Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Quote of the Day: On ‘Islamophobia’


“In the book we disentangle the notion of ‘Islamophobia.’ We show that it's an illegitimate term, one that clouds thinking, because it mashes together at least two fundamentally different things. The term blends, on the one hand, serious analysis and critique of the ideas of Islamic totalitarianism, the cause animating the jihadists, which is vitally important (and the purpose of my book); and, on the other hand, racist and tribalist bigotry against people who espouse the religion of Islam. Obviously, racism and bigotry have no place in a civilised society.
    “Moreover, the book makes clear that while all jihadists are self-identified Muslims, it is blatantly false that all Muslims are jihadists… Ignorant of the book's full scope and substance, the students felt it had no place on campus.”

~ Elan Journo, writing at The Hill about the banning by UCLA of his book Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: ‘UCLA banned my book on Islam from a free speech event



  1. I don't see the dichotomy quite as clearly as Journo. It is entirely rational, and nothing to do with racism or 'tribalist bigotry' (not the least because Islam is not a race or tribe) to fear a religion that is all about submission and that believes it is the one final religion to which everyone on Earth must eventually belong. These are at the core of Islamic belief and they do not depend on whether the believer engages in jihad.

    1. All religion is about submission (to God's will), whether Christianity, Judaism or Islam, so to single out Islam has uniquely having this particular element is misleading and false.

    2. In my view its only true in part. Christianity stands apart because it does not prescribe a set of rules for everything. It requires you to think about what is right in any particular circumstance and do your best to do it. The relationship with God is intimate in a way that is not permitted in Judaism or Islam. It was, when formed, counter cultural hence it annoyed the Jews with later Islam borrowing from both Judaism and Christianity to make it appear credible in the local culture of 1400AD.


    3. I must disagree with you, Anon. It's complicated because Christianity was adapted (heavily) to make it palatable to Romans; however, while the Bible doesn't give many laws Christians (who don't hold that they must also follow Jewish law) must follow, the Church Fathers certainly did. The relationship with God may be intimate, but it's VERY one-sided, and ENTIRELY controlled by God. Or, more accurately, by what someone told you God says.

      The monastic orders provide the most consistent expression of Christianity. Benedictines attempted to re-create Heaven on Earth, and it resulted in horrific conditions. Franciscans attempted to live by the teachings of Christ, and this resulted in them living in abject, groveling poverty, unable to care for themselves (you know, like the Freegans of today).

      The reason Christianity seems more sane today is that most churches accept that if they want to survive they have to allow exceptions to their rules. The culture of Europe, American, and the Enlightenment tamed Christianity. Left on its own.....well, see southern France in the Middle Ages.

    4. I must disagree with you Dinwar. Some debate arose over what rules should apply early on and the apostles said to tell the flock being discussed, who appear to have been gentile with no Jewish legalistic baggage, to abstain from food dedicated to idols, avoid sexual immorality and avoid meat from strangled animals and blood. It was expected that good conscience would otherwise dictate behaviour although the cultural shift would have been significant at the time what with women being treated as equal partners and so on. There is no condemnation in wealth used sensibly and monks living in isolated poverty are arguably mistaken, as are legalists. My sister in law (first marriage) ran away and joined a convent to live modestly but spent years flitting around the world attending conferences and living in historic buildings. It was modest at a personal level but hardly rough. To her credit she worked much of the time (she was a nurse) and the salary was generally donated to the order. I think she was fleeing reality after a failed romance but that's me being cynical perhaps.

      Christianity is no more sane now than at any other time in my view - its just that the cultural norms have altered standard behaviour so the bar is probably higher in an educational sense and the political power the church had is rightly much reduced from the excess that applied before, say, the reformation.


  2. Recently watched Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis. Recommend & its on you tube.
    If Trump backs strong men like Assad and then the Middle East isolated from the West then all will be well.

    Western trade with Saudi Arabia which has lead to the spread of Wahhabism has been a disaster for a lot of the world.

  3. It's like the meme n gun control: There are over a few million Muslims in the USA and Europe. If Islam as such was the problem, we'd know. Their capacity to harm us far exceeds anything done so far.

    As for Islam being about submission, all three of the Desert Dogmas are (pagan religions tend to be transactional in nature--I do this sacrifice and the gods do this thing). But nominal Christianity didn't stop the Founding Fathers from establishing a rights-respecting government. Culture trumps religion, and in the Middle East the culture is outright pathological. THAT is the issue. Whether it chooses to dress itself up in the guise of religion, or politics, or philosophy, or anything else is irrelevant.


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