Are we Islamaphobic?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 7 years ago.

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  • #1774

    Nerdy Keith
    Participant

    This is a topic I have discussed elsewhere not too long ago; and I thought it might be interesting to see some opinions on this here too.

    Do you think that we as a society from the western world (for those of us from westernised nations) as a cultural whole vilify the Muslim community too harshly?

    I know that there are Islamic extremists; but they don’t speak for all Muslims. Just as WBC, Anders Brevik or Charles Manson doesn’t speak for all Christians.

    Likewise with Joeseph Stalin, or Alfred Kinsey, or Jeffrey Dahmer, do not speak for all atheists or represent them in any way.

    Its so easy for us to cast that judgmental finger and say:
    “Oh a certain group of your people did this and that; that proves how screwed up all you _______ are!”

    It doesn’t, it only proves that some people had extreme views and took an ideology too far. That ideology could be religious, political, philosophical, greediness, selfishness or even cultural etc.

    In my view extremism is the problem; not any one group or label.

    A common complaint from some of the more arguably liberally minded Muslims is that those living in westernised nations trust the media too much. They have claimed that they mainstream news medias have distorted the truth and that the reality is that the extremists of Islam are in fact the minority.

    So that brings me to another question. Is islamaphobia real? Or do you perhaps feel this is in fact a term made up by apologists in order to allow Muslims “play the victim”.

    I’m starting to think that maybe there is something to this claim of islamphobia. I personally don’t agree with Islam as a religion; but I don’t support generalising Muslim people or anyone else as a whole. I just don’t see how stereotyping an entire group is accomplishing anything; apart from the fact that it highlights ignorance. I have met a fair few Muslims in person; and all in all they seem to behave no different from a liberal Catholic in my home country. Yes perhaps the pressure on their women to wear a burka does seem extreme to a lot of us; but many Muslim women claim this is more cultural than religious oppression. Maybe thats a legitimate argument; maybe its not.

    But needless to say; I have trouble believing that the media is as honest as it attempts to make itself out to be in regard to its depiction of the vast majority of Muslims.

    What are your thoughts on this issue?

    • This topic was modified 7 years ago by  Nerdy Keith.
    #1793

    Unseen
    Participant

    The problem is that the radicals are mixed in and many of the worst ones are trying hard not to be noticed.

    Islamophobia may be understandable and even rational to a degree looked at that way, as unfair as it is to the 99 out of 100 who are not planning murder and mayhem.

    #1798

    Gallup’s Mirror
    Participant

    So that brings me to another question. Is islamaphobia real? Or do you perhaps feel this is in fact a term made up by apologists in order to allow Muslims “play the victim”.

    “So, [Ayaan Hirsi Ali] was going to speak at Brandeis [University], but she called Islam the new fascism, so they said she could not speak. And they said she is Islamophobic, who my friend Sam Harris reminded me today our deceased friend Christopher Hitchens said Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.” –Bill Mahar

    I’m starting to think that maybe there is something to this claim of islamphobia. I personally don’t agree with Islam as a religion; but I don’t support generalising Muslim people or anyone else as a whole. I just don’t see how stereotyping an entire group is accomplishing anything; apart from the fact that it highlights ignorance.

    Islam is not a people, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Islam is a set of ideas (bad ones). Yet the charge of islamophobia is leveled as though comparable to homophobia, racism and misogyny, the words used to describe prejudice against LGBT people, blacks or women.

    Islam is no more immutable than phrenology. But phrenolophobia has yet to enter the English lexicon and nobody calls you a bigot for disparaging phrenology or saying phrenologists are foolish to believe in it.

    The word Islamophobic is used to shut down critics like Ayaan Hirsi Ali with the false and unethical charge that criticism of Islam is hateful.

    #1799

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    I do know people who just hate anything Islamic. But by the same token, it’s NOT “phobic” to be concerned about the fact that the most homicidal nutjobs on earth overwhelmingly profess one particular religion and it happens to start with an I. It’s not bigotry to be concerned about actual bad behavior.

    It’s also important to try to squelch any attempt on their part to put their bad actors and their motivations beyond the pale of “acceptable” speech. This is the sort of thing people like Pamela Geller are warning about.

    A reformation could conceivably come, but that’s a very long term thing if it does happen…if the process starts tomorrow, we won’t live long enough to see it conclude.

    #1801

    It’s all good but from 8:45 – 10:24 covers the main point.

    #1806

    Simon Mathews
    Participant

    As others have stated I think “phobic” is the wrong term. Phobic is an irrational fear and it is not irrational as an “infidel” to fear some of the doctrines of Islam (specifically the ones calling for our heads to be cut off).

    However, of course, the majority of Muslims do not go around cutting off infidel’s heads. I think the term is used by its proponents to mean ill-feeling towards Muslims (people not ideas) in general. This is a misuse of the term but it is the term that has stuck and it is fair to say that there exists anti-Muslim feeling amongst some Westerners and in the media.

    What I dislike are the following two problems with using the term:

    1) It is used to shut down conversations about Islam before they begin. By making it a slur equivalent to homophobia or racism it prevents anyone from making a valid criticism of Islam because the emotional charge of the word gets in the way.

    2) Homophobia, racism, etc are prejudice against groups who did not choose, and cannot help, the category they are in. People can choose to join Islam and choose to leave it (many people have). I could become Muslim if I chose to do so. The key is that by joining Islam you are subscribing to a set of ideas that you have evaluated and chosen to follow. Obviously I know this is not how most religious people “join” a religion – they are indoctrinated from childhood, but the principle remains. You cannot set aside your skin colour, sexuality, eye colour or ethnicity even if you don’t like it (as hard as Michael Jackson tried!). You can choose to leave Islam if you wish.

