Is this man “Islamophobic,” or perhaps even racist?


It was a concern of Winston Churchill, it is a concern of mine, it is a concern of many other, like this man in conversation with Katie Hopkins on the radio Leading Britain’s Conversation. Is this man “Islamophobic”? Is this man a racist? He ticks all the boxes that lead to these smears.

Comments

  1. says

    Churchill was a horrible racist.

    “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.

    He also failed to take the Turks seriously (either because of their race or religion, you decide) and based military strategies on that, which got a great number of Turks and Britons (and Australians, who he appears to have not given a shit about) killed.

    Churchill was a horrible incompetent, a platinum-spooned oligarch, a historical revisionist, a racist, and a hell of a writer.

    I don’t see your point, unless you’re trying to own-goal that indeed, racists and islamophobes are unpleasant people.

    “But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness.” – W Churchill

  2. Holms says

    I’m not sure why islamophobic is in quotes; you appear to be denigrating the very concept.

  3. StevoR says

    Can a Muslim be Islamophobic?

    Maybe that’s the wrong question?

    Can a woman internalise and reflect and vent back misogyny and misogynist attitudes and canards despite her gender?

    Can a a queer person reflect back, internalise and vent homophobic attitudes and views despite their identity and nature?

    I think, sadly, that’s often the case.

    Also as #1. Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous noted Katie Hopkins?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Hopkins

    Do you seriously think she’s worth listening to here?

    • StevoR says

      Anjuli Pandavar, I think you are better than this, know better than this. Sorry. I don’t mean to pile on – although mea culpa I kinda am doing so I know – and I don’t think you are a bad person but, well, I do ask that you reconsider this please.

  4. Paul Money says

    An adverse opinion of Islam can range from mild criticism of one or some features, to outright condemnation of the religion whole and entire. Is Islam (and presumably every religion) to be regarded as above and beyond criticism? Clearly not in my view and if one can criticise a part of it one can criticise the whole. However we should not equate Islam and Muslims as being the same thing. The one is a religion, a culture and a philosophy, the other is just people. One can detest Islam (as I do) and yet like the people. I would go further and say that if Muslims in my area were under threat I would go to great lengths to support them and their rights! The same would apply to Catholics, Jews, Mormons, any religion I can think of. Religion, in my view, poisons everything, including the lives of the people that it sucks in, but that is no reason to hate the people.

  5. polishsalami says

    Anjuli is warning us about a monstrous creed that wants to enslave the entire human race. The people who are whining about this post are big sooks who need to grow a spine.

  6. says

    @Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous

    Because there are extremist Muslims, there cannot be extremist haters of Muslims? Please explain the logic.

    Where the hell did she say that?

    Also, Katie bloody Hopkins? Really?

    The question was “Is this man islamophobic?” not “Is the person this man is talking to islamophobic?”

    I saw the video and, yeah, Katie Hopkins was a bit of a dunce.
    Julian: “I am afraid of speaking out against islam because of the threat of violent reprisal from my community”
    Katie: “I know right? I got called a racist once”
    Quite a lack of perspective and self-awareness on her part, and that 4 minute video is the first thing I’ve ever seen of her. Jesus Christ, the guy is talking about the risk he takes by speaking up and all she does is make it all about herself, what a fucking idiot. I also get that prior statements and actions are pretty reliable clues that she is, in fact, islamophobic.

    But this isn’t about her.

    The opening question of this thread is entirely about Julian. Are muslims and former muslims allowed to voice what they think of their oppressors? Is this woman islamophobic? How about this woman?

    I understand that statements such as “Islam is not a religion of peace” or “Islam is trying to kill atheists and apostates” do increase prejudice and violence against muslims, but, should the people making those statements be shut down? Even when they’re correct? Even when they are, themselves, victims of islam?
    Should the brutal treatment of Israel on Palestinians be shut down in fear of such discussions leading to antisemitism?
    Should homophobia in the black community be ignored because it may lead to racism?

