Taqiya is, in Islamic jurisprudence, religiously-sanctioned lying. Many Islamists feel justified saying one thing to a Western audience, and quite another to fellow Islamists. Muhammad Khatami, soon to receive an honorary degree at St. Andrew’s University in celebration of his “practical work to improve relations between Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities,” is one example. No need for Khatami to explain statements justifying murder and terror. The case of Tariq Ramadan, the Islamist scholar whom Notre Dame University tried to hire, has become a cause célèbre. Many progressives are in an uproar that the State Department this week again denied Ramadan a visa. After all, doesn’t he say the right things in academic salons? Perhaps, but beyond the window dressing and the material support for terrorists, what does Ramadan stand for? Lionel Favrot’s study of Ramadan’s record suggests he stands for quite a lot which he doesn’t speak about in English.
Taqiyya, commonly understood as "dissimulation in order to protect one's life, family, or the faith, against persecution," has its roots in Shi'i jurisprudence, as a defense against persecution by Sunnis or non-Muslims. It is not simply a license to lie, as Rubin ignorantly claims.
The concept of taqiyya has generally been looked upon with skepticism, or even derision, by Sunnis, that is to say, by the vast majority of Muslims. Tariq Ramadan, a Sunni, has never, as far as I know, indicated that he believes the concept is a legitimate Islamic practice. But I suppose Rubin would say that that's just like a lying Islamist to do that ("Your Islamist has no regard for the truth.").
The implications of Rubin's view are obvious. (Let's bomb Iran!) After all, if Muslims lie as a matter of religious duty, then why should we believe anything they say, ever? (Let's bomb Iran!) What's funny is that Rubin presents taqiyya as some sort of sinister religious-jurisprudential kung-fu, as if non-Muslim leaders never dissimulate, lie, spin, or misrepresent facts and intentions. Oh well, let's bomb Iran.
And someone please make Michael Rubin a drink of grain alcohol and rainwater.