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← Islam and "Islamophobia" - a little manifesto

Islam and "Islamophobia" - a little manifesto - Comments

old-toy-boy's Avatar Comment 61 by old-toy-boy

As "david2" comment 58 said,

It is so easy and lazy, to use convenient lables instead of the correct lables. Sorry I meant, easy, lazy and wrong!

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 08:37:22 UTC | #845453

Stephen Gash's Avatar Comment 62 by Stephen Gash

Quasi racism - what a load of nonsense.

What the hell is quasi racism?

The most vehement anti-Islam people in my experience, and I have a lot, are ex-Muslims. People from many races are Muslims and Muslims kill non-Muslims of all races. Race is not an issue. People leaving Islam do not suddenly change race. They become free because they are allowed to think. Invariably they have to come to the West in order to have such free thinking.

While people in the West remain hung up about race, non-Muslims are being hung-up, raped, burnt out of their homes and butchered in Muslim countries merely for being non-Muslim.

So, let's stick to the issue, Islam, a theorcratic, despotic political doctrine.

Islamophobia is the height of common sense and most, if not all, non-Muslims are Islamophobic. It is how Islamophobia is handled that will determine the future of the democratic West. The choices are either kowtowing to Islam by force feeding halal food in schools, banning non-Muslims from public facilites at certain times, banning piggy banks and other porcine images, etc etc, or confronting Islam head on by pointing out its vilest characteristics (there are no pleasant characteristics) to the world. I choose the latter.

Let's examine the term "extreme right". Is stoning a woman to death for being raped extreme right or extreme left? How about hanging homesexuals for being homosexual? How about beheading someone for leaving Islam?

I am openly Islamophobic, and I campaign on the behalf of minorities persecuted in Muslim countries, such as Copts, Armenians, Assyrians, as well as gays. Let's not forget women.

People using expressions like "far right" are those who overlook, ignore and avoid what is happening in Muslim countries, preferring to focus on Israel. Most of the conversation in the West about Islam is made worthless by people using "racist" "xenophobe" and "bigot" as a first resort.

The definition of bigotry is "an obsessive and intolerant adherent of a particular doctrine or creed". That sounds like a pretty fair description of a Muslim to me, judging on the evidence provided from around the world.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 12:44:31 UTC | #845494

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 63 by Border Collie

I'm astounded that a contrived, meaningless, utterly false word like "Islamophobia" is still being used in anything in this forum. A phobia is an irrational fear. Also, I find it amazing that the word "racism" is still being raised here in reference to Islam (forget the context for a moment). Islam is not a race, period. As long as we're still expressing angst over these words, the OIC, CAIR and countless other fronts for Islamic supremacism have us by the throat.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 14:19:54 UTC | #845514

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 64 by Vicktor

Ironically, among the main reasons Muslims think theirs is the "true" religion, is because it is so difficult (rituals etc.) and because they are constantly being persecuted from within and without. All of this makes it a very "correct-looking" religion and the suffering they endure "must be" grounds for entry into paradise. Surely, those who do not "work hard" worshiping God and look to "minimize suffering" and "increase enjoyment" in this short life must be doing the Devil's work. It's the kind of "logic" that appeals to probably 99.9% of people on some level or other. Beautiful, isn't it? :)

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 14:20:51 UTC | #845515

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 65 by Vicktor

Comment 63 by Border Collie

I'm astounded that a contrived, meaningless, utterly false word like "Islamophobia" is still being used in anything in this forum. A phobia is an irrational fear. Also, I find it amazing that the word "racism" is still being raised here in reference to Islam (forget the context for a moment). Islam is not a race, period. As long as we're still expressing angst over these words, the OIC, CAIR and countless other fronts for Islamic supremacism have us by the throat.

True, but Muslims probably notice that virtually all prominent (and infamous) Muslims are not white, and the people who tend to criticize their religion the most generally happen to be...

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 14:26:27 UTC | #845516

njwong's Avatar Comment 66 by njwong

Comment 23 by Vicktor :

No, I'm saying maybe just she's crazy. Her husband may not be the one forcing her to cover up like that, especially if she's the kind of Muslim who insists on the even-more-compulsory-than-covering-up daily prayers.

And she will not be the only one (crazy - that is). In Malaysia, there is this Islamic group of women who call themselves "The Obedient Wives Club" - who believe that the secret to a happy life is for women to be completely subservient to their husbands - and very importantly to satisfy all his sexual needs - because it is Islamic to do so.

