‘I reject all forms of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia’. No sentence dealing with inequality or discrimination today is complete without the 3 absolutes. The golden triad of virtual signalling, the triple whammy of ultimate put-downs, the ‘must have’ of any politician’s speech.
I know what racism is. The idea of racial superiority and inequality or discrimination based on a person’s race. Despite the frequent misuse of the term, racism is a vile disease that infests every society. In certain segments of the UK, it is underneath almost every rock.
I also know what antisemitism is. I see it daily. If you have reached the point where you believe the whining from the Jewish community is merely the empty cry of the ‘spoilt’ amongst us, then the proliferate seeds of antisemitism are already within you; ‘modern antisemitism’, becomes an urban myth propagated by the successful ‘tribe’.
And then there is Islamophobia, that can be defined as a ‘Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force’.
Islamophobia always seemed to me to be a made up word. If the emphasis is on the ‘political force’ of Islam, then perhaps a dislike of communists or capitalists or anarchists should also be labelled with a ‘phobia’. I was born into a world that spilt much blood in forging its freedoms through the separation church from state, so what is wrong with having a little concern over Islamism?
Does the ‘bias’ that sets this apart from actual racism really need to be mentioned as a stand-alone in every political speech? Is the person hurling abuse on the streets of London at a Lebanese Christian, an Islamophobe or a racist?
The separation of racism against an Indian or a Pakistani or an Iraqi into two distinct racisms based on the issue that some Muslims are Islamists seem odd. ‘Islamism’ is something that I believe needs to be opposed, yet how can we oppose something, if apparently, a dislike of its very substance is as bad as being racist?
My first love was a Muslim girl. Over 2 years of innovative planning and sneaking around for clandestine meetings. In the true fashion of such a teenage tragedy, our final rendezvous took place just a day or two prior to her ‘family arranged’ engagement to a Muslim man. Like many British people I grew up making friends without actually placing people into their religious boxes. It has never crossed my mind to assess anyone for anything beyond the type of human being they are. I use boxes like ‘intelligent’, ‘considerate’, ‘funny’.
Which brings us on to Nice. Bastille Day, 2016. The day I realised what Islamophobia is.
The act itself was radical Islamic terror at work. We have seen it in France, in Belgium, on the African continent, in Israel, within the Arab world, in Australia and in the United States. We see it displayed with horrifying frequency. But as anyone who has lived in Israel, ‘you aint seen nothing yet’.
And yet, as attacks such as this occur, what we witness is a formulaic response, almost across the board, to these actions. Whilst it is a caricature of the process, I think Edgar Davidson’s infographic sums this up well:
What is applied is a complete disconnect between the action, the motive and the source. ISIS has become a convenient and over-used excuse for these atrocities, and yet ISIS is merely a single expression of the problem. Even when naming Islamic State in the media, reporters add the word ‘so called’ at the beginning, in fear that anyone would accuse them of suggesting a link between Islam and the terrorists.
Why? Because of fear.
An environment of fear
This is a video shot in Nice, following the attack, by an Israeli TV network. The reporter is warned that it is not safe for Israelis. He cannot get the woman to stand in front of camera. The discussion is clearly guarded and the woman is genuinely scared about the situation. This is the way oppression and subjugation work. It doesn’t need victory in the ballot box, it claims it on the street:
Segments of society in the UK are cowed into silence. People unwilling to politically identify themselves in areas where concentrated Islamic groups have taken control. The university space is a perfect example and anti-Jewish feeling is merely one symptom.
Whether we wish to accept it or not, this is Europe in 2016. Freedom is being supressed, repressive values are being imposed, inclusion is being attacked. Don’t read this wrong. This isn’t a ‘Muslim v everyone else’ scenario, Muslims are invariably the first in line to feel this oppression. Unless this narrow extremism has already taken a grip on its environment, it doesn’t possess the strength to attack others.
The majority of Muslims become victims, lose their freedoms, just like the woman in Nice. The House of Lords school uniform case involving Denbigh High School provides a perfect example. It highlights that the inclusion of a more conservative Islamic dress by a single pupil, would apply pressure on other Muslim schoolchildren to conform.
