The Muslim community cannot hear, because it will not listen. Dissent is not tolerated. Criticism is always an insult or an attack, against which the subject must be earnestly defended.

Our leaders, scholars and preachers must eternally be shielded from critique absolutely. There is no room for nuance or degrees of knowledge. Every word they utter is sacrosanct, even when speaking about a field they know nothing about. An alternative viewpoint will always be a sleight, to be pulverised into oblivion, the emissary ostracised.

You cannot celebrate the wisdom of the learned sheikh, but lament his political acumen. If you do so, you will be shunned by his followers everywhere, or worse still, subjected to an intolerable stream of verbal abuse. Speak ill of words once uttered, and the followers of our leaders and preachers will transform from mild spiritualists into rabid antagonists, who must vanquish you completely.

The reputation of the beloved speaker trumps all. No accusation or complaint must ever be entertained; on the contrary, the complainant must be crushed and hounded. Any worry or concern must be trounced. Our pietist saints and convivial sages must be defended at any cost.

For our leaders we must be fanatics, devoted to their honour. We must shower them in adulation, zealously guarding their influence in the world. We must laud and venerate them, come what may, and berate any who dare do otherwise. Humble respect has transformed into blind infatuation: do not differ if you value your friends.

Dare to question, and you will be ostracised. Hold a contrary opinion and you will be cut off and deserted. Entertain difficult questions and you will be excommunicated. For this community does not tolerate dissent. You are either with us, or you’re against us. Toe the line or stand alone.

Do not speak up or out, because nobody is listening anyway. Know your place and revert in humility to silence.

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