Some of these women are highly educated - and still they believe in all this medieval nonsense of male superiority - in this day and age of gender equality. The club's president, Rohayah Mohamad, is a trained physician:

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/malaysia-obedient-wives-club-good-sex-duty-105028540.html

Unfortunately, the stupidity has recently spread and infected women in Singapore, including a female literature professor:

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/poreans-set-local-obedient-wives-club-081343334.html

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 16:06:36 UTC | #845536

johnny456's Avatar Comment 67 by johnny456

I think Islamophobia is a just a shield extremists use to hide behind. It should not be in our vocabulary. Any set of ideas or set of beliefs, be it Islam , Christianity, Conservatism, Liberalism, Keynesianism should not take a such a privelleged position that it is immune from criticism. It is only after we move past this concept of Islamaphobia that we can have a healthy debate on Islam.

Generally, there are some vile verses in the quran, not to mention some of the horror stories in the hadith. But one thing to note is that muslims do not follow this text to the word. They "cherry pick" the good verses and then create their own vision. Sometimes I feel the media misses this point . It is really only in ramadan where everyone seems to have an islamic reawakening that they follow what one would regard as an Islamic lifestyle. Just visit one of the mosques at any other time of the year and it will be completely empty. Sometimes I feel we should try to connect with the humanity of the vast majority of people who claim they are muslim. If anyone reads the daily mail you would think that muslims are living the life of the prophet in Britain!!! We should remember that people have dilluted some of the barbarism of Islam, particularly in Britain.

But one thing is for sure, there is no such thing as islamophobia.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 16:23:37 UTC | #845545

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 68 by Atheist Mike

I think Western countries are stuck with a paradox caused by multicultural policies which makes us go against what would otherwise be plain common sense. Without this paradox there will no doubt as to what actions must be taken when schools instruct young muslim attendants to despise and loath the western country they live in and to view all non-muslims as pigs. Neither would there be any doubts as to whether or not to arrest a man who beats his wife or mutilates his child. Western governments have been utterly incompetent in handling this crisis and by not acting properly and failing to see past the paradox they've created a fear amongst the white population. A fear of anyone who even slightly resembles Bin Laden, one of the 9/11 hijackers or London's bombing terrorists. I think we should keep protecting immigrants from racism because there's surely still many racists in western countires (probably even more because of what I just mentioned) but we should punish those that deserve punishment according to their actions towards society, as we would with any other typical lone white madman or dangerous sects or groups.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 16:26:19 UTC | #845546

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 69 by Vicktor

Comment 66 by njwong

If these wives are sexually obedient and satisfying only on condition that the husbands pray 5 times a day (which is probably the case), they are likely still going to visit prostitutes.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 16:29:27 UTC | #845548

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 70 by Robert Howard

Comment 64 by Vicktor: 'Ironically, among the many reasons Muslims think theirs is the "true" religion is because it is so difficult (rituals etc) and because they are constantly being persecuted from within and without. All of this makes is a very "correct-looking" religion and the suffering they endure "must be" grounds for entry into paradise.'

True enough, but this sense of victimhood is shared by all of the Abrahamic faiths, and is I think what has allowed them to come to dominate the world. One only need look at the main symbol of Christianity, a human being, beaten and bleeding, nailed to a wooden cross, to see how much its adherents relish their shared sense of persecution with their god. Christians display their crucifixes proudly, they don't hide them away; they seem to be smug about Jesus's suffering.

The irony is that this perceived sense of victimisation has historically given Christianity's followers license to persecute anyone who doesn't seem to share their masochistic worldview: it's all very well to know that God is on your side, but when that god is all-powerful, the people that you're slaughtering might start to look like victims themselves. Whereas if your god makes himself human, comes down to earth and becomes the ultimate victim, whatever you do in his name is justified, because, 'hey, look at our guy, he's the real victim here. We're just standing up for him'.

One can hardly blame the followers of the baby of the Abrahamic faiths for seeing how successful this strategy was and adopting it themselves.

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 19:40:04 UTC | #845579

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 71 by Pitchguest

Sure the BNP is racist. But I have never seen a specifically racial comment from them about Islam. The racism is actually inferred by others who have the mentality I dismiss above. It is also inferred by a sort of ' The BNP is racist therefore any policy they have must be racist' type of mentality. The attempt by Russell Blackford to somehow extricate oneself from this seeming quagmire ought to start by wondering if the quagmire actually exists in the first place.

As Martwek comments above....

The extreme right only says out loud what the majority of Europeans think, but do not dare to say.

Wow. That's actually a pretty disgusting thing to say, Schrodinger. 'The majority of Europeans'? Geez.

You've never seen the far-right make racist/quazi-racist comments about people from the Middle-East in conjunction to Islam? Never? It's only been inferred? By other people, never by the far-right? The far-right has made racist, bigoted comments about foreigners, discriminated against foreigners, just not when it's in conjunction to Islam? Is that what you're saying?