Through their silence, the media are supporting a myth that will see us head towards ever increasing violence. In the end, we will witness radical right wing terror groups taking matters in their own hands against innocent people. This is not a zero sum game. It is a spiral, a self-fulfilling prophecy that will ironically provide these extremists with the very fodder they use to recruit. It is how the game works.
We understate the problem and disconnect the Islamic terrorist from Islam. We allow for passive extremism in society, as if only the taking of human life is an infringement of our freedoms. We turn a blind eye to outbreaks of Jew hatred, or minimise its significance.
We overstate the process of radicalisation. Both the Nice attack and the one in Germany appear to have been swift online conversions. It doesn’t need a radical preacher in the mosque, it isn’t dependant on a 3-month trip to Syria.
This position has been created out of fear, a fear born from a marriage between a failure of a social experiment and an assumed lack of options, all fermenting within the perverted façade of a human rights paradigm.
FGM is a perfect example of this blindness. Female Genital Mutilation was a geographic cultural act that has been adopted by some sections of modern religion. It is considered a human-rights violation. The only Jewish sect to practice any FGM was the Ethiopian Jew, born into the very area where FGM dominates. FGM predates Islam.
Here in the UK, FGM is practised, normally by importing a ‘cutter’. There are estimated to be around 137,000 victims of FGM living in the UK. It is against the law. The number of convictions? This from a BBC report today:
“No one has ever been convicted of carrying out female genital mutilation”
The issue isn’t one of law then, because the law exists. It is one of fear, of impotence, and of course deep-seated racism. Why shouldn’t these people have the same protections as everyone else?
So called ‘honour’ violence, against family members is also prevalent. Over 11,000 UK based attacks in 4 years. With the BBC noting in their report that “many crimes are unreported because the perpetrators are often the victim’s own family.”
Failure of the left
It isn’t difficult to understand that there is a problem within Islam today. It also isn’t difficult to realise that the required change can only come about from within.
It is never the majority within a minority that revolts. Oppression and fear are powerful tools. Generally, a small group begin pushing for legal freedoms or equality. Rebellious elements within the minority gain the attention of progressive elements in wider society and forge a revolutionary alliance that eventually heralds change.
That is the way most of our freedoms have been gained. Until now, until Islamism. Progressive movements within Islam are actually being shunned. For whatever reason, revisionists, reformists, humanitarians within the Muslim community are knocked back, not by the right, but by the left. Our left wing organisations build alliances with radical or extreme Islamic elements and are therefore pushed towards rejecting the reformists. This is an absolute failure of the left to support the very ideals that are displayed clearly on their own flags.
Many of the more extreme Islamic groups operating in the UK are misogynistic, homophobic, anti-democratic and refuse to condemn all violence. And yet they are courted, promoted and strengthened by those who should in reality be the first in line to demonstrate against them. We have to ensure that Muslims do not experience racial hatred, that they enjoy equality, but at no point does an acceptance of Islamism conform to our vision of an inclusive society. Promoting many of the more extreme Islamic groups fosters rather than eases social tensions, especially internally amongst Muslims. Yet progressive think tanks like Quilliam which seeks to create a more self-critical approach within Muslim society have problems gaining air time or support. Which brings me to Islamophobia.
Critics of Christian society are publicly applauded and treated like celebrities. Anti-Zionist Jews are given exposure well beyond their statistical relevance to Jewish society. Yet every word regarding criticism of Islam is met with a stony silence or a rebuke. We are fed with slogans like ‘Islam is the religion of peace’, this, even as the entire Middle East burns in the flames of Islamic extremism. As Christians and Jews are told they need to take responsibility for all their actions, the Muslims are shielded behind a wall that cannot be breached. Islamic extremism is the fault of the western world, Christianity, of Israel.
It was the terror attack in Nice that finally made me realise what real Islamophobia is. It is the fear of silence that Islamism generates within society. Why does our ‘free press’ refuse to call a spade a spade when it comes to Islamic terror? Islamophobia.
