In a huffingtonpost article, “The Phobia of Being Called Islamophobic” (28/4/14) by Ali A. Rizvi a Pakistani-Canadian writer is saying that Muslims in the west are using Islamophobia label to suppress genuine criticism of Muslims and Islam.
He is saying that just as powerful Jewish groups have suppressed objective criticism of Israel’s policy and practice by the anti-Semitic label in the past decades, Muslim groups in the west are now seeking to quash all criticism of Islam and Muslims.
In Author’s own words:
In addition to calling out prejudice against Muslims (a people), the term “Islamophobia” seeks to shield Islam itself (an ideology) from criticism. It’s as if every time you said smoking was a filthy habit, you were perceived to be calling all smokers filthy people. Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. But when did we start extending those rights to ideas, books, and beliefs? You’d think the difference would be clear, but it isn’t. The ploy has worked over and over again, and now everyone seems petrified of being tagged with this label.
The phobia of being called “Islamophobic” is on the rise — and it’s becoming much more rampant, powerful, and dangerous than Islamophobia itself.”
The main example the author puts in the article is a recent, much publicized episode about Brandeis University and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
[rant about Hirsi Ali follows…]
We all know of the Norwegian Islamophobe Anders Brevik who killed 80 young kids and adults because he felt Europe was silently falling under Muslim domination. Ayaan Hisri Ali was an inspiration for Brevik. Hirsi Ali later in a speech said that she should not be blamed for Brevik’s hate crime but the culture of silence about true nature of Islam.
We can really see that sometimes Islamophobe label is very appropriate. People like Ayaan Hirsi Ali promote hatred and intolerance that should not be awarded recognition in a democratic society. But the most important take in this episode is how Islamophobia has fallen from fashion to stigma in US public life. 8-10 years ago, Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s views would have been mainstream and Muslim groups would not dare to be very vocal against such bigotry. If if they protested, their protest would have been drowned by a flood of anti-Islam rhetoric from the right and the left. But the world has changed and particularly America. Muslims and Islam are increasingly seen as essential part of American life.
* * *
He can’t be a CAIR writer: the quality of the post and the writing is poor. He finishes off by quoting from the often-deplorable Economist, who can afford much better writers:
Asking Ms Hirsi Ali to speak to students at Brandeis is a great idea; giving her an honorary degree as part of graduation ceremonies suggests that Brandeis thinks calling for a war on Islam is an acceptable statement within the bounds of normal political and social discourse. The fact that such statements are not welcomed in American public discourse is one reason why the American model of integration and tolerance works better than the Dutch model, and why the Netherlands continues to be wracked by tensions over Islam and integration—years after those tensions forced Ms Hirsi Ali herself to leave
Not much thought went into that Economist piece. The percentage of Muslims in the Netherlands (5.8%) in far higher than in America (0.6%): it is not clear to me that they will integrate any better in America than in Europe.