Islamophobia (Part 2 of 2)

In Part 1 of this essay, Islamophobia, posted 8/9/10, I recounted some facts about terrorism that seems linked to Islam and I made some hypotheses about how Muslims in general array themselves with respect to this terrorism. In this second and last part, I divulge some of the bases of my worst suspicions regarding moderate Muslims.

I wish someone with credentials would help me disentangle who is what and in what proportions among Muslims in connection with the varying degrees of rejection of violent jihad described above. In the meantime, I feel intellectually free to speculate within reason and on the basis of other information I have, factual information, that is, not hearsay.

The first helpful element in my speculation is that, of course, I understand violent Muslim fanatics well. Anyone reasonably well versed in European history would, My ancestors used to be just like them. I never tire of repeating on this blog and elsewhere that the First Crusade (1099) massacred everyone there after taking Jerusalem. That massacre followed acts of cannibalism during the siege. And more recently, it’s clear that tens of thousands of witches were burned at the stake in Europe. (Note: The figure of millions advanced by feminists is silly propaganda bullshit.) Violent jihadists and other fanatics hold not mystery to me because I used to be they. Used to be.

The last witch burning in Europe took place before 1700. After that, we had the Enlightenment which made tolerance respectable. (I am mindful of the 13 year horror setback of the Third Reich.) I think the Muslim world in general has had no such experience. The official punishment for apostasy in several Muslim countries today remains death. It’s probably no applied often but I am sure it would have a chilling effect on any propensity to explore other religions. (See the comment by a Muslim acquaintance on this topic I posted 8/30/10.)

I disapprove of this completely. There is no ground for reconciliation there. I don’t want people who hold this belief to be my neighbors or to vote for those who govern me. Yet, I have never heard or read an American Muslim condemning this use of the death penalty against apostates. I may be misinformed, or under-informed although I am paying more attention to such matters than the average person and I read in three languages. I would be happy to publish any corrections regarding my suspicion that Muslims don’t care, or approve. In the meantime, if my intolerance of deadly intolerance is Islamophobia, then I am Islamophobic.

Muslim theologians and other Islamic (“mic”) apologists don’t help me getting rid of my “prejudice” when they insist that Islam, whose main moral/legal foundation was laid out in the 7th century, is a blueprint for today‘s good and just society. For one thing, separation of religion from government is central to my view of a good society. Of course, that’s because I am aware of the horrors of the Crusades, of the bloody European wars of religion, and of the monstrous experience of the secular religion of communism. I am completely intolerant of anyone who even shows sympathy for religious rule. If that’s Islamophobic, then I am Islamophobic.

The second element helping my speculative interpretation of the concentric Muslim circles I imagine is my awareness of contemporary atrocities. I refer to atrocities in predominantly Muslim countries that Muslim moral authorities fail to denounce, or do not denounce often enough, or loudly enough. Note the careful wording: I don’t blame Islam for the atrocities in question. Instead, I express my distaste for moral leaders who keep quiet in their presence. It suggests to me that they don’t mind all that much or that they have something more important in mind.

The atrocities I am thinking about are the mass sexual mutilations of little girls across parts of the Muslim world, forced marriage of female children, and the prescribed stoning of “adulterous” women. The first concerns millions; the second, I don’t know, but more than a handful. The latter is rare but it plays a disproportionate symbolic role in Muslim societies. It serves to terrify women, specifically. If that were not the case, the stoning of adulterous men would also be practiced.

Here is how I use this information: People who accept these kinds of barbarisms and who accept their moral leaders’ quiet acquiescence of same live in a moral and mental world radically different from mine. It’s a mental world that is not only different but unacceptable to me. I am sure of this because it so resembles that of my own ancestors before they became civilized. (I am less sure of myself when it comes to cannibalism for example because I have no frame of reference there.) If this rejection makes me Islamophobic, then, I am Islamophobic.

The next logical step is almost unavoidable: Is it likely that people who are in favor of such atrocities, or morally indifferent to them, or morally passive before them, are also, in favor of, morally indifferent to, or passive before, violent jihadism?

Here is a metaphor about the accusation of Islamophobia:

Suppose I live in the desert close to scorpions. Most are inoffensive, others are mildly dangerous, a few are deadly, I know for a fact. All three categories of scorpions look the same and they behave more or less the same. No friendly scorpion ever lifts a dart against one of his deadly brethren. In that situation, does not reason itself require that I be arthrophobic?

And no, I did not say Muslims were scorpions, or like scorpions. This is a metaphor. If you don’t understand this, you are a moron, not smart enough to read this blog. Please, move on.

