Islamophobia, part 1


Islam (Photo credit: rogiro)

Many of us have been accused of Islamophobia in recent years and in truth I think it’s probably. in some measure, true. I don’t believe we are so much afraid of individual Muslims as we are wary of them, particularly in groups. America was of course settled by immigrants and they have nearly always suffered some discrimination. For instance “No Irish Need Apply” was once a very common sign but as they became acclimated the Irish became an integral part of America. So it has been with almost all immigrant groups, None of my great-grandparents (if I understand correctly) spoke English, they spoke only Norwegian all their lives but, my  generation is pretty much indistinguishable from someone whose ancestors came on the Mayflower.

But Muslims seem different, they don’t attempt to assimilate, instead they seem to want to take over and impose their standards and even religion on us, and seem offended when we don’t accept instantly. I know some few Muslims,. unfortunately the ones I know are mostly Somali and speak even less English than I do their language, so our interactions are very limited, the few that I can speak with, I like.

But my personal knowledge isn’t enough to make a judgement on so I turn to others who know them better. The first is Sir Winston Churchill writing in The River War, concerning his experiences as a British Army officer, during the Mahdist War in Sudan.

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!  Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.  The effects are apparent in many countries.  Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.  A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.  The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.  Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities.  Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die.  But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.  No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.  Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proseltyzing faith.  It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

A pretty unremittingly gloomy assessment, isn’t it? Still, does it really contradict what we see across the lands dominated by Islam?

On another note Dr. Delacroix recently reposted an article on Notes on Liberty in which he explicitly addresses Islamophobia.

The backlash that did not happen after 9/11 is taking place now because of Muslim stubbornness, arrogance, or simple lack of articulateness. Americans are tolerant and patient to the point of gullibility but there is a limit. When it comes to the establishment of an explicitly Muslim-anything near Ground Zero, many feel they have been deceived, that their good nature has been taken advantage of. To cap it off, the liberal media accompany some American Muslim spokespersons, and some ordinary Muslims in accusing them of the mysterious sin of “Islamophobia.” (Siddiqui: American anti-Muslim prejudice goes mainstream – circa 8/26/10)

I am referring to the majority of Americans who have expressed some degree of opposition to the plan to establish a Muslim cultural center including a mosque near the site of the 9/11 jihadist massacre. I am one of those so accused.

I tend to look seriously at any serious accusation thrown at me seriously. Often, it does not tell me anything about me and my behavior but it gives me an insight into the ways of thinking of the insulter. So, I will look at Islamophobia, the dislike and fear of Islam and, by extension, of all things Muslim, from the standpoint of what I know and then, from that of what I don’t know for a fact but that is plausible. I try to keep the factual and the plausible, the speculative, separate.

In the end, I want to know what I am guilty of, if anything, as an Islamophobic American. I don’t discount the possibility that I am guilty as charged.

Fact: On 9/11/2001, a handful of terrorists massacred about 3,000 people who had not done anything to them. Most of these people were Americans, not all. Most of those people were Christians, or former Christians, not all, There were many Jews (probably about 10% of he victims at the World Trade Center), and a few Muslims among the victims. The killing was indiscriminate. The killers announced clearly and repeatedly that they were doing it in the name of Islam, for Islam. Osama Bin Laden claimed on tape a few months later that he had organized the whole thing. Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim who says he is fighting for Islam.

Fact: All the violent jihadists together, those who have been caught  imprisoned or killed and those who have not, plus those who are in terrorism training right now, are but a handful of people among the 1,5 billion ( and growing) Muslims worldwide. I agree that Muslims in general are not a priori responsible for the tiny number who commits crimes in the name of their common religion.

Fact: However, I cannot help but note that the only terrorists currently killing in the name of religion are all Muslims. The Basque terrorists of today may well be Catholics but they don’t claim it’s their Catholic duty to kill civilians (mostly other Catholics). The IRA “Catholic” terrorists of twenty and thirty years ago were not acting either in the name of religion. And they were roundly denounced by their church. The Bengali fighters of Sri Lanka, whom one may consider terrorists or not, happened to be mostly Hindus but they never said they were fighting for Hinduism.

Speculation: I have heard and read bits and pieces of religious history that lead some commentators to claim that violent jihad cannot be separated from mainstream Islamic religious doctrine. I don’t know if this interpretation is correct but it sounds plausible. I have heard others cite verses of the Koran and quotes from the Hadith contradicting this view. I am not cultured enough to decide. That does not make the first interpretation false. It’s unfortunate that it coincides so well with my observations (see above) about religious terrorism.

Continue reading Islamophobia

If you have followed the link, you have seen that Dr. Delacroix has continued to define the terms and conditions that i wish to use in this discussion. There are two more parts of this coming, but let’s see what we think at this point before we continue.

About NEO
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12 Responses to Islamophobia, part 1

  1. JessicaHof says:

    Good post, my dear friend. There are some things against which it is wise to be ‘phobic’, and those who hurl such accusations need to distinguish between the system of belief and the believers. Looking forward to the next two parts.


  2. In the next World War we’d all better join the 28th Regiment of Foot, now the Glousters. NEO, without looking it up do you know why? What about you Jess, do you know why?


  3. Their cap badges. They acquired the nickname, “The Fore and Afters.”


  4. Well, did you get all of my emails that I had to send via Jess?


  5. Pingback: Islamophobia Part 2 « nebraskaenergyobserver

  6. Pingback: Islamophobia Part 3, Going on into the Maelstrom « nebraskaenergyobserver

  7. Pingback: Islamophobia, part 1 « Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

  8. Pingback: Islamophobia Part 3, Going on into the Maelstrom | nebraskaenergyobserver

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