This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain

Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain - Comments

Paul42's Avatar Comment 1 by Paul42


Ok, one more time...

Not liking the muslim faith DOES NOT MAKE YOU A RACIST.

One cannot be racist about a religion.

The catholic church is the world's biggest and most organised paedophile ring. Does saying that make me a racist against catholics? No.

The popularity of the main religions is a major threat to the stability of modern society.

I detest the muslim religion. I am not racist. I detest the catholic religion. I am not racist. I detest the jewish religion. I am not racist.

"I stand before you as a modern man, more intelligent, more moral, more knowledgeable and more forgiving than any gods that there have ever been, or are likely to be in the future."


Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:03:13 UTC | #582400

jel's Avatar Comment 2 by jel

A religion is not a race. Do idiots like this engage their brain before they start pontificating? Let's all say it again, one more time, so that maybe, just maybe, this brain dead moron gets it, a dislike of islam is not and can never be, racist. Islam is a religion that is open to all races, any one and every one can become a follower of the desert death cult.

And just to state, yet again, for people like this,I do NOT have an irrational fear of islam, I have a totally rational dislike of islam. That is not a phobia, despite the efforts of all those who are trying to insist that it is.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:14:49 UTC | #582403

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 3 by GalacticAtom

In many cases, Muslim can easily become a euphemism for brown

A significant proportion of "brown" people in this country are Hindus or Sikhs. It would never occur to me that a criticism of Islam has anything to do with them, i.e. criticism of Islam is emphatically not about race.

What about Islam's historic contribution to science?

The problem with Islam's historic contribution to science is that it is historic, but people today are concerned about modern Islam. In my experience, Islamic science often does come up in conversation ... and people ask "Where did it go? What went wrong?"

What about the significant number of women who have become heads of state in Muslim countries – Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh?

What about them? Britain had women heads of state centuries ago, but it didn't change the inferior social position of women generally.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:21:10 UTC | #582405

Capt. Bloodeye's Avatar Comment 4 by Capt. Bloodeye

Playing the race card here seems redundant. I have similar feelings towards American fundamentalist christians as I do towards mullahs. People of faith often seem to create these diversionary explanatory pathways. Here the message is 'criticise a specific belief system and you hate brown people. Racist!' The reason why islam is singled out in our society, is that it is a demonstrably problematic belief system, expansionist, threatening and false. The author is concerned with defending faith.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:23:44 UTC | #582408

ukantic's Avatar Comment 5 by ukantic

"I treat the Islamic religion with the same respect as the bubble gum I scrape off my shoe," suggested one contributor to the website of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, in response to Warsi's speech. Another offered the following charming observation: "I don't care what the good or bad Baroness has to say about anything at all. I give her no credence nor voice. She is a person of faith so in my book a skin waste." I cannot think of a single other group in our society about whom such vile remarks would be in any way socially acceptable. And OK, these are comments whose surface grammar is about Islam and religion. Nonetheless, the level of invective is very obviously personal.

There must be literally hundreds of posts on the Warsi thread now. Anyone on the planet with an internet connection can in theory add comments, and contributors from a wide range of backgrounds, with an equally wide range of opinions have done so. These comments range from the most cutting and insightful to the most banal and silly. Fraser seems to trawled through these to cherry pick out those quotes that align with this absurd delusional narrative he has fabricated, whilst at the same time studiously avoiding any reference to the vast bulk of them that don't add credence to his position or on the contrary even contradicts it. To me this seems grossly dishonest.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:27:01 UTC | #582411

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 6 by the great teapot

What he says is in the most part true. Islamaphobia is often thinly disguised racism. Strange, though, that he kicks off with comments from one of the few places, ie here, that is logically consistent, with its dislike of all religions. Very strange.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:36:04 UTC | #582414

mmurray's Avatar Comment 7 by mmurray

The real driver is that otherwise polite people have given themselves permission to be racist.


In many cases, Muslim can easily become a euphemism for brown

Not for me. Most of the Muslims I see are Malaysian or Indonesia.

None of which is to silence any sort of attack upon religious faith per se.

Heaven forbid. Sorry I mean no of course not.


Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:42:38 UTC | #582416

RDfan's Avatar Comment 8 by RDfan

So Brits who dislike the Irish are racist, and people who dislike Islam are racist, too? In other words, white people can be racists against other white people in theory, and anyone can be racist against a religion, too? I see; go it.

(Correct Me If I'm Wrong)

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:49:49 UTC | #582418

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 9 by the great teapot

to the moderator.