The EDL, UKIP, the Tea Party, Freedom Party, the Sweden Democrats, etc, has never made any disparaging comments about foreigners, particularly Arabs, in conjunction to Islam? Nor any other conservative think-tank, average conservative or otherwise far-right?

... ... ... ... ... Wow. Wow.

Sun, 03 Jul 2011 19:21:48 UTC | #845788

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 72 by Pitchguest

Comment 30 by steve_r_w

I cannot accept Russel's premise that dislike of Islam has a quasi-racist character. If you take that argument to its logical conclusion someone who dislikes Boy Scouts because they wear woggles is a racist. It's clearly utter nonsense.

No, it wouldn't be, because it's a terrible analogy and creates a false premise. Strawman.

This is exactly what is wrong with the multi-cultural-ism that we see so much in today's political debate.

Exactly what's wrong with multiculturalism (spelled as such) is that some dislike of Islam (keyword here being some) has a quasi-racist character? Or that it doesn't?

I'm sorry but that's just bollocks. Yes it's true if you swallowed your M-C-ISM pill this morning, as all good pseudo-intellectuals do, that these things can be equated. But, if we equate, or let others equate, religion with race, or race with skin colour, or skin colour with cultural norms, or cultural norms with religion, then minorities will only:

I have no idea what you just said. Russel implies that people who does not share views from the far-right may be painted with the same brush if/when proponents of the far-right adopt views that many on the left find compelling, like opposing forced marriages, honour-killings, etc. Which is absolutely true. It happens right as we speak. Of course it's just a mirage for their real agenda, but it's happening. It is not bollocks.

Furthermore liberals are not "leaving the door open" for Islamist extremists. This is a lie. As a self-proclaimed liberal, you should realise how misconstrued that statement really is.

Islamophobia is NOT a phenomenon - it is a label. Islamophobia is a tag invented by politicians of the left to expand the scope of their messages on racism - and the far right fell for it because they're idiots. That doesn't mean the rest of us need follow their lead. Accepting that measures put in place to combat so-called islamophobia is to accept, de facto, that it exists.

What, the irrational fear of Islam? I think there is a good case to be made in favour of the irrational fear of Islam, especially when you look at the many opponents who rail on and on about their "reasons" for opposing it. However more importantly I'd wager there's more a Muslimophobia, in that the far-right parties are arguing that Muslims are attempting to take over the world. Or as argued by white nationalists, racists, bigots, etc, that the... and I'm paraphrasing here... that the Muslim menace wants to weed out the ethnic population by breeding with their women. I'm not making this up. And if you doubt me, I have transcripts of several to mention.

Resit these activities with every fibre of your being - because not doing so privileges one religion above all else. You can do that if you are always working from the basis of religion is only an idea and a pastime - like the rules of football and the judgements of referees - or collecting back issues of Playboy (with all the masturbatory implications that involves being, of course, perfectly relevant).

Once again, I find myself enormously perplexed. This wouldn't be out of place in a postmodernist generator.

Where there is a fear of Islam many of us would say that it is not a phobia - it is demonstrably rational based on a very long history of widespread evidence. Use of the word phobia in the label is a tactic to twist the political agenda. We can and should deny Islamophobia exists for exactly that reason.

Irrational fear! Irrational! When people say their fear Islam, I honestly have no idea what they mean. When Muslims say other people fear Islam, I have every idea of what they mean and they are 100% wrong. Fear of Islam? Fear of what? As of 2009, Muslims comprise roughly 1.5 billion of the world's population. Circa 23% of the world's population are denominately Muslim. According to most of Europe and America's far-right parties, Muslims are a huge threat and they have the ability to take over the world if need be. Surely you must have the cognitive presence of mind to realise that this is bullshit?

At a more practical level, opponents of Islam who do not wish to be seen as the extreme-right's sympathisers or dupes would be well-advised to take care in the impression that they convey.

This is true. We must be sure to identify Islamophobia as being a label invented to identify opponents of Islam in an automatically negative light. Liberals must reject the use of this word at every possible opportunity. Only by doing so will we recapture the right to free speech in the free market of ideas.

You can reject the use of the word "Islamophobia" all you want, but you can't well reject that people do have irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. So it's not entirely misplaced, is it? Not that I'll probably ever use it in a serious manner because it's a stupid word and I don't like it. But you can't pretend that it isn't there.

Sun, 03 Jul 2011 21:11:01 UTC | #845817

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 73 by Pitchguest

Addendum to previous post:

Where practical, they should explain their positions with as much nuance as possible ...

