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May 03 2014

I Owe Ali Rizvi an Apology

I wrote recently in response to an article by Ali Rizvi in the Huffington Post about Islamophobia and a commenter suggested that I was misrepresenting his position. I had originally thought that he was denying the existence of Islamophobia entirely, but I was wrong. Somehow I had missed this one key sentence in his piece:

The phobia of being called “Islamophobic” is on the rise — and it’s becoming much more rampant, powerful, and dangerous than Islamophobia itself.

I think this makes clear that he does not deny that there is such a thing as Islamophobia, only that he thinks it’s a term that is being used to shut down criticism of Islam itself. I’d like to apologize to him for missing that crucial sentence and thus misrepresenting his position. Everything else in my post I continue to believe is accurate.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    atheist

    Big of you to say this.

  2. 2
    D Carter

    Well done–but then we already figured you for a mensch.

  3. 3
    Konradius

    I think the word islamophobia should never be used. In stead talk of muslimphobia. It’s much clearer what the actual target is and how to recognize it. And using it can make it clear that you might not like Islam (and really, who here likes the religion?), but you hate bigotry against muslims far more.

  4. 4
    dan4

    I still think it’s strange and criticism-worthy to state that being called “Islamophobic” is worse that Islamophobia itself.

  5. 5
    Chiroptera

    Monstrous, #3:

    Actually, the correct term is “blatant racism against ethnic minorities, protection of Christian privilege, and support for Western neo-liberal imperialist foreign policy, but we’ll cynically talk about the horrible parts of Islamic fundamentalism to try to get the liberals to support us.”

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit very well in a headline.

  6. 6
    Chiroptera

    Oops. The last comment was directed at Konradius, not “Monstrous.” No offense intended.

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ Chiroptera :

    Actually, the correct term is “blatant racism against ethnic minorities, protection of Christian privilege, and support for Western neo-liberal imperialist foreign policy, but we’ll cynically talk about the horrible parts of Islamic fundamentalism to try to get the liberals to support us.”

    You think that’s the correct term for it.

    I’d strongly disagree and ask you to prove it with evidence and logic.

    Islam is neither a race nor an ethnicity but a religious political ideology worse than Marxism.

    Concerns about Islamic fundamentalism such as the way it inspires appalling acts of terrorism , oppression of women, homophobic and encourages child rape and so on – no thees aren’t just talking points they are what really do make people like me genuinely angry – and I’d like to see you claim otherwise! Islam treats everyone including most Muslims like shit.

    Islam is, after all, a a particularly extreme version of all that’s worst inthe other two Abhrahamic religions but then adds a particularly vile war-mongering child-molesting, women enslaving desert bandit “prophet” of its own as the metaphorical “cherry on top” of that.

    Why Islam gets the amount of love and support it does from some commenters here on this supposedly secular atheist progressive blog really baffles me. What the fuck are some folks thinking?

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @4. dan4 : What do you base that opinion of yours there on may I ask?

    Incidentally, is it really a phobia to be afraid of something that should be genuinely disturbing? Was it a phobia when we worried about the Soviet empire or nuclear war?

  9. 9
    dingojack

    Muddle-Headed Wombat – “…Islam is neither a race nor an ethnicity but a religious political ideology worse than Marxism”.

    Marxists don’t postulate supernatural being(s) so they hold a political ideology, but not a religious political ideology as you implied. [/pedant]

    :D Good-Morning!
    Dingo

  10. 10
    Taz

    Intellectual integrity is one of the reasons I love this blog.

    One example of the misuse of the charge of Islamophobia that Rizvi mentioned, and the most troubling to my mind, is the canceling of screenings of the movie “Honor Diaries”.
    Ophelia Benson had a post about this recently.

  11. 11
    laurentweppe

    blatant racism against ethnic minorities, protection of Christian privilege, and support for Western neo-liberal imperialist foreign policy, but we’ll cynically talk about the horrible parts of Islamic fundamentalism to try to get the liberals to support us.

