A Muslim ex-Marine has been travelling across country with a sign: “I’m A Muslim And A U.S. Marine — Ask Anything.”
He’s one of a small army of I’m-A-Muslim-Ask-Me-Anything propagandists, moving about our land, attracting small groups of onlookers, and then posting his exchanges with them, which always end with a hug from a newly-enlightened non-Muslim, on YouTube. Here’s one treacly example.
The questions posed are usually of the most anodyne and simple-minded sort, but even these sometimes require a little prefabricated taqiyya, delivered in the most deeply sincere way. In order to make it easier for those who’d like to upset the applecart of these ambulatory propagandists, I’ve made a list of “anythings” that you might want to ask, should you run across one of these Ask-Me-Anything Muslims. Of course, there is always the possibility that once your interlocutor realizes that you actually know something about Islam, and taqiyya is out of the question, he might accuse you of being an “Islamophobe” not interested in “real dialogue,” and attempt to get those onlookers to take his side against you, the troublemaker. You have to be ready with sweetness-and-light, affecting an innocent goshdarnit I-just-want-to-know attitude, which may help, experience suggests, to keep the bystanders on your side and increasingly skeptical of the Ask-Me-Anything mountebank.
You should come prepared with a few dozen questions, to which you possess the answers, with the relevant supporting passages from the Qur’an or Hadith or Sira easily retrievable from your smartphone or notecards. Even though your Muslim interlocutor sees that you are well-prepared, he can’t cut you off right away; he’s got to let you ask at least a few anythings. He may try to find excuses to end the entire Q-and-A session, or at least to stop taking your questions. But that will make him look bad, which is precisely what you want. All of a sudden, the Muslim who made such a big deal about his openness shows himself unwilling to answer perfectly reasonable questions. Your goal is to rattle him, to get him to try to cut you off in front of others, who will then realize that this business of “Ask Me Anything” stops the minute anyone raises an unappetizing aspect of Islam. You’ve spoiled his game, no matter what he does.
Whether you make use of the list below or make up your own (fun for the whole family), you can share these lists with friends eager to do exactly what you’ve been doing, by making life difficult for any Ask-Me-Anything Muslim they might run across. And of course both you, and they, should have a videographer present to capture the discombobulation of the Ask-Me-Anything Muslim, so as to post it for all the world to see on YouTube.
Here’s that Starter Kit of Ask-Me-Anything Questions:
(Available as a PDF to download and print here AMA-Q)
1. What is the meaning of Jihad?
2. Why are Christians and Jews required to pay the Jizyah to Muslims?
3. Why does it say in the Qur’an that Muslims should not take Christians and Jews as friends, for they are friends only with each other?
4. It says in the Qur’an that “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2.256). If there is no compulsion in religion, then why are people who leave Islam threatened with death?
5. Why did the Ayatollah Khomeini lower the marriageable age of girls to 9?
6. What is the surest way for a Muslim to get to Heaven?
7. Why did Muhammad attack the Jewish date farmers at the Khaybar Oasis?
8. How many wives did Muhammad have, and why was he allowed more than anyone else?
9. Did Muhammad own slaves?
10. Did Muhammad approve of slavery?
11. Why is Muhammad called the Perfect Man (“al-insan al-kamil”), and the Model of Conduct (“uswa hasana”)?
12. Exactly how many prisoners of the Banu Qurayza tribe were killed while Muhammad watched?
13. How many military expeditions did Muhammad take part in?
14. When, according to the Qur’an, is killing Infidels prohibited?
15. How did Muhammad react when he heard that Asma bint Marwan had been killed?
16. How did Muhammad react when he heard that a 120-year-old Jewish poet, Abu ‘Afak, had been killed?
17. How are non-Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 98.6)
18. How are Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 3.110)
19. Why do so many non-Arab Muslims take Arabic names?
20. When does the doctrine of “abrogation” (naskh) in Qur’anic interpretation apply?
21. Under what conditions can a Muslim man beat his wife?
22. What is the Muslim Heaven like?
23. When can a Muslim father punish his daughter without fear of being punished himself?
24. According to Islamic law, what must a Muslim husband do to be divorced from his wife?
25. Why is the testimony of a Muslim woman worth only half that of a Muslim man?
26. In what ways does Islam tend to favor Arabs over non-Arabs?
27. How did Islam spread all the way from the Hejaz to the Iberian peninsula?
28. Why did Muslims blow up the Bamiyan Buddhas?
29. Why did Muslims threaten to blow up a church in Bologna with a fresco depicting Muhammad?
30. Why have there been more than 30,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001?
31. Who was Kinana, and what did Muhammad order should be done with him?
32. Does Islam have a Golden Rule?
33. What is the doctrine of al-wala’ wal-bara’?
34. Why are there so many people in Pakistan named “Sayid”?
35. What kinds of music does Islam allow?
36. What is Dar al-Harb?
37. What is Dar al-Islam?
38. When does Jihad come to an end?