranks of those born into the religion of Islam, simply because they are the ones who are most thoroughly indoctrinated and influenced by Islamic dogma in their receptive and formative early years. Yet, there are others who embrace Islam in adulthood, on their own, and enlist themselves as devoted jihadists for the same rewards that Islam offers.
Within this sea of surging humanity composed of some 1.5 billion Muslims, each individual believer -- a drop -- through a combination of choice and forces beyond his control, ends up in one of its many waves. It is the jihadist wave that is highly attractive to the deeply indoctrinated and poorly adjusted in dealing rationally and independently with life. Here, he finds the ironclad perfect solution to his anxieties and perplexities.
To a jihadist, death is nothing more than casting off a shell of the worthless earthly existence and donning an angelic suit to wing joyously to a life of bliss promised by Allah's beloved final emissary, Muhammad.
Eradication of jihadism is a daunting task, since "toxic Islam" is a persistent pandemic disease. Massive education efforts, combined with resolute confrontation of all sources and people that support and promote detoxification of the mind of this deadly philosophy, hold the best promise of dealing effectively with this affliction of humanity.
The best, yet most difficult resolution of this conflict is to do what hundreds of thousands of former Muslims have already done. They have abandoned toxic Islam: they broke loose from the yoke of the exploitive clergy, renounced Islamofascisim, purged the discriminatory and bizarre teachings in the Quran and the Hadith, and left the suffocating tent of toxic Islam for the life-giving expanse of liberty.
Amil Imani is the author of Obama Meets Ahmadinejad and Operation Persian Gulf.