Thanks for removing my opening comment. My use of the racist tag Paki was intended to highlight the inconsictency of Fraser. Perhaps I should have added a few childish lols afterwards.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:50:47 UTC | #582419

mmurray's Avatar Comment 10 by mmurray

Comment 6 by ukantic :

Fraser seems to trawled through these to cherry pick out those quotes that align with this absurd delusional narrative he has fabricated, whilst at the same time studiously avoiding any reference to the vast bulk of them that don't add credence to his position or on the contrary even contradicts it. To me this seems grossly dishonest.

Sure does and strange coming from a man who also said:

The good critic, on the other hand, doesn't need to oversimplify in order to make their point. And with so much at stake, rhetorical flamboyance needs to be handled with care.

You would think he would be more careful.

Perhaps you would like to register and respond next time you are lurking Canon Chancellor.


Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:51:14 UTC | #582420

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 11 by -TheCodeCrack-

I'm the guy who wrote

"I treat the Islamic religion with the same respect as the bubble-gum I scrape off my shoe".

I must say, I was referring to the Islamic religion, with it's homophobia and sexism. How should you treat a conglomerate of unsubstantiated opinions that when erected as a law over people, leads to mass human-rights abuses? Someone? Anyone? What, with respect?!? Screw-off. I can disrespect anyone's opinions.

BTW, I think I made it quite clear I was speaking about a conglomerate of opinions that form the Islamic religion. I was talking about the ISLAMIC RELIGION! I'm not sure why he confuses attacking opinions with attacking, or gradating into an attack, on members sharing the same skin-tone. He's so scared of what it can turn into, seemingly, but he's missing what it actually is at present; people confronting medieval barbarity.

Moreover, I thought there were lots of white-Muslims? You know, White-British converts and Chechens? I guess equally, then, that an attack on Islam could lead to genocide of whites?

Is this guy living in the year 2011? Hello, Muslims come in all colours, including white.


Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:55:00 UTC | #582422

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 12 by Mr Blue Sky

It was a call to faith for the fence sitters IMHO. He foolishly quoted David Hume implying that reason is bad and is about passion (of dangerous ideas), yes it is and not just Darwinism, it is about a passion for truth and knowledge that is fact based and reproducible by any committed person.

Not worth the read really and as a northerner I am well aware of the many reasons I dislike the effect of the muslim mindset on what was a really lovely part of the world 50 years ago.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:01:52 UTC | #582423

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 13 by -TheCodeCrack-

Technique for removing bubble-gum from your shoe?

You've kind of got to be careful, precise, finding the right instrument to do the job, but you really, REALLY, want to be free from that pestering crud.

There's a technique to the job. Could fill a 100 page book. Very sophisticated.

Could even write another book about getting the gum off the instrument that you used to originally get it off your shoe, so as you can keep using the same instrument.

Supremely sophisticated.

Went right over the top of that religious person's head.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:05:29 UTC | #582426

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 14 by El Bastardo


Just a load of "What about me? I'm a oppressed minority too".

sigh Interesting use of quote mining from the comments pages here though.

Just cause a bunch or crazy f'ed up muslims blow things up and oppress women doesn't mean they all are, but look. an atheist said this, so ALL atheists...

Irony much?

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:09:20 UTC | #582428

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 15 by TheRationalizer

The old "slippery slope fallacy"

Disliking Muslims and disliking Islam are two entirely separate things. I do not object to someone believing Muhammad was a perfect man, or that women should only reveal their eyes, or any of the other nonsense they believe in. I DO object to people who force those views on others, kill people, (Muslim or other), use it to excuse sex with 9 year old girls, and so on.

Do I dislike Islam? Yes, it is detrimental to humans. Do I therefore automatically hate (or even just "dislike") Muslims? No, that would make me an idiot.

This is just a typical religious tactic. Pretend that attacking the belief is intolerance towards the believers so that it can avoid being criticised and even ridiculed.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:10:19 UTC | #582429

alphcat's Avatar Comment 16 by alphcat

The key phrase in the above article is "not all of it entirely well informed". A hell of a lot of the comments on the Warsi thread were incredibly ill informed. For example, FGM, which a lot of the comments seemed to suggest was a widespread islamic practise rather than a cultural evil pre-dating Islam and mainly practised in N Africa or by those from that culture, (including countries where christianity is widespread). Virtually unknown in many extreme islamic states like Iran or Pakistan. The reasons for doing it may now have been adapted to something required by Islam but that does not make it a particularly islamic practise. It's just another inhumane abuse of human rights that needs to be stamped out whatever the reasons given for doing it. Perhaps pointing out it is not islamic might actually be more helpful to that cause.