No. Nuance smacks of special pleading, and this will have the effect of presenting our argument as liitle diferent to the far right. This is a big mistake. Liberals must be clear and concise: Culture is a set of values, ideas, practices, artistic impressions, norms and traditions. In a free country where multiple cultures exist it is both natural and desirable that some cultures evolve further, and faster, than others. It is a plain fact that the majority in a free and economically successful country must be expected to resist change from an incoming minority. Finally, it is imperative that we make clear that culture is very different from race or gender: Some cultures really are superior. If that were not so, the free countries of the World, quite simply, would not be the magnets that they are for the oppressed, the downtrodden, and the poor.

Ok, some points here:

You say claiming that our cultures are nuanced will make our arguments no less different than the far right, and say we should be more clear and concise. I find this to be incredibly... contradictory. What is the far right if not "clear and concise" about the fate of immigrants, particularly Muslim immigrants, in the country? Would not making the case then about nuanced cultures, races and religions, be the selling point to differentiate between the two?

You also say that some cultures are superior to others in that they are magnets for the oppressed, the downtrodden and the poor, and that they should, nay, must fight change from "incoming minorities." Which is interesting. However, would not making the case then that some cultures are superior in that they embrace different cultures into their society, allowing them to colour their own and making them more nuanced be the selling point in differentiating between the two?

Sun, 03 Jul 2011 21:40:20 UTC | #845823

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 74 by Pitchguest

Comment 62 by Stephen Gash

Quasi racism - what a load of nonsense.

What the hell is quasi racism?

When people hear Islam, they think of Arabs and the Middle East. Which is not at all unheard of. This is what he meant, I think.

The most vehement anti-Islam people in my experience, and I have a lot, are ex-Muslims. People from many races are Muslims and Muslims kill non-Muslims of all races. Race is not an issue. People leaving Islam do not suddenly change race. They become free because they are allowed to think. Invariably they have to come to the West in order to have such free thinking.

While people in the West remain hung up about race, non-Muslims are being hung-up, raped, burnt out of their homes and butchered in Muslim countries merely for being non-Muslim.

So, let's stick to the issue, Islam, a theorcratic, despotic political doctrine.

If your ex-Muslim friends are such vocal opponents of Islam, then surely they would have told you that the majority of people killed by Muslims are other Muslims? Particularly in Islamic countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and also Bosnia, where Sunni and Shia rivalry is at its most potent?

Islamophobia is the height of common sense and most, if not all, non-Muslims are Islamophobic. It is how Islamophobia is handled that will determine the future of the democratic West. The choices are either kowtowing to Islam by force feeding halal food in schools, banning non-Muslims from public facilites at certain times, banning piggy banks and other porcine images, etc etc, or confronting Islam head on by pointing out its vilest characteristics (there are no pleasant characteristics) to the world. I choose the latter.

I don't think you know the meaning of Islamophobia, and if you do what you just said makes no sense. You're admitting having an irrational fear of Islam, however you're going to "confront" Islam head on by pointing out its vilest characteristics?

Let's examine the term "extreme right". Is stoning a woman to death for being raped extreme right or extreme left? How about hanging homesexuals for being homosexual? How about beheading someone for leaving Islam?

Errr... let's examine the meaning of "right", or right-wing. According to Wiki, it's a description supporting the preservation of traditional social orders and heirarchies. Stoning women to death, hanging homosexuals and killing people for apostasy are socially constructed traditions in a lot of Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries, and therefore the "extreme right" would seek to preserve those traditions. So I don't know. Who do you think would perform these acts? The extreme left, or the extreme right?

Of course they're both false premises. No matter your political affiliation, I imagine they're equally reprehensible. And if you happen to live in a country where these things occur, I imagine not everyone, or perhaps even the majority, would agree with them.

I am openly Islamophobic, and I campaign on the behalf of minorities persecuted in Muslim countries, such as Copts, Armenians, Assyrians, as well as gays. Let's not forget women.

And what about Muslim minorities? Shias are outnumbered by Sunnis 10-1, and lots of attacks in the Middle East are commited by Sunni Islamists (thereof Al-Qaeda and the Taliban included) against Shia. Do you campaign for those as well?

People using expressions like "far right" are those who overlook, ignore and avoid what is happening in Muslim countries, preferring to focus on Israel. Most of the conversation in the West about Islam is made worthless by people using "racist" "xenophobe" and "bigot" as a first resort.

