Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ “Islamophobia”

The latest Jesus and Mo is on target:

2013-05-01

Reader Michael, who brought this to my attention, explains what the EDL is:

This description is about right:-
“MP Jon Cruddas, writing in The Guardian, describes the EDL as “a dangerous cocktail of football hooligans, far-right activists and pub racists… a bigger threat than the BNP… providing a new white nationalist identity through which they can understand an increasingly complex and alienating world”

I’m no longer desirous of defending myself, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, or other public atheists against the charge of “Islamophobia.” It’s been widespread on the Internet these past two weeks, but I’ve ignored it.  In the end, I’ve concluded that those charges come from borderline racists themselves: people who think that bad ideas, threats of violence, or religious oppression should be ignored, but only when they come from people with brown or yellow skin. Jesus in the cartoon above has it right

57 Comments

  1. Somite
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Those quick to accuse others of islamophobia simply for pointing out its pervasive violence and misogyny should prove their point by including a Mohamed cartoon.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Of course they should.

      After all Islam is a religion of peace. What have these non-Islamophobes got to fear?

      Nothing.

  2. Dave
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    John Cruddas (and Michael) may well see the EDL in that light, but I think it’s only fair to point out that it’s their opinion – and as such, not beyond dispute. I don’t doubt that the EDL has some unsavoury people in it, but I don’t agree that it’s primarily a “white nationalist” organization. And as for being “a bigger threat than the BNP”, that’s just more lefist hyperbole. The BNP (= British National Party) is a shambolic, bankrupt, minuscule extremist sect with no power, no parliamentary representation and minimal public support: i.e. not much of a threat to anything at all.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t doubt that the EDL has some unsavoury people in it, but I don’t agree that it’s primarily a “white nationalist” organization.”

      This claim is completely ludicrous. They draw from the same local pool of idiot neo-Nazis the BNP, the NF and so forth came from.

  3. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Judging from the Tweets by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins they have not chosen to ignore it. It’s worrisome because there’s always plenty of uninformed people who will simply assume that the accusations of “Islamophobia” must be true and therefore the NAs are a discredited bunch. Personally I find it infuriating to see SH & RD attacked in this way. I’m read most of what they have written and seen countless videos of them, and they are both sincere scientists committed to a search for truth and are the least likely people I can think of to be prejudiced against anybody. What seems to be going on is the Internet equivalent of a lynch mob.

    • tomh
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Fortunately the Internet equivalent of a lynch mob is pathetic and harmless. Lots of noise and no ropes.

  4. jimroberts
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    sub

  5. Diffa
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Those who cry “Islamophobia!” at the slightest criticism of islam are the modern-day equivalent of the boy who cried wolf. Their lie will continue to work for a while, but the more often they use it, the fewer people will fall for it. The more we continue to expose this lie for what it is, the sooner apologists for Islam (believers or otherwise) will have to actually address the issues.

  6. Occam
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Brecht was right: “The womb is fertile still, which bore that fruit.”

    All over Europe, now. And in perfect dialectic interaction with Islamists, each group leveraging the token fight against the other to buttress its grip over its own core constituency. The substantive agreement in their respective reactionary social agendas is also frightful.

    • muuh-gnu
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Brecht specifically adressed the German Nazis with his quote, not “lets stop mass immigration of primitive, violent Allahuakhbar tribes” anti-mass-immigration movements in any random country. You can even see that many of these movements oppose mass-immigration of Allahuakhbarists specifically _because_ of the many similarities of National Socialism and organized Islam. Organized Islam is Nazism disguised as a religion to sneak in through west’s “freedom of religion” filters like Scientology.

      Implying that opposing uncontrolled mass-immigration of millions of religious fanatics and their crazy undemocratic tribal loyalty structures into a toothless society of liberal sheep somehow relates to National socialism is a very unfair debate tactic and comparable with crying Islamophobia. Shame on you.

      • Occam
        Posted May 2, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        Have you actually read what I have written?

        In your defense, I am ready to assume that your splenetic post was a reflex action. Otherwise you should have understood that I have stated the categorical opposite of what you are imputing.

        Please read my post again, and this time make a conscious effort to comprehend it. If still in any doubt, check my track record on this website. You will come to the conclusion that your attack was entirely unjustified, and that your insulting last line in particular warrants an apology.

