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8/12/13

The Cry of Islamophobia. | Futile Democracy

The Cry of Islamophobia.


34 Votes This loathsome term [Islamophobia] is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics. -Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, Muslim, Ex-Cleric. Owen Jones makes quite clear in a reposted article from 2012, in the Independent, that he stands firm on the side of Mehdi Hasan when it comes to what they see as Islamophobia. This was reposted after Hasans spat with Richard Dawkins on Twitter yesterday. Dawkins wrote:

- An ill-judged, and inflammatory choice of words, no doubt. Interestingly, Dawkins has since made an apology and clarification. But I think Owen Jones is being incredibly hypocritical, and himself guilty of fanning the flames of an undefined Islamophobia that he seems so keen to call out at every possible opportunity. His hypocrisy takes on two forms; firstly Jones does not react with equal anger at any negative mention of other religions or religious figures. And secondly, he jumps to the unquestioning defence of Mehdi Hasan, despite Hasans equally disparaging remarks in the past, aimed at all non-believers. There is a distinct air of hypocrisy about Jones on this, but even more so with Hasan. Dawkins went on a similar attack against Mitt Romney in the run up to the 2012 US Election, and his Mormonism. Stating:

- And yet, there remained an eery silence from Owen Jones and Mehdi Hasan on this. No cries of Mormonophobia. Similarly, as Trey Parker and Matt Stone released The Book of Mormon; a mockery of Mormonism, in musical form, Owen Jones registered no disgust. Apparently Mormonism is fair game. Islam though, we must never mention Islam negatively. Owen writes:

- And yet, for all his apparent hatred of bigotry, another eery silence from Jones is brought to us, when we consider statements made (and very weakly defended) by Mehdi Hasan, in the past. For
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example, in 2009, Hasan gave a speech at the Al Khoei Islamic Centre, in which he quite openly states: The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, a people of no intelligence, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief people of no intelligence because theyre incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In a separate speech, Hasan also said: We know that keeping the moral high-ground is key. Once we lose the moral highground we are no different from the rest of the non-Muslims; from the rest of those human beings who live their lives as animals, bending any rule to fulfil any desire. - Is this not something along the lines of Kuffarophobic ? Is Richard Dawkins suggestion that Mehdi Hasan is irrational and not to be considered serious, at all different to Hasan referring to anyone who doesnt fit his narrow view of what is correct, as incapable of the intellectual effort it takes to shake off blind prejudices? Non-Muslims are a people of no intelligence. We live like animals. Regardless of whether this horrid little bigot knows me or not, he has concluded (and shrouded his conclusion in faith, as if that makes it acceptable), that I must live like an animal. Is this not the exact same form of bigotry that both Jones, and hypocritically, Hasan claim to disapprove so vehemently of? Can you imagine their feigned outrage, if Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins were to say that Muslims were to all be considered animals, unintelligent, and immoral, as a whole? The Guardian would have a heart attack. Owen Jones would spend his day on Twitter telling us how hes an Atheist but disapproves of such vile bigotry. But when his friend Mehdi Hasan does it, Jones is forever silent on it. There is no referring to Stone and Parker as bigots, for mocking Mormonism. No Presidential address in which were told the musical is in bad taste as we were told the cheaply made antiIslamic film was in bad taste. No referring to Monty Python as bigots for mocking the story of Jesus in The Life of Brian. Only the Christian Right jumped in to attack Jerry Springer the Opera for its display of a grown Jesus in a nappy. The musical won Laurence Olivier Awards. Owen Jones, again, eerily silent. Would the same respect for free expression be accepted, for the portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad in a nappy? Given that Danish cartoons result in condemnation not only from Muslims demanding the execution of anyone associated with the publication, but also from liberals in Western countries, along with judicial inquiries, sackings of Ministers who supported the cartoons, and deaths Id suggest that a similar musical mocking Islam would not be met with the same respect. It is not just those of us who dislike Islam as a doctrine, who treat the faith differently from other faiths. So to, do those insisting on shouting Islamophobia! at every possible opportunity, shielding it from the treatment afforded to other ideas. The word Islamophobia is seeped in hypocrisy and inconsistency. It is a way to tell you not to think for yourself. To accept, without question, that this particular idea is off limits with regard criticism of any form. To suggest otherwise, gets us to the rather peculiar point in which even a cartoon of the Prophet, is Islamophobic . And yet, there is no balance by which they pour not just equal any scorn whatsoever when certain undesirable features of Islam rear their ugly heads; as they failed to do with Hasans speech; as they would almost certainly pour upon writers, if a Book of Islam musical, were to be made in the mould of The Book of Mormon. Islam suffers from an inability to accept criticism, and reacts viciously whenever forms of criticism considered perfectly legitimate for all other concepts, is aimed in its direction. This inability seems to be rationalised, by non-Muslim apologists, by subtly hinting that any criticism/satire, must be Islamophobic . The vagueness of the term Islamophobia, the fact that the use of the suffix phobia is only
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The Cry of Islamophobia. | Futile Democracy

