Update and apology. I have been awfully remiss in not including my excellent colleague David A. Osorio S from “Avant Garde” in the company of Loud and Proud Islamophobes. I am glad to correct that oversight forthwith.
Or as “Temple of the Future” calls it:
Just by reading the title, I know that it is going to be nonsense. Time for a good, old-fashioned fisking:
The purpose of this post is not to “call out” any individuals or groups as Islamophobic
Awww, please, please call me out! Do it with my colleague too!
Rather, the purpose is to explore the question “How can the freethought movement responsibly engage in criticism of aspects of Islam (values, beliefs, practices etc.) which are inhumane without reinforcing the oppression of Muslims
You may have noticed how utterly oppressed Muslims are. Freedom of speech curtailed, they can’t practice their religion openly, everyone gets to mock them but they are lynched if they try to reply in kind…
Oh. Wait. Yeah.
I also hope my discussion here will be of value to those who also wish to engage in robust criticism of other religions which share a similarly disadvantaged position in US society, such as Native American religions and African Indigenous religions.
“African” huh? Any part of Africa in particular? Or just kinda from Africa in general?
1. The Inherent Worth and Dignity of All Persons
Just what the hell does that mean? Everyone has dignity automatically? Really? Ever seen the outside of a pub at chucking out time? And worth? So, let me get this straight – this guy and this guy have the same worth?
Nah, I must be reading too much into this. No one could possibly believe anything that…
I am a Humanist, and part of the Humanist creed is a commitment to the equal dignity and basic moral worth of every person
Ah. Reminder why I am not a ‘humanist’.
Take a look at the following:
That is one ancient goat of a Muslim man and his child bride who can’t be more than six or seven. Humanism tells us we should respect both of these equally, they have the same worth, the same dignity.
Therefore, I am committed not just to not slandering or demeaning Muslims in any way,
Here is a little dictionary definition for our chum:
“the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to person’s reputation”.
Emphasis mine. Extra emphasis mine. You know, I read the big shot, loud Islamophobes – terrible haters like Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, Aung San Suu Kyi etc – and never once have I heard them say something false about them.
Demean: cause a severe loss in the dignity of and respect for (someone or something).
You know what a synonym for saying things that cause a loss of respect for the Islamic community is? ”Accurate reporting”.
I remember hearing this kind of talk before now. Where was it? Oh, yeah. When I was reading the neofascists talking about ‘defamation’ of Nazi Germany by the “holohauxers”. And when I read about Chomsky describing those reporting on the Khmer Rouge’s killing fields. And when I was listening to people attack Solzhenitsyn for describing the USSR accurately. And when I heard what Jung Chang’s reception was for explaining what life under Mao was like. And when I read about the reception of Kang Chol-Hwan for describing life in North Korea…
Nah, I’m going to stick with being demeaning. Sorry
but to actively opposing their oppression and any violence against them.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Reality, the Ummah is the source not the subject of random violence. 594 killed this week, and 583 critically injured this week alone. I can think of multiple genocides, the Islamic slave trade, the ethnic cleansing of infidel minorities –
Oh, this is just in the United States you say? Yeah, okay – U.S. lefty doctrine: “If it happens to furriners it don’t count”. Odd, but when I think about Islam plus violence plus continental United States, I keep thinking of Major Hasan, the Tsarnev Brothers, 9/11 of course…
At the same time, I am committed to opposing any ideology which promotes inhumane practices which are an affront to human dignity.
That means you are anti-Islam you nitwit. Islam writes off the entirety of non-Muslims as lousy kaffirs. Sub-humans. Worse than animals. So: either put up or shut up, but quit grandstanding.
2. The Reality of Islamophobia
The reality of my tiny leedle violin.
