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Why Peter Tatchell Is Getting Islamophobia Wrong.

[ Posted by Lara Keller 16/5/19 Updated 19/5/19 ] anchorTableSmall - Copy Blog Table Of Contents

UK Human rights secular saint Peter Tatchell, is someone of whom I greatly approve, although he does not know this and probably could not care less. He has written a letter to UK “The Times” newspaper agreeing with police criticisms of new rules banning Islamophobia. The arguments he uses are strange.

Race is a weak concept, and it is true that Muslims belong to many so called “races”. Islamophobia proposes that Muslims display social behavior that is inferior or dangerous when compared to non-Muslims, this is “effective” racism. Tatchell is wrong to get absolute about weak definitions.

He says “Muslims who oppose Women’s and LGBT rights claim they are expressing their Muslimness”. Fundamentalists’ claims are subject to debate as any other claims are. Most Muslims would claim that claiming “Mulsimness” means opposing the rights of Women and LGBT people is itself an insult to Islam. So a claim of Islamic belief can itself be Islamophobic. Indeed what (so called) Islamist Extremists say about Islam matches what rabid Islamophobes say about Islam. their actions and propaganda feed each other. So Tatchell asks “Is criticism of them [fundamentalists] Islamophobia or not?” Accepting the fundamentalist statements about Islam can be Islamophobic. So the answer is clearly “No”.

Islam is not just an idea, as Tatchell says, it is a collection of ideas. Some of which Muslims believe were revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammad. Other come from the life of the prophet, his actual and alleged sayings and later interpretations of these ideas. In this way Islam is like Judaism and Christianity. So Islam is more than an idea. But it is still open to criticism and interpretation. Indeed criticism and interpretation is central all religions, including Islam.

Tatchell says “Yet criticisms of Islam and tyrannical Islamic regimes are often denounced as Islamophobia.” It is also true that denouncing genuine debate and criticism of Islam and supporting tyrannical Islamic regimes, is an insult to Islam, and is itself Islamophobic.

So Tatchell letter amounts to the truths that the concepts of “Muslimness” and “Islamophobia” are not clearly defined enough to be the basis of actionable rules. The rest of his letter is not relevant. The best way forward is to debate these concepts, and produce reasoned examples. (Note the Antisemitism definition has been partly hijacked by the needs of Zionist propaganda).

I disagree with Peter Tatchell. “Islamophobia” does exist as an objective racist activity, that needs to be dealt with by rules and public opinion. There is a “Muslim Identity” that comes from the positive values of Islam that people should be free to express (ie “Muslimness”). I agree with him that these issues are difficult to get right.

The way to empower women, gain LGBT rights and end brutal dictatorships for Muslims (and their non-Muslim neighbours an d fellow citizens) is via Islam. There is no insurmountable obstacle. Start with “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Excellent way of saying there is only one God. Mohammad is not the only messenger of God (although most Muslims believe he is the last one, I see no reason God is limited). The same God for all, where the oppression and neglect of others is an insult to this one same shared God.

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7 thoughts on “Why Peter Tatchell Is Getting Islamophobia Wrong.

  1. If Islamophobia is an “objective racist activity” then why do Sikhs not suffer from Sikhophobia and Hindus not suffer from Hinduphobia? Perhaps it is explained here:

