The Phobia of Being Called Islamophobic

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As a brown-skinned person with a Muslim name, I can get away with a lot more than you'd think. I can publicly parade my wife or daughters around in head-to-toe burqas and be excused out of "respect" for my culture and/or religion, thanks to theracism of lowered expectations. I can re-define "racism" as something non-whites can never harbor against whites, and cite colonialism and imperialism as justification for my prejudice.

And in an increasingly effective move that's fast become something of an epidemic, I can shame you into silence for criticizing my ideas simply by calling you bigoted or Islamophobic.

For decades, Muslims around the world have rightly complained about the Israeli government labeling even legitimate criticism of its policies "anti-Semitic," effectively shielding itself from accountability. Today, Muslim organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) have borrowed a page from their playbook with the "Islamophobia" label — and taken it even further.

In addition to calling out prejudice against Muslims (a people), the term "Islamophobia" seeks to shield Islam itself (an ideology) from criticism. It's as if every time you said smoking was a filthy habit, you were perceived to be calling all smokers filthy people. Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. But when did we start extending those rights to ideas, books, and beliefs? You'd think the difference would be clear, but it isn't. The ploy has worked over and over again, and now everyone seems petrified of being tagged with this label.

The phobia of being called "Islamophobic" is on the rise — and it's becoming much more rampant, powerful, and dangerous than Islamophobia itself.

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Last month, a white American man successfully convinced the Massachusetts liberal arts school Brandeis University that he was being victimized and oppressed by a black African woman from Somalia — a woman who underwent genital mutilation at age five and travels with armed security at risk of being assassinated.

That is the power of this term.

The man, Ibrahim Hooper, is a Muslim convert and a founding member and spokesman for CAIR. The woman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is an unapologetic activist for the rights of girls and women and a harsh, no-holds-barred critic of the religious ideologies (particularly the Islamic ideology in Muslim-majority countries that she experienced first-hand) that perpetuate and maintain their abuse. Having abandoned the Islamic faith of her parents and taken a stance against it, she is guilty of apostasy, a crime that is punishable by death according to most Islamic scholars, not to mention the holy text itself.

Hirsi Ali was also involved with the award-winning documentary, Honor Diaries, which explores violence against women in honor-based societies, including female genital mutilation (FGM), honor killings, domestic violence, and forced marriage. Despite featuring the voices of several practicing Muslim women, the film wasdeemed "Islamophobic" by — you guessed it — the poor folks at CAIR. Again, they feltthey were the real victims, wanting their own voices heard while silencing those of the victims of FGM and honor killing in the film.

"So what?" you say. "It's 2014. No one's going to take that kind of position seriously, right?"

Wrong. Astonishingly, this ludicrous argument was enough to convince both the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan to cancel their screenings of the film.

Earlier this year, this Islamophobia-phobia also worked successfully on Katy Perry, a singer well-known for fighting her evangelical minister parents to break out of a strict Christian upbringing. Her music video for Dark Horse enraged over 60,000 angry Muslims who signed a petition demanding that it be removed for blasphemy. The video showed a man wearing an "Allah" pendant being burned to ashes, pendant and all. The scene was visible for less than a second in the original video.

She gave in. The petition was successful, and within a day, the offending scene was edited out of the video.

Written By: Ali A. Rizvi
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.com

27 COMMENTS

  1. Religion seems to trump basic human rights in many countries, especially Islamic countries. Apostacy and blasphemy are death sentences in some counties but are actually victimless crimes.

    It is becoming increasingly difficult with the advent of social media in most countries to defend religion. Therefore the most extreme ones have to resort to threats of violence, or indeed actual violence to shut down criticism. Branding someone Islamaphobic is just like trying to muzzle them.

    It rankles me when anti religious commentators are labelled racist. Religion is not a race.

    • In reply to #2 by PeteGriggs:

      Apostacy and blasphemy are death sentences in some counties but are actually victimless crimes.

      The’re not actually crimes, if you think about it… though they certainly are victimless.

      Steve

  2. Its just like Anti Semitic or Un American…useful labels for those who claim persecution or perceived threat by others….the national fear of both is justified in theory considering their atrocities….but is realistically a guise for attacking and controlling others

    • In reply to #5 by Light Wave:

      Its just like Anti Semitic or Un American…useful labels for those who claim persecution or perceived threat by others….the national fear of both is justified in theory considering their atrocities….but is realistically a guise for attacking and controlling others

      I think it’s more like antisemitic, it can get over used and it can be used as a cover for some really vile behavior but there are people who are bigots and have irrational hatred and fear of jews and the same is true for muslims.

