Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Is Islamophobia real?

One of the FTB crowd, Brian Lynchehaun, in a post called, "Islamophobia, a discussion" aims to explain that Islamophobia is real.

Brian Lynchehaun begins:
Depending on who you read or listen to, either Islamophobia simply isn’t real, or it’s not as pervasive as people think it is, or sometimes it’s a legitimate criticism, but it’s often used incorrectly to shut down someone legitimately criticising Islam, or else it’s just some word (without any legitimate meaning) that people use to shut down conversations. To which I say: bullshit. I have to grant, of course, that there is possibly some people out there do these things, but I have to admit that I haven’t actually seen any of them. Even in articles where these claims are made, no evidence is provided.

Right off the bat, Brian Lynchehaun lays it out: "Islamophobia is real until you prove it isn't."

Also real: unicorns, leprechauns.
The term is primarily used to call out bigoted behaviour, and not necessarily restricted to bigotry against Muslims: there is splash damage that goes beyond the targeted group. For example, the murder of Sunando Sen (an Indian, who was targeted because his murderer believed him to be either “a Muslim or a Hindu”) is a clear cut case of Islamophobia Here is a guy who wasn’t a Muslim, and shared no characteristics with the majority of Muslims, and yet was killed because… He was brown.
Interesting to see a murder described as 'bigoted'.

Perhaps a better word to use is 'homicidal' or 'batshit insane'.

Accusations of 'Islamophobia' are not criticisms that are reserved for violent behavior, as Brian Lynchehaun accepts later.
And that’s really the crux of it. When you ask people to describe “a Muslim”, they’ll typically give you a description of someone who is either Arab or Persian (or, more vaguely, brown), male, bearded, and speaks Arabic. If they get past their gender-bias, they might describe a woman covered from head to toe in cloth showing only their eyes. And straight off, this image is generally false. Why? Because the largest single ethnic/nationality of Muslims don’t live in the Middle East: they live in Indonesia (13% of all Muslims). Yet, in Europe and North America, “Muslim” and “brown person” have become somewhat synonymous, such that even when people are making an effort to be as politically correct and dress up bigoted statements in vague and non-specific language, their policy ideas invariably target brown people.
Here, Brian Lynchehaun does the world a favor and accepts that Islam is not a race.

Therefore criticism of Islam is not a racist endeavor. On this we can agree.

However now that race is made distinct from religion, Lynchehaun fails to remove behavior from the equation.

Muslims are not of one race, so they cannot be thought of as having a particular skin color.

But aspects of dress (hijab, loose fitting men's clothing), appearance (beards) and behavior still form a profile.

Not all Mormons are white. But they all wear the same underwear.

Then the author tries to battle Sam Harris:

I do also realise that Harris is low-hanging fruit, but he illustrates my point and yet he (along with many others) is often defended as simply being anti-Islam, and not Islamophobic, Allow me to disabuse you of that notion. Harris says
“We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. 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).”
So in that case, who exactly does Harris think “looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim”? By including himself, he’s essentially arguing that ‘anyone’ could “look Muslim”, which largely defeats the argument he was attempting to make. Which is unsurprising, given that it’s Harris, but it’s hard to say that “he’s lying” is a more charitable interpretation. I’ll leave that to ye to judge. Moreover: where in these statements is he being “anti-Islam”? I can see where he’s being anti-Muslim, but the anti-Islam part eludes me (and no, these are not the same thing).

What point is Lynchehaun trying to make here?

Given the criteria above, people can "look muslim" just as much as they can "look hipster".

To state that there is nothing identifiable about a religious group once a racial component is removed is an absolutely absurd claim.
The bottom line here is, to take data from the recent Pew survey, that Muslims span the globe. Pew interviewed people from 39 different countries, and had to run interviews in 80 different languages. “What’s that?” I hear ye say, “Couldn’t they just interview everyone in Arabic?” And thus does the spectre of Islamophobia raise its head.
Here, Lynchehaun puts words in the mouths of millions of people in the west. Many of them Christian.

Christians should understand, and do understand, that not all muslims speak Arabic.

For the love of Allah, not all Christians speak Greek.

Lynchehaun's comments are obviously bigoted and Christianophobic.

But even Lynchehaun understands the absurdity of his claim here:
we make the (completely wrong) connections between “Arabic” and “Muslim” that make only slightly more sense than connecting “Latin” with “Catholic”.
Then we could agree that the majority of Catholics can be expected to "get it" after two seconds of discussion.

That won't make Lynchehaun from backtracking from his statement assuming they largely don't understand anything.

The rest of the article is a nonsensical reading of opinion surveys, and Lynchehaun having no real explanation for why so many Egyptians wish to kill those who leave Islam.

The attempt to gloss over how ridiculously conservative Islam is continues with this:
But the moment you start holding up individual Muslims for what they have done, and then going “See? Freaking Islam!”, then all you have done is is cherry-pick a particular Muslim acting badly, and claim that that one individual is (somehow) representative of Muslims generally. Yet the bulk of the Muslim population *wasn’t* doing what that individual did.
Is Islam homophobic? Sure. Does it advocate the abuse of women? Without a doubt. Is it hypocritical and self-contradictory? Of course it bloody well is. 
Is homophobia interwoven throughout Muslim communities? Sure. More than Christian communities? I have no idea (and I don’t know how we’d even begin to quantify that). Are Muslim communities very anti-woman? Sure. More than Christian communities? I’m not sure (I’m inclined to say ‘yes’, but I’m just working off of my media-infused prejudices here).

Let's get this straight.

Islam is homophobic and misogynistic.

But it really isn't so bad, right? 

Right?

Lynchehaun adds:

To claim that Islam is worse than Christianity, or the greatest force for evil today… I mean, *really*? There’s quite a lot of ‘awful’ out there, and I really have no idea how one quantifies Islam as worse than the institutionalized rape of children. Seriously, Dawkins, this shit is embarrassing.

In his defense of Islam, Lynchehaun suggests it is unfair to link Islam to terrorism, but somehow it's OK to suggest Catholicism (or Christianity) has to own up to raping kids.

This is a good example of "social justice" warriors being hypocritical pricks. They can't have it both ways - it makes no sense at all to tear down Catholicism in the same sentence as speaking against generalizations about Islam.

And the overwhelming conclusion:


Anywho. This is how I see Islamophobia being used: to call out people who imprecisely generalise traits-specific-to-cultural-subgroups-that-have-Muslim-members to Muslims-in-general, and reading non-Muslims-who-are-part-of-cultural-subgroups-that-have-Muslim-members as Muslims.
This be Islamophobia.

Essentially the point Lynchehaun is trying to make is the following:

Some people lack basic knowledge about Islam and may have an incorrectly dim view of Islam. If they knew more about Islam, they'd still hate it, but for better reasons.

Mind blown. 

This is like flying on a winged horse to Jerusalem.

Lynchehaun generalizes about non-muslims being ignorant bigots, but a question remains to be asked - just how bigoted are muslim populations?

Lynchehaun has already accepted that Islam is essentially misogynistic and homophobic. Additionally, they believe the creator of the universe speaks a specific language, which sounds a lot like cultural imperialism.

To top it off, many muslims believe that people leaving the faith should be killed.

It's starting to sound like Islam creates conservative bigots?

While that is true, the only bigots we can hate are rich white Republican men's rights activists. And the Westboro Baptist Church.

Screw those Republicans. 

Wait, do muslims vote Republican?

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