Thursday, 4 April 2013

A Note on "New Atheists, Sam Harris and "Islamophobia"

There is no doubt that crude anti-islamic propaganda has been , in the course of the last decade, more than merely a crusade against religion as such. As Glen Greenwald writes,
"... the New Atheists have flirted with and at times vigorously embraced irrational anti-Muslim animus.
Sam Harris in 2005: "I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror."
Sam Harris in 2012: "We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.
However, Greenwald is utterly wrongheaded and foolish to state,
"Perhaps the most repellent claim Harris made to me was that Islamophobia is fictitious and non-existent, "a term of propaganda designed to protect Islam from the forces of secularism by conflating all criticism of it with racism and xenophobia". How anyone can observe post-9/11 political discourse in the west and believe this is truly mystifying. The meaning of "Islamophobia" is every bit as clear as "anti-semitism" or "racism" or "sexism" and all sorts of familiar, related concepts".
No it just is not.

"Islamophobia" conflates hatred of Islam with Islamism, and by extension Muslims. It has been use disingenuously by Islamists to insinuate that criticism of Islamism, of any of the various sorts that exist, with ant-Muslim hatred. The latter term could be used to describe Sam Harris's position.

A better term would be to use precise language depending on the context. As a catch-all term, "Islamophobia" has been used to conflate criticism of Islam as a religion or Islamism as a political set of idea with hatred of Muslims.The MCB and MAB specialise in using such Orwellian language.

The worst term used was "Islamofascism". The category error comes from linking all Islamist movements into one seamless continuum. The reason why those such asChristopher Hitchens used it was due to his leftist anti-authoritarianism and this idea of the USA and Britain as liberator nations in World War Two

This gave fake credence to the idea, peddled by Bush after 9/11, that the USA had suffered it "Pearl Harbour" and now "we" were embroiled in "World War Three". It seems both the self styled "liberal interventionist" left and the "anti-imperialist left" need to start getting a grip of their history.

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