used in defence of one particular faith, the flippant way people like Owen Jones, and the horrifically hypocritical Mehdi Hasan throw it around, is, to its users, a huge strength. There is a genuine attempt by apologists, to link any criticism of Islam to racism. Grouping hostility and blatant racism and hate toward people, in the same category as criticism, satirism toward ideas is dangerous for discussion and for the health of that idea where it exists in a secular framework upon which all ideas are up for the same treatment. It is also quite absurd. It is this joining of race, with a faith, that makes criticism of the faith become synonymous with racism. Those of us who simply and openly do not like the ideas enshrined by Islamic doctrine, are not in anyway linking it to race. There is no element of race for us. We simply do not like the Quran, or the words or deeds of the Prophet, much in the same way we do not like the Bible, or the deeds of Abraham. I am under no obligation to offer any respect to a Holy Book that condemns me to eternal torture. It is a book I find cancerous, with absolutely no redeeming feature. Race, is irrelevant. Racism, like sexism, is hate based on biological differences. There is no doctrine involved. To claim racism, alongside Islam, is like claiming a deep hatred for all people with brown hair, if we learn that most Muslims have brown hair. It is absurd. My contention is simple; to push discussion, criticism, satire, ridicule of an authoritative idea be it religious or political out of the public sphere of acceptability, has the opposite effect. It creates a taboo, and it is latched onto by dangerous fanatics like those of the EDL, who undoubtedly do mix their dislike for a faith, with racism and Nationalism. I am quite unaware of what doesnt constitute Islamophobia. Is it okay for example, to suggest that Islam, like Catholicism, is inherently homophobic? Is it okay to argue that Islam, misogynistic? Is it okay to suggest that a secular UK is no place for horrendously patriarchal Shariah courts? Is it okay to say that punishment for apostasy or blasphemy, is putrid? What qualifies as Islamophobic ? Is it hate, or violence aimed at Muslim individuals? Is this not better defined as anti-Muslim hate (which I dont deny exists)? Or is it distaste for the idea of Islam itself? If we are to alienate criticism of Islam as a concept or as doctrines, is this not a form of positive discrimination that has the opposite effect of what it sets out to do? And could the manipulative use of the suffix phobia also be prescribed to be people like Hasan? To religious people in general? To have a phobia, is to display an irrational fear of something. I certainly dont fear individual Muslims, nor Islam in general. I dont like Islam, and I certainly fear how certain Muslims interpret their text and the words of their Prophet, far more so than other religions. But if we are to use the word Phobia to refer to criticism or mockery also, then we can also call out many religious doctrines and their adherents for being Feminismophobic Democracyophobic, Americanophobic, Westophobic? As I have previously noted: It is my belief, that the freedom to satirise, mock, criticise, as well as question all authoritative ideas, including all religions that themselves are openly critical of how those outside the faith live their lives, is the cornerstone of a progressive, and reasonable society. These ideas include the freedom to satirise and criticise and question deeply held political ideals, including my own. We must not allow religions to be free from satire, nor criticism, simply because it is cloaked in faith. To close them to criticism/satirism by using State controls and violence, means that the idea becomes taboo, humanity cannot progress the idea, and it gives the idea an authority above what it is reasonably justified in having, over the lives of not just its followers, but those who dont wish to adhere to its principles. This is dangerous. - I stand by this.
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The Cry of Islamophobia. | Futile Democracy

