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An Example of Islamophobia

“I’m being bullied at school because of my race and religion. They call me a terrorist because they know I’m Muslim. I’ve lost my temper a few times – it really frustrates me because then I end up getting in trouble. Some of my friends stick up for me, but it’s not enough, I want the teachers to do something but they always tell me they’re too busy.”

You can’t be racist against Islam, it’s not a race! 

The battle cry of the racist who thinks he has found a technicality which allows him to spew his bigotry aimed at anyone not Anglo-Saxon. We have said time and time again that Islamophobia exists but what we label as Islamophobia is often genuine criticism of real issues.

It is easier to pass through society being white and Muslim since the stereotype in the UK is “Muslims are Asian”. So any open bigotry is usually reserved until the “big reveal”.

But for those who openly follow a faith there is outright bigotry.

Last year when the EDL supporters (who are not racist!) chanted “Go Home” at me on a Train, Mancunians stood up for me.

I wonder how many would stand up this year in the light of the changing dialogue on immigration and how the dialogue is being dominated by right wingers.

Comments

  1. sacharissa says

    I’ve seen public transport racists in action a couple of times. These days it often gets filmed and put on YouTube and there have been prosecutions. I watched one and other passengers were challenging the racist.

    As for the ones I saw in person, the first was as a teenager. On the bus home from school there was a (white, Irish) man who kept swearing at all the kids. He kept saying racist things to all the black and Asian students. He called us all uneducated, which was a bit rich from someone who couldn’t formulate a sentence without using the f-word. Most of the kids just laughed at him. When he said it was all so much better in Ireland (which on his personal planet had no immigrants) they asked why he didn’t go back there. He then decided that all the white kids were Jewish and added anti-semitic abuse to his repertoire. He said something to me but I didn’t hear it. At some point another man got really angry and told him to shut up. He was quiet for a bit. I got off the bus.

    The next day I heard that once I was gone he started having a go at my friend. He told her she was Jewish rubbish and that she was so ugly she would never find a husband. She wasn’t actually Jewish but she was upset as was a Jewish friend of ours when she heard about it.

    The second time was recent. It was outside a station. A man who was clearly off his head started going up to people who weren’t white and shouting “Go home!” They ignored him. I didn’t want to tackle him as he seemed potentially dangerous. He went up to some young black men and started having a go at them, trying to pick a fight but they just laughed at him. Which was lucky for him because he was older and unhealthy looking while they were young and strong.

  2. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    First Avicenna, I’m sorry to hear that happened to you – you certainly don’t deserve that and shouldn’t have to put up with such treatment from nasty idiots.

    (Who are ‘Mancunians’ btw?)

    Couple of small nits and one point :

    You can’t be racist against Islam, it’s not a race!
    The battle cry of the racist who thinks he has found a technicality which allows him to spew his bigotry aimed at anyone not Anglo-Saxon.

    Why use “he” specifically? One case of a racist that got some media attention in Australia the other year was a woman on a train(or was it a bus, I forget) saying some pretty horrible things.

    The statement is also true – Islam isn’t a race and is a religious ideology with a long historical and contemporary record of arguing for and getting its followers especially the more extreme fundamentalist militant ones. Islam’s association with terrorism hasn’t come about by accident but because of a very long list of appalling atrocities around the globe committed by Jihadist terrorists.

    Now these may, okay definitely are, a small and unrepresentative minority of Muslims but their actions have made a huge impact and explain why the religion of Islam is currently so disliked by most Westerners. Its not a ‘phobia’ to be afraid of something or some group that really does pose a serious danger. Sadly for everyone, we *do* have reason to think that followers of Islam could be dangerous based on recent history and current news items from most notoriously 9-11 and earlier acts of Islamic terrorism going back to the old PLO “terror on the airlines” days to last years murder of Lee Rigby and the Boston bombings.