I am the first one to say that this whole edifice is fragile. Kick a leg or two of it by showing I am in error and it will collapse wholesale. The way to kick it is with facts that contradict what I think are facts but are not. Pointing out logical errors would work too. Incidentally, I hope the edifice will collapse. The whole thing distresses me. I hope to be wrong.

Three more points:

First, what I am taking apart above is not “prejudice,” pre-judgment in the absence of fact. I am reasonably sure my facts are facts. If they are not, I offer to correct myself publicly, on this blog and anywhere else I am required to do so. If this happens, I will admit that my position was one of prejudice.

Second, it’s possible, even likely, that my examination is overindulgent because I have known Muslims all my life and liked most of them, almost all of them, in fact. It’s difficult to avoid letting a dozen individuals you know well carry more weight than a dozen books and one hundred articles. Bearers of bad news I don’t know are easier to dismiss than carriers of sunshine I know. I have an inescapable pro-Muslim bias. (The only moral maxim posted in my house is said to be a quote from the Koran. It says in English and in elegant Arabic script,“Ignorance is a sin.”)

Third, a prediction: To the extent that any Muslim takes the trouble to contradict me rationally, his/her arguments will be mostly besides the point, changing the subject, disputing statements I have not made, etc. Here too, I hope I am wrong.

PS In 8/28/10 Wall Street Journal, a British Muslim activist for peace named Maajid Nawaz wrote a column titled: “Islamism is not Islam.” I am glad he did but it’s not enough for me. He does not answer my most troubling questions. Perhaps that’s because it’s difficult to assess what matters to those who live far away. Worse, he makes a major factual mistake: Arguing in favor of the relative political innocuousness of Islamists, he asserts that they never came close to power anywhere in the Muslim world. That is not true. The violent Islamist FIS actually won free elections in Algeria in 1990 and 1991. (The military stopped them from taking over the government.) And there is the growing issue of the real nature of the elected Turkish government. All the same, I appreciate Mr Nawaz’s intervention. I hope there will be more like his. He is a brave man. We need more like him, Americans preferably.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Socio-Political Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Islamophobia (Part 2 of 2)

  1. gary says:

    Hello Jacques
    Appreciate your words as usual even though I am not always in agreement.
    You said “I am completely intolerant of anyone who even shows sympathy for religious rule. If that’s Islamophobic, then I am Islamophobic.”

    Tolerance is very similar to grace and in some ways it is the same thing. When one is over tolerant they presume upon grace. As you can see then, tolerance can be the “sin” of omission in that it can condone egregious misbehavior via not acting in defense of the perp. Tolerance is more in degrees and what one should give in varying degrees when it comes to their children.
    But, a religious sect that is so intolerant that it will kill a backslider should be judged in the same way *they* judge, very closely. To think that in this land such a theocratic and graceless religion should be tolerated shows us to be over tolerant, (politically correct) and begging people to presume upon the grace of our constitution thus making removing freedom’s very essence in that freedom is the by-product of accountability which is never presumptuous of grace.

    Gary

  2. Lawrence Marcus says:

    Well said Gary! And what should be do about the people that have lived the horror and speak up about it. This is reality as well, is it not?

    Below are selected excerpts from Brigitte Gabriel’s speech delivered at the
    Intelligence Summit in Washington DC:

    We gather here today to share information and knowledge. Intelligence is not
    merely cold hard data about numerical strength or armament or disposition of
    military forces. The most important element of intelligence has to be
    understanding the mindset and intention of the enemy. The West has been
    wallowing in a state of ignorance and denial for thirty years as Muslim
    extremist perpetrated evil against innocent victims in the name of Allah.

    I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the
    rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators
    shouted, ‘Allah Akbar!’ My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a
    Christian town. At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word
    ‘infidel.’

    I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb
    shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold,
    drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13, dressed in
    my burial clothes going to bed at night, waiting to be slaughtered. By the
    age of 20, I had buried most of my friends–killed by Muslims. We were not
    Americans living in New York , or Britons in London . We were Arab
    Christians living in Lebanon .
    As a victim of Islamic terror, I was amazed when I saw Americans waking up
    onSeptember 12, 2001, and asking themselves ‘Why do they hate us?’ The
    psychoanalyst experts were coming up with all sort of excuses as to what did
    we do to offend the Muslim World. But if America and the West were paying
    attention to the Middle Eastthey would not have had to ask the question.
    Simply put, they hate us because we are defined in their eyes by one simple
    word: ‘infidels.’

