Friday, 3 August 2007

"Islamophobia" and "hate crimes"

Following the arrest of a PACE University student for the so called "hate crime" of flushing of a Koran down the toilet, a debate on CNN asks, is 'Islamophobia' racist? Of course, says Council of American Islamic Relations apologist Ibrahim Hooper, who insists anyone opposing Islam must be both xenophobic and bigoted. Of course not, says Christopher Hitchens, who slams the stupid non-concept of hate crimes, and asks why destroying this vile book should bring the destroyer any more attention than destroying any other book.

In answer to the charges of racism and "anti-Islamic bigotry," Dennis Prager points out the obvious: "Islam has nothing to do with race." And neither does it. Islam has nothing at all to do with race; it's a set of ideas' ideas about which adherents have a choice in adopting; a set of remarkably primitive ideas that richly deserve to be mocked rather than treated with kid gloves as they too often are.

As Christopher Hitchens points out free speech and the US First Amendment includes the right to offend and the right to mock -- and the nonsensical notions of Islamists deserve mocking more than most.

Hitchens points out too that Islamist apologists criticise those who offend Islamists and call for "tolerance" with one side of the mouth, while with the other they stay silent and refuse to criticise Islamists who openly call for the killing of Jews, for the killing of Salman Rushdie, for the stoning and killing of homosexuals in places like Iran, and who in Iraq and elsewhere blow up mosques and markets packed with people who are killed merely for worshipping in a different way than the killers do.

As Hitchens says, religion poisons everything.
  • Watch Christopher Hitchens and Dennis Prager debate Ibrahim Hooper from the apologist organisation the Council of American Islamic Relations at You Tube: Part 1, Part 2. [Hat tip Marcus]


  1. "...the US First Amendment includes the right to offend and the right to mock..."
    The 1988 ruling on "Hustler vs Falwell" is probably where that idea springs from: "...the First Amendment's free-speech guarantee prohibits awarding damages to public figures to compensate for emotional distress intentionally inflicted upon them unless they can show that the statements that gave rise to the distress were false and that the person that made those statements knew they were false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth in making the statements."

    "The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. It prohibits the federal legislature from making laws that establish religion (the "Establishment Clause") or prohibit free exercise of religion (the "Free Exercise Clause"), laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to assemble peaceably, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    Justice Brennan on flag burning, "if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable."
    ---------. --
    HOWEVER, it's not entirely accurate to cast this as a license for open slather speech. As we well know there are various restrictions imposed by the USSC. Read the court rulings on sedition, war protest etc. What is often considered in restrictive rulings are the malice and the clear and present danger of certain speech.

    While it's still legal to burn a US flag as recently as last year an ammendment to criminalize fell short by one vote. How does a koran compare to a flag as the material artifact of abstract beliefs?
    Restrictions on anything are only a vote away.

  2. Rant time...

    "Islam has nothing at all to do with race; it's a set of ideas' ideas about which adherents have a choice in adopting; a set of remarkably primitive ideas that richly deserve to be mocked rather than treated with kid gloves as they too often are."

    No one sees the irony here?

    If a Arab blows himself up in a crowded market, he is of course a terrorist, but any Muslim that does not decry the act is in on the Islamic conspiracy to drive us all back to the stone age. We are at War with ALL Islam apparently.

    This is of a classic case of the 'round trip error', common to intellectual lightweights 'all x is y therefore all y is x', Perigo loves embarrassing himself on Radio with this type of 'argument'.

    A B2 bomber blows the fuck out of a Baghdad neighborhood, most of say nothing, does this make us part of the westofascist conspiracy or perhaps rightofascist conspiracy?
    Of course it does not, but you can see how people might get that impression right?

    If the libertarians pulled their heads out of their collective asses long enough to entertain an modicum of rational balanced thought around the subject they would release that their 'froth at the mouth anytime anybody tries to tell the other side of the story' approach is exactly the same retarded, myopic 'logic' which creates the problem in the first place.

  3. "..retarded, myopic 'logic' which creates the problem in the first place."
    You're talking about islam, right? :-)

  4. blah (What an appropriate name for you.)

    Try reading the Koran. Once you've read what's in that, and understood it, you may not be as likely to express your ignorance so openly.

    Your post reminds me of something a old work colleague told me once about WW2. She could not understand how it was that when the Germans started rounding up neighbours who happened not to fit the German race laws, none of the locals said or did anything. They joined the party and said it was good to be a nationalist. They'd hang around the tavern and just perhaps one of them might say the Germans were going a little too far lately, but then again, one had to understand the German point of view. Funnily enough they all changed their stories once the British and the American soldiers came to the town. Ah, those Frenchmen!

    The trouble is the basic ideas of what is in the religion. Accept the ideas and it's only a matter of how consistent you are and how far you'll go applying them. Accept the premise and you can hardly criticise those who are more consistent in their application.

    If you accept the crazy ideas, whether or not you act on them, you are indeed following an evil.



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