    And I hardly see how the fear of being libeled a blatant racist, defender of Christian privilege and supporter of neo-colonial imperialist foreign policy who pretends to give a fuck about the horrible parts of Islamic fundamentalism represent a bigger threat to western society than the actual racists, defenders of Christian privilege and supporters of neo-colonial imperialist foreign policy who pretend to give a fuck about the horrible parts of Islamic fundamentalism

  12. 12
    iangould

    “Anti-religious bigotry” works.

  13. 13
    laurentweppe

    @iangould

    Not so much: islamophobes use religion as a proxy for race, ethnicity, or (in Europe) social class: they don’t give a fuck about what the target of their animosity actually believe: for them Islam is just “the-religion-those-foreigners-we-should-disafranchise-often-adhere-to” and therefore a useful term to put them all in the same deterministic bag.

  14. 14
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ laurentweppe : Your citatations and supporting evidence for that would be .. ?

  15. 15
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @9. dingojack

    Muddle-Headed Wombat – “…Islam is neither a race nor an ethnicity but a religious political ideology worse than Marxism”.

    Marxists don’t postulate supernatural being(s) so they hold a political ideology, but not a religious political ideology as you implied. [/pedant]

    Well, I dunno. North Korea and their literal worship of the Kim clan incl. deification of the dead dictators who they refuse to accept are dead?

    The pretty durn close to religious worship of Lenin , Marx and Stalin in the old Soviet empire? Maybe not quite supernatural for the last totalitarian realm but certainly worshipful veneration of them I think.

  16. 16
    zenlike

    Well, a good example of a racist using the islamic religion as a proxy would be you StevoR.

  17. 17
    colnago80

    Re Chihuahua @ #9

    So says one of the apologists for Islamic fundamentalism, along with Weppe, Gould, and Gotts.

  18. 18
    colnago80

    Re StevoR @ #15

    Another plot by adherents of the “religion of peace”.

    http://goo.gl/A8AZnz

  19. 19
    dingojack

    Funny I don’t remember any ancestor worship* nor Islam** mentioned in the works of Karl Marx, perhaps you can point them out to me, I read them a long time ago.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * More to do with co-opting Shintoist practices than Marxism I’d say. And no, Lenin et. al. were not postulated as supernatural, so it fails the rule of thumb.
    ** What no imaginary 15Mt bombs to drop today? Nudnick chickenhawk.

  20. 20
    colnago80

    Re Dachshund @ #19

    Actually, Martin Gardner argued in his book, Fads and Fallacies in Science, that dialectical materialism was much like a religion in that it is based on claims with no evidence.

  21. 21
    dingojack

    So that’ll be a ‘no’ then.
    Dingo
    ——–
    By Gardner’s Criterion you must be an ass-kisser of 15Mt nuclear weapons (peace be on them). @@
    Belief without proof is not a sufficient definition.

  22. 22
    Alfa Jor

    @StevoR “Why Islam gets the amount of love and support it does from some commenters here on this supposedly secular atheist progressive blog really baffles me. What the fuck are some folks thinking?”

    Well, it’s the basic premise of Mr. Rizvi’s statement. the PHOBIA of being labeled Islamophobic.

    People are free to attack Judeo-Christian ideas and ideals and texts and, actually, most “thinkers” are encouraged to do so. Now, ask them to criticize the same in Islam and they won’t for fear of being labeled a bigot. No one likes to believe that they discriminate and have bias, and for some reason we are allowed to criticize the Judeo-Christian, but not the Islamic.

    If someone calls a “thinker” anti-Christian he or she scoffs at the notion. It is not a problem, and the label is often welcome. Being against principles set out in the Tanakh and Christian Bible actually confirms to most that we are, indeed, thinkers.

  23. 23
    dingojack

    Alfa Jor – Yeah I am just sooooooooo worried the Muslim goon squad is gonna break-down my door if I say their religion* is full o’ shit. @@

    It’s a little simpler than that:

    STEVO: Every Muslim impales puppies on bayonets just to watch them die! We should drop every nuclear weapon on Earth on every one of them, then gather the dust together, reanimate them, and do again and again!!!eleventy!!
    EVERYONE: WTF!! You’re so clueless about Muslims.
    STEVO: Why are you DEFENDING HORRIBLE MUSLIMS???!!!eleventy!!!???

    @@

    Dingo
    ——–
    * In fact all of them are.

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