There’s a comment on The racism of the white wolf who cried Islamophobia that suddenly clarified for me what is probably a widespread misconception.
Interesting post, I’m a little bit disheartened by your suggestion of Harris & Dawkins as racist. I know at times they have not provided the nuance on Islam we would all like to see (something especially hard on twitter) but they have at least started a discourse which really did not exist from the liberal perspective circa 10 years ago.
No. That’s seriously wrong.
They have helped to draw attention to that discourse, but they certainly did not single- or rather double-handed start it all by themselves. The two of them did not create or start the discourse ex nihilo. It’s really pretty insulting to say they did – insulting to all the other people who contributed to starting that discourse long before Dawkins and Harris played any part, and with more inside knowledge about it. I mean, obviously, all the ex-Muslims and secular Muslims and liberal reformist Muslims who did. Ibn Warraq, Taslima Nasreen, Tarek Fatah, Homa Arjomand, Southall Black Sisters, Irshad Manji, Maryam Namazie – all were active well before The End of Faith and The God Delusion. Yes, Harris and Dawkins wrote best-sellers, but that doesn’t mean that they started the discourse, and they didn’t start it. (To be fair, I think they would say the same thing.)
Give them due credit, by all means, but don’t give them more than their due.