    @StevoR

    Can a Muslim be Islamophobic?
    Maybe that’s the wrong question?
    Can a woman internalise and reflect and vent back misogyny and blah blah blah?
    Can a a queer person reflect back, internalise and vent homophobic yadda yadda?

    They can. Is that what happened? Just because someone can be a self-hating whatever doesn’t mean they are. It would be just awesome if you and Daz made some kind of case about what of all the things Julian said is wrong and why. But so far I’m the only asshole that’s even bothered to say his name. It’s like no one here even wants to mention him.

    Also as #1. Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous noted Katie Hopkins?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Hopkins
    Do you seriously think she’s worth listening to here?

    She’s not. Julian is.

    Are you guys intentionally deflecting away from the point of the discussion? Or Julian, and his situation as a muslim living in fear of speaking up, is just irrelevant to you?

    • says

      A Lurker from mexico #7:

      Because there are extremist Muslims, there cannot be extremist haters of Muslims? Please explain the logic.

      Where the hell did she say that?

      The opening question of this thread is entirely about Julian. Are muslims and former muslims allowed to voice what they think of their oppressors?

      You’d be right if it wasn’t for the sarcasm implied by the scare-quotes on “Islamophobia.” And please note; being aware of the fact that I may have misread the intent of those quotes—even though I can see no other way to interpret them—I said, quite plainly, that I didn’t understand the point being made, and asked if the point being made was the point I had read into her words. I even used a question mark at the end of the sentence, to show that I was asking a question, not making a statement.

      Are you guys intentionally deflecting away from the point of the discussion?

      Are you intentionally misreading my very plainly worded comment in order to satisfy a need to start an argument?

      (And the video: it’s almost all about Hopkins. She spends most of it expounding on her own thoughts whilst pretending to engage with Julien’s.)

    • StevoR says

      @ 7. A Lurker from mexico :

      They can. Is that what happened? Just because someone can be a self-hating whatever doesn’t mean they are.

      I don not know. That is why I raised the question for consideration, don’t you think it is at least a possibility which is worth contemplating?

      She’s (Hopkins) not. Julian is. (Worth listening to -Ed.)

      Thing is its Katie Hopkin’s show and she is just a horrible excuse for a human being who has said a lot of really hateful things about alot of people and so as a source of (dis) information and as a conduit for the views of others, I personally, wouldn’t touch her with a bargepole. I don’t consider her or her show worth citing seriously as any sort of supporting evidence for much beyond examples of her own nastiness and unrelaibility.

      Julian I don’t know at all. Give me another context for him outside of Katie Hopkin’s show and maybe I’ll take him more seriously – but as what I think amounts to a “gotcha!” prop on a pretty much open troll’s program, not-so-much.

      Are you guys intentionally deflecting away from the point of the discussion? Or Julian, and his situation as a muslim living in fear of speaking up, is just irrelevant to you?

      No. Speaking personally, not at all. But I’m just saying consider the source of the material and its associations with someone who is a truly vile person; as such I do think it is dubious.

      I’d also add that the term “Muslim”” like the term “Christian”, like “Jewish” like “Athiest / agnostic / non-religious” covers a wide spectrum of beliefs that differ considerably amongst themselves. I’m no fan of Islam (or any religion) as a general whole at all but I do think that’s worth remembering please.

      • StevoR says

        First line of mine (excluding the quote) should read “I do NOT know.”

        Typo, sorry, mea culpa. Please feel free to fix and edit accordingly which would be much appreciated.

  7. says

    So okay, going through the video, Julian doesn’t actually say very much:

    He starts off with a completely bullshit argument. If British people went to what he calls “our” country—presumably a Muslim-majority country—they wouldn’t be granted the same freedoms which Muslims expect in Britain. To which, all I can say is “So what?”

    Then he mentions that sometimes he feels frightened “in a way” (his words) of being judged by his community for transgressing norms, questioning Islam and so forth. Well everyone feels like that, especially youngsters, and especially if they live in a tight-knit community. (Hell, I got beat up once in my late teens for wearing the “wrong” band T-shirt.) And yeah, it’s worse in communities with a strong religious component, but it’s far from being unique to Muslim communities; and note that he doesn’t even hint that he expects any kind of violent reaction. Hardly a description of extremism, and hardly an Islamophobic statement, whether from a Muslim describing his own fears or from an outsider describing the community.