The openness by which ideas are debated, satirised, and critiqued, is the most important way in which their adherents are taken seriously, become integrated, and viewed equally to all others. This is different entirely to discrimination (demanding deportation of Muslims, is quite obviously anti-Muslim hate, as is any suggestion that a Muslim shouldnt be President of the US. it is not, however, to be considered Islamophobic alongside anyone criticising or poking fun at Islam) If however, their adherents demand a special dispensation and protection from the treatment that all other ideas are open too, or seek to silence, then inevitably, they are treated suspiciously. It is absolutely right for all to be free to question and to criticise and ridicule the idea of Islam; as it is right for all to be free to criticise and ridicule every faith and every idea, especially if that idea is authoritative outside of the private life of the individual believer. This includes criticism and ridicule of Atheism, includes evolution, includes Conservative, includes Liberalism, includes Christianity, includes Mormonism, includes Communism, includes Capitalism. Islam is not, and should not be shut off from that, nor should it in any way, be linked to race from either the far right, or the far left. It is an idea. It deserves to be treated like every other idea. Those who shout Islamophobia at any hint of a dislike for Islam, lose all credibility the moment they do not apply the same criteria to the satire and mockery of other ideas, or when they seemingly refuse, or make excuses for people like Mehdi Hasan and his repugnant comments on non-believers. You are not suffering from a phobia, nor are you under any obligation to unquestioningly respect any idea or feel silenced from criticising or satirising any idea, including religious.
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19 Responses to The Cry of Islamophobia.


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8/12/13

The Cry of Islamophobia. | Futile Democracy

Zed says:
April 30, 2013 at 10:56 am Americans are stupid bloody bastards futile democracy or ugly perverted white dude

futiledemocracy says:
May 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm Thank you! But Im English.

tamimisledus says:
July 31, 2013 at 3:12 pm For all muslims (NOT just *extremists*) allah is the source of all truth, as revealed in the koran, and that truth cannot be contradicted. In the koran, allah has shown to muslims (again ALL), through word and deed, that all non-muslims are worthless trash who will be tortured for infinity. That is just one of the very many reasons why muslims will never be fit for democracy. That is not a feeling, that is the only rational conclusion based on understanding the beliefs of muslims.

Steynian 485nst | Free Canuckistan! says:


August 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm [] POLITICAL FORBIDDING The Cry of Islamophobia. This loathsome term [Islamophobia] is nothing more than a []

James Plaskett says:

August 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm Right on! And lets see Richard Dawkins himself standing up for that which matters to him and the author of this piece the most: Free Speech!! http://www.lauralee.com/milton2.htm

The Syed Atheist says:


August 9, 2013 at 9:45 pm Reblogged this on The Syed Atheist.

Matt says:
August 9, 2013 at 9:47 pm A brilliant piece. A lot of what Im thinking is set out in this article. Just wish I had the intellect and knowledge to articulate it like youve done. Keep up the good work.

HorstMohammed says:
August 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm I can understand that people with an inclusive view of society are much more reluctant to criticize or mock an out-of-power group like Muslims. Especially so when theyre already being subjected to unwarranted attacks from right-wingers simply because they dont fit the dominant cultural template. But while being weak, suppressed, disenfranchised, and discriminated against on the basis of your faith are all perfectly valid grounds for receiving sympathy and support, it doesnt make you right in each and every aspect or exempt your belief system from criticism.

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wlloyd019 says:

August 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm A refreshing read. Islam is just another ideology and legitimate criticism of it should not be dismissed as a set of racist non-sequiturs.

simon says:

August 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm One of the best articles I have ever read on Islamophobia and the right to criticise religions. Well said!

John Dickinson says:


August 9, 2013 at 11:39 pm Sound logic. Insightful. Well presented but you need to be aware of correct use of commas. This erroneous quirk undermines the article.

EDL LGBT Division says:

August 10, 2013 at 12:00 am reluctant to criticize or mock an out-of-power group like Muslims. Thats a rather simplistic view of power. Its perfectly clear that muslims are powerful where they have the numbers. Take Tower Hamlets, where they were able to leave a gay man paralysed outside a gay bar, and the media described it as random knife crime. Even when one of the 8 muslims was convicted (the rest were never identified), gangs of muslims returned to attack the gay bar and its customers. And the media didnt even report the attack on the gay bar.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1162755/Fashion-student-paralysed-random-attackbrother-claims-left-looking-like-watering-can.html Thats power. Or take the impunity with which, in a 24 hour period 3 different groups of muslim men near Manchester abducted & raped a 12yo girl. Only one of them was convicted, and he was out in 3 years. http://www.youhavenotdefeatedme.co.uk/Featured/what-happened-to-sammi.html Thats power. The idea that muslims are powerless even in non-muslim countries is simply a pitying fantasy from those who live nowhere near them. Islamic-nazi groups can hold conferences in football stadia in England, and get 10,000 antidemocracy, murderously homophobic muslims to pay to attend. All from less than 5% of the population. No doubt when the BNP has a conference, they hold it above a pub, not in a football stadium. Whos out-of-power? It isnt muslims.