  7. Andrew B.
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “In the end, I’ve concluded that those charges come from borderline racists themselves: people who think that bad ideas, threats of violence, or religious oppression should be ignored, but only when they come from people with brown or yellow skin. Jesus in the cartoon above has it right”

    I think there’s another group: those who recognize just how useful it is to accuse to people of racism in an attempt to discredit their arguments. It’s a kind of rhetorical cheating, and it seems to work. It’s the same strategy as bringing up Hitler, Stalin, et al. They wouldn’t do this if they didn’t think it worked.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      …and white people with guilt – the same ones that pretend not to notice colour.

  8. Douglas Struthers
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Could the fact that the ‘islamophobia’ meme does have traction be that ‘atheism’ and ‘humanism’ are ‘Western’ concepts. Do we not perhaps need a new start with a new identity without ideological baggage?
    Brights?

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      *yawn*

    • Somite
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Atheism is not a “Western” concept. There really is no evidence for any god.

      • Douglas Struthers
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Atheism and humanism are meaningless outwith the ‘West’. To start a new conversation we need an identity that is potentially universal.

        • Andrew B.
          Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          You don’t think there are/have been Asian/African Atheists and humanists? Get real.

          • Posted May 2, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

            I once was going to write a paper about this, but it has come to nothing, so this is a bit impressionistic. But I concluded after reading about classical Indian philosophy for a while that they had invented basically all the basic metaphysical positions found in Europe plus one more – or so it appears. The latter is interesting, because it is so extreme and only reported by opponents, namely ontological nihilism: the view that nothing exists. Note: this is not maya/world as illusion. An illusion is still *something*.

        • guilherme21msa
          Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          “Atheism and humanism are meaningless outwith the ‘West’.”

          Atheism is not a Western concept. Humanism is, but not atheism.

          For your clarification:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimamsa

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C4%81rv%C4%81ka

    • steve oberski
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Give it a shot and report back.

    • Kevin
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Um…let me think about that for a minute.

      ….

      ….

      ….

      No.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I think you mean that atheism and humanism are non-Islamic concepts. Surprise! There seem to be a fair few atheists in India – perhaps because they’re godded out.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      “Atheism” is a “Western” concept? Nobody seems to have told theses guys.

      • Dominic
        Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:36 am | Permalink

        Now that is very interesting – it reminds me of Ginnungagap in Norse mythology – the universe exists & the gods emerge out of it as creative beings

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginnungagap

        common indo-european roots?

  9. Dermot C
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    This cartoon is a reference to the sending down of six Muslims – I’m slightly queasy in saying from my city, Birmingham – for their attempt to bomb an EDL march in Yorkshire. They seem to have been inspired, not by Osama, but by the satirist Chris Morris, director of ‘Four Lions’.

    They were unsuccessful for two reasons: firstly, they arrived too late for the march; secondly, they were pulled over by a traffic copper because their car was not insured. Hopeless.

    They couldn’t organise a blow-up in Dewsbury.

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but as the IRA said “You need to get it right every time. We need only get it right once.”

      • Dermot C
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Yup,

        And you could say the same to Goddists; every time He shows Himself, I could give you a more reasonable explanation. And if you’re wrong once, how many other times are you wrong?

        BUT, I can imagine circumstances in which ‘terrorism’ is morally defensible; von Stauffenberg, 1944, for instance.

        • Occam
          Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          No comparison at all; not even putting ‘terrorism’ between inverted commas. (I know what you mean; younger readers may not.)

          Stauffenberg and his circle were merely — at long last — fulfilling their obligation of resistance against a criminal tyrant and his gang who had usurped and perverted, step by step, the German state, its laws and institutions.

          Neither Omar Mohammed Khan and his acolytes nor the EDL have any comparable justification for their acts. It’s a long way from the Wolfschanze and the Bendlerblock in Berlin to Dewsbury. Actually, the moral distance is infinite.

    • Gary W
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      And your point is….what, exactly?

      The fact that there are anti-Muslim hate crimes does not mean the accusation of “islamophobia” against Jerry, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris or other critics of Islam is justified.

  10. aspidoscelis
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this is a wonderful opportunity for quote-mining.

    “Jesus [...] has it right.” -Jerry Coyne
    :-)

    • pulseteresa
      Posted May 2, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      You beat me to it!

