There was that statement by 12 writers in Charlie Hebdo in 2006 for instance. It includes this:
Islamism is a reactionary ideology that kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present.
Its victory can only lead to a world of injustice and domination: men over women, fundamentalists over others.
On the contrary, we must ensure access to universal rights for the oppressed or those discriminated against.
We reject the “cultural relativism” which implies an acceptance that men and women of Muslim culture are deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secularism in the name of the respect for certain cultures and traditions.
We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia”, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatisation of those who believe in it.
We defend the universality of the freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit can exist in every continent, towards each and every maltreatment and dogma.
The signatories are:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
There’s also Piers Benn in the New Humanist in 2002, a whole article on the subject.
‘Islamophobia’ is a negatively loaded word. Not many people would admit to being Islamophobic, any more than they would admit to being homophobic. [Indeed, there is an interesting parallel between the two concepts. Although ‘homophobia’ really means fear of homosexuals, it is now widely used to refer to any criticism of homosexuality. Many who use the word appear oblivious to the distinction between the fear (or hatred) of homosexual individuals, and disapproval of homosexual behaviour. Of course, one might argue that language evolves and words change their meaning. But this misses the point. There is a real distinction to be made here, which needs to be reflected in language. With Islamophobia, the same applies.]* It is essential to distinguish criticism of Islam both from fear of Islam, and from fear, hatred or contempt for Muslims. But all too often, moral criticism of Muslim practices, or scepticism about doctrines, is dismissed as Islamophobic.
This is what I’m saying. What I’m saying is not particularly crazy.
*An unfortunate side point which I strongly doubt Benn meant the way a number of readers are taking it – but which certainly can be read that way, so it was indeed an unfortunate side point – and which has led to a tedious side dispute along with irritating demands for confession and prostration. I should have replaced it with an elipse. I didn’t, because that would have made his argument a little too abrupt, in the sense that he wouldn’t have written it that way. Mea culpa. Take the brackets as a disavowal. I do not, as some ungracious pastors do, love teh gayz but hate the behavior. I don’t think Benn does either and I don’t think that’s what he meant to say – but I know it reads that way, which is why I thought about replacing it with an elipse when I posted. I do hope that clears things up.