Not if it's true, surely. And a lot of the criticisms you hear from the "far right", and I am using that correctly, is certainly bigoted, if not outright xenophobic. To use one of the criticisms from our own nationalist party, they would pay immigrants to leave the country. If that's not xenophobic, I don't know what is. Muslim immigrants get most of the jibes because they're the easiest targets. If you listen to far right proponents, like Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage, or Jimmie Åkesson, in criticizing immigrants and specifically Muslim immigrants, you would realise very quickly just how extreme their views really are.

The definition of bigotry is "an obsessive and intolerant adherent of a particular doctrine or creed". That sounds like a pretty fair description of a Muslim to me, judging on the evidence provided from around the world.

Right. Paint them all with the same brush, why don't you. If you don't want people to think you're a bigot, you're failing spectacularly at it.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 00:44:30 UTC | #845850

Zalvation's Avatar Comment 75 by Zalvation

Firstly, there can be no such thing as miss-directed accusations against Islam. All accusations against Islam, from the atheist point of view, are certainly beyond the kind of good faith you seem to imbue in organizations such as the BNP. Stop pussyfooting around the issue. Condemning Islam has nothing to do with racism or so-called ‘Islamophobia’ but everything to do with a belief in our old friend the tooth fairy. If Muslims in the west are suffering from suspicion, then it’s up to every rational non-believer to engage in a constructive argument to seriously question a belief in any interpretation of god, be it Muslim or otherwise. Monitoring and criticism! I’ve never hear such an outdated, ambivalent statement. Islam has been monitored and criticised since the Crusades. The problem is not Islam. The problem is god!

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 01:59:40 UTC | #845855

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 76 by Stephen of Wimbledon

In response to Comment 72.

Sorry, you completely lost me there. I have no idea what your talking about.

Peace.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 12:09:06 UTC | #845971

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 77 by Stephen of Wimbledon

2nd response to Comment 72.

No wait, I think I get this last bit (but I'm making no promises).

You can reject the use of the word "Islamophobia" all you want, but you can't well reject that people do have irrational fear of Islam and Muslims.

In what way irrational? You were born after 9/11, 7/7, etc.? There are plenty of people who have a rational fear of Islam - me among them. But a rational fear of Islam is not Islamophobia - by definition.

Or perhaps you're a Muslim, so you reject other people's fears of that religion? Rejecting other people's fears doesn't make them disappear. If you're sad does someone telling you to 'just cheer up' make any difference to you. No. People's reactions to the World can be irrational - but this is very often changed by exposure to facts.

So it's not entirely misplaced, is it?

In what context?

Not that I'll probably ever use it in a serious manner because it's a stupid word and I don't like it. But you can't pretend that it isn't there.

I'm not pretending. Islamophobia really isn't there. And if anything exists that is described as Islamophobia, it would probably be far more accurately described as an irrational fear of difference or a rational fear of Islam.

Peace

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 12:29:33 UTC | #845978

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 78 by Stephen of Wimbledon

In response to Comment 73.

Hi Pitchguest,

I didn't understand your first paragraph - except for one thing; It had nothing to do with anything I said. It also has nothing to do with Russel's use of the word nuanced - nor mine.

As to the second:

You also say that some cultures are superior to others in that they are magnets for the oppressed, the downtrodden and the poor

... correct so far ... though taken out of context.

... and that they should, nay, must fight change from "incoming minorities."

No, I wouldn't have said that - so I didn't.

However, would not making the case then that some cultures are superior in that they embrace different cultures into their society, allowing them to colour their own and making them more nuanced be the selling point in differentiating between the two?

As far as your statement goes - and at face value: Yes, it would be wonderful if all cultures were free to evolve and mix - ensuring that the best of cultures evolved to be embraced by the majority. Those of us lucky to live in the 'liberal democracies' (for want of a better label) are of course very lucky - that's what we've got. Sadly, we have learned that there are cultures which set their faces against change or compromise. At first we thought nothing of it, but recently we've been left in no doubt that not addressing these cultures more robustly is a clear and present danger.

Please understand that this is not meant to be a personal attack - I'm pleased, and my life is enriched, by your participation in this discussion. On the basis of your above analysis, I really think you would benefit from finding someone who can read English to explain my post to you.

Peace.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 13:13:30 UTC | #845993

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 79 by Pitchguest

Comment 76 by steve_r_w

In response to Comment 72.

Sorry, you completely lost me there. I have no idea what your talking about.

You said you have a habit of making very long, detailed posts, but never vague or confusing. You see where I'm going with this? I'm using very simple words here, mate.

Comment 77 by steve_r_w

2nd response to Comment 72.

No wait, I think I get this last bit (but I'm making no promises).

You can reject the use of the word "Islamophobia" all you want, but you can't well reject that people do have irrational fear of Islam and Muslims.