      • In reply to #6 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #5 by Light Wave:

        I agree the label of ‘Anti Semitic’ does get way over used especially recently – where as during the Nazi atrocities of WW2 it was rightly justified as a label for certain fascist groups, However I think Islamophobia is a modern concept, that has been whipped up by the propaganda media mincing machine…although some of it may be justified….But Un American what’s that exactly ?

          • In reply to #11 by mmurray:

            In reply to #7 by Light Wave:

            But Un American what’s that exactly ?

            Senator McCarthy could tell you all about that.

            Thanks for that…My question was a bit rhetorical but….Wow Americans positively cannot function as a nation without a current psyche of national fear and perceived threat from something…. anything….so that huge military defence budgets can increase every year to meet the heightened but ever changing threats – the pentagon therefore owns all the people’s minds and is funded by their taxes…

  3. If I was afraid of spiders I’d be called an arachnaphobe. If I was scared of everything I’d be a pantaphobe. The fact that I’m afraid of the primeval grip that the nonesense that is Islam has on the world today – and especially how its demands are creeping into, and affecting, our everyday lives – then yes, technically I am an Islamaphobe. So what?
    I couldn’t give a fig what colour someones skin is or eye or hair colour or what race they come from (aren’t we all from just the Human Race anyway?). No. The label of Islamahobic is just a devious social and political weapon used by those who see anyone else as inferior. They have the problem.

  4. As has been pointed out, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are parallel terms. They are both misused for political purposes. It’s shockingly wrong, morally and factually, to claim that there is ‘no such thing’ because apologists and propagandists make their own perverted use of the words.

    There are also the usual unliterate complaints about a phobia being a medical condition and not applicable to a form of prejudice and discrimination which can incite hatred, contempt and violence.

  5. This is a great article and not the first time it’s been said but needs to be told over and over again.

    political correctness is important, it teaches us not to use abusive words if we want to get on socially, and to learn to understand why some terms cause insult but it’s always misused. having taken one term of insult away people reach for a new one so “islamophobe” is, in most minds, something you can say to someone without being considerred a bigot but that needs to change.

    I think one thing that should be considerred is to reclaim the word. that’s right, I’m an islamophobe and while I call myself it, it can mean whatever I want it to mean. Homosexual insults have been embraced by homosexuals, just as racial insults have been embraced by racial minorities so let’s do the same with insults aimed at rational thinkers.

    and btw, if you’re a muslim calling me an islamophobe that’s really bad, you can’t do that, only my homies can call me that, am i right ‘phobes?

  6. This. The Sam Harris quote is absolutely correct (in the original article). We have allowed out fear of being called ‘racist’ to override our ability to see the gross violation of human rights carried out in the name of an unholy alliance between religion and totalitarian political regimes. I too am angry with Greenwald for his comments. The man who will act with incredible conviction and unbelievable courage to take on the US ‘police state tactics, cannot recognise that he and Harris are fighting the same battle, just in a different arena.

    Racism is real and must be fought against everywhere – but so must misogyny and gendered apartheid. Where Muslims are being targeted and discriminated against I am the first to push back. But what about where they are not? Look at the world. We must challenge Islamic ideology because it is totalitarianism wrapped up in religion. Many Muslims choose to live differently – thankfully – but look around the world … many get no choice. They either accept oppression in the name of Islam or they are imprisoned, tortured and/or executed.

    So go ahead call me an Islamaphobe, because radical Islamic ideology (and those who embrace it) scare the living shit out of me.

    • In reply to #16 by debjanrobin:

      Many Muslims choose to live differently – thankfully – but look around the world … many get no choice. They either accept oppression in the name of Islam or they are imprisoned, tortured and/or executed.

      With your humanitarian impulses, shouldn’t you be an Islamophile? As you correctly say, the victims of Muslim oppression are mostly Muslims. In the West, we’re perfectly free to criticize and oppose Islamic fundamentalism but in a Muslim country, such as Pakistan, Muslims opposed to misogyny and political oppression are threatened with the death penalty.