    Then he says he feels unsafe around veiled women, but then goes on to describe a kind of cultural embarrassment rather than actual fear. Not sure what to make of that—Hopkins interrupts him (quelle surprise), so he doesn’t get to finish his thought or clarify his meaning.

    Then, to round things off they discuss whether katie is a racist or not. They unanimously agreed she isn’t, which, given she described both gypsies and Syrian refugees as feral humans, further described those refugees as cockroaches and claimed they were “spreading like the norovirus,” and that she once retweeted approvingly a statement in favour of racial profiling made by an actual nazi with an actual bloody swastika on his avatar, means, I suppose, that the word “racism” must have been radically redefined while I wasn’t looking.

    Barring the radical redefinition of racism, I see nothing really remarkable there. The veils thing could be a dog whistle in some circumstances, but in isolation means little. There’s no mention by him of violence, indoctrination of children, or any of the things which one would associate with extremism—he doesn’t even come back to those subjects when Hopkins mentions them in passing before asking him something else—so I’m not sure why the question “Is this man Islamophobic?” even applies.

  8. says

    Oops sorry, he does mention “There is so much violence in our communities” right at the end. No clarification though. Many of the poorer areas like those where immigrants end up have a disproportionate amount of violence so he could be talking of religiously-based violence, your “normal” street fights and gang-related stuff etc, or a mixture. Is this or could this be Islamophobic? No Idea really but I doubt it, since he was merely worried about judgement not violent retribution when talking of questioning Islam.

  9. says

    @ Daz
    Thank you. Wasn’t that hard, was it?

    So we agree that the answer to the question “Is this man ‘islamophobic’, or perhaps even racist?” is, as far as the available evidence can take us, “no” and “no”. That’s great.

    Is it possible that there is some element exclusive to islam (if only nowadays) that makes transgressing more frightening than it is for people in most other communities? I mean, when this is a thing that’s often talked about of your community, perhaps transgressing your community’s norms becomes a bigger deal to you than it is for the average rebellious teen, wouldn’t it?

    It’s possible that he was talking about your normal poorer area street fights/gangs related stuff when he said violence, it’s possible that he was talking about your run-of-the-mill social pressure/awkward dinner with the parents/someone gave you a wedgie in school stuff when he said he was afraid of speaking out. Maybe you think that fatwas on critics and violence against those who transgress on islam is overplayed by the media, but still, the fact that those topics are being talked about is enough to give a little more weight to the idea that Julian was afraid of violence for speaking out.

    I do understand the people who are concerned. Islamophobia is real, and muslims are also attacked. I can see that accusations (Both real and fake) of them being violent people with a violent ideology are the main source of discrimination against them. I don’t believe that dismissing such accusations reflexively is of any help to anyone.

    What annoyed me about this thread is that, despite the title of the thread being a pretty clear prompt to listen to Julian, nobody wanted to talk about that.
    Your and StevoR’s first reaction was to talk about Katie Hopkins.
    Marcus’ was to talk about Churchill.
    Holms’ was to talk about quotation marks.

    When I asked:

    Are you guys intentionally deflecting away from the point of the discussion? Or Julian, and his situation as a muslim living in fear of speaking up, is just irrelevant to you?

    I meant it. It was’t rhetorical. I honestly couldn’t tell why the complete silence when it came to Julian, after so much noise about literally everything else?

    While you and I agree that he’s not, the possibility that Julian could be accused of being islamophobic for voicing a very mild criticism of his own community is not something that can just be hand waved.

    When Marcus says:

    I don’t see your point, unless you’re trying to own-goal that indeed, racists and islamophobes are unpleasant people.

    That only makes sense for him to say if he’s already taken for granted that Julian is racist, islamophobic and unpleasant. And he didn’t give me the impression of having even bothered to see what the fuzz was about before making that judgement.

