If you’re an American liberal, or a liberal from any one of the other ‘Western’ nations, there’s a chance that you’ve worn out the word ‘Islamophobia’ through repetitive use.
One such liberal is Nathan Lean, who wrote an almost-horeshit article for Salon recently. “Almost” because it raises some valid points, “horseshit” because, well, it’s horseshit.
For too long, many Western liberals have acted as apologists for the Islamic ideology as a special courtesy to the Muslim minorities who, since 9/11, have suffered much discrimination. Please stop that. Recognize the difference between attacking Muslims and attacking their beliefs, these are not the same.
Nathan Lean makes the following objections about the activities of prominent atheists, which I will respond to individually.
1) Dawkins cannot assert that Islam’s a dangerous ideology if he hasn’t read the Quran.
I liked Dawkins’ example that you can conclude that Nazism is dangerous without actually reading the Mein Kampf (this is not a correlation between the two books).
It’s evident from Dawkins’ works that he is very well aware of Islamic concepts and beliefs, even if he has not read the exact text from which these beliefs are derived. That, and the statistical fact that religious terrorism is almost entirely a fief of Islam in today’s world, imbues some credibility to Dawkins’ claims.
2) Chomsky has criticized Dawkins and Hitchens as “religious fanatics” who demand that their followers blindly support the whims of politicians.
Chomsky’s a dick. Take it from a citizen of Pakistan, whose army Chomsky has publicly praised as highly efficient – the same organization that is accused of providing protection to Osama bin Laden (whose hideout was only a short drive away from a military academy) as well as other Islamist groups, consistently interfering in the country’s political processes, and committing unspeakable human rights violations in Balochistan.
Besides, the crux of Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ entire narrative is evidence, evidence and evidence. Speaking of which, Chomsky cannot offer any proof that these two have ever led their followers to blindly support anything.
3) Dawkins’ tweets about women in Islam
Dawkins tweeted: “Islam is comforting? Tell that to a woman, dressed in a bin bag [trash bag], her testimony worth half a man’s and needing 4 male witnesses to prove rape.”
Assuming that Nathan Lean has read the Quran, unlike Dawkins who allegedly just pulls stuff out of his behind, he should be aware of the following verse:
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And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents [contracts of loans without interest]. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything), the other may remind her. (2:282)
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And unlike Christians, most Muslims today take the Quran literally.
The four-witnesses rule has been followed by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan until 2006 (and still followed in certain Islamic countries). And full body covering is a common religious rule which, though not strictly found in the Quran, is followed by countless Muslims around the world in the name of Islam. These are not just actions of a “few bad Muslims”, these are hard Islamic principles.
And then there’s the objection to this tweet by Dawkins: “Next gem from BBC Idiot Zoo: ‘Some women feel “protected” by the niqab.'”. It’s an objection that makes no sense, unless you think covering your face is a harmless thing, and not a social barrier. Clearly, you’re not a feminist.
Dawkins and other prominent atheists have been just as sardonic and acerbic with unreasonable Christian dicta.
4) Dawkins lambasted UCL and the Islamic group for allowing segregation.
They didn’t allow the segregation, they enforced it. Lawrence Krauss reported that he was outraged to see some nice young people being split up and told where to sit by the organizers, which was apparently the trigger for him almost storming out.
Lean makes a fair point that Dawkins should have criticized the gender-separate seating options for orthodox Jews at the Barclays Center, New York. But it’s highly likely that it simply did not fall on Dawkins’ radar (the UCL gender-segregation incident was made famous in the atheist community because it was hosting a God debate. Also, unless you’re advocating the two-wrongs-make-a-right-rule, I think we’re done.
Dear Western Liberals,
I’m an ex-Muslim, born and raised among the Muslims in an Islamic country. I’ve studied Islam in much detail. And unlike you, who might have done the same probably just to appear more open-minded to your liberal friends, I did it because I had very little choice in the matter.
Your apologia for Islam offends us; a personal slap to my face, and to the face of just about every ex-Muslim, every woman, homosexual, non-Muslim, freethinker and free-spirit, who has been discriminated against, if not overtly oppressed, under Islamic law.
Your fervor for defending Muslims from discrimination and wicked stereotypes is admirable, and I share this fervor as well. But I must insist that you recognize the distinction between protecting Muslims’ from bigots, and acknowledging the dangers posed by the Islamic ideology.
No, all Muslims are not misogynists or terrorists. But that is usually because they have made a conscious or subconscious decision to ignore many of the rougher, archaic tenets, or re-interpret them to become more compatible with the modern era. Otherwise, you cannot be a spokesperson for gender equality, the LGBT community, free speech, AND Islam at the same time.
Again, please stop cozying up to an obviously harmful ideology as a courtesy to the mistreated Muslim minorities in your countries.