The Price of the Islamophobia Phobia

This was published in The Propagandist, by the indispensable Hadar Sela

Standing way behind the sidelines and observing  the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ controversy develop in recent weeks, I was struck by the often intemperate use of the term ‘Islamophobia’ to describe criticism of the project. FromCAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper to Georgetown University’s John Esposito, through the Muslim Public Affairs Council and even across the Atlantic at MPAC UKand in the Guardian, there appeared to be a concerted effort to convince the general public that we are living in times of a ‘heightened climate of Islamophobia’ to quote MPAC’s communications director Edina Lekovic.

Of course anti-Muslim bigotry exists in any country one could care to mention and it must be fought, along with many other kinds of bigotry, racism and discrimination, but in the current climate it is prudent to think back to Kenan Malik’s 2005 essay in which he warned that “The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is all too often used not to highlight racism but to stifle criticism” and to consider who is promoting the concept of Islamophobia and why.

It is hard to believe that the worthy cause of fighting anti-Muslim bigotry can be advanced by individuals and organisations who themselves engage in racism and bigotry of other kinds. Selective anti-racism is a chimera which simply cannot withstand scrutiny; either one embraces the concept of universal human rights or one doesn’t. It is therefore both significant and disturbing to realise that some of the main players in the campaign against Islamophobia are deeply mired in other forms of bigotry.

Thus CAIR – an organisation with links to Hamas (one of the most anti-Semitic set ups on the planet), an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in the Holy Land Trial and a body which recently presented an award to Helen Thomas who only weeks before lost her job because of anti-Semitic comments, states on its web page about Islamophobia that (emphasis mine):

“ When 9-11 happened, the people already predisposed to viewing Islam with suspicion jumped on this bandwagon and through a multitude of primarily right-wing outlets have been successful in creating a climate of extreme prejudice, suspicion and fear against Muslims. This sentiment has also been aided by many pro-Israeli commentators such as Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Judith Miller, and Bernard Lewis among many others.”

Eric Margolis says with righteous indignation that “Islamophobia has become the mantra of the right, not only in the US, but across Europe” on the pages of the Huffington Post whilst promoting bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories on his own blog, designed to attribute the rise in Islamophobia to deliberate engineering by Israel and the Bush administration.

The Guardian prints a letter entitled “Islamophobia is a threat to Democracy” signed by assorted British public figures including Hamas supporter and funder George Gallowayand spokesman for the Hamas front known as the British Muslim Initiative, Anas Altikriti. Another signatory, Ismail Patel, is also a member of the BMI in addition to his activities at the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Islam Expo, the Conflicts Forum and the so-called human rights organization Friends of Al Aqsa, which promotes on its website the works of assorted fanatics and Holocaust deniers. Mr Patel was also a passenger on the Mavi Marmara, alongside the Muslim Brotherhood-linked IHH thugs. Another notable signatory is former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, best remembered for his warm welcoming of anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi. When challenged about his association with Qaradawi, Livingstone accused critics of being guilty of “lies and Islamophobia”.

One could go on and on, mentioning for example that the Muslim Council of Britain and Dr. Abdul Bari its Secretary General have repeatedly boycotted Holocaust Memorial Dayin Britain, that Caroline Lucas’ Green Party has a far from exemplary reputation on the subject of anti-Semitism or that Brendan Barber’s TUC sees fit to run a boycotting campaign (on the pretext of human rights abuses) against one country alone in the entire world and in collaboration with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign which openly supports those seeking the annihilation of that country and the patrons of which include prominent Union members.

The general state of affairs though is perfectly clear and eloquently described byEdmund Standing in an article entitled “ ‘Islamophobia’ and the Abuse of the Discourse of Anti-Racism”.

“While anti-Muslim bigotry is undoubtedly a problem that needs to be confronted, the elasticity of the concept of ‘Islamophobia’ is dangerous, for it is open to abuse by those who seek to silence legitimate criticism of Islamism and Islamic beliefs and practices. Arguably, for many who push the idea that the West is in the grip of rampant ‘Islamophobia’, silencing criticism of Islamist politics or Islam itself is their true intention. “

Edmund Standing correctly identifies one pernicious aspect of the misuse of the term Islamophobia – its employment as a deflection of opposition to radical Islamism. It is not by chance that some of the main promoters of the concept of an ever-rising wave of Islamophobia are also some of the key players on the Islamist scene. There is, however, an additional aspect to the situation and that is the fear of career-killing accusations of Islamophobia which paralyses broad swathes of the establishment in Western countries.