Liam Quinn says:


August 10, 2013 at 4:37 am Islamic-nazi groups can hold conferences in football stadia in England, and get 10,000 antidemocracy, murderously homophobic muslims to pay to attend. Do you have a link or evidence to support this assertion?

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HorstMohammed says:
August 10, 2013 at 7:02 am See, that is precisely the problem that leads to these knee-jerk Islamophobia charges. Any criticism of Muslims, no matter how well-founded, could result in unintended support for the agenda of right-wing bigots like you, even if its just momentarily.

mike (@tech_evang) says:


August 10, 2013 at 9:00 am Im happy to let Mehdis kaffar speech go unscrutinised, they are his beliefs and he is only eschewing them to others who share them in that context. However, Jones cherry picking that tweet in the same way Nesrine Malik did on CIF whilst they could have applied pretty much all of the same logic to some of Mehdis previous tweets is just unbelievable.

CJ Rock says:

August 10, 2013 at 9:17 am The reason why you get Islamaphobia is not because of articles like this. You get it because some people are unable to differentiate between religion, people and doctrine EDL person has decided to associate gay hate crime with an entire group and the actions a few hateful people as a representation of all. The EDL has decided to single put Islam as a representation of all the ills in society which are found throughout society. As an atheist I believe that religion has to be challenged, I dont believe however that I need to join groups like EDL(who also need to be challenged) a group who sole focus is Islam. I hope that ,make some kind of sense. In a way I think all bad ideas that prohibit society need to be challenged, but not at the cost of freedom and liberty to all.

Scott says:
August 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm I think the reason why people like Jones and other non-Muslim writers are so eager to defend Islam is because they feel as though they are a persecuted minority. So the Islamaphobia reaction is born out of good intentions, even though its based on a false premise. I think that writers like Hasan and Jones look at the Israeli occupation of Palestine and see that as a model for the way that Muslims are treated worldwide: wealthy non-Muslims persecuting poor Muslims, and so do anything they can to rectify this problem, which include insulating them and their beliefs from criticism. Their thinking seems to be along the lines of Muslims have been through and are going through so much abuse all over the world. The good, liberal-minded thing to do is to stand up for persucuted people and since I cant actually go over and fight on their behalf, Im going to do whatever I can to help them over here which is protecting them from hurtful speech. Again, I think the intention here is good and that Jones and others are very decent people who really care about the suffereing of others. But as the author clearly explained in the article above, shielding a particular group from criticism and creating a taboo is totally counter-productive. Theres no doubt that many Muslims are discriminated against across Europe and feel disenfranchised. But across the Muslim world, the vast majority of hurt and abuse suffered by Muslims comes from the hand of other Muslims. The help to people women and girls, homesexuals, religious minorities and other persecuted peoples across the Islamic world should and hopefully will come from other Muslims writers and activists who fearlessly fight for progress and modernity at the risk to their own lives or careers. It will not come by fuelling identity politics and senselessly placating millions of Muslim adults and as though they were children who cant bear to have their feelings hurt.
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natashakalantar says:

August 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm Reblogged this on Write me into the history books. .

Moeen says:
August 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm What does xyz-ism or abc-ism have to do with Islam? Mehdi defends Islam and Owen Jones is a man with common ense who can easily prioritise between current affairs on the basis of higher probabilities of reaction also he knows that Muslims havent forgot their values in general so they cannot and will not ignore stuff against their valued religion. @Scott, I agree with the same perspective that Jones is doing it out of humanity and is a man with good heart. I further believe that he is a realistic being living among the capitalists and their vicitims may it across oceans (africans, Muslims, vietnamese etc)or their own poor fellows and countrymen. Islamophobia Its a powerfull enemy for the capitalism (because interest is haram/forbidden) and aetheism (because they cant prove anything against it) Therefore Muslims cant have stupid nobel prizes, they care about it? i seriously doubt it. I think even in these miserable times 1 in every 100 Muslims if studied only for their charities, taking an unbiased and realistic approach, can be nominated for nobels in general Muslims arent doing it for an acheivement in this world but are doing it for the hereafter which is promised to our fellow beings and taught by almost every religion.

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