Reader Mike sent me this podcast by Eiynah (“Nice Mangos“) on “The complexity of criticizing Islam under Trump.” He added that it is a discussion that needs to be had, was worth every moment of his attention to the 12-minute podcast, and wanted to know the readers’ feedback. So by all means, proffer some feedback in the comments.
While I think Eiynah is overly hard on Gad Saad and Dave Rubin (I don’t think they undermine liberal critics of Islam, nor do they “promote far-right lunatics who believe in white genocide”), she’s right that Leftists are in the dilemma of having to oppose bigotry against believers while still criticizing the oppressive tenets of religion, Islam in particular. That is, by espousing some of the same criticisms of Islam as do members of the Right, we discredit ourselves by being seen as allies of the Right, which is incorrect but something widely espoused. As Eiynah says, “There are so many awful people piggybacking on things that ex-Muslims say.”
Her dilemma, and ours, is real. In an age when Trump is, properly, seen as a bigot against Muslims, it’s easy to mistake any criticism of Islam for calls for discrimination against Muslims. That is the “Islamophobia” canard. And I agree with Eiynah’s solution: “measured, careful, well-thought out critiques of Islam” combined with criticism of bigotry against Muslims. This is what I’ve tried to do on this site, and while I think it’s the true liberal position, Eiynah is frustrated that it’s not working. Indeed, on some sites I’m characterized as being “right wing.” But I see no other solution, and while I share Eiynah’s frustration, I think we have no choice but to persist.
You can hear the podcast by clicking on the arrow in the upper left corner of the screenshot.