The word is incorrectly being applied as a cover for Islamic extremism, through which any action, regardless of how violent, cannot be labelled as being related to Islam. Islam cannot have a problem. If we mention it, we become Islamophobic, we become targets for public rejection, or retribution. Who would want to place themselves in that situation?
The Muslim children at schools who are wearing a more conservative dress code because others in the school began to do so are Islamophobic. The victim of FGM or honour violence who cower in silence in fear of further action from a family member, they are Islamophobic too. The Israeli who cannot identify as Israeli at university, the Jew who will not publicly wear a Kippa, all Islamophobes.
Our teachers, our local politicians, our unions, our universities, they all suffer from Islamophobia. The woman in Nice is Islamophobic, not because she is biased against Muslims, but because the right to air her opinions has clearly been stifled through the effect of radical Islamic threats and violence.
If you cannot stand up and suggest there are deep rooted issue within Islam that need reform, if you cannot stand by those like Quilliam who seek that reform, if you cannot directly state the connection between the terror attack and Islam, then you too are suffering from Islamophobia.
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24 thoughts on “The day I met Islamophobia”
Interesting. What assessment do you make of the overwhelming majority of Muslims who are not violent terrorists? Do you not think that the practice of tarring them with the same brush as the violent terrorists is a form of Islamophobia (as traditionally defined)?
no Gabriel I don’t accept it, because it is deceptive. There are logical reasons to oppose Islamism. If you oppose a logical fear and claim it is irrational and socially unacceptable, then your definition is clearly flawed. I am and should be openly allowed to both be wary of and oppose, Islamism, whilst at the same time opposing discrimination against Muslims. If you oppose ‘all forms’ of Islamophobia, then clearly you are telling people they need to accept something that to many is simply not acceptable as it would be covered within the catch all phrase (all forms of). So I argue the terminology is wrong, self defeating and provides cover for extremists.
I think you’re confusing Islamism and Islam.
Let’s take Sadiq Khan. He practises the religion Islam. But he’s not an Islamist, and he’s not violent, and he’s a friend of the Jews, and he opposes terrorism.
Yet some people say that he shouldn’t be allowed to be Mayor of London because he’s a Muslim and a security threat.
I am not confusing anything. I get what you are saying, but you are mixing and matching incompatables. Just because a Muslim enters politics, it doesn’t translate he brings political Islam with him. Any more than a Jew entering politics does. Or in other words what on earth has Sadiq Khan’s religion got to do with anything?
Islamophobia is dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.
Islamism is political Islam
Islamism therefore is clearly included in the definition of Islamophobia.
I ask, what is wrong with criticism of Islamism?
I’m glad you agree that Islamophobia is dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.
Just as we both consider dislike of or prejudice against Judaism and Jews to be unacceptable, so to is Islamophobia.
You only quoted half of the definition Gabriel, why did you do that? I don’t have you down as a dishonest debater. The political element is the ‘especially part’ remember… or in other words, especially when talking about Islamism.
I quoted that half of the definition which wasn’t you attempting to denigrate Muslims in a way that you wouldn’t tolerate if it were applied to Jews. The other half is just your racism which, if you’ll forgive me, I won’t humour.
Gabriel. I don’t have a racist bone in my body. dumbing down to silly slurs like that is a really lazy way of avoiding a subject. There is nothing racist about opposing Islam as a political force. If it is a ‘political force’, then it is just as able to be placed under the microscope as all political forces. Why the inane reflex?
Calling a racist a racist is no more a ‘lazy slur’ or an ‘inane reflex’ than calling an anti-Semite an anti-Semite (which I notice you have no problem doing).
You are using vastly different criteria in relation to Muslims (and collective prejudice against them) than you use in relation to Jews. That is racism in my book. You can call it political if it makes you feel happier. Plenty of other racists do the same.