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    1. Thank you for this example of far-right Islamophobic nonsense. You have provided a convincing example of why Islamophobia is racism, and punctures the weak argument that it refers to a religion rather than a race. The image above is meaningless. When it says “Muslims”,”Sikhs” and “Hindus” does this mean some, all or a few? Do the crimes-faults listed on the left of the image apply to “Muslims”,”Sikhs” and “Hindus” in the UK, elsewhere or everywhere? Let’s assume it means a “few” from each of these groups, and is based on alleged crimes-faults in the UK. Starting from the bottom of the list. Integration = Surely a few from all these groups are immigrants who have not yet integrated fully in UK society. Jew-hatred = Surely Muslims and Jews have a shared history of conflict and co-existence, which does not apply to Sikhs and Hindus. There is an obvious conflict in Israel-Palestine. Hatred of Jews or Muslims is for the few religious fundamentalists, others would reasonably disapprove of actions not religions. Rape-gangs = No religious person Muslim or not would approve of rape. Far-right extremists in the UK have labelled people who have been involved in gang-rape cases as “Muslims”, and obsessively focused on these cases, but this designation is meaningless. Victimhood =In the UK racism has changed to focusing on Muslims. This comparison is meaningless. Supremacism = This is a tiny minority of Islamist fundamentalists,who so distort Islam, they cannot be described meaningfully as Muslims. The slogan “they will not replace us” is a popular obsession with the white supremacist far-right. FGM = Female genital mutilation has nothing to do with Islam (or Christianity). There is no mention of it in the Koran, the life of the prophet or his sayings. It is however a barbaric cultural practice that mainly exists in some Muslim majority countries, like Egypt, where it is practiced by Muslims and Coptic Christians. The idea it is a religious duty is wrong. Death Threats = Tiny minority of Islamist fundamentalists, who cannot be described meaningfully as Muslims. Bombings = Oil, war, religion and history closely link Europe (and hence USA) with the so called Middle East (middle to who?). Islamist fundamentalism is an extremist political not religious movement, which is at war with the West. This has nothing to do Islam. Many Muslims will have a political view on the Middle East, some may be activists, but the actions and views expressed by Islamist Fundamentalists are both illogical and contradict core Islamic values. So this image explains more about you, than Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus or anybody else. Why the far-right racists have focused on Muslims as a hate target is purely to do with Western politics. There has to be hate target for these people. Their hatred of Jews led to the Holocaust, the greatest genocide in history. i hope you can find God, and take a balanced view of religions. All of them offer a path to God, while also putting up a barrier. Think on this.

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    2. Thank you for generously providing more information on your Islamophobia obession. Your article via this link https://ecawblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/islamophobia-sikhophobia-and-hinduphobia/ starts with the strange question of why there is Islamophobia in the UK, but not Sikhophobia and Hinduphobia? Clearly why the racist far-right have chosen to target Muslims as a group is their illogical hate filled obsession. There is no justification for it. Your article offers four options to its own question.
      [Option 1:] The article asks another question “Why Muslims commit atrocities in the UK” for some strange reason. This is absurd, as the question assumes Muslims commit atrocities. Islamist Fundamentalists are not Muslims in any meaningful sense. Criminal gang members cannot be Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs ….in any meaningful sense. It concludes Islamophobia must come from “atrocities in the UK”, as the former appeared after the later. There is no such connection. The surge in Islamophobia comes from events outside the UK (it existed and was ignored fro decades). It follows from the Islamist Fundamentalist movements in the Middle East, Zionist propaganda, conflicts in Afghanistan and the 9/11 terror attack. Western elites needed to avoid the full range of reasons for 9/11, and instead encouraged the creation of extremist propaganda to put the blame solely on Islam. So “terrorist atrocities” and Islamophobia are caused by the war between Islamist fundamentalists and Western elites.
      [Option 2:] Your article argues Islamophobia cannot be due to racism, because Muslims are targeted while Sikhs and Hindus are not targeted (as aggressively). There is no such logical connection. Far right racism currently flows towards Muslims because they have been given the Islamophobia propaganda and the “War on Terror” to attack them with. In the 1970s in the UK, the far-right National Front were attacking all Asian immigrants regardless of religion. If the far-right ever gain power r in the UK (or elsewhere) they will quickly move on to targeting anyone they can accuse of not being completely British in the sense they invent.
      [Option 3:] You claim “cultural racism” does not exist. This is where racists target people from a different race, using the excuse of hatred for a religious (or other) culture that the racists associate with them. The article claims using invalid circular logic, that if this did exist then Islamophobia would exist, and it does not. The article asks “Even if cultural racism did exist then the same objection as for option 2 would apply; why do we not see the same behaviours from Sikhs and Hindus?” …. surely it means Option 1?
      [Option 4:] The article claims the reason for Islamophobia is Islam itself, because Islam is so awful. This repeats the crimes-faults of Islam listed in the propaganda image above. Most of these claims are justified with very short snippets with reference numbers that are alleged to be from the Koran or the Sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (Hadith). There is no mention of the translation used or the context of the snippets. There are some far-right Islamophobic extremists who are doing their own translations from Arabic. Even if you have a reliable translation, you need the accompanying footnotes and you need to know the context of the quotes. For example the situation described in any religious text will influence what a particular quote means. This is called “exegesis” and is applied to Islam as any other religion. There is also a short alleged quotes from the “Reliance of the Traveller” supporting FGM, which is a medieval book from one school of Islamic interpretation. This is not in the same league as the Koran, Hadith and Sira (biography of the Prophet Mohammed). Again there is no context and no translation notes, and it is impossible to say what it means. There is a mere alleged “Arabic Saying” supporting the crime-fault of Victimhood, which is worthless. There is an alleged extract from Hamas’ charter, which has no connection to Islam. The most absurd justification is under “rape gangs”. It is worth quoting in full: “The vulnerable girls of Northern England, and elsewhere, sadly suffered the concurrence of three phenomena, the contempt found in Islamic culture for both Kafirs [unbelievers] and females, plus the paedophilic example of Mohammed, the ‘perfect man’.” The article suggests that rape of girls in Northern England is mainly due to “Islamic Culture”. This is extremist far-right rubbish. The article provides no justification for this false claim that Islam condones contempt for women. The snippet the article uses about unbelievers (kaffirs) is worthless as described above. There is no justification for the false claim that the Prophet Mohammed was a paedophile. This is pure far-right racist rubbish. Then there is an alleged quote from Trevor Phillips: “Muslim communities are not like others in Britain and the country should accept they will never integrate”. This is actually a headline from the right-wing UK Daily Mail. Phillips actually said Muslims would not integrate in the “same way” as other groups.
      [Option 5……..] There are no other options. None of the Options 1 to 4 actually explain the origins of Islamophobia, and there is no logical reason why they should. You finish with “All things considered, I believe we have found our answer, don’t you?” [implying option 4], well no we have not.
      You then go on to comment on my previous comment, and disappear into blatant Islamophobic hatred, which is of little interest.

