Yet another article on Muslim abuse that misuses the word ‘Islamophobia’…
Let’s get one thing straight. ‘Islamophobia’ as used in the media now is a nonsense term. Phobias are unreasoned fears about things, e.g. some people have them about spiders. Islamophobia, if it means anything it means: an irrational fear of Islam. That’s quite defensible given some of the many things the term ‘Islam’ can represent today. And yet it is used instead as a surrogate for the cry of ‘Racist!’ by ignorant cultural relativists and other unconscious post-modernists.
[edit Nov 01] Originally I avoided following the obvious line of argument that fear of Islam is for many quite rational, rather than irrational, making the word ‘Islamophobia’ doubly meaningless. However, I think that the hideousness of Islamic state’s atrocities (which are simply a public version of the same thing historically conducted in more carefully controlled places) explains ‘fear’ of all kinds to be found at any point on the continuum from the rational (reasoned, informed) to the irrational (emotional).
Fortunately many liberal Muslims (e.g. CriticalMuslim.com, Quilliam Foundation, Ali Eteraz) are now helping Muslims and non-Muslims alike properly understand the problems of Islam. Essentially, in its canonical form, it is a suffocating ideology and an intellectual and social prison. These reformers are looking for ways to bring it into the modern world of secular democracy and personal faith.
Racist and moronic rants by members of the public at/to other members of the public who are assumed to be Muslim, and therefore adherents of everything in the canonical definition of Islam (as if all Anglicans and Catholics were strict adherents of Christianity’s canonical teachings and dogmas), are another thing entirely. Their behaviour should not be tolerated any more than any other vacuous abuse.
We do need to nevertheless understand that they probably constitute evidence of a generalised public fear of Islam that needs to be addressed (and soon) with an enlightened public discourse; otherwise it will be addressed by the usual polarisation of far left versus far right ignoramuses who will create no end of trouble and eventually endanger secular democracy itself.
I suggest that nothing is more important for people in Western countries today than to educate themselves on both Islam and the foundations of Western civilisation, which humanity forgets at its peril.
Some interesting reads:
- The Enlightenment and why it still matters – Anthony Pagden
- Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West – Christopher Caldwell
- Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech And The Twilight of the West – Mark Steyn
- Islam and the future of tolerance – Sam harris / Maajid Nawaz
- 1000 Lashes: because I say what I think – Raif Badawi
- Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man”: A Biography – A Book That Shook the World – Christopher Hitchens
- Doubt – A History – Jennifer Michael Hecht
And a set of links I have posted before: published in the Guardian in 2007 by Ali Eteraz:
- Article 1: The roots of Islamic reform
- Article 2: The Islamic reformation
- Article 3: An Islamic counter-reformation
- Article 4: Beyond Islamic enlightenment
- Article 5: The making of the Muslim left
- Article 6: Muslim secularism and its allies
- Article 7: Post-Islamism
I can’t recommend this particular set of articles highly enough – no other short resource so clearly draws together the threads of what’s going on in the Muslim world today with ideas about how it could evolve. This article, on Islamism’s false narrative is also worth reading.
On YouTube there are many interesting debates – try searching for ‘The Young Turks’. See at least these two: