If you make a perfectly sensible criticism of Islam or Muslims these days, dissent typically returns in the form of a charge of bigotry, and specifically, of ‘racism’.
It would be easy to dismiss this out of hand. Leftists after-all are known to be cynical and to resort to defamation when their arguments fail. But this charge – unusually – does have some foundation in reality, even if only a shaky one.
There are people who pretend to dislike the culture and violence of the Muslim world, but whose feelings are actually based on a dislike of the shape of Arab noses, the shade of Afghan skin or the consistency of Turkish hair. This is hardly surprising. Such people were with us long before 9/11. They’ve been with us since Ancient Rome. They are commonly known as ‘Racists’ – itself a worn-out and abused word but one that nevertheless captures what is to be condemned about them. ‘Racists’ are those who discriminate on the basis of biology. Such people are typically shallow, hateful and often violent. Very few of them can string a sentence together. Most importantly, few if any of them enjoy political influence.
I am decisively not a racist. In fact, I energetically oppose racism, whether social or political. It’s lazy, uncivilised, un-English, and almost always indicative of a broader dysfunction in the individual practicing it. As for the racial groups affected by Islam, they have often produced people of enormous merit (although only when the Sharia police relaxed long enough for them to achieve anything). I don’t believe Arabians, Afghans and Persians are ‘stupid’ or ‘ugly’ or genetically predisposed to any negative attribute at all. That is precisely why I am Islamophobic and not Racist. A racist would be content with saying that Afghanistan is a hellish place because Afghan people are degenerate or sub-human. The Islamophobe explains that it is culture which holds the people of Afghanistan back, as well as the people of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Egypt, and not ethnicity or genetics.
Now let’s define – Islamophobia. This word is rumored to have been purposely designed by political Islamists in the 1960s. Although that would make sense, I have no way of verifying this claim at the moment, so let’s forget it’s origin and focus on its meaning. The word ‘Phobia’ by-itself denotes a fear or aversion to something. It isn’t, contrary to popular belief, always an ‘irrational’ aversion, since many phobias (Arachnophobia, etc..) have roots in rational experience. Some spiders can kill you, but you are wrong to believe that all spiders automatically amount to a threat. I suppose in this light, Islamophobia appears a rational and sensible phrase. It’s true that not every Muslim is a terrorist, so it’s justified to call anyone seeking blanket solutions to the Muslim threat Islamophobes right?
I am not, and never have been, afraid of terrorism. The day after the London Bombings, I used the London subway without a care in the world. Statistically speaking, the chances of being on a tube-line targeted by terrorists is absurdly small. Then one must factor in the chances of being on the specific train, and then in the affected carriage etc, and the fear vanishes almost entirely.
What I am afraid of is the Islamisation of my city and country. This fear justifies my unease with any practicing Muslim, moderate or extreme, liberal or conservative, after their community reaches a certain size. The more Muslims there are, the more Mosques there will be. The more Mosques, the more community centres, and Islamic bookshops. The more Muslim women, the more veils. The larger the Muslim community, the greater the number of proselytizers and morality squads confiscating alcohol. And on and on….
Clear enough? If not, I can compact my entire reasoning into a phrase if it helps –
I oppose letting a large community of people live in a city built upon values they despise and desire to destroy.
There. That is my argument in a nutshell. It is also the argument of millions within the Counter-Jihad tendency. Not once have I needed to touch upon race. Not once have I mentioned nationality. If it is a ‘prejudice’ then it is a purely cultural one. The Western way of life has as much right to be protected in the West, as the Islamic way of life has to be protected in Pakistan.
Some wacky moralists, imprisoned wives and mutilated daughters might even say the West has a greater right.