      • In reply to #20 by aldous:
        >

        With your humanitarian impulses, shouldn’t you be an Islamophile? As you correctly say, the victims of Muslim oppression are mostly Muslims. In the West, we’re perfectly free to criticize and oppose Islamic fundamentalism but in a Muslim country, such as Pakistan, Muslims opposed to misogyny and political oppression are threatened with the death penalty.

        Yes of course. Don’t fight it, just give in to it.

        The spirit that made Britain what it is today folks; Learn to love the ideology of death and hatred.

        Some people can’t help confusing Islam with Muslim; either conflating or reversing the meanings. Odd thing to do, although it makes it easier to use the ‘islamophobia’ dog-whistle.

  7. I’m bullshitophobic. Is that a crime ? That includes disrespecting Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, pseudo-sciences and Islam.

    Actually, I could have no problem with foreign people committing whatever atrocities they like on the ground that those a part of their culture and tradition. I can’t be sure that my values are better than theirs. It could be that it’s all relative and no point of view is better than others. But if now those same people have a problem with me calling them moronic barbarians in my culture and tradition, then they implicitly admit that we share some common values and their complain therefore self-stultifies.

  8. I always respect people who choose to live according to the terms of their ideology as long as they have chosen these terms freely and without forcing others to do the same. Most religions demand to be respected but they are not willing to respect the others. Religious extremists use and abuse of the terms Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Roman Catholicism, etc, in order to control the lives of other people, and to protect themselves from the criticism that may arise from their extremist behaviour. Even religious moderates tend to show intolerance toward criticism of their beliefs, let alone religious fundamentalists. I sincerely believe that any idea created by man can be praised or criticized, and no one has to ask permission to do so. I do not understand the attitude of some liberal and leftist sectors that are defending tribal traditions and behaviours that are in contracicción to human rights, with the excuse that these “cultures” must be respected. If something goes against human rights, it must not be respected.

  9. It is a right and an important one to criticise the received wisdom of others and especially where a) the systems of knowledge appear flawed and b) they insist that you have to live your life according to those rules. The correct response to criticism is to show that by reasoned response there is no flaw if at all possible. By barking #@?&phobe at critics serves but one purpose. It shows how mentally stunted, dense and dishonest they are. Its an improvement upon the “I’ll kill” you response however.

  10. There’s nothing funnier than a person, with a book that expressly spells out just to what degree they are meant to hate you, turning around and saying, boo hoo that was mean. Bloody nonbelieverphobes, you put your hate in print, morons.

  11. the term “Islamophobia” seeks to shield Islam itself (an ideology) from criticism.

    ‘Terms’ don’t seek to do anything, people do. Factually speaking, the term gained currency following the publication of a report in 1997 about prejudice against the Muslim minority in the UK. ‘Anti-Semitism’ referred to traditional Christian demonizing of Jews which culminated in the Holocaust. Currently, the term most often occurs in the war of words arising from the Israel/Palestine conflict.

    Manifestly, both terms are used and misused by lobby groups and propagandists. As Ali Risvi says in the article above,

    “For decades, Muslims around the world have rightly complained about the Israeli government labeling even legitimate criticism of its policies “anti-Semitic,” effectively shielding itself from accountability”.

    He then contrasts this with the action of the American Muslim organization CAIR and others to oppose, what he considers legitimate criticism , on grounds of ‘Islamophobia’. If his account of the incidents is correct, those who ceded to pressure were wrong to do so and should have supported the right to freedom of expression.

    It has to be pointed out that, important as free speech is, cancelling the screening of a film and removing a scene from a video are not quite on the scale of the crimes for which Israel has been condemned by the world community. In the other incidents he refers to, I imagine the death threats made more of an impression than the ‘fear’ of being called ‘Islamophobic’.

    • The news is packaged to feed your prejudices and your prejudices shape how you remember the news. You hear a report of a gang rape in India. This should register as a consequence of the Hindu caste system but that’s not how you remember it. There’ s a report of an American drone missile wiping out a family in Pakistan and it registers as ‘ a victory in the war on terror’. A family of Pakistani peasants murder a daughter because she has married a man who has refused to pay the money demanded as a bride price. This is labelled an ‘honour killing’.

      Islamophobia is an irrational prejudice, like anti-Semitism. An informed and reasoned reaction to the part that religion plays in the violation of human rights and crimes against humanity is not an irrational prejudice.

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