Islamophobia is real, and it is profoundly pernicious in America right now. Overt acts of Islamophobia include acts of violence against people because they are, or are perceived to be, Muslim
witness the recent spate of attacks following the bomb at the Boston Marathon)
Recent attacks – and the only one he can mention is a Muslim jihad attack. Teh stooopid is strong here.
slurs against such people
The devout muslim slurs all infidels five times a day. Cry me a river.
and discrimination in the workplace and by government agencies.
When a guy can put “Soldier of Allah” on his business card, gives a powerpoint presentation on the jihad atrocity he is about to commit, and is still not kicked out – well, how bad could this be?
Islamophobia is also demonstrated more covertly (as all forms of oppression are), through persistent negative portrayals of Muslims in the media and other cultural products.
This would be the aforementioned “accurate reporting”. Funny when the only stories to write about your group are ones of random violence and outrageous cruelty, people take that in a negative way.
Whenever I write my jihad round ups, I start with typing “Islam”, “Muslim” into google news search function. Funny how I only see three stories: 1) Muslims killing people or each other, 2) Muslims otherwise acting barbarically, 3) Muslims complaining about negative views of Islam.
It is not at all a stretch to say that Muslims are currently oppressed in America
Back on Planet Reality, I defy you to find any Muslim majority nation – any, take your time – that treats its infidel minorities as well as the United States treats its Muslims
their ways of being in the world are negatively affected by power structures which demean and degrade them in ways large and small.
My ways being are “negatively affected by power structures” that result from having to share the same planet as Islam.
Just go and look at what it’s like being an infidel when Muslims have the upper hand. Go and take a look and then let’s talk about “power structures”.
3. The Nature of Islamophobia
Islamophobia does not mean “hatred of/fear of Muslims”, just as homophobia does not mean “hatred/fear of homosexuals”
Er – that is what homophobia means you poor, drooling idiot. You bothered to check out what real gay bashing is like? Guys getting the crap beaten out of them or murdered just for loving someone their own sex?
Ah, but the principle providers of real homophobia today are… Muslim fanatics. Hence the whole thing of Imams telling their congregations that, if they happen to be dentists, and a gay client comes in, the Muslim dentist should take care to cause the maximum pain.
Rather it is a shorthand which means something akin to “structures of oppression which affect Muslims”.
I’m going to bang on about this: what about the structures of oppression against infidels?
Thus, for instance, the perpetuation of a derogatory stereotype about Muslims which encourages neither fear nor hatred (and even which was not intended to be derogatory) can be Islamophobic in the sense I use the term, just as a cartoon
What about Muslims threatening to – and actually lynching people all over the planet for a stupid cartoon?
While this definition may seem odd or over-broad, it is consistent with scholarly use of the term, and with how such terms are routinely understood by anti-oppression theorists and activists.
Translation – this is used by a collection of dimwits who have never fought real oppression in their entire lives and would sooner lop their own head off than try to do so. Read Nelson Mandela, Jung Chang, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Martin Luther King, Primo Levi etc. and I defy you to find them talking anyway like this.
4. How Religious Adherents are Oppressed through Inaccurate and Derogatory Stereotypes and over-Generalizatons
I freely agree that the Koran’s depiction of all Christians and Jews as descendants of apes and pigs is inaccurate and derogatory.
One of the most prominent ways in which a cultural group is oppressed is through the perpetuation of misinformation about them, often in the form of derogatory generalizations in which negative characteristics (or characteristics perceived to be negative) of a subset of the group are applied, by implication, to the whole group.
By this standard you couldn’t say anything bad about Nazis without having personally met every single Nazi.
It’s not the bad examples of the jihadis that engenders the negative views of Islam, it’s the absence of sufficient counterexamples of Muslims standing up to this. Yes, yes, “minority of extremists” and “moderate majority” – or in other words ‘Those advancing Islamic totalitarianism by bomb and by book, and those doing nothing to stop it”.
Examples include generalizations about women (“Women aren’t good at math”);
“Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete, deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.” – Abu Usamah,
generalizations about gay people (“Gay men are incapable of monogamous relationships”
“Take that homosexual and throw him off the mountain” – Abu Usama again
generalizations about ethnic groups
You mean like this?