  11. Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I do not see how anyone could justify the “Islamophobe” label for Richard Dawkins or Prof Coyne. But Sam Harris does indeed seem to have rather irrationally bigoted and indefensible views on the subject. To anyone objecting, I would ask what part of We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.” (emphasis added) does not sound like race-fueled bigotry. Perhaps you might also want to repeat that exercise with all occurrences of the string “Muslim” in the quote with “Christian”, “Hindu”, “Jew”, or “Buddhist”.

    Unlike Richard Dawkins who recently apologized for (and withdrew) one of his statements that would have been construed by any neutral observer as implying that a Muslim did not deserve to be employed by a newspaper on the basis of his religion, Sam Harris seems to have come up only with some hand-waving about how he really didn’t even exclude himself from the class of those who ought to be profiled, and some irrelevant flailing excuses about political correctness, and rather ironically, “obscurantism”.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps I should mention also that although I am not Muslim, have never been one, and will never be one, I am also one of those who “look(s) like he or she could conceivably be Muslim”.

      • jwthomas
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Sam Harris has also said that he “look(s) like he or she could conceivably be Muslim” and would expect to be one of those stopped and searched more thoroughly.

        • Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

          No he did not say that. He couldn’t possibly have, without invalidating his whole argument which was supposed to be based on making screenings more efficient by concentrating on a .small set of travelers; I think this point was also made by Bruce Schneier in his analysis of the shortcomings of Harris’s approach.

          What Harris did say seems to imply pretty clearly the opposite of the claim that he “look(s) like he or she could conceivably be Muslim”. The completely quote,

          We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?)

          seems to make it pretty clear that although he didn’t think he looked like a Muslim, he still wouldn’t want to keep people who “looked like [him] entirely ooks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye”. Presumably he would like to keep them somewhat closer to the periphery, unlike someone who “look(s) like he or she could conceivably be Muslim”.

          Now that might just have been a poor choice of words. In that case, he could immediately have cleared up the situation by withdrawing the offending comment and clarifying his position (like Dawkins did). Instead, however, he chose just to claim that he said he ought to be profiled, even though the article makes it clear that he intends different levels of profiling for the two, ahem, groups.

          • Posted May 2, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            No, it means you got Harris wrong repeatedly. He has made himself pretty clear on his position, and the rest of us understand him.

            You are the one who seems to have a mental block here, and if anyone should be retracting statements around here, it should be you.

            • Posted May 2, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

              Enlighten me then. Show me where Harris has explicitly said that he did not mean that everybody who “look(s) like he or she could conceivably be Muslim” should be treated, shall we say, “specially”.

            • Posted May 2, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

              Perhaps you might also like to have a look at another essay by Harris at the link posted below by commenter Phil. If he does seem to have made himself pretty clear on the subject, that “clarity” makes it even more evident that his views are rather in line with what I represented them to be. So I don’t think I need to make any “retractions” here, unless some further evidence is provided.

          • Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            Sam Harris has also said that he “look(s) like he or she could conceivably be Muslim” and would expect to be one of those stopped and searched more thoroughly.”
            Reply

            अहंनास्मि (Ahannāsmi)
            Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

            ” No he did not say that. He couldn’t possibly have, without invalidating his whole argument….

            “So I don’t think I need to make any “retractions” here, unless some further evidence is provided.”

            From Sam Harris (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/in-defense-of-profiling)

            “When I speak of profiling “Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim,” I am not narrowly focused on people with dark skin. In fact, I included myself in the description of the type of person I think should be profiled (twice).”

            Still feel you shouldn’t retract your statement?

            • Posted May 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

              Perhaps you did not read my comment. I actually referred to the part you quoted and also showed how what Harris claims there he said in the article is in direct contradiction to what he actually said in the article.

              So no, if anyone needs a retraction here, it is certainly not me.

              • Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

                Let’s get this straight.

                You claim that Harris, in direct reply to similar allegations, is deliberately lying about what he just said in print, even as he provides a link to that very essay. And all the rest of us who read what Harris wrote originally, and what he wrote in reply to similar allegations as yours – all of us (as well as Harris) – have got it wrong twice.

                But you, अहंनास्मि (Ahannāsmi), YOU have got it right and you certainly won’t be making a retraction.

                That about sum it up?