Rightly and justifiably, we will no longer tolerate racism, discrimination and bigotry in our democratic Western societies, but ironically, our failure to properly define anti-Muslim bigotry and the fact that the subject has been neglected and allowed to become the sole preserve of often ideologically motivated agents has led to our silent toleration of a growing number of human rights abuses within the developed world.

Female Genital Mutilation was outlawed in the UK in 1985. Despite the fact that some 500 girls a year are subjected to this horrific crime, there have been no prosecutions whatsoever.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

14 replies »

  1. I admit it.

    I am Islamophobic. Having seen the misery brought to women by the so-called “religion of peace” (huh!) and what it metes out to those who aren’t Muslims and those who it believes are not Muslim enough, it seems to me that there’s everything to be afraid of and precious little, if anything to be glad of in respect of it.

    Phobic reaction seems to me to be the only sane response to the influence of Islam.

    I am also fed up that people like me are called bigots because we share our reasonable fears of the encroachment of Islamist influence in our societies.

    Our governments and politicians of all stripes are raving mad for not recognising this malign influence for what it is – or rather choosing not to name it because they need Islamist support.

  2. “..So great is the fear of being branded Islamophobic that the Western establishment is failing miserably at tackling these obvious breaches of human rights happening to their citizens on their soil…”

    With respect, I disagree with you Hadar. The main driver of the Western establishment is indeed fear, but not of being branded Islamophobic. Rather it is fear of the Muslim hair-trigger mass reaction to real or imaginary slight. Islamists rioting are like killer bees.

  3. Islamophobia is a perfectly rational reaction to a totalitarian, supremacist, misogynistic, homophobic anti-semitic ideology. It has nothing to do with hating Muslims as individuals.

    No-one should fear being branded an Islamophobe, any more than being branded an anti-Nazi.

  4. Actually, can anyone define “anti-Muslim bigotry” for me?

    Is it holding Muslims who bleat that they are entitled to more than the rest of the population to the same standards of behaviour as the rest of the population of a country and criticising them when they fall short rather than invariably giving them a free pass, which has to be racist and the ultimate in bigotry?

    Is it criticising behaviour of certain Muslims who speak as Muslims and who claim to be behaving in whatever fashion we criticise because Islam requires them to do so (viz Bunglawala and his support of stoning to death for adultery because not to do so would be “betraying his prophet”, see http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joan-smith/joan-smith-islam-and-the-modern-world-dont-mix-760717.html )?

    The nasty Anjem Choudary squeals “Islamophobia” whenever anyone disagrees with his benighted and medieval ideas and when there was an outcry against his group’s demonstration at a homecoming parade. That rather debases the currency doesn’t it? Am I a bigot because I believe that he is a low life of the first order?

    Is it disagreeing openly with those Muslims who say that Islam is the supreme religion and that we should all adopt it and/or make way for its self-aggrandisement? (Was Medusa a bigot when she called out the lies of the antisemitic Islamic supremacists in her town? See http://cifwatch.com/2010/08/01/they-walk-among-us-a-personal-encounter-with-religious-supremacists/ and http://cifwatch.com/2010/09/27/they-still-walk-among-us-another-encounter-with-islamist-supremacists/ )

    Is it speaking out against the way that Muslim women are treated by dark ages sharia law, which is, after all, the Muslim law which its proponents want to force on the rest of us?

    Is it speaking out against the perpetration of Jew-hatred, endemic to Islam, and its too-ready conflation by such Muslims with hatred of the only Jewish state in the world?

    Is it criticising the fact that we hear very little, much less see it behaved, of the alleged “live and let live” aspects of Islam from Muslims themselves as a group?

    Part of dealing with misplaced accusations of Islamophobia and the too-ready stifling of debate, is to name the behaviours I have listed above for what they are.

    Islamists have us in a cleft stick of cognitive dissonance.

