Islamophobia is one of those issues where the distance between the narrative and reality is glaringly obvious to such an extent that anyone pushing the narrative looks like an idiot. I think at this stage to talk about Islamophobia, except in an ironic way or to critique the concept, is an admission that you haven’t read the Qu’ran, haven’t read a biography or two of Muhammad and are unaware of the history of Islam; it’s a way of announcing your ignorance. Only people who are so insensitive to culture as to be able to unironically use the phrase “just people” unironically or uncritically use the word “Islamophobia”.
Islamophilia is a real thing though: People who are not Muslims, people who are often nominal atheists in fact, who will defend and even praise Islam in a way they would never think to do about Christianity. They might talk about the child abuse problem within the Catholic church but you’ll never hear them talk about Rotherham or Cologne. The rape of fourteen hundred girls is horrifying to them only to the extent that it might create Islamophobia. Also symbolic of this Islamophilia is how if anyone brings up Islam as a topic of discussion and says something critical the immediate knee jerk reaction is to talk about Christianity and so the discussion becomes about the faults of Christianity with the implication that if Christianity has done it then it’s fine for Islam to have done it.
This is the reasoning of a child; we have all told a child off for something only to have it respond, “Well so and so was doing it too!” and of course, as adults, we know that this is irrelevant: that someone else has done it too does not alter the moral value of that action; a criminal cannot plead not guilty on the basis that others have committed the same crime.
All this also ignores that when we talk about Christianity that we’re talking about the past: things which, usually the Catholic Church, did centuries ago: the inquisition, witch hunts, the crusades etc. When we talk about Islam we’re talking about the present: terrorism, oppression of women, oppression of homosexual people, FGM, child marriage, which is a polite way of saying paedophillia, honour killings, slavery and so on. Large parts of the Muslim world still put people on trial and execute people for witchcraft for heaven’s sake.
Now if any of this were done by white males can you imagine how the people we laughably call “liberals” would react? Can you imagine the condemnation? The outrage, can you imagine the endless polemics in the media and on TV, the films that would be made, the plays, the books, the protests, the slutwalks…….. When, however, this is all done by brown people then suddenly not only is there silence, but also anyone who points any of it out is called, “Islamophobic” and since, somehow, Islam is now apparently a race, “racist” too.
Then of course there is the obligatory speech that the Islamophile feels the need to make about the Islamic golden age, as if the Islamophile has ever read history and isn’t just parroting Islamic apologetics. As if a nominal golden age which ended nearly a millennia ago counts for something and is relevant in the 21st century compared with the sheer scale of western culture. As Sam Harris points out in the link above: More books are translated into Spanish in a single year than have been translated into Arabic in one thousand years.
Of course the Islamophile has no facts to dispute any of this: these are the facts: Western civilisation is far in advance of Islam in every field of human endeavour. I wouldn’t even call Islam a civilisation because literally civilisation is something that springs up in cities and is about civil society and Islam isn’t the product of city dwellers and does not have a civil society. After reading In The Shadow of the Sword and In God’s Path I think a reasonable case can be made that Islam is an eighth century ideology created to unify disparate, disunited group of nomads in the aftermath of the Arab conquests: Islam is the codification of nomad values. Hoyland points out that in the wake of the Arab conquests there was a period of “Arabisation” where non-Arab peoples assimilated to Arab culture taking Arab names, affiliating with tribes, making Arabic their first language etc: they adopted the culture that formerly had been unique to peoples living in the wastes of Arabia.
None of this is Islamophobia in the sense that anything I’ve said is irrational, or racist, or based on fear or ignorance. On the contrary, this is the only reasonable view, I would argue, that a dispassionate, intelligent person could come to after reading the sources I’ve cited and listing the facts that I have listed. As I’ve said, if this was a culture of white males rather than of brown males, nothing I have said would be controversial; it would in fact be regarded as “progressive” and “liberal” since nothing is apparently more progressive than bashing white males and everything that we have built, including the countries and societies that Muslims flee to in order to escape other Muslims.
The crime I’ve committed here is of letting the facts get in the way of a good story and of letting knowledge triumph over ignorance, reason over emotion and this will be shown by the comments I receive about this post which will probably not challenge me on a factual basis. Instead they will focus on my emotional state or simply be insults. No one disputes the facts, because the facts are largely agreed upon; it’s simply regarded as being the case that if you state the facts that you are a hateful bigot.