Let’s be honest, we’re only discussing this topic because of Muslims in the West blowing themselves up, shooting cartoonists and journalists and threatening those within their own communities not to deviate or critique the status quo.
So why do we need to be able to criticise Islam as we do with Christianity or any other philosophy or religion?
Well, modern democracy entails the concept of secularism. That is, that the State has no power over the Church in religious affairs, and the Church has no power over the State in matters of governing. What this also means is that the State does not “prefer” any one religion over another. This has brought a great amount of peace to Europe and every country that has implemented this system. Why?
Because it has stopped the horrible practice of religious groups fighting for political power so that they can have a leg up on their competitors in the struggle for becoming the most popular/dominant religion of a state.
The separation of Church and State has also had the consequence that people could now be individuals with differing opinions. They could now freely discuss or argue about these ideas with their opponents without the State choosing one side of the argument over the other by criminalising opinions. As long as no one called for violence upon their opononent, of course.
This has led to a great explosion of critical thinking, economical development, justice, liberty and creativity which distinguishes modern countries from backward countries.
And why do we need to be able to criticise Islam without the threat of violence? Because Islam, just like Christianity, is simply a set of ideas. And this set of ideas exists within what we could call the “free market of ideas” which is imperative in a secular democracy. On this market each idea is debatable and competes against others. And none should be given special protection from scrutiny, criticism or satire under threat of violence by individuals, groups, communities or the State. The ideas should hold their ground based on their own merits and virtue.