Gabriel, I am careful in who I call an antisemite, just as I am careful in who I call a racist. It is a lazy way of avoiding substance in a discussion. As you would have probably noted, I am one of those who do not equate antisemitism with anti-Zionism. At this point your entire argument fails. Additionally at no point have I ever condoned or supported collective prejudice against Muslims. You are creating straw men rather than arguing valid points.
You are simply avoiding the basic question, what is wrong with opposing political Islam? Why is it different from opposing communism?
And I’m careful in who I call a racist, so it is therefore neither lazy nor inane. I appreciate you retracting your suggestion to the contrary. Thank you.
Gabriel, your method is extremely lazy and deflective. You are also extremely inconsistent in your position, and quick to throw insults. On the one hand you go to great lengths to argue the differences between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, on the other you call people racists when they oppose Islamism. You are deliberately avoiding all substance.
As Islamism is obviously included in the definition of Islamophobia, it renders the term ‘Islamophobia’ meaningless. Using Islamophobia to describe racism / discrimination against Muslims is wrong and it shouldn’t be promoted as such. My definition is much more logical.
I feel there’s a certain irony in your repeated (3x?) assertions that my debating style is lazy.
For the record: there is nothing wrong with opposing political Islam. But you are committing a fallacy (and I’m sure you know this because you’re not stupid) by saying:
1. Opposition to Islamism is included in Islamophobia.
2. Islamophobia = opposition to Islamism.
Sorry Gabriel, I am not saying that at all. I am saying
1. Opposition to Islamism is included in Islamophobia.
2. Islamophobia = wrongly defined and dangerously so.
There should be a term that specifies racism against Muslims (or Muslim hatred), and in that, you would find me happy to use it alongisde both racism and antisemitism.
When someone says he condemns *all forms of Islamophobia* it includes opposition to Islamism. As you have just accepted there is nothing wrong with opposition to Islamism, can you now see there is a problem with lining it up with racism and antisemitism. Clearly it is a flawed concept.
As phobia represents fear, and Islamophobia ‘especially’ deals with the political aspects (rather than with Muslims as people), it makes much more sense to use it in its near literal sense. A fear of Islamism. Not Muslims. Not sure why you insist on throwing the racist label around towards me, when clearly this has nothing to do with the absolute right of Muslims to be treated equally and an absolute condemnation of anyone who doesn’t do so.
I think your pedantry with Islamophobia is as dangerous as anti-Semites’ pedantry with anti-Semitism (‘We’re only saying he should be fired because he’s a Zionist, not because he’s a Jew’).
Why can’t you do something more useful with your time than quibble over the definitions of terms when we all agree that there is a lot of anti-Muslim hatred and the overwhelming non-racist majority of humankind understands the word Islamophobia to refer to it, whether or not it is sufficiently etymologically correct to suit you.
Oh Gabriel, we were making such progress and you went and ruined it again with one of those ‘victory posts’ put up by people who haven’t really made a solid point at all.
You accused me of racism when I wasn’t being racist. You accused me of created a false logic, when I hadn’t done so and used half quotes to try to avoid addressing the subject at hand.
Now you suggest I have a pedantry over the definition.
I fail to understand why you are determined to support the mechanism through which Islamists thrive. This as they use that mechanism to trample on other peoples freedoms. Odd for a leftist. But we will never agree. For whatever reason you seem unable to apply the same logic you use when dealing with zionism and Jews outside of that specific issue. If it was the church with political designs, I have little doubt you would be on board with me. At least I hope so. As it is we will just go round in circles. Thanks for the exchange
Again, you’re asserting that I have a lazy debating style. You are ironic, David.
I don’t think that the definition of Islamophobia is what allows Islamism to thrive. I think guns have a lot to do with Islamism’s rise. I think that global discontent with Westernism has a lot to do with it (I’m not justifying terrorism, merely looking at its causes and props). I don’t think that people are at all hesitant to condemn Islamism.
I’m well aware, though, that some Muslims do cry ‘Islamophobia’ to evade scrutiny of their extremist beliefs. I’ve previously written about it here (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gabriel-webber/defining-racism-what-i-say-doesnt-go_b_9814426.html) in relation to Lutfur Rahman and Malia NUS person.