    When StevoR says:

    Can a Muslim be Islamophobic?[…] I think, sadly, that’s often the case.

    He answers Anjuli’s question by implying that Julian is an islamophobic muslim, based only on the fact that people can be prejudiced against their own group and, I suppose, the fact that he took it to Katie Hopkins.

    Just in this comment thread I saw this guy get accused of being islamophobic twice within the first four comments, once absent-mindedly by someone who didn’t bother listening to him, once through guilt-by-association for airing his criticism in the wrong forum with the wrong person. How common is this? How often do people throw out the label “islamophobic” to demonize or dismiss someone, even if they’re muslims or former muslims trying to speak out against an oppressive society? These aren’t rhetorical questions, I really don’t know.

    It’s possible that Anjuli has fallen in the trap of dismissing the very concept of “islamophobia”, similar to how Marcus dismisses the concept of “Political Correctness”, not out of malice or stupidity, but out of repeatedly seeing people abuse and misuse the concept against her and those she wishes to help. I suppose that’s why the scare-quotes, but I kinda wish she answered that one herself.

    • says

      A Lurker from mexico #10:

      Is it possible that there is some element exclusive to islam (if only nowadays) that makes transgressing more frightening than it is for people in most other communities? I mean, when this is a thing that’s often talked about of your community, perhaps transgressing your community’s norms becomes a bigger deal to you than it is for the average rebellious teen, wouldn’t it?

      I don’t know anyone who would argue that, provided we accept your “if only nowadays” caveat, Islam is currently more aggressive toward transgressors. Although for the individuals concerned, I highly doubt that a woman being treated just as badly in a Beth Din as her counterpart in a Sharia court is being treated, or a gay teen being beaten by their Christian father, or, well you get the idea… would see the difference quite so clearly. Are we concentrating on quantity over quality, so to speak, when we name Islam “worst”?

      It’s possible that he was talking about your normal poorer area street fights/gangs related stuff when he said violence, it’s possible that he was talking about your run-of-the-mill social pressure/awkward dinner with the parents/someone gave you a wedgie in school stuff when he said he was afraid of speaking out.

      Yes it’s possible. But that’s not what he said. If the video was supposed to show a Muslim talking about Muslim extremism, it failed; he didn’t. Nor did it show, as I assume those scare quotes were meant to imply, a Muslim talking in such a way that were he not a Muslim he would have been labelled an Islamophobe—even by most of the people (and yes, I agree they exist) who are rather too eager to apply the label.

      Maybe you think that fatwas on critics and violence against those who transgress on islam is overplayed by the media, but still, the fact that those topics are being talked about is enough to give a little more weight to the idea that Julian was afraid of violence for speaking out.

      Media bias is both more overt and more subtle than a mere overplaying of facts, and not only on the topic of Muslims. We get stories made up from whole cloth, we get a tiny fact wrapped layers upon layers of insinuation, there is bias in the way they decide what to talk about and what not to, or what to constantly talk about and what to run one or two stories on and then quietly shelve (consider Beth Din abuse versus Sharia again, for instance, or faith-schools of various religions). And so on.
      And it gives no more weight to the idea that Julian was afraid of violence, since he himself quite clearly and deliberately unweighted it with his caveat; “in a way.”
      I’m not trying to argue that such fears exist. I’m not even trying to argue that those fears might not be more likely to be borne out in a Muslim community than in others—though again, even if it were true, we would seem to be back to “quantity over quality.”

      I do understand the people who are concerned. Islamophobia is real, and muslims are also attacked. I can see that accusations (Both real and fake) of them being violent people with a violent ideology are the main source of discrimination against them. I don’t believe that dismissing such accusations reflexively is of any help to anyone.

      I’m not dismissing accusations reflexively. I’m arguing that the video does not show what it is purported to show. And to be honest my main concern is those scare-quotes. They appear to be an attempt to claim via the medium of sarcasm, that Islamophobia (I prefer the term “anti-Muslim bigotry” myself) is not a real and actual thing.

      What annoyed me
      Your and StevoR’s first reaction was to talk about Katie Hopkins.