    Under the banner of Islam ‘la, ilaha illa Allah, muhammad

    rasoulu Allah,’ (None is god except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of
    Allah) they murdered Jewish children in Israel, massacred Christians in
    Lebanon, killed Copts in Egypt, Assyrians in Syria, Hindus in India, and
    expelled almost 900,000 Jews from Muslim lands. We Middle Eastern infidels
    paid the price then. Now infidels worldwide are paying the price for
    indifference and shortsightedness.
    Tolerating evil is a crime. Appeasing murderers doesn’t buy protection. It
    earns one disrespect and loathing in the enemy’s eyes. Yet apathy is the
    weapon by which the West is committing suicide. Political correctness forms
    the shackles around our ankles, by which Islamist’s are leading us to our
    demise.

    America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up
    and identify the real enemy: Islam. You hear about Cahaba and Salafi Islam
    as the only extreme form of Islam. All the other Muslims, supposedly, are
    wonderful moderates. Closer to the truth are the pictures of the irrational
    eruption of violence in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed printed by a
    Danish newspaper. From burning embassies, to calls to butcher those who mock
    Islam, to warnings that the West be prepared for another holocaust, those
    pictures have given us a glimpse into the real face of the enemy. News
    pictures and video of these events represent a canvas of hate decorated by
    different nationalities who share one common ideology of hate, bigotry and
    intolerance derived from one source: authentic Islam. An Islam that is
    awakening from centuries of slumber to re-ignite its wrath against the
    infidel and dominate the world. An Islam which has declared ‘Intifada’ on
    the West.
    America and the West can no longer afford to lay in their lazy state of
    overweight ignorance. The consequences of this mental disease are starting
    to attack the body, and if they don’t take the necessary steps now to
    control it, death will be knocking soon. If you want to understand the
    nature of the enemy we face, visualize a tapestry of snakes. They slither
    and they hiss, and they would eat each other alive, but they will unite in a
    hideous mass to achieve their common goal of imposing Islam on the world.

    This is the ugly face of the enemy we are fighting. We are fighting a
    powerful ideology that is capable of altering basic human instincts. An
    ideology that can turn a mother into a launching pad of death. A perfect
    example is a recently elected Hamas official in the Palestinian Territories
    who raves in heavenly joy about sending her three sons to death and offering
    the ones who are still alive for the cause. It is an ideology that is
    capable of offering highly educated individuals such as doctors and lawyers
    far more joy in attaining death than any respect and stature life in society
    is ever capable of giving them.

    The United States has been a prime target for radical Islamic hatred and
    terror. Every Friday, mosques in the Middle East ring with shrill prayers
    and monotonous chants calling death, destruction and damnation down on
    America and its people. The radical Islamist deeds have been as vile as
    their words. Since the Iran hostage crisis, more than three thousand
    Americans have died in a terror campaign almost unprecedented in its
    calculated cruelty along with thousands of other citizens worldwide. Even
    the Nazis did not turn their own children into human bombs, and then rejoice
    at their deaths as well the deaths of their victims. This intentional,
    indiscriminate and wholesale murder of innocent American citizens is
    justified and glorified in the name of Islam.
    America cannot effectively defend itself in this war unless and until the
    American people understand the nature of the enemy that we face. Even after
    9/11 there are those who say that we must engage our terrorist enemies, that
    we must address their grievances. Their grievance is our freedom of
    religion. Their grievance is our freedom of speech. Their grievance is our
    democratic process where the rule of law comes from the voices of many not
    that of just one prophet. It is the respect we instill in our children
    towards all religions. It is the equality we grant each other as human
    beings sharing a planet and striving to make the world a better place for
    all humanity. Their grievance is the kindness and respect a man shows a
    woman, the justice we practice as equals under the law, and the mercy we
    grant our enemy. Their grievance cannot be answered by an apology for who or
    what we are.

    Our mediocre attitude of not confronting Islamic forces of bigotry and
    hatred wherever they raised their ugly head in the last 30 years, has
    empowered and strengthened our enemy to launch a full scale attack on the
    very freedoms we cherish in their effort to impose their values and way of
    life on our civilization.

    If we don’t wake up and challenge our Muslim community to take action
    against the terrorists within it, if we don’t believe in ourselves as
    Americans and in the standards we should hold every patriotic American to,
    we are going to pay a price for our delusion. For the sake of our children
    and our country, we must wake up and take action. In the face of a torrent
    of hateful invective and terrorist murder, America ‘s learning curve since
    the Iran hostage crisis is so shallow that it is almost flat. The longer we
    lay supine, the more difficult it will be to stand erect.

    This is all coming true. A non-patriot is President of this great country.
    How can this happen?? APATHY, that’s how!!! Send this around.

    Brigitte Gabriel is an expert on the Middle East conflict and lectures
    nationally and internationally on the subject. She’s the former news anchor
    of World News for Middle East television and the founder
    ofAmericanCongressforTruth.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s