But, so do some Jews cry anti-Semitism to stifle criticism of Israel, some far-right Christians cry discrimination to support their homophobia, and so on. It’s not unusual amongst religious types. But it doesn’t cause the behaviour they seek to excuse.
I just heard Sara Khan from Inspire speak. She doesn’t seem to call it Islamophobia either, prefering the far more accurate ‘anti-Muslim prejudice’. This is the problem I have with the left on this issue and reference it in the post. Why do you seem to side with the oppressors rather than the reformers, the misogynists rather than the feminists, the homophobes rather than the progressives? On this case, on the issue of Islamism, you guys have it all back to front. Anti-Muslim prejudice is to be opposed. Those Muslims within who fight extremism are to be supported. Islamophobia is a fake term created to blur the lines deliberately. Speak to those from Quilliam and groups like them. See what they think about it.
Oh, he is an islamist, he tells the usual lies muslims do with their al taqiyya, he lies to parliment about islam when someting has happened, he is a deceiver.
He is linked to cage, has faught to get people banned from entering the uk, to have their bans dropped, has supported terrorists.
Do some research, the man is dangerous.
Collier is not doing that, correctly using the term “Islamist” to denote the extreme supremacists from the general “Islamic” population. Pew surveys show that, yes, a majority are “peaceful” but that as many as 300,000,000 believe in the use of deadly force to realize the aspirations of their particular brand of Islam and that apostasy should be punished by death, and that as many as 1,00,000,000 believe in Shari’ah Law and its misogyny and draconian punishments. The surveys show that many of those also believe Shari’ah should supersede secular law in all countries.
Fewer than 7% of Germans were Nazis. Fewer than 5% of Russians were Bolsheviks. Fewer that 8% of Cambodians were Khmer Rouge, and fewer than 1% of Chinese were Communists,. Yet in every case, the “peaceful”, “moderate” majority was unable or unwilling to prevent the horrendous loss of life which ensued.
Recent surveys in the UK showed that , yes, the majority rejects violence, but only 30% said they would report to the police suspected terrorist activity within their communities.
And if the “peaceful”, “moderate” majority shows no serious indication of taking action to deal with the extremists in their own midst, then we have a right to fear them in addition to the bombers, stabbers and beheaders.
Mostly an interesting article, but you lost the plot once .
Instead of approaching the FGM issue with a mention of where FGM is practiced today (google ‘fgm map’ and see the image section) , you somehow wondered into”Ethiopian Jews” , and then swerved on to importing the preformers of FGM into the UK .
If I was following that plot , I might have connected the two, ending up with Ethiopian Jews import “cutters” into the UK .
In short, the Ethiopian Jews angle was pointless and misleading… — especially if you look at the charts that the google search I suggested above.
FGM is widespread in Africa, so much so that pointing to the Ethiopians as a whole, much less their tiny Jewish community is rather pointless in the big picture.
Incidentally, among the many explanations I’ve heard for Islamophobia , two stood out for me :
– An over attachment to the connection between one’s head and neck .
– A non-Muslim(s) who learns more about the Quran , Hadeeth & Sunna than he should.
I understand the comment, but I felt it important to mention them to highlight the geographic nature rather than religious one. The Ehiopian Jews do provide a perfect example of how geographic culture enters into religious custom. I get the discomfort, and apologise if I did not clarify the UK issue well enough.
” I felt it important to mention them to highlight the geographic nature rather than religious one. ”
Fair enough .
I subscribe to the possibility (emphasis on the *possibility*) that the Jews of Ethiopia were converts at some time or another to Judaism , which could bring with it the possibility that they were practicing FGM prior to their conversion — making their FGM practice part of the general geographic culture , rather then as you said : “a perfect example of how geographic culture enters into religious custom”.
At any rate , it has been noted that the practice of FGM has been eliminated in the segments of Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to Israel .
Should be IslamoFascismPhobia.
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