From the Wikipedia entry on Islamophobia :
In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the “dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, [the] fear and dislike of all Muslims,” stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. The concept also encompasses the opinions that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.
Notice the nuances, often absent in later discussions of this ‘disorder’. It is the “dread or hatred of Islam”. Islam, not Muslims. The conclusion, that dread or hatred of Islam necessarily means the dread or hatred of all Muslims, is simply invalid. Islam is a set of beliefs. There are hundreds of different interpretations of these beliefs. Among those Muslims labeled ‘extremist’, these differences lead to violence between different groups of Muslims. Many interpretations of these beliefs are relatively benign. To fear Islam decidedly does not entail the fear of all Muslims. Is the fear of Islam a phobia? Remember phobias are unreasoning fears. Is it unreasonable to fear Islam? Let’s look at the facts. Islam’s morality is derived almost entirely from the Qur’an and the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet not included in the Muslim holy book). Let’s concentrate on the Recitation itself. Of the 6346 verses in the Qur’an, 769 express sentiments that are explicitly unjust. for example:
2:17-18 Allah taketh away their light and leaveth them in darkness, where they cannot see, Deaf, dumb and blind; 2:85 Believe ye in part of the Scripture and disbelieve ye in part thereof ? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom. For Allah is not unaware of what ye do. 4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.
Intolerance is expressed in 536 verses. Here are some gems:
2:6-7 As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom. 3:118 O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. 4:76 Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil.
Now on to cruelty and violence, another 532 verses:
2:10 In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie. 2:193 fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. 3:19 Whoso disbelieveth the revelations of Allah (will find that) lo! Allah is swift at reckoning.
The source for these stats is here. There are other criticisms to be made, but the main points are here. If you are not a Muslim then, by a straightforward interpretation of the Qur’an, not only are you fucked, but Muslims are compelled to let you know how fucked you are with extreme prejudice. I am afraid of Islam. I am not afraid of most Muslims because they see that a less than literal interpretation is required, if they are to live among their fellows.
It has been stated, ad nauseum that the ones committing the violence are a tiny minority of fanatics and are not real Muslims at all. This is false. I remember 9/11 (how could I not). I remember the spontaneous cheering that erupted in Palestine. It was caught on camera and broadcast all over the world. Reports of similar celebrations coming from other major cities in the Middle East came from multiple sources. Yes, the violence is committed by a relatively small group of people. But they have a large cheering section; people who agree with their interpretation of Islam and wish them well. This is a much larger group. No one knows how large, but to label it a marginal and heterogenous part of Islam is indefensible. The famous 19 who piloted planes into the WTC towers and the Pentagon, were Muslims. To claim otherwise is simply delusional. Islam made those men. Islam turned them into murderers. [Recently, Sam Harris has had to defend himself against a spurious claim that he and the New Atheists (so-called) are Islamophobic. You can read about it here.]
The term ‘Islamophobia’ is most often defined now as a fear or hatred of all Muslims. It is levelled, ironically, by Muslim apologists and liberals at anyone who publicly expresses criticism of the belief system of Muslims. This accusation has only one goal: to stop the criticism. The desire to appear tolerant (to be tolerant) is supposed to cause a knee jerk retraction and apology for the offending criticism. Thus have certain liberals joined hands with Islamists (those who defend the literal interpretation of the Qur’an and the Hadith and, therefore, seek the domination of the world by Islam as their goal) to make all criticism of Islam taboo. If we are to stop the insane violence that Islamists are perpetuating and supporting, public discourse on the chief source of their justification-their religion-must be encouraged. The taboo must be lifted.
There is another term that, for the sake of clarity, should be used here. It is ‘Muslim Phobia’. This is the hatred or fear of Muslims. Islamophobia doesn’t exist. Fear or Hatred of Islam (as opposed to Muslims) is reasonable.
Toronto, June 2013 e.v.
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