The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews. (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).Sahih Muslim, 41:6985
Or maybe you mean like this?
“You have to bomb the Indian businesses, and as for the Jews, you kill them physically.” – Abdulah el-Faisal.
and, of course, generalizations about Muslims (“Muslims are terrorists”)
No one argues this, anymore than anyone argues “All Communists were commissars and ran gulags!” or even “All Nazis were SS!”
How’s that straw holding up for ya?
These generalizations are pernicious because 1) they are false;
Tell it to Abu Usamah et al. Why do I get a feeling that you won’t be that happy to do so?
2) they elide differences between individuals in order to enforce a particular view of a group, thus denying members of said group full individuality (and thus full humanity)
So – what? If someone says they’re a Nazi, but they’ve never killed anyone, I should withhold judgement? After all, there were good Nazis, and not just a few of them. What about the Communists? The fact that there were heroic commies doesn’t change how many people they killed as a group. I should forget that?
3) they serve as justifications for “punishment” of whole groups of people on the basis that they all share the problematic characteristic
U.S. foreign policy is something we can debate – but are you seriously arguing that you can only go to war with a country if every single person in it is guilty of supporting the regime wholeheartedly?
Take a look at this:
That’s Frankfurt after WWII. You think everyone in there was a fully fledged Nazi supporter? That war was still necessary.
Anyway, last time I checked the U.S. was spending a fortune in blood and treasure to try to bring ‘democracy’ to the Islamic world. 97% of Afghanistan’s economy is U.S. cash. If U.S. government policy is trying to collectively punish the Muslim world, it has a funny way of going about it.
5. Islamophobia Exists in the Atheist Community
There’ll be more by the time I’m through, you mark my words.
There is undoubtedly Islamophobia in some of the statements made by prominent atheists
Guy doesn’t provide any links, presumably for not wanting to look even more pathetic.
6. Responsible Criticism of Islam Does Not Mean Treating Islam “The Same” as Christianity
Of course not. Treat Christianity as rudely as you like – but Islam? Oh, no.
As Tim Blair says:
The Pope’s a total Nazi
What’s the deal with those Hindus?
Judaism’s not so bad
Except for all the Jews
Hey, Buddha! Would it kill you
To wear a frickin’ shirt?
(I can say most anything
And I’m never getting hurt)
But let’s not mention Islam
We’ll play it safe instead
It’s hard to make religious jokes
When you don’t have a head
This means that what constitutes responsible criticism of Islam is not the same as what constitutes responsible criticism of, for instance, Christianity. Christianity is highly privileged in the cultural discourse of America, and the effects of negative stereotypes of Christians are different to the effects of such stereotypes of Muslims.
Jeez, I thought I was joking. But he actually is saying with a straight face: “Be mean to the Christians but kiss Islamic arse – or you’re a mean ol’ hater!”
. Rather, the critic must recognize the different power-position Islam holds in society
No shit. It’s the only religion that has people killed.
7. The Social Privilege of Religion and Its Effects on Culture
If you want that to change, quit flattering it.
8. The Added Complexity of Racial Considerations
Ah, the ol “being anti Islam is waaaycist line”. Wonder whether anyone bothered to tell the people of Darfur that…
9. 1-8 Make Criticism of Religions such as Islam Very Difficult
No, your lack of spine makes criticism of Islam very difficult.
10. Yet Criticism is Essential to Responsible Membership of Society
Nice of you to notice.
Nonetheless, Islam is a profoundly important social and cultural force in the 21st Century.
It is a fucking disaster in the 21st century, is what it is. Look at what we might soon have in Iran and Pakistan. Seventh century minds with twenty first century weaponry. You think that will go well?
It is the second largest of the world’s religions (more than 20% of the world’s population are Muslim),
“And if we surrender now, maybe they won’t hurt us too much!”
Atheists for Islam. This the group that always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.