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      1. There are three red haired boys in a school class. Two of them get along fine with everyone else but the third is widely disliked, even feared. It cannot be due to redhairism, even though he claims it is. It must be something else, perhaps even something he’s done.

        I have realised that you know very little about Islam, even worse that you do not want to. Shouting “far-right racism” every couple of sentences might go down well at demos and in the whatever-studies courses that have produced a generation who do not know how to think, only what to think, but it does not impress grown ups.

        Remember this conversation when you are wearing a hijab whether you like it or not. I will be gone by then but you and your kids will have to bear the results of your folly.

        So long. I wish I could say “best wishes”.

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  2. Thank you again for you final comment sharing Islamophobic propaganda. I cannot see how this comment connects to the content of the previous comments. Your propagandist parable of the three school boys is very interesting. The problem is that individuals cannot be compared to groups, as groups diverge in their opinions and actions. Racist propaganda tries to link groups to single specific opinions and actions. Your image about Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, is a wonderful example of this. It is also interesting that your comparison is the trivial aspect of having “red hair”. Racists always use alleged actions as justification for their hate, rather than the irrational, opportunistic and parasitic truth. Why far-right racists indulge in Islamophobic hate is due to the distorted attitudes of the racists, not the people targeted by the racists. The real reasons for Islamophobia has been covered in detail in the above comments. Antisemitism followed the same path in the first half of the twentieth century. European Jews were accused of either being violent communists, criminal anarchists, or ruthless wealthy capitalist leeches. Like any other group there were some destructive individuals, but most were no different than anyone else. The same type of question you asked, was asked then, that if European Jews seemed so little different than other Europeans, then why were they so hated. The racists answered that they deserved to be hated, and even produced the fake “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” to prove they were planning to take over. Far-right racists have always produced fantasies of “being replaced”. I hope you find God, and use your own questioning of your former Islamophobic beliefs to find your own path. God bless you.

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