    #1807

    erock68la
    Participant

    Nerdy Keith said:

    It doesn’t, it only proves that some people had extreme views and took an ideology too far.

    By “too far” do you mean they follow the scripture literally, as it is written? What’s too far? To actually kill the people it says to kill? Is it too far to just hate and threaten the people it says to kill? Is it too far to try and use political influence and the power of government to discriminate against the people the scripture says to kill?

    It’s difficult to say how deep is too deep into a poisonous ideology.

    • This reply was modified 7 years ago by  erock68la.
    #1810

    Nerdy Keith
    Participant

    By “too far” do you mean they follow the scripture literally, as it is written? What’s too far? To actually kill the people it says to kill? Is it too far to just hate and threaten the people it says to kill? Is it too far to try and use political influence and the power of government to discriminate against the people the scripture says to kill?

    It’s difficult to say how deep is too deep into a poisonous ideology.

    Well following scripture literally would be one example. Its all got to do with specific interpretations of their scripture. Same with Christians; they pretty much have to interpret their bibles to sort of fit in with modern science (yes arguably it does take a lot of twisting words around and mental summersaults). But regardless to weather we all are persuaded by their belief or interpretation that is the means of diluting their attitudes; injecting reason into their faith; and at least allowing them to behave in a more relatively rational manner.

    By too far; I also mean interpreting their faith to mean that they must act upon it. And there are plenty of Muslims who do condemn the violent acts of terrorist groups. They have claimed that such extremists are not following Islam as it is supposed to be a religion of peace.

    #1812

    erock68la
    Participant

    Should none of the scripture be taken just as it is written? Or just the “good” parts? Or just the “good” parts that don’t specifically call for action?

    I understand not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but in this case the bathwater is a toxic, festering, bubbling, green sludge pool of a bath and the baby is drowning and poisoned beyond any possibility of recovery.

    #1813

    Nerdy Keith
    Participant

    Should none of the scripture be taken just as it is written? Or just the “good” parts? Or just the “good” parts that don’t specifically call for action?

    I understand not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but in this case the bathwater is a toxic, festering, bubbling, green sludge pool of a bath and the baby is drowning and poisoned beyond any possibility of recovery.

    I’ve no idea; as I’m not a Muslim. I suppose a the liberal Muslims might argue that it should be studied in order to understand the Koran correctly. Some of them claim that the Koran is scientific. Now while I don’t accept that claim and regard many Muslims to misunderstand science; this line of thinking for them can influence a more peaceful attitude towards others.

    From what I’ve seen with many theists some tend to believe that the stories in their scriptures are basically cautionary tales to be learned from; and not re-inacted. But for them to decide which is symbolic or not symbolic; it is very subjective. At the end of the day; I don’t believe their faith holds water. But if these interpretations influence them to behave more rational, humane and respectful to their fellow humans thats all that matters.

    • This reply was modified 7 years ago by  Nerdy Keith.
    #1816

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    As others have stated I think “phobic” is the wrong term. Phobic is an irrational fear[…]

    Oddly, no one makes this complaint about the term homophobia, which one would think (by inspection) means “fear of homo[sexuals]” rather than “hatred of homo[sexuals]”. I first heard this term in the early 1980s (it may have first been introduced back then) and my thought bubble was…wrong suffix! The problem is though, it’s hard to construct a satisfactory term by putting miso- and homosexual together. Miso-homo-ist? Miso-homo-y? They don’t precisely roll off the tongue.

    It too is the term that has stuck. And just to be clear, mislabled or not, I think what we refer to as “homophobia” is both real and deplorable. Your point about “Islamophobia” being constructed to push a false equivalency to “homophobia” is well taken. The two things are not equivalent, for the reasons you gave.

    #1820

    What about Atheophobia ??

    #1825

    Unseen
    Participant

    Oddly, no one makes this complaint about the term homophobia, which one would think (by inspection) means “fear of homo[sexuals]” rather than “hatred of homo[sexuals]”. I first heard this term in the early 1980s (it may have first been introduced back then) and my thought bubble was…wrong suffix! The problem is though, it’s hard to construct a satisfactory term by putting miso- and homosexual together. Miso-homo-ist? Miso-homo-y? They don’t precisely roll off the tongue.

    It too is the term that has stuck. And just to be clear, mislabled or not, I think what we refer to as “homophobia” is both real and deplorable. Your point about “Islamophobia” being constructed to push a false equivalency to “homophobia” is well taken. The two things are not equivalent, for the reasons you gave.

    Steve, I’ve made the point many a time that “no fear, no phobia,” but common usage now accepts that if you don’t fear gays but only strongly dislike or hate them or their sexuality, you are homophobic.

    Sad. Words should mean things.

    #1827

    Unseen
    Participant

    The question should be “Is islamophobia justified under the circumstances?,” and the answer should be yes, to a degree. Suppose you were mugged a few times by several of the many Icelanders hanging about in your neighborhood. Would a little Icelander-phobia be justified? I think the answer is clear, even though most Icelanders mean you no harm at all.

    Islamophobia may be justified in that sense, but it shouldn’t be taken to extremes.

    #1836

    Matt
    Participant

    Personally, I’m just glad you didn’t call it racism. As someone said earlier, islam is not a gender, sex, or race. For me, the alarming part of islam is the quran, in the same way the alarming part of christianity is the bible. Both books call for killing and as such I denounce them as hate speech.

    Think about it… If you wrote a book like the bible or quran today, claiming the same things and calling for war and death, your book would be banned before it could hit the shelves (Maybe not in the US but in much of the rest of the western world).

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