Taqiyya is the name given to religiously-sanctioned dissimulation about the faith of Islam itself, and about what particular Believers believe. Essentially, it means that it is all right to lie about the contents of the Faith, and about the beliefs of particular Believers (including, most obviously, the particular Believer who practices Taqiyya), if that protects the Faith and the Believer from enemies.
There is even a form of Taqiyya about Taqiyya among Sunnis, such as Tariq Ramadan, who claims that it is exclusively a doctrine among the Shi’a, and that Sunnis do not lie about the faith because they have no need to do so. But if Taqiyya originates among the Shi’a, in order to protect them from Sunni persecution, the Sunnis have their own doctrine, kitman, or mental reservation, where you don’t quite say everything, even if what you do say may be true. You do not misinform directly; you misinform by holding things back.
The practice of Taqiyya, or Kitman, allows non-Muslims of the credulous sort to insist that Islam must be as described to them during those Mosque Open Houses that have been a feature of Muslim life in America, an outreach unheard-of elsewhere.
Tu Quoque is the Latin term for “you do it, too,” and because the West is full of people who like to admit that they are full of sin and error, it’s not hard to find those who are willing to believe that the bad things that are done in the Western world are what the West should focus on, should deal with, before being outraged at others. I’ve just stated a parody of a position, but it’s a position that I’m afraid many have been willing to hold. “Let he who is without sin…” can be a way to avoid firmly condemning what others do.
The behavior of the Islamic State, however, has been enough, most must agree, at least to put a stop to the widespread invocation of Tu Quoque. It’s hard for Muslim apologists to claim that “you are another” when what is being discussed is the mass murder and rape of Yazidis. The bombing in Iraq or elsewhere doesn’t quite amount to that.
Neither of these — Taqiyya and Tu Quoque — has in recent times been as effective as it was ten years ago. The problem is that, still, there are so many non-Muslims who don’t want to allow themselves to recognize what the texts of Islam inculcate; it would be too painful for them to do so, and would require them to take a different attitude toward their Muslim neighbors, and toward Muslim immigration. This they do not seem to be able to do.
The most recent events may make what I originally described as part of the strategy of denial — Taqiyya and Tu Quoque — much less effective, but it doesn’t matter; so many non-Muslims will still hear what they want to hear, will perform the Taqiyya or the Kitman, that is, on themselves, because they cannot bear to hear the truth.
It’s an astonishing thing to see, but look around at what non-Muslim figures of note continue to say about Islam. Do they believe it? When NPR hails the proliferation of mosques, and when a former member of a synagogue apparently now used as a mosque hails this transformation, and describes how he “told the imam” how happy he was that this place was still dedicated to religion, he is expressing the view of someone who doesn’t want to look into Islam closely, and who wants to collaborate in accepting the misstatements of his friend the Imam.
There are still so many who supply the Taqiyya themselves, and on that limp and dismal note, let us end.