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Anorak | The Islamophobia generating honour brigades: turning Muslims into a race

The Islamophobia generating honour brigades: turning Muslims into a race

by | 17th, January 2015

Demonstrators holding a banner which reads, 'unity against Islamophobia', to protest against the conference on the Islamization of France and Europe, in Paris, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

 

There has been lots of talk of Islamophobia. But how real is it? Are the mob about to race riot? Is every outrage by Islamist nuters and many crimes in France involve jihadis hunting Jews followed by a bout of anti-Muslim violence? The Press would have us think so .

The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls has an opinion:

“It is very important to make clear to people that Islam has nothing to do with ISIS,” Valls told me. “There is a prejudice in society about this, but on the other hand, I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology. The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is used to silence people. ”

Jeffrey Goldberg :

Valls was not denying the existence of anti-Muslim sentiment, which is strong across much of France. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, miscreants have shot at Muslim community buildings, and various repulsive threats against individual Muslims have been cataloged. President Francois Hollande, who said Thursday that Muslims are the “first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism, intolerance,” might be overstating the primacy of anti-Muslim prejudice in the current hierarchy of French bigotries—after all, Hollande just found it necessary to deploy his army to defend Jewish schools from Muslim terrorists, not Muslim schools from Jewish terrorists—but anti-Muslim bigotry is a salient and seemingly permanent feature of life in France. Or to contextualize it differently: Anti-Muslim feeling appears to be more widespread than anti-Jewish feeling across much of France, but anti-Jewish feeling has been expressed recently (and not-so-recently) with far more lethality, and mainly by Muslims.

What is Islamophobia:

It appears as if Valls came to his view on the illegitimacy of ‘Islamophobia’ after being influenced by a number of people, including and especially the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner and the writer (and fatwa target) Salman Rushdie. Rushdie, along with a group of mainly Muslim writers, attacked the use of the term ‘Islamophobia’ several years ago in an open letter: “We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia’, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.”

 

Demonstrators hold posters reading "I am against obscurantisme", left, and "I am against Islamophobia" during a march in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. Obscurantisme is the act of making dark and deliberately obscuring facts from becoming known. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

 

In The Invention of Islamophobia , Bruckner writes :

At the end of the 1970s, Iranian fundamentalists invented the term “Islamophobia” formed in analogy to “xenophobia”. The aim of this word was to declare Islam inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world…

The term “Islamophobia” serves a number of functions: it denies the reality of an Islamic offensive in Europe all the better to justify it; it attacks secularism by equating it with fundamentalism. Above all, however, it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire. It follows that young girls are stigmatised for not wearing the veil, as are French, German or English citizens of Maghribi, Turkish, African or Algerian origin who demand the right to religious indifference, the right not to believe in God, the right not to fast during Ramadan. Fingers are pointed at these renegades, they are delivered up to the wrath of their religions communities in order to quash all hope of change among the followers of the Prophet.

On a global scale, we are abetting the construction of a new thought crime, one which is strongly reminiscent of the way the Soviet Union dealt with the “enemies of the people”. And our media and politicians are giving it their blessing. Did not the French president himself, never one to miss a blunder – not compare Islamophobia with Antisemitism? A tragic error. Racism attacks people for what they are: black, Arab, Jewish, white. The critical mind on the other hand undermines revealed truths and subjects the scriptures to exegesis and transformation. To confuse the two is to shift religious questions from an intellectual to a judicial level. Every objection, every joke becomes a crime.

 

British Muslims hold a protest outside Downing Street demanding equal rights and an end of Islamophobia in the media. Picture date: Saturday February 16, 2008.

 

Asra Q. Nomani is one Muslim who wants to challenge. She writes in the Washington Post :

It was the first time a fellow Muslim had pressed me to refrain from criticizing the way our faith was practiced. But in the past decade, such attempts at censorship have become more common. This is largely because of the rising power and influence of the “ghairat brigade,” an honor corps that tries to silence debate on extremist

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Posted: 17th, January 2015 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink