Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Uses of "Islamophobia"

We kill in the name of Allah, blow up cars in the name of Allah, and slit throats in the name of Allah and Islam, and then we protest when others depict the Muslims as terrorists. We indiscriminately kill doctors who went to provide medical care to Afghans, and then we protest when the world describes these acts as acts of terror. We blow up embassies and trains [and consequently] children, women, and citizens with no connection to our cause are killed, and then we protest when the world describes these extremists, who view themselves as Muslims, as terrorists.

--Amr Isma'il

Two things have been happening a lot lately. There has been a lot of activity by the Jihadists and fellow-sympathizers world-wide, and there has been a growing cry about the spread of "Islamophobia."

I will not downplay the fact that it is wrong to brand everyone who practices Islam as a terrorist and a threat, because it is not true. And there really is a growing tendency among some who, in the human way we simplify the "us vs. them" grouping, want to do just that.

Yet in the West we are tiptoeing and sometimes compromising our values to avoid the lable "Islamophobia," and there are those with agendas happy to make political points with our reluctance to be seen non-tolerant. In the east, it is used to bolster the meme of western persecution as the reason for the ills in Islamic lands. "Iran's former president has decried a wave of "Islamophobia" being spread in the United States by fear and hatred of Islam in response to terror carried out by Muslims. (source)" is a typical statement, one which the tolerance police are happy to run with.

Tony Blair was told he was fueling racial stereotyping after the 7/7 bombings. "He called upon moderate Muslims to challenge the ideological beliefs that were fuelling extremists. "You cannot defeat this extremism through what the government does. You can only defeat it within a community," he said." (source) This was seen as singling out the Muslim community and therefore opening them up to more prejudice. The fact that almost all terrorism nowadays comes from Islamic communities is beyond consideration.

The reality is, it is Muslim extremist who are doing the action, and they are doing it in the name of their religion, and they are doing it with the aid and encouragement of Islamic religious leaders. And they are hiding behind calls of Islamophobia to do it, and they are using those calls to further their claims that we are out to get them. It has been noticed that:

Every time Islamists somewhere in the world blow up civilians, kill innocent babies or church goers, behead people, or organize threatening protest mobs -- which is now every day -- Islamic groups in America warn about and scold us for any backlashes that might occur against Muslims or mosques. They forewarn us against criticizing Islam. They even indict us when we wonder why there is no public outcry by Islamic "civil rights" groups or imams against what is being done in the name of Islam as well as the selected teachings in the Koran that justify all this violence. Any criticism is labeled Islamophobia and racist. (source)

Jonah Goldberg explains how this is being used this way:

The best book for illuminating what's going on in the Muslim "street" isn't some weighty treatise on Islam; it's a short little tract called "White Guilt" by Shelby Steele. The book isn't even about Islam. Steele focuses on white liberals and the black radicals who've been gaming them ever since the 1960s. Whites, he argues, have internalized their own demonization. Deep down they fear that maybe they are imperialistic, racist bastards, and they are desperate to prove otherwise. In America, black radicals figured this out a while ago and have been dunning liberal whites ever since.

The West is caught in a similarly dysfunctional cycle of extortion and intimidation with Islam, but on a grander and far more violent scale. Whether it's the pope's comments or some Danish cartoons, self-appointed spokesmen for the Islamic street say, "You have offended a billion Muslims," which really means, "There are so many of us, you should watch out." And if you didn't get the message, just look around for the burning embassies and murdered infidels. They're not hard to find.

In response, the West apologizes and apologizes. Radical Muslims, who are not stupid, take note and become emboldened by these displays of weakness and capitulation. And the next time, they demand two pounds of flesh. Meanwhile, the entire global conversation starts from the assumption that the West is doing something wrong by tolerating freedom of speech, among other things. (source)

One way out of the trap is to call those who are dong the actions by names that don't lump the entire Islamic community with the same brush. The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, himself of a Ugandan background says this:

He said it was unhelpful to call Muslim terrorists Islamic fundamentalists or fascists as these were Christian and political terms that "further alienate those who commit these crimes".

He said they should be called Salafi Jihadists, after the Islamic concept of struggle, which has been bent into the pursuit of murder and mass destruction by members of the Salafi movement.

The Salafi - or Wahabi - branch of Islam, which is dominant in Saudi Arabia, has many peaceful followers who aim to return to the purity of early Islam.

Dr Sentamu said: "For the modern day Salafi Jihadist who defines themselves through acts of mass destruction and terror, Jihad has taken on a whole new meaning.

"There is always a danger when making comments about Jihadists that the charge of Islamophobia follows close behind.

"So let me be clear. I am not by any means talking about all of Islam or all Muslims here." (source)

Breaking the label of calling people Islamofascists buys a space that could be used to help change the "us vs. them" balance, he hopes because it is, for the most part, the Salafi Jihadiya who are fighting the West. Would it work?

We won't know unless it become adopted. But it is something to think about.


Post a Comment

<< Home