Islam like most religions, is not pleasant but a lot of the things people here have picked up on, like the burkha, are cultural. Many Muslim women from places like Pakistan or Indonesia do not wear burkhas it is not part of their culture. I have friends whose parents are from Pakistan and they have pointed out huge differences in such things as attitudes to women between cities like Islamabad (culturally fairly westernised) and the remote villages (where the worst primitive stereotypes of Islam portrayed on the RDF do exist). Accusing all muslims of being their stereotype isn't helpful.

Sometimes something abhorrent can be linked directly to a holy text (eg homophobia) sometimes to a particular individuals interpretation of it (jihad, creationism)and sometimes to the culture where that religion just happens to be dominant (FGM, burkha wearing). Perhaps Warsi (whom I dislike intensly as much for her politics as her religion) is trying to say that parts of islamaphobia are based false premises. Point out what is actually wrong with the Koran (and there is plenty I'm sure) but at least check facts first.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:10:37 UTC | #582430

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 17 by -TheCodeCrack-

I'd like to get into a one-on-one debate with this Giles.

He's twice my age and twice as dumb. I'd deliver him a bundle of intellectual blows. He'd be begging for mercy from the person in charge of keeping the time.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:15:14 UTC | #582433

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 18 by Peter Grant

Whatever, Catholicism is nearly as bad. Sad how all the bigots seem to want to play the discrimination card now.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:17:36 UTC | #582435

petengeth's Avatar Comment 19 by petengeth

He's right about one thing, I haven't been in a mosque. When I went to Morocco the guide book said it was illegal for me to do so. Apparently I am unclean, just like a pig.

I have been in a gurdwara, on an open day, when I was told I could ask any questions I liked, and they were all answered. Then I had a free meal made by volunteers. It was an interesting and fascinating visit.

Those people were "brown" and I didn't have an "irrational fear" of any of them.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:18:32 UTC | #582436

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 20 by -TheCodeCrack-

I almost forget.

Do these religious people ever focus on the legendary hate of their own holy-books?

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:19:01 UTC | #582438

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 21 by the great teapot

code crack. It is almost as though the editor has omitted the line- "Well at least he can say that with a clear conscience but what about us christians"

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:25:47 UTC | #582444

scotsman2010's Avatar Comment 22 by scotsman2010

"I treat the Islamic religion with the same respect as the bubble-gum I scrape off my shoe," suggested one contributor to the website of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, in response to Warsi's speech"

And why exactly, should it be treated with any more respect than that?

Giles Fraser is trying to muddy the waters - and we shouldn't let that happen. Islam is Islam and people are people. For many "westerners", our gripe is clearly with the beliefs and values which Islam promotes - these being homophobic, misogynist, intolerant, divisive, often-barbaric and downright nasty.

Is Giles happy with female genital mutilation happening in his country then? Come on Giles ... you obviously look in here. You've had plenty to say so how about a straight answer - yes or no?

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:27:47 UTC | #582445

scotsman2010's Avatar Comment 23 by scotsman2010

Comment 19 by Peter Grant :

Whatever, Catholicism is nearly as bad. Sad how all the bigots seem to want to play the discrimination card now.

We get a lot of that in Scotland, Peter. The Catholic Church are quick to label any criticism of them as "sectarian". See the thread on the football referee who was sacked for a satirical pope joke.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:31:23 UTC | #582446

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 24 by Vicktor

Can we even imagine a society (or even a nation) of "whites" who profess and practice Islam in exactly the same way as say, Pakistanis in Pakistan do?

If not, why not? Could it, by any chance, have something to do with race? Would Islam be more benign if it was primarily a religion of "whites"?

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:40:44 UTC | #582449

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 25 by AtheistEgbert

Giles Fraser clearly has a hatred of atheists. He is a bigot himself.

As he himself says:

"I wish atheists would get a life and stop following believers wherever they go, demanding to join in. Perhaps they are incapable of leaving us alone. For atheism is a parasitic upon religious belief, united only by what it is against."

Because rather than read what was actually being said, he wants to smear atheists instead, confusing two very different concerns: intolerance of beliefs and intolerance of a people.

The other tactic is to confuse the remarks of one or two stupid atheists (there can be no other label I can think of) and then seeking to use such remarks as indicating the general views of all atheists. Since atheism is an umbrella term for anyone without a belief in God, there is a diversity of views that would put the Christian churches to shame.

What this website endorses are the views of rational atheists, and so atheists who do write comments on this board do have a responsibility to think about what they say. It is up to atheists to police themselves, and remove comments that violate the website's terms and conditions.

However, none of the comments cited by Giles Fraser were related to racism as he both acknowledges and knows full well. He knows full well that atheists are individuals with their own personal views, and so his own moral blind spot is because he is projecting his self-hatred.

