Everywhere I turn there is someone defending Islam, claiming it’s being unfairly picked on, claiming people saying bad things about Islam is like [insert strawman/false equivalence argument] or could lead to [insert a slippery slope argument].
I am sick of people turning this whole criticism of Islam-as-a-garbage-religion into a cricitism about arabs and subsequently calling it racism. Opposing religion – any religion – is, first of all, not racism. Islam is not a freaking race. And secondly, well shit, Islam does deserve the criticism – as a religion.
What has come out of Islamic countries over the past 50 years beside oppression, terrorism and subjugation? These are realities we cannot deny for the sake of political correctness. That is not to say garbage hasn’t come out of Christian countires but this is not a zero sum game where criticising Islam means you condone Christian oppression and/or supremacy or are barred from criticizing Christianity. Atheists are just as concerned about Christian supremacy as they are of Islamic supremacy and a bunch of religions in between.
I am also tired of the same old excuse about how one cannot judge a culture or religion by what it outputs. Well guess what, you can and you should.
When most of the things coming from religion for hundreds of years – shit, for thousands of years – have been atrocities, oppression and subjugation you cannot state with a clear conscience that religion had nothing to do with it. That is where you step back, make use of your mental faculties and rational mind as a human being and recognize religion for what it is, saying to yourself “Gee, maybe there is a connection between religion and [insert bigot action of your choice].”
People always talk about how religion is misunderstood and especially Islam, but it isn’t. When 100% or even 80% of the crap coming out of Islam is what we see around us, then there is no misunderstanding and it was about high time we sat down and connected