Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stop Pretending Terrorism Has Nothing To Do With Islam

THE FEDERALIST: And while you're at it, stop treating criticism of religion as racism

Guess what? An idea isn’t a human being. Neither is a sacred cow. And those who confront, dismiss, debunk, sneer at and fear them aren’t necessarily bigots.

Not long ago, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for blasphemy. His first 50 lashes will be publicly administered this week. Taking them all at once would kill the guy. But, then again, Badawi might be fortunate to be alive at all. The theocratic monarchs of Saudi Arabia don’t need the terrorists to punish their satirists, they can get the job done in-house.

I don’t know about you, but I’m lash-phobic. I tend, as a matter of principle, to have a low opinion of people who dispense lashes. Religion, of course, is merely incidental to Badawi’s fate–as it is in the massacre of journalists in Paris or the bloodbath in Nigeria, where Boko Haram may have killed 2000 people this week. Or so I’m told. All of these instances of violence are perpetrated by random people, who by some happenstance share the same religious affiliation.

And to bring this up–according to Vox and other some outlets–may be Islamophobic. Islamophobia is defined, at least by Wikipedia (and it’s fair to say it’s a pretty decent reflection of how we use the word), as a term for prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam, Muslims, or of ethnic groups perceived to be Muslim.

Only half of this definition should be true. Most often, only half of it is. The late Christopher Hitchens never actually said “Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons,” but he did call it a “stupid neologism” that “aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism.” » | David Harsanyi | Friday, January 09, 2015