    • muuh-gnu
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      “I would ask what part of We should profile
      Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.” (emphasis added) does not sound like race-fueled bigotry.”

      The part that would prevent situations like these:

      > http://www.cancertruth.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/TSA-grandma.jpg

      The TSA member there _knows_ that the probability that the grandma there is a terrorist threat is zero, but she has to _pretend_ that the probability is the same as for an 20-40 dark skinned military-age male with a middle eastern look. She _knows_ that she wont find anything there, but she is searching that grandma purely for political reasons.

      Knowing that a security officer is not doing her job professionally but knowingly molesting old grandmas solely to push a certain political view is desastrous for their very authority.

      • Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

        But the point doesn’t seem to be about grandmas at all (though later on the article just says that the least TSA could do was anti-profile, the thrust of the article is about profiling). In particular, what would Harris’s statement imply if the grandma “look(ed) like (she) could conceivably be Muslim”?

    • Phil
      Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:07 am | Permalink

      Harris is being dishonest

      ‘It is not enough for moderate Muslims to say “not in our name.” They must now police their own communities. They must offer unreserved assistance to western governments in locating the extremists in their midst. They must tolerate, advocate, and even practice ethnic profiling.’

      Sam Harris, Bombing Our Illusions

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/bombing-our-illusions_b_8615.html

    • Gary W
      Posted May 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Ahan, since anyone could CONCEIVABLY be Muslim, Harris’s statement is obviously not intended to be understood in the hyperliteral way you are spinning it.

      You’re a typical example of Harris’s critics, who use quote-mining and spin to misrepresent his position and then attack that strawman.

      • Posted May 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Firstly, I don’t know who this Ahan guy is that you are addressing :)

        Gary W said (emphasis mine),

        since anyone could CONCEIVABLY be Muslim, Harris’s statement is obviously not intended to be understood in the hyperliteral way you are spinning it.

        Why is that obvious? As I pointed out above, the paragraph in question in Harris’s article makes it quite clear that he is contrasting the class of people who “look like”, (those two words are important, and interestingly, they don’t appear in your version of what Harris said), “[they] could conceivably be Muslim” with the class of people who look like him.

        You’re a typical example of Harris’s critics, who use quote-mining and spin to misrepresent his position and then attack that strawman.

        Well, I presented what I think the glaring issues with Harris’s original position (which, contrary to Roger Lambert’s claims above, remains unretracted) were, and I also pointed out that anyone who thought there were no problems with it might want to try it out with the string “Muslim” replaced with “Hindu”, “Jew”, “Buddhist” or “Christian”. None of Harris’s supporters posting on this thread have answered either of those objections. They have accused me of having a mental block, using “quote-mining”, creating a strawman, and so on and so forth, but have been less forthcoming with reasons and evidence that justify those accusations.

        I really do hope that Harris does not really advocate profiling based on the criteria he is suggesting. Sadly, his writings do little to uphold that hope.

  12. Dominic
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    What is somoeone who fears christians? a christianophobe?

  13. a diffrent phil
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Not really on topic, but this made me smile

    “Brad DeLong directs me to a screed by Clive Crook, who sort of admits that I’ve been right about a lot of things but accuses me of being, well, shrill. Where have I heard that before?” – Krugman

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/not-everything-is-political/

  14. kelskye
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    I remember in the introduction to the 30th anniversary edition of The Selfish Gene that people levelled the charge that Dawkins’ writings brought fascism to England. I really wonder if the cries of Islamophobia are only directed at Dawkins et al. because such criticisms give some implicit rhetorical credence xenophobes and racists who do see Islam in those same crazy terms.

  15. taqiya
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    The origin and historical meaning of the word “Islamophobia” is explained at http://tinyurl.com/brvbsmt

    • pulseteresa
      Posted May 2, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Flogging your blog in public is most unbecoming.

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Especially one belittling our host here, more-so when your discussion actually supports his view that it’s wrong to label legitimate criticism as “Islamophobia”!

      /@

  16. Posted May 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    You call Dawkins an Islamophobe?

    Now this is Islamophobia….

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22356306

    Of course, we will now face a prolonged period of silence from anti-Islamophobes when real Islamophobia rears its head.

  17. Mark
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    …and it continues. Sheesh!-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2013/may/03/atheism-dawkins


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