    I also think the term “islamophobia” is or can be misused as asilencing tactic to prevent criticism of certain Muslim groups and practices thatdeserve tobe called out such as FGM, theburqua and other misogynist customs and political activism aimed at making the world more religious and less free and secular for everyone.

    I treat (or at least always try to treat) everyone I meet in life equally and well and act unto them in response to how they treat me and others. I couldn’t give a fig about skin colour and don’t believe in”race” as anything more than a socially constructed dangerous myth that has led to some appalling injustices and mistreatments of various groups.

    I’ve had Muslim friends, lecturers and neighbours and got on fine with them.

    Everyone regardless of ethnicity and gender and other superficialities is a human individual and should be treated as such on their merits.

    Ideas and ideologies too should be treated on their merits.

    Muslims as individuals are fine. are, well, exactly that, individuals with all the human variability in all aspects who happen to believe in Islam.

    But Islam itself is a set of religious ideas that range from the silly (eg. Mohammad rode on flying horse Buraq in a night from central Arabia to Jerusalem and thus that makes that city third holiest to Muslims although he never actually lived or really visited there.)</i< to the downright disgustingly evil. (E.g. Mohammad “married” a six year old girl – or three – (“consummated” their “relationship” when she was nine) yet remains a literally revered role model figure. Homicide-suicide bombings and other murderous killings in the name of one’s religion is supposedly okay even admirable)

    So, yes, I tend to think that Islam as a religious ideology is a very nasty and dangerous set of beliefs which at least motivates and contributes to a whole lot of people doing utterly horrific things that non-Muslims wouldn’t do or find anywhere near as easy to (in their minds at least) justify.

    Do you think pointing these things out makes me racist or Islamophobic or is it just being realistic and rational and fair?

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Italics fail. Fix for clarity :

    Islam itself is a set of religious ideas that range from the silly (eg. Mohammad rode on flying horse Buraq in a night from central Arabia to Jerusalem and thus that makes that city third holiest to Muslims although he never actually lived or really visited there.) to the downright disgustingly evil. (E.g. Mohammad “married” a six year old girl – or three – (“consummated” their “relationship” when she was nine) yet remains a literally revered role model figure. Homicide-suicide bombings and other murderous killings in the name of one’s religion is supposedly okay even admirable)

    So, yes, I tend to think that Islam as a religious ideology is a very nasty and dangerous set of beliefs which at least motivates and contributes to a whole lot of people doing utterly horrific things

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    One comparative religions reflection here.

    I think one of the differences with Islam and most other major world religions is how nasty a character the “prophet” Mohammad was compared with say Jesus or Buddha.

    Jesus and Buddha were essentially nice vaguely hippy-type individuals who didn’t really favour violence at least in the main.

    If Buddha had a modern rap sheet it would read only vagrancy and begging, Jesus would be slightly worse and longer with assault, maybe oublic nuisance added to his list. (For the attack on the money-lenders in the Temple. He’d also have blasphemy charges against him – which in his time he was executed for – but I’m ignoring that as not a real crime.)

    Mohammad OTOH, was, in today’s terms, a child molesting, violence advocating desert bandit leader who would face serious war crimes charges, multiple counts of murder, rape, pedophilia, theft, etc .. Yet Mohammad is seen as admirable and worshipped by Muslims which I find disturbing given his life story and what he did and how horrid some of the things he did were.

  5. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. NOT that that in any way whatsoever justifies mistreating or abusing or harming any individual Muslim individuals, I have to add I suppose.

    (Although this should be axiomatic.)

    Muslims are individuals and mostly good people.

    Islam is a religious and political ideology; set of ideas that are really pretty repellent and nasty.

  6. Silentbob says

    @ 2 StevoR

    (Who are ‘Mancunians’ btw?)

    I didn’t know either, but it took 2 seconds on Google to find out. (People from Manchester.)