    They are deliberately using our need to feel comfortable about ourselves and our standards of what constitutes fair judgement and behaviour, and at the same time feeling profoundly uncomfortable with the unwanted encroachment into our lives of Islam/ism, our wanting to say so but feeling gagged, to undermine our sense of “Enough is enough!”

    Don’t let them. Call out this manipulation for what it is and be free of it.

  5. The entire structure of islam is fabricated towards denouncing, demonising and subjugating non-muslims – kuffars.

    Whereas islam clearly talks about other religions in explicitly derogatory terms, other faiths are either silent on these matters or when they do, they talk about tolerance and co-existence with others of different faith.

    Hinduism, foe example, would be nothing if its followers didn’t respect the non-Hindu faith of his fellow brother or sister, whereas once you convert out of Hinduism (as hundreds of millions have been “allowed” to over centuries) into islam, there is no safety mechanism to protect the same Hindu from rampant hatred towards him in your new found faith.

    So I loose out both ways: once when my brother converts out of the faith of our ancestors, then again when he turns against me.

    I put it to you that discrimination that exists within the practitioners of islam is far greater than that exists for them in kuffars.

    Take this for example:

    A Muslim’s life is worth twice that of a Jew or Christian, and fifteen times more than that of a Hindu or Buddhist and their respective women’s is half again.

    In Saudi Arabia death Compensation in respect of a male person:

    i. Muslim – SR. 100,000/-

    ii. Christian/Jew – SR.50,000/-

    iii. Other religions : such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, etc. – SR 6666.66

    In the case of death of a female, death compensation allowed is equal to half the amount as admissible to males professing the same religion.

    And they say Israel is an apartheid state!

    From Jihadwatch
    Originally from web site of Consulate General of India, Jeddah.

    This also begs a question, why does the Queen pay regular visits to Arabia and plays host to their Royal families accepting gifts etc. knowing full well the appalling apartheid system and complete absence of human rights there whereas she never dares to set a foot in Israel or welcomes her Prime Minister?

    PS, apologies for the long post (and any grammatical errors).


    (Am I an Islamophobic bigot because I deplore this which is done in the name of Islamic sharia law? Please post links here to any Muslim government which has publicly spoken out against this infamy):

    “..According to news received by the International Committee against Stoning and International Committee against Execution on 1 November 2010, the authorities in Tehran have given the go ahead to Tabriz prison for the execution of Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. It has been reported that she is to be executed this Wednesday 3 November.

    “We had previously reported that the casefile regarding the murder case of Ms Ashtiani’s husband had been seized from her lawyer’s office, Houtan Kian, and found missing from the prosecutor’s Oskoo branch office so as to stitch Ms Ashtiani up with trumped up murder charges. [Another man has already served a prison sentence and is now free for her husband’s murder.] Ms Ashtiani’s son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, have warned of the regime’s plan to do so on many occasions. With the arrest of Ms Ashtiani’s son and lawyer on 10 October and her not having had any visitation rights since 11 August and after fabricating a new case against her, the “Human Rights Commission” of the regime has announced that: ‘according to the existing evidence, her guilt has been confirmed.’ In fact, the regime has created a new scenario in order to expedite her execution.

    “In other news, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh and Houtan Kian have been severely tortured in order to obtain confessions against Sakineh and themselves since their arrests on 10 October along with two German journalists. The initial interrogations by the Ministry of Intelligence have now been completed and the casefile sent to the National Prosecutor General and Judiciary Spokesperson, Mohsen-Ejehi, in Tehran rather than being handled in Tabriz. Their families are concerned for their wellbeing. When attempting to secure lawyers for the two, authorities have said that the two men did not need legal representation.

    “Sajjad and Houtan Kian’s only ‘crime’ has been to defend Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and proclaim her innocence with facts and evidence. That their contact with Mina Ahadi is considered a crime is absurd given that Ahadi has been contacted by death row prisoners and their families and lawyers for many years now, including directly from prison. This is because of her many years of work against stoning and executions.

    “The International Committees against Stoning and Execution call on international bodies and the people of the world to come out in full force against the state-sponsored murder of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Ms Ashtiani, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, Houtan Kian and the two German journalists must be immediately and unconditionally released.