Get a life Giles Fraser. You are clearly a bigot and seek to find the same it in those you hate. If you do manage to find a bigot among atheists, then that conforms your beliefs and hatred toward atheists.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:41:03 UTC | #582450

sandman67's Avatar Comment 26 by sandman67

"I don't care what the good or bad Baroness has to say about anything at all. I give her no credence nor voice. She is a person of faith so in my book a skinwaste."

Seems I made the press.

So Giles, (and I do hope you are reading this you melon headed dog collared c**t)... I am a RACIST now am I?

I shall be sure to explain that Im a racist to my Thai wife and two half Thai half Brit children...and my Thai family and friends. I will slot said explaination of how daddy is a racist in between the daily news stories they see about how Islamists (ie Muslims) are murdering police and school teachers here on a DAILY basis at the bottom end of their country because the victims are Buddhists.

Look deep inside yourself sir and you will find a weakness, an emptyness...something you need to fill with an invisible slave master come friend upstairs to whom you whisper whilst grovelling on your knees in the dirt. Look in the mirror. There...can you see that empty glint in the corner of your eye? That desparate need to fill your void with something bigger and grander than this the real world.

If you cant tell the difference between racism and anti-theism, and understand why I reserve the bitterest of spite and invective for liars like you then you are a cretin of the first stamp. You, like the idiot embarassment Warsi that takes up a seat in our second house, are a Liar For God....and you sir are equally a skinwaste in my eyes. You contribute NOTHING of value to our society or future. You spread lies and superstition like a drug dealer spreads smack, at the same time keeping us stupid and fearful. Your mere existance makes my blood boil, for I believe that we as a race are better, and should have left you and your ilk behind in the dusty footnotes of history long ago.

And if you dont like my tone or use of common vernacular then feck off back to your house of lies and read a hymnal whilst muttering your platitudes and inner fears to the god that isnt there.

....and breathe.....ahhhhhhh......that feels better ;-)

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:46:23 UTC | #582453

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 27 by AtheistEgbert

And here is a word for people to use: Muslimophobia. Muslimophobia is the correct term for hatred toward Muslims, which is UNACCEPTABLE. Islamophobia would related to an irrational fear or hatred toward Islam or Islamic beliefs, which is neither unreasonable nor a crime.

Here is another term for people to use: Atheistophobia. Atheistophobia, much like homophobia is the irrational fear and therefore hatred of atheists, rather than their views and beliefs.

Gile Fraser is of course an atheistophobe.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:46:43 UTC | #582454

mmurray's Avatar Comment 28 by mmurray

Comment 27 by sandman67 :

Great post. I hope you put it over on the Guardian site as well.


Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:49:36 UTC | #582455

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 29 by -TheCodeCrack-

Comment 26 by AtheistEgbert :

The other tactic is to confuse the remarks of one or two stupid atheists (there can be no other label I can think of)

Ok. You can be my target. I'm one of the two stupid atheists you're referring too (who is on par for first-class honors in software engineering), which I think may contradict that assertion; at least, cast doubt into the minds of others who read that assertion.

How exactly is the comment I made stupid? And how does one single sentence make me, out of the 10's of thousands I have wrote through my life, stupid?

I think my comment can be defended reasonably, and am prepared to do so. I also find calling me a stupid atheist on the basis of one sentence - that isn't in anyway obviously stupid, indeed, I doubt anyone could win one way or the other, about the stupidity or cleverness of the statement - to be remarkably unreasonable.

Ok, convince everyone that the statement I made is stupid. Remember, you can't factor in the stupidity of the enemies' interpretation of anything as part of the rebuke.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:51:37 UTC | #582456

AlexP's Avatar Comment 30 by AlexP

The blind spot isn't islamophobia, the blind spot is religion itself.

It is used as a "get out of jail free card" for every atrocity or violation of human rights. At the very least, it gives the critics pause, makes them rethink their position. "Well, cutting someone's still beating heart from his body may be murder. But if people really, really believe it's to appease their god... do we have the right to call them wrong?".

It doesn't help that the lines between culture, tradition and religion easily blur - is the burkha religious or cultural? Is female genital mutilation a result of a tradition or a faith?

Frankly, I can't clearly tell. And I shouldn't have to!

We should not have to give a damn about someone's religion when we criticize their actions.

I'm pretty sure there are racists who use criticism of islam as a cover for their racistic motives. Of course they do. But in the same way, people use "it's my religion!" as an excuse to ignore laws or human rights.

I'll happily stop criticizing ( and, frankly, bothering with ) islam, the moment religion becomes an entirely private matter. But as long as certain actions or practices are justified with religion - and as long as this "justification" results in more than the quizzical raising of an eyebrow - it becomes impossible to tackle these matters without also dealing with the religion used to shield them.

Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:57:40 UTC | #582459