Thursday, June 26, 2008

Disliking Islam

Here's one to savour:

THE Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a league of 57 Muslim nations, said a Danish court's rejection of a suit against a paper for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad could provoke "Islamophobia".
A court's judgement, in other words, should not be based on the merits of any particular case, but rather on the broader reaction that might result from it. Picture yourself, standing in a dock, while that gets argued around you.

That's actually happened in the past: "Weeeaall, maybe this nigger didn't rape no white woman, but if we let him go they'll all get to thinking it's fine to talk to your daughters".

As a matter of fact, it still happens. Any time a politician talks about the criminal law 'sending a message', that's what they're talking about.
Last Thursday the High Court for western Denmark rejected a suit against Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that first published cartoons of Islam's prophet, leading to deadly protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The court said the editors had not meant to depict Muslims as criminals or terrorists, the cartoons had not broken the law, and there was a relationship between acts of violence and Islam - comments that provoked outcry among Muslim groups in Denmark.

"It is a known fact that acts of terror have been carried out in the name of Islam and it is not illegal to make satire out of this relationship," the court said.
(emphasis added)

Again - yet again - we see Muslim groups reacting furiously not to violence, not to violence in the name of Islam, but to the fact that this has been remarked upon.
The Saudi-based OIC, the largest grouping of Muslim countries, said the ruling could encourage "Islamophobia", a fear or dislike of Islam, which the group has identified as existing in the West.
The last emphasis was added by me. I dislike Islam. Whether or not I dislike any other religions isn't going to enter into this post as a sort of "some of my best friends are Jewish" qualification. I dislike Islam. Not Islamism, though I also dislike that. Not terrorism in the name of Islam, though I also dislike that. I dislike Islam. That's my prerogative. I can dislike anything I damn well dislike. That's a fact for everyone, we all have dislikes and this isn't about that, it's about suppressing one particular dislike through the use of strident and dishonest threats (I'm not a violent man, but I can't speak for my lumpy friend here), violence, bogus front groups, absurd generalisations about "1,5 billion Muslims" and all the other arrows in the OIC's quiver.

This has nothing at all to do with Muslims, nor with the things they have made of their religion, many of which I do like. In fact, I like some aspects of Islam itself: the injunction to give to the poor, the fasting that means every Muslim has shared the experience of the poor. I understand the rationale behind the ideal of polygamy in the seventh century - providing support to widows. But the support for slavery, the creationism, the intellectual stasis, the economic torpor, the permission to rape female slaves, the subjugation of women, the anti-Semitism, the violence, the horrific architecture of supremacism in the past, which a large minority of Muslims want to perpetuate (forcible conquest, second class status for non-Muslims, death for apostates) - these things outweigh the things I like.

Let's reverse things for a moment. Many Muslims hate the West - let's call this Westernophobia. This doesn't seem to stop them wearing baseball caps and sweatshirts, or wanting to emigrate here (which they are welcome to do, in my book - it's up to us to enforce our laws), but they hate the West, many of them. Those who don't hate the West have something, at least, of an ambivalent attitude towards countries like the USA and Britain. And they are entitled to feel like that. In fact, given their history, it's completely unsurprising that they do. They do have good reason, nobody likes the legacy of the wrong end of colonialism. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded on a hatred of the West. In this case, there wasn't a good reason, but they are still entitled to feel like that, just as I am entitled to feel as I do.

If we're going to reach the point where we can sit in a cafe drinking coffee together, and even starting to like each other, we need honest, frank dialogue, not the shouting down, accompanied by threats, of one side of the equation by the other.
"The Danish ruling came as a surprise to the OIC at a time when almost all Western governments including the USA had made categorical statements rejecting any linkage between Islam and terrorism," the OIC said.
Yes, Western governments have made those statements. They were dishonest. The Danish court was honest.
"The linkage drawn by the Danish court ... could create a precedent for exacerbation of Islamophobia."
No, the Danish court was right. The only useful meaning of the word Islamophobia is an irrational hatred of Muslims, a hatred that has no rationale, no reasons. It is reasonable to hate some things - National Socialism, for example. The irrational form of Islamophobia - something beyond, divorced from, reason - does exist. It's a bad thing, but this isn't that. The OIC need to learn to live in a world in which people say what they think, even if that includes a dislike of their religion. First, though, they have to start letting Muslims say what they think in the failed states and totalitarian nightmares that make up the OIC.
Many Muslims regard depictions of the Prophet as blasphemous.
So what? Some don't, and all non-Muslims don't. The OIC is the aggressor here, trying to impose their view on others.
The Islamic Faith Society, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit against the Danish newspaper, said it might take its case to the European Court of Human Rights.
If they do, they should be given the most dusty of responses, and be made to pay all costs.


jesse said...

i completely agree

Anonymous said...

I think its pretty rich to accuse others of generalising and then base your argument on generalisations, but then as you write yourself, you can dislike anything you goddam like', you'll just have trouble achieving your objective of 'liking [the] other'.