    “ACT NOW!

    “1. Contact government officials, MPs, MEPs, and the UN asking them to intervene urgently. Governments must immediately summon the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassadors and demand that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s execution be stopped and that she along with her son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and lawyer, Houtan Kian, and the two German journalists be immediately released.

    “2. Send letters of condemnation to the Islamic regime of Iran right away:

    Head of the Judiciary
    Sadeqh Larijani
    Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
    Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
    Tehran 1316814737, Iran
    Email: info@dadiran.ir or via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/75/Default.aspx
    First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address

    Head of the Judiciary in East Azerbaijan Province
    Malek-Ashtar Sharifi
    Office of the Head of the Judiciary in Tabriz
    East Azerbaijan, Iran

    Ali Khamenei
    The Office of the Supreme Leader
    Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
    Tehran, Iran
    Email: via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
    http://www.leader.ir/langs/fa/index.php?p=letter (Persian)

    Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
    Mohammad Javad Larijani
    Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
    Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri
    Tehran 1316814737, Iran
    Fax: +98 21 3390 4986
    Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com

    3. Please urgently donate to the Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani campaign by making your cheque payable to ‘Count Me In – Iran’ and sending it to BM Box 6754, London WC1N 3XX, UK. You can also pay via Paypal (http://countmein-iran.com/donate.html).

    For more information, contact:

    Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Execution and International Committee against Stoning: minaahadi@aol.com; Tel: +49 (0) 1775692413, http://stopstonningnow.com, http://notonemoreexecution.org

    PS: Don’t bother to contact Inayat Bunglawala. He wouldn’t help at all because he wouldn’t want to be seen to be “betraying his prophet.”

  7. Sarah-Leah,

    “With respect, I disagree with you Hadar. The main driver of the Western establishment is indeed fear, but not of being branded Islamophobic. Rather it is fear of the Muslim hair-trigger mass reaction to real or imaginary slight. Islamists rioting are like killer bees.”

    I believe you’d find that what they realy are afraid of are the clotting of the pipe lines.

    Oil and comercial damage.

    Further more, standing up against them can unite the extremely splintered muslim world.

    Since Islam is the fastest growing religion and about to over take christians the West has much to fear from their unification.

  8. Is it criticising behaviour of certain Muslims who speak as Muslims and who claim to be behaving in whatever fashion we criticise because Islam requires them to do so (viz Bunglawala and his support of stoning to death for adultery because not to do so would be “betraying his prophet”, see http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joan-smith/joan-smith-islam-and-the-modern-world-dont-mix-760717.html )?

    Indeed Bungle is a particularly obnoxious individual posing as a MODERATE. He is enraged by the actions of the US and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan but is silent when upwards of 350,000 Muslims are killed in Darfur because of violent conflict between Muslim Arab Blacks and Muslim African Blacks.

  9. “The nasty Anjem Choudary …”

    Nasty indeed, but I offer up prayers of thanks every day for the existence of AC: he tells it as it is, no taqiyya for him.

    Thanks to Choudary, anyone with eyes to see and ears to listen can discover what islam really is about.

  10. Itsik “…Further more, standing up against them can unite the extremely splintered muslim world…”

    With respect, I doubt that it would for very long if at all.

    “”Brother against brother, brothers together against cousins; brothers and cousins against the world.”

    They deceive so easily and equally easily believe that others will deceive them.

  11. “..Thanks to Choudary, anyone with eyes to see and ears to listen can discover what islam really is about…”

    And yet, like the UK and other western governments remain wilfully blind and deaf to the dangers it poses.

  12. SilverTrees, it is the governments, not the people. We should elect people who will treat us with some respect. As if we have rights, in fact.

  13. Well now that’s a surprise coming from Olmert!

    I agree that it’s time for the west, beginning with the USA and the UK, to come out of their comfort zone as regards the recognition of the dangers Islam poses to our way of life. My God, an MP has been stabbed by a clot of a Muslim woman who admits to having been influenced by Anwar al-Awlaki (may he roast in hell and as soon as possible) and there’s still no discernible change in the government’s strategy towards these scum!

    (And even if there were, there’d be too few police to do anything about them).