    Now these may, okay definitely are, a small and unrepresentative minority of Muslims but their actions have made a huge impact and explain why the religion of Islam is currently so disliked by most Westerners. Its not a ‘phobia’ to be afraid of something or some group that really does pose a serious danger. Sadly for everyone, we *do* have reason to think that followers of Islam could be dangerous based on recent history and current news items from most notoriously 9-11 and earlier acts of Islamic terrorism going back to the old PLO “terror on the airlines” days to last years murder of Lee Rigby and the Boston bombings.

    You contradict yourself. First you say terrorists are not representative of Muslims, immediately after that you say “we” do have reason to assume Muslims are dangerous. If terrorists are indeed “a small and unrepresentative minority of Muslims” then being fearful of Muslims in general, especially those just going about their normal, everyday business, is indeed a phobia.

    @ 3 StevoR

    Islam itself is a set of religious ideas that range from the silly (eg. Mohammad rode on flying horse Buraq in a night from central Arabia to Jerusalem and thus that makes that city third holiest to Muslims although he never actually lived or really visited there.)…

    Silly as opposed to what? Moses parting the Red Sea? Noah stuffing all the animals into a big boat? Jesus walking on water? Jonah travelling around in the mouth of a big fish? YHWH entering into a covenant with Abraham in exchange for all the men’s foreskins? (The “silly” belief that an imaginary deity made a mythological promise to a fictional ancestor that his descendants would own the land of Canaan (Palestine) in perpetuity is a major justification used by Israelis who continue to build illegal settlements in occupied territories.)

    … to the downright disgustingly evil. (E.g. Mohammad “married” a six year old girl – or three – (“consummated” their “relationship” when she was nine) yet remains a literally revered role model figure.

    Moses went on the run after committing murder. Abraham was a bigamist who bound up his child with the intention of murdering him. Lot got drunk and impregnated his daughters. Joshua attempted to conquer the land of Canaan by killing all the men and enslaving all the women (to be raped later). Need I go on?

    … Homicide-suicide bombings and other murderous killings in the name of one’s religion is supposedly okay even admirable)

    Yes, I suppose I do need to go on. Samson collapsed a Philistine temple in a homicide-suicide attack that claimed three thousand lives (about the same death toll as 9/11). Earlier he killed a thousand Philistines in a day with the jawbone of an ass.
    (Trivia: Did you know that it is from the Philistines that Palestine, and hence the Palestinians, get their name?)

    Let’s face it, Islam is hardly unique as an Abrahamic religion that glorifies violence. Even Jesus was a blood sacrifice.

    @ 2 StevoR

    [Islam] motivates and contributes to a whole lot of people doing utterly horrific things that non-Muslims wouldn’t do or find anywhere near as easy to (in their minds at least) justify.

    Terrorism is a form of warfare typically resorted to by people who lack military strength, and are facing a militarily powerful opponent. Prior to the rise of Islamism, the word “terrorist” was mostly associated with the IRA (Catholics). It was also used by Zionists (Jews) to drive the British out of Palestine. I have no idea why you would think that people of other religions would be less inclined to use terrorism than Muslims, when faced with the same circumstances.

    @ 4 StevoR

    Mohammad is seen as admirable and worshipped by Muslims

    Mohammed is not worshipped by Muslims, in fact that would be considered shirk, a sin. Mohammed is considered the “seal of the prophets”, that is, the last of a line of prophets that includes Jesus, Moses and Abraham, among others.

    @ 5 StevoR

    Islam is a religious and political ideology

    You are conflating Islam and Islamism. Islam is a religion with five “pillars” – monotheism, prayer, fasting, tithing and pilgrimage. Islamism is a political movement rooted in Islam. Just as Zionism is a political movement rooted in Judaism, and Dominionism is a political movement rooted in Christianity. (I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, and so am personally opposed to all three political movements.)

    @ 2 StevoR

    Do you think pointing these things out makes me racist or Islamophobic or is it just being realistic and rational and fair?

    You certainly seem to have a disproportionate antipathy toward Muslims that is suggestive of prejudice.

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