      On the contrary; both my own and StevoR’s mention of Katie Hopkins came at the very and of our comments. And both of us phrased it as an aside.

      Marcus’ was to talk about Churchill.

      Seeing as Churchill was mentioned in the OP, and given that Churchill was a thoroughgoing racist and imperialist, discussion of why his opinion on people who he most definitely thought of as lesser should be given little weight is certainly appropriate.

      Holms’ was to talk about quotation marks.

      Because those scare-quotes would seem to imply, as has been said, a negation of the concept of anti-Muslim bigotry. That makes them quite important.

      When I asked:

      Are you guys intentionally deflecting away from the point of the discussion? Or Julian, and his situation as a muslim living in fear of speaking up, is just irrelevant to you?

      I meant it. It was’t rhetorical.

      And nor was I being rhetorical with my reply to that—though I was, I admit, being snarky by juxtaposing it with your own question regarding intentionality. I was annoyed that you completely misrepresented my comment and accused me of putting words into Anjuli’s mouth. I won’t presume to speak for others.

      I honestly couldn’t tell why the complete silence when it came to Julian, after so much noise about literally everything else?

      Because, for me, the intent behind those scare-quotes, which you seem to be quite eager to hand-wave away, has the potential to change the entire point being made in the OP. Until their use is explained, there is little to discuss, since Julian’s contribution to the topic is, frankly, negligible; he says little at all of any real importance to the discussion of Islamophobia or of Muslim extremism, while what little he does say could be echoed by any youngster who has grown up in almost any strongly religious and/or culturally conservative community.

      While you and I agree that he’s not, the possibility that Julian could be accused of being islamophobic for voicing a very mild criticism of his own community is not something that can just be hand waved.

      Are you actually familiar with all-too-common attitudes towards Muslims and other minorities seen as “foreign” in the UK at the moment? I ask because he does say a couple of things that could be considered warning-signs, but definitely not proof, of Islamophobia. The “they wouldn’t allow it in their countries” thing, and the bit about (maybe) being scared by people in veils. They are both arguments made by people who are known from other things they have said to be basing their “critique” of Islam on xenophobic and/or racist ideals, but on their own, they mean little. The ambiguity of dog whistles is why dog whistles work, after all.
      Could he be accused on that basis? Possibly, but I’ve never seen accusations made on such slim evidence. I’ve seen a lot of people claim that to have happened, on the other hand, and invariably when one checks, one finds that the actual accusation was made because of a history of speech and behaviour of which the quote-mined “petty” accusations were a mere part.
      As to the rest of your comment, it addresses other commenters’ words. I wouldn’t presume to answer for them.

      • says

        Sorry. For my first sentence (This bodes well, Gentle Reader, don’t it!), please read “I don’t know anyone who would argue that, provided we accept your “if only nowadays” caveat, Islam is not currently more aggressive toward transgressors.”

  10. says

    @Daz

    I don’t know anyone who would argue that, provided we accept your “if only nowadays” caveat, Islam is currently not more aggressive toward transgressors

    Islam is more aggressive than other religions, mostly as a result of the current geopolitical situation. On top of that, the perception of it is more negative than that of other religions, because:

    We get stories made up from whole cloth, we get a tiny fact wrapped […] upon layers of insinuation, there is bias in the way they decide what to talk about and what not to, or what to constantly talk about and what to run one or two stories on and then quietly shelve.

    A woman being treated badly in a Beth Din doesn’t open the newspaper to a headline about jewish honor killings.
    A gay teen being beaten by their Christian father doesn’t turn on the tv to a newscast about gay teens being hacked to death by christians.
    Also, both of these people have some degree of freedom to move outside of their communities and find shelter with LGBT groups, Feminist groups, etc. A consequence of Islamophobia (I never said it didn’t exist) is that muslims have less freedom to move around and seek out these shelters. Their community’s grasp on them is stronger. A perfect storm of awfulness.

    Are you actually familiar with all-too-common attitudes towards Muslims and other minorities seen as “foreign” in the UK at the moment?

