Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stop calling criticism of Islam "Islamophobia"

Jihad Watch

Canada's National Post takes aim at a word that is being used to stifle debate and destroy foes of jihad and Islamic supremacism. "Opinion: Stop calling criticism of Islam ‘Islamophobia,’" by Jackson Doughart and Faisal Saeed al-Mutar in the National Post, September 26:
The English language needs a moratorium on the word Islamophobia, a term often used to describe bigotry against Muslims. Unfortunately, it is also used reflexively to denounce critics of Islam, who contribute to a valuable and ongoing debate concerning the relationship between the West and the worldwide Islamic community. This subject is important because several Western countries, such as Denmark, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, are being forced to reconsider their approaches to immigration and culture in light of deep clashes between the Muslim immigrants and the native population.

These tensions have captured much attention in recent weeks with the series of violent protests that have spread to over twenty countries, emanating from the controversial Innocence of Muslims film. ...But to accuse all opponents of Islam of harboring a deep-seated hatred, rooted in irrational fear, is a serious mistake, exemplified by the sweeping and liberal usage of Islamophobia. In fact, the only sentiment in this debate that could actually be described as phobic is the unconditional contempt among many Muslims for people who disagree with them. But one doubts that a formulation like “Infidelophobia” will gain traction anytime soon.
The strategic construction of “Islamophobia,” which is rooted in the word Islam and not Muslim, serves more than a mere lexical purpose. It is designed foremost to associate voluntary religious belief with involuntary skin color, appealing to widespread and legitimate revulsion to racial prejudice, and further to equate bigotry against Muslims with criticism of Islam, blurring any distinction between these two very different actions. While the prejudging of all Muslim citizens as suspicious and untrustworthy is indeed comparable with other forms of racial and religious bigotry, the study and refutation of Islam’s claims to moral and philosophical authority is a just and necessary enterprise, fully compatible with a pluralistic society that values religious liberty. This is because freedom of belief, if it is to have universal and consistent meaning, must include the freedom to criticize beliefs and believers — a concept that is foreign to the social and political world view of Islam....
In addition to “Islamophobia,” the earnest employment of the term blasphemy, and its advancement by Islam’s apologists as a tenable concept, is a clear enemy of open and secular society. Free expression, which constitutes the bedrock of the West’s process of deliberating controversial questions of value, cannot be balanced or reconciled with the idea of sacred and unchallengeable beliefs, since it contradicts the first principle of free speech: that even the most profane dissent must be protected. Most importantly, the creeping influence of terms like blasphemy and Islamophobia is undignifying to both Muslims and non-Muslims for two reasons. First, it colludes with Islam’s attempt to infantalize its adherents — convincing them that critical thought, especially about the matters of faith, is immoral. Second, it presumes that Muslims, particularly in the West, are not mature enough to handle criticism of their chosen beliefs, and that their subcultures are reducible to archaic texts and practices. This is the real injustice, involving the basest abandoning of scruple and succumbing to cowardice, and can only be rectified by ditching this thoroughly nonsensical expression.

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