Why we need to stop using the word ‘Islamophobia’
April 5, 2019 (American Thinker) — The terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand has left the world in shock. The shooter hated Muslims and Islam, and because of his hatred, he murdered 50 innocent people. His victims included a three-year-old boy.
After a terrorist attack, people want to know not only what happened, but also why. Terrorists don't kill people without a reason. They do so because of their beliefs. The shooter's hatred of Muslims and Islam is rooted in the toxic ideologies of white supremacy and white nationalism.
In identifying what ideology motivates terrorists, there is a double standard on the political left. When Barack Obama was president, he refused to condemn "radical Islamic terrorists" because he didn't want Americans to believe that Islam has anything to do with terrorism. Instead, he called them "violent extremists."
The FBI defines violent extremism as "encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals." "Violent extremist" is a politically correct term for an Islamic terrorist. When a politician uses the term, the public is left in the dark as to why a terrorist attack was carried out.
Fast-forward to 2019, and no one is calling the Christchurch shooter a violent extremist. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison called him an "extremist, right-wing" terrorist.
Unlike Islamic terrorists, the Christchurch shooter's motivations are not being concealed from the public. In fact, many people on the Left are outraged if a politician fails to state what motivated him.
In Canada, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has been criticized for not denouncing Islamophobia in his public statements following the terrorist attack. Although Scheer should have mentioned the Muslim victims in his first tweet, he was right not to include the word "Islamophobia."
Oxford defines Islamophobia as "dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force." The word suggests that it is not only wrong to dislike Islam, but also irrational. (Islamophobia sounds like a mental illness because a phobia is a mental disorder.)
As Pascal Bruckerner aptly states, "the word 'Islamophobia' amalgamates two very different concepts: the persecution of believers, which is a crime; and the critique of religion, which is a right." The word makes people believe that disliking Islam and disliking Muslims are both wrong.
There is all the difference in the world between disliking Islam and hating Muslims and wanting to kill them. Hatred of Muslims is always wrong, but it is not wrong to be opposed to Islam as a political force in society. Political Islam — through the implementation of sharia law — is incompatible with Western values and freedoms.
Sharia law comes from the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the rulings of Islamic scholars. It is a vital aspect of both spiritual and political Islam, and it is highly oppressive to women and minorities.
Here are three present-day examples: in Iran, men are executed for engaging in sexual activity with other men. In Pakistan, people have been sentenced to death for insulting the prophet Muhammad. In Brunei, the punishment for adultery is death by stoning.
In many countries, a majority of Muslims want an Islamic government based on sharia law. If Muslim immigrants want to implement sharia law in a Western nation, other citizens have the right to oppose them.
However, people who criticize Islam or Muslims (for any reason) are often accused of Islamophobia. As a case in point, Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat in the U.S. Congress, has accused both Republicans and Democrats of Islamophobia for being critical of Ilhan Omar. Omar is a Muslim member of Congress who has made controversial statements about Israel.
Publicly shaming someone (by accusing him of Islamophobia) is a means of controlling what people can and cannot say. When people are stigmatized for criticizing Islam or Muslims, it is a warning to others to remain silent.
Politicians should stop using the word "Islamophobia" because it puts good and bad people in the same box. In its place, a better alternative would be the word "Muslimphobia," which is similar to anti-Semitism. Both words stigmatize hate speech toward a group of people.
The First Amendment protects hate speech, but in a society that values virtue, hate speech should not be tolerated. Nevertheless, no one should be accused of hating Muslims because he is critical of Islam. Islam is not a race; it is a religion.
Freedom of speech includes the right to criticize any religious belief or practice you disagree with. When I went to university, professors frequently criticized Christianity. However, no professor was ever accused of Christophobia, and neither should he be.
When someone speaks out against Islamophobia, two important questions must be asked: is he trying to protect Muslims from hatred and violence? Or is he trying to shield Muslims and Islam from criticism?
No religion should be immune from criticism. If Islam cannot be criticized, there is no way to determine if its teachings and practices are true. The only way the truth about anything can be determined is by allowing everyone to express his point of view.
Christopher Lindsay is the author of Letters from a Madman, available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chrislindsay70.
Published with permission from the American Thinker.