Much like with the word “homophobia,” I get very annoyed when I hear the word “Islamophobia.” Basically, I get irritated with people who think criticisms of Islam are a mark of racism. They are not. Race is loosely tied to biology. There is a clear distinction between a black man and a white man; namely, the color of the individual’s skin. As skin color flows into various gradations, it is probably better to regard the black man and the white man as being on opposite sides of a spectrum as opposed to differing values of a binary condition. Regardless, holding a person in contempt on the basis of their skin color makes absolutely no intellectual sense. And with the history associated with that attitude, it is crystal clear to me, and most people, that that is morally wrong and should not be encouraged.
Being opposed to Islam, however, is much different. Islam is a religion or creed, it is not a race. Islam is constituted by a collection of beliefs and tenets which dictate, or at the very least, influence, how one lives in the world. As such, it is fair game for criticism and, should it be called for, rejection. The same can be said for Judaism (although Jewish, I believe, is also a race as well as a religion … which complicates matters somewhat in that particular case), Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Nazism, and every other religion and creed out there. It is naive to think that all these belief systems are morally equal. Nazism, alone, should be enough to disabuse one of that notion. If you protest that Nazism doesn’t belong in such a group because it is not a religion, then consider both the now extinct Aztec religion of Central America and the Thuggee cults of India. Both were religions. Both practiced human sacrifice. Ergo, they do not measure up to such peaceful religions as Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, etc….
As far as criticizing the creed of Islam and not the race of Muslims (since the race varies and I have already stated that racism is wrong) is concerned, I will say that suicide bombing is carried out, as far as I know, only by Muslims. Obviously, not all Muslims are terrorists. That goes without saying. However, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that most terrorists are Muslim. If you want to be really precise: Not all Muslims are jihadists, but all jihadists are Muslim. You can say the religion is being hijacked, but I have heard elsewhere that the leader of Isis has a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from one of the most prestigious Islamic universities in the world. I haven’t verified that last statement myself, but if it is true, it means Islam has a serious problem. And it is a problem Muslims must solve; others can point it out to them, but Muslims are the only ones who can modify and fix their own religion. They need a Reformation.
As I said, criticism of Islam is perfectly acceptable, especially in a free society—as long as it is done respectably and even if done irreverently. For myself, I lack sufficient knowledge of Islam to criticize it beyond a very superficial level. I can, as I did above, note the glaring atrocities practiced by Isis and other terrorist groups in the name of Islam. Such are stains on their religion that may take centuries to overcome. Others with more knowledge than me of that particular Faith should feel free to examine it and analyze it in detail.
Although music is not the summation of a Faith, I wish to part by saying something positive about Islam: I like their music. It sounds very spiritual to me. I regret that I don’t have more positive things to say about the religion, but I’ve never read the Koran or studied the Hadith. Maybe someday I will, but at the moment, I lack the time.
Anyway, that’s what I wanted to share today. “Islamophobia” is a dangerous term which obfuscates the distinction between race and creed. Criticism based on one is immoral and, if it weren’t so serious, silly; criticism based on the other is perfectly fine. And if you wish to accuse me of being “Islamophobic,” I’ll accuse you of being “Westernophobic.” So, go soak your head. Blah!