Hi Ad Astra,
Yes, there is such a thing called Taqiyya in Islam, but it is certainly not a key doctrine nor taught widely - most Muslims have never heard of it - including practising Muslims!
I was a practising Muslim for almost 50 years. I studied Islam deeply and taught it at an Islamic School. I only ever came across the word a couple of times the entire 50 years and it was only in relation to the Shia where the doctrine developed as a perfectly understandable reaction to the persecution by the Sunnis throughout various periods in history.
It is simply a license to hide ones faith in order to preserve life and limb.
It has however today become a buzzword used by the far-right and Christian-right in America and favoured by people like Robert Spencer, Pamella Geller and Geert Wilders.
They not only regard it as a key and widespread doctrine that is taught to practicing Muslims, but they have also widened its meaning to include lying to promote Islam, i.e. lying not just to save one's life & liberty, but to present a good image of Islam and deflect criticism.
Taqiya in this sense does not exist. It is a creation of such people.
That is not to say there are not many lying Muslim apologists, but they are not following a doctrine with a funny name - they are just slimy lying bastards. Of which there are many amongst all people - particularly apologists for religion - whatever religion.
By accusing Muslims of Taqiyya, one is saying that Muslims are "uniquely" dishonest and can't be trusted in general. This blankets Muslims as a whole. This is why it is wrong to use such a term.
This is a quote from one of our members who put it well:
...when it's dishonesty in the career and business practices of white folks, that's just part of the dog-eat-dog territory and almost viewed in a positive light. When poor old Christians are doing doublespeak, it's just them being delusional or defending their religion against attack to the best of their ability. When someone from the West lies, they're just dishonest. But if a Muslim does it, it's Taqiyya. It's his culture to do that taqiyya.
This is why I hate the use of this word. You can't divorce yourself from this charge of taqiyya. People in general are dishonest as fuck, but it has a name and it has a background when it's taqiyya, it conjures a mental image of potential offenders based on clothing, on race, on their country, and it's used to promote suspicion of huge groups of people, and even honest ones get caught up in it. Lying is human, but a lying Muslim is on another level, those mysterious, untrustworthy others, part of a hive-mind, practicing the dreaded taqiyya.
And finally here's a video - I hope all that helps - and welcome https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjZSJg1HQpc