In what way irrational? You were born after 9/11, 7/7, etc.? There are plenty of people who have a rational fear of Islam - me among them. But a rational fear of Islam is not Islamophobia - by definition.

What is a rational fear' of Islam? I've never heard a rational argument why we should 'fear' Islam, let alone a rational argument why we should 'fear' Muslims.

Or perhaps you're a Muslim, so you reject other people's fears of that religion? Rejecting other people's fears doesn't make them disappear. If you're sad does someone telling you to 'just cheer up' make any difference to you. No. People's reactions to the World can be irrational - but this is very often changed by exposure to facts.

I'm not a Muslim, but thanks for asking. I do not reject other people's 'fears', I simply question them. For their wellbeing. Far-right parties are frightened of Muslims because they fear they're gonna take over the world. How they're going to replace the law with sharia, how they're going to enslave "our" people and how they're going to terrorise us if we "give in" to them. Which is absolutely ridiculous and similar to any crackpot who fears that any well-to-do political party wants to create a new world order. The moment you enter with an argument like that, you've lost the plot. If you want to persuade me why we should 'fear' Islam and Muslims, you have to come up with a better argument than that.

So it's not entirely misplaced, is it?

In what context?

In what context? How about the fact that nearly all nationalist parties in Europe and the US use nearly identical arguments about Muslims? Despite the fact that Muslims comprise only 23% of the world's population. And considering the wave of secularism that's entered several countries across Europe and Asia in the last 50 or so years, that's bound to change. A 100 years ago, Sweden was 95% Christian. Now we're 85% atheist. Go figure.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 13:28:55 UTC | #846001

Jussie's Avatar Comment 80 by Jussie

Was my impulse racist?

I would say no, not racist but maybe a bit sexist. You conclude automaticaly that the husband forces his wife to wear the bin-liner. Who says that he has that power in their relationship? Maybe someone else forces her, maybe her mother-in-law? Or, perhaps she might even chose to wear it. The point I'm trying to make is that we don't know why she wears the burqa. To conclude automaticaly that she is forced to by her husband, you assume the she is the weak one in the relationship.

Maybe he wants her not to wear the burqa but doesn't have the courage to say so, or do anything about it.

The quote was from Richard's comment 16.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 13:39:38 UTC | #846006

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 81 by Pitchguest

Comment Removed by Author

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 13:53:03 UTC | #846014

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 82 by Pitchguest

Comment 78 by Stephen of Wimbledon

In response to Comment 73.

Hi Pitchguest,

I didn't understand your first paragraph - except for one thing; It had nothing to do with anything I said. It also has nothing to do with Russel's use of the word nuanced - nor mine.

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure how I should decipher the phrase 'little different' in this sentence:

Nuance smacks of special pleading, and this will have the effect of presenting our argument as liitle diferent to the far right.

...to mean anything other than 'less different.' If not, I've lost you.

And yes, I know what Russel meant. However, you went on speaking about countries with multiple cultures and how some cultures in those countries evolve further and faster than others. This to me screamed how you were setting up Western culture, in defiance of Middle Eastern culture. The so-called 'incoming minority.' I just thought I should get you up to speed on what made Western culture 'superior' to the others.

... and that they should, nay, must fight change from "incoming minorities."

No, I wouldn't have said that - so I didn't.

No, pardon me. You said,

In a free country where multiple cultures exist it is both natural and desirable that some cultures evolve further, and faster, than others. It is a plain fact that the majority in a free and economically successful country must be expected to resist change from an incoming minority.

I was paraphrasing. So sue me. If the sentence 'must be expected to resist change from an incoming minority' is a non-sequitur to your previous sentence, then it's not my fault for being confused.

However, would not making the case then that some cultures are superior in that they embrace different cultures into their society, allowing them to colour their own and making them more nuanced be the selling point in differentiating between the two?

As far as your statement goes - and at face value: Yes, it would be wonderful if all cultures were free to evolve and mix - ensuring that the best of cultures evolved to be embraced by the majority. Those of us lucky to live in the 'liberal democracies' (for want of a better label) are of course very lucky - that's what we've got. Sadly, we have learned that there are cultures which set their faces against change or compromise. At first we thought nothing of it, but recently we've been left in no doubt that not addressing these cultures more robustly is a clear and present danger.

You're being awfully vague, but you're talking about Muslims. I get it. The problem is, Muslims has existed in Europe for the better part of 200 years. Never has there been this backlash for Muslims in Europe and North America, until now. Why? Because of 9/11? If so, that's awfully disingenuous. Muslims should be painted with the same broad brush because of an attack commited by a Sunni Islamist terrorist group? Not to mention they probably had the same, or similar, traditions back then as they do now. Why is it they present a 'clear and present danger' now, but not then?