    Nope. I imagine that, if the UK is anything like the US, they are demonized by the right-wing and given racist condescension by the left-wing. I would assume that they are in a situation where issues regarding them are represented by extreme binary positions in a political battle that doesn’t allow for nuance. I expect them to be viewed as monolithically evil by conservative politicians and monolithically victims by the liberal ones. I also imagine that the left-wing administrations that make a big theater about “helping the minorities” also had a major hand in destroying the countries these muslims come from.

    Tell me if I’m close.

    The ambiguity of dog whistles is why dog whistles work, after all.

    Ambiguous statements are easy to interpret (and misinterpret) in a myriad of ways, that’s why they’re ambiguous. Consciously searching for dog-whistles has the problem that you’re, by default, interpreting any ambiguous statement as a possible dog-whistle and, by default, interpreting every ambiguous statement in the most uncharitable light you can think of.

    “Islam is not a religion of peace” is a statement that I’ve heard both from Steve Bannon and Taslima Nasreen. Using that commonality to conclude that she’s a racist, islamophobic, scumbag like him would be both unfair and inaccurate, don’t you think?

    …I’ve never seen accusations made on such slim evidence.

    Just off the top of my head, the second I finished reading that last sentence: Justine Sacco.

    If we want to get strict and talk only about muslims/former muslims getting accused of islamophobia on flimsy evidence, I’ve got this.

    Well, that’s Maryam Namazie talking briefly about such accusations in the broader topic of how Identity Politics defends Islam. Reading her, I got the impression that this was common. The way Anjuli responds to the term makes me further concerned that yeah, this is a thing. Former muslims who criticize islam are being labeled “islamophobic” in an effort to disqualify them. If you are inclined to think that Maryam is full of shit, here is an independent source talking about it.

    • says

      I’m not quite back yet, sorry. But I think I’d better give a quick response to the “Islamophobia” (with “scary” quotes) thing. A phobia is an irrational fear. It stems from a psychological illness of some kind. That does not mean that there isn’t a rational reason for fearing the thing being fear. Take, for example, arachnophobia. Some spiders actually are deadly, and we fear them for good reason. However, arachnophobia has nothing to do with the deadliness or otherwise of spiders. They’re simply feared. If someone should be cured of their arachnophobia, one should hope that they still retained their fear of deadly spiders. In this respect, I venture to suggest that, thankfully, most people retain a healthy fear of deadly spiders and may even consciously consider whether a particular spider looks familiar and is known to be harmless or deadly, before lifting it and releasing it in the garden.

      Islam kills around a thousand people a month. It also explicitly says that such killing is not only intentional, but correct. It further not only offers its adherents reward for such killing, it commands them to do so. In other words, if Islam could kill a million people a day, it would. It is irrational to not fear Islam. Fear of Islam is rational. There is nothing phobic about it. That does not mean that there aren’t people who fear Muslims. And some of that fear may indeed be irrational. As we know too well, some of it is not.

      So yes, hitching up “Islam” and “phobia” is a vile, cynical way of deflecting us from the workings of a very active mass-death machine. There’s nothing irrational about fearing that.

    • says

      Lurker, I should apologise for not replying. I’m currently on prescription pain-killers for a knee injury, and they seem to be affecting my concentration. While I can take part in non-serious conversations, and manage a paragraph or so on more serious topics, I find that with anything longer than that, I sort of lose track both of what it is I’m trying to reply to and of what I’m trying to say.

      But I should have had the courtesy to let you know rather than appear to ignore your reply. My apologies.

    • says

      polishsalam #13:

      “So what?”

      Don’t worry, Daz, I’m sure they’ll kill you last…

      Eh? My “So what?” was in regards to the statement that in most Muslim-majority countries non-Muslims would be treated more harshly than Muslims want to be treated in my country. In humanitarian terms, yes, that’s bad for people living in those countries, but I don’t see (hence “so what?”) what bearing that has on how Muslims should be treated in my country, which was the topic Julian related it to. And I’m not sure how your reply bears on it either, to be honest.

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