What about Jewish culture in Britain, who's refused to integrate with British society for centuries? Do 'they' present a 'clear and present danger'?

Please understand that this is not meant to be a personal attack - I'm pleased, and my life is enriched, by your participation in this discussion. On the basis of your above analysis, I really think you would benefit from finding someone who can read English to explain my post to you.

You attack my English comprehension. That's sweet.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 14:14:11 UTC | #846026

M D Aresteanu's Avatar Comment 83 by M D Aresteanu

David2, you really have a way with words. Very well said. These "liberal" apologists for Islam should be ashamed of themselves for treating intellectually imprisoned muslims like sacrificial lambs, just so they can stand on their high ivory towers of moral superiority. People like ourselves need to expose these assholes for what they really are... hypocritical self-preserving cowards.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 16:53:54 UTC | #846091

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 84 by Pitchguest

Comment 48 by david2

The facts, as far as I can see, are really rather simple. The bulk of the liberal-left (not all) pretended, to the world and often themselves, that they believed in certain principles, e.g. sexual equality, gender equality, secularism, free speech, freedom of conscience, etc. For many decades this myth largely survived intact, because the most vocal opponents of these principles were aligned (in some form or another) with the reactionary and oppressive structures of the pre-Enlightenment past.

Then Islam increased its presence in the west and suddenly it became crystal clear that most of the liberal-left were, in reality, not too fussy about the principles they had previously pretended to affirm. Now turning a blind eye, silence, appeasement, finger-pointing and guilt-by-association towards those who have the temerity to actually believe in the aforementioned principles becomes the norm.

Ahahaha. Increased its presence. Yes, because Muslims has so much power over the West. So much... I mean... in politics and in the government and oh what am I saying, you speak nonsense. They have increased their numbers, that is true, but their 'presence'? Their influence in the West before 9/11 was miniscule, and now, after so many people are against them, there's no way they'll ever increase their influence beyond freedom of religion.

Also, what the hell is 'freedom of conscience,' and why are liberals pretending to endorse this principle?

Now shock, horror! A few left-liberals are realising exactly where all this hollow, nihilistic, non-judgmental, bourgeois sloganeering and posturing is heading and they're becoming increasingly nervous. They see that the de facto result of their brand of "liberalism" will mean the end of liberalism and they're not quite sure how they can extricate themselves from the hole they've dug for themselves.

Are you honestly claiming that liberals are nihilistic, sloganeering posers? Do I need to remind you that the greatest thinkers of our world, including your founding fathers, were liberal? And not only were they liberal, but positively social democratic. Which is the opposite of the capitalistic hivemind that now festers America. Not to mention the "brand" of liberalism you're slandering is the kind that asks for dialogue, and diplomatic solutions, rather than judging right out of the bat. Would you prefer we scrapped all this and went straight to expulsion?

What i'm saying is this: the "problem" simply wouldn't exist if the liberal-left actually affirmed the principles it pretends to endorse, for this endorsement would (should) take place regardless of the socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and religious affiliation of individual people, whether supporters or opponents.

So the problem we're facing right now with 'Islam' is the fault of the liberal left?

"Islam", as i've previously said, is not the "problem" (in the west), the real problem is the west's refusal to be true to itself. A civilisation cannot long persist on platitudes alone, sooner or later its bluff will be called. We are in the middle of this process of unveiling now, and it is becoming clear even to the dullest eyes that much of our commitment to certain principles is, when push comes to shove, empty rhetoric and play-acting. The followers of Islam have one important virtue which far too many of us lack, many of them actually believe in something.

And now you're resorting to postmodernist claptrap. Brilliant.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 20:35:33 UTC | #846149

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 85 by Atheist Mike

@comment 79 by Pitchguest

What is a rational fear' of Islam? I've never heard a rational argument why we should 'fear' Islam, let alone a rational argument why we should 'fear' Muslims.

I think there is a fear and that it's perfectly rational. The fear is the same as the one you get when you hear people are neo-nazis. The kind of apprehension that perhaps the person concerned could be a violent megalomaniacal white supremacist. The same is true with Islam and muslims. What makes it complicated however is that Islam is intertwined with the arabic culture so closely that making distinctions between who is a muslim, let alone an extremist one and who is simply an arab or 'bronze-skinned' person becomes near-impossible.

In the Nazi example, identifying the 'threat' is easy; swatzikas, strange authoritarian looks, etc. With muslims all we know is that they're foreigners from the middle east that believe in crazy nonsense and hate the West so we tend to think that every arab-looking person is a threat. So in the end, whether you want it or not you end up having this tiny phobia around your mind showing up every time you see a black haired, bronze-skinned, thick-browed person.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 20:27:09 UTC | #846610

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 86 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sat, 09 Jul 2011 00:51:43 UTC | #847852

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 87 by Anonymous

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Sat, 09 Jul 2011 02:56:38 UTC | #847865

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 88 by Pitchguest

Comment 85 by Atheist Mike

@comment 79 by Pitchguest

What is a rational fear' of Islam? I've never heard a rational argument why we should 'fear' Islam, let alone a rational argument why we should 'fear' Muslims.

I think there is a fear and that it's perfectly rational. The fear is the same as the one you get when you hear people are neo-nazis. The kind of apprehension that perhaps the person concerned could be a violent megalomaniacal white supremacist.

Ah, so the 'fear' right-wing groups are talking about when they're referring to Muslims is the same apprehension people have of neo-nazis? In conjunction with their other fear that Muslims are going to take over the world, overthrow all the world's governments and turn them into Islamic states? So they basically think that Muslims are possibly all the same, and they think all Muslims possibly wants to take over the world? And this is rational?

The same is true with Islam and muslims.

The same is true with Islam and Muslims as much as the same is true with the Illuminati, the New World Order, Rothschild or any other conspiracy theory. I mean, really now. I said I wanted rational arguments. Believing that Muslims wants to take over the world is about as irrational as you can get and then some, which just proves my point.

What makes it complicated however is that Islam is intertwined with the arabic culture so closely that making distinctions between who is a muslim, let alone an extremist one and who is simply an arab or 'bronze-skinned' person becomes near-impossible.

That's awfully contrived, Mike. Can you tell who is a fundamentalist Christian and who isn't based on their culture or skin colour? Can you tell which Buddhist believes in the Buddha and which believes in the Bodhisattva, based on their culture or skin colour? The answer is of course a resounding no. But you can tell the difference, Mike. By listening to what they're saying. Not how they dress. Or how they act. Or how they walk, or stand, or sleep. But how they talk. Islamists are usually not ones to sugarcoat their words and even if they do, they usually don't hide their loathing.

You haven't been able to tell the difference between a fundamentalist Christian and a moderate just by listening to them talk? You don't think the same would apply to an extremist and moderate Muslim? Or extremist and moderate Jew? Yes, I thought so. I suppose the only thing we really can agree on are the religions, above all the religious leaders, that poisons people's minds and continues to poison people's minds so they can carry it on to the next generation. But we should never take that to be the be-all, end-all to the discussion. I've always thought working together towards a common goal would be more preferable than a conflict that exists now, but then I don't have that necessary fear that makes that kind of conflict possible. Alas.

In the Nazi example, identifying the 'threat' is easy; swatzikas, strange authoritarian looks, etc. With muslims all we know is that they're foreigners from the middle east that believe in crazy nonsense and hate the West so we tend to think that every arab-looking person is a threat. So in the end, whether you want it or not you end up having this tiny phobia around your mind showing up every time you see a black haired, bronze-skinned, thick-browed person.

Phobia indicates an irrational fear. Irrational! I certainly don't think having the state of mind that every 'arab-looking person' is a threat is particularly rational, or healthy for that matter. So if that is your idea of a rational fear, then I'm not sure I want to know what your idea of irrational fear is like.

Sat, 09 Jul 2011 03:59:41 UTC | #847872

snipsandsnails's Avatar Comment 89 by snipsandsnails

I'm a new atheist and I'm disheartened by the comments here. I agree with Russell and those of you disagreeing with him so venomously seem radical to me.

I can get behind a aggressive atheism that makes no apologies or spares any feelings or offense but I draw the line being anywhere near the vicinity of agreeing with the xenophobic rightwing.

Perhaps Islamophobia doesn't apply to YOU, or the people in your social circle but it applies to unwashed masses who don't know squat about Islam but just hate it because they speak a different language, have different customs, have a unfamiliar, weird religon and aren't white.

The root of Islamophobia is old fashioned bigotry not some backlash against religon.

Muslims in America are a small minority that minds their own business. The Christian Right dominated Republican party is a anti-science, bigoted, hatefilled, apocalyptic party that wants America to be a "Christian Nation" and uses Muslims as a convinent scapegoat to get votes.

So you'll understand even if I have a perfectly justified dislike of Islam I would want to be very specific about not being associated with those people. Because the Christian Right hates atheists more than muslims.

I'm sorry for rambling but this gets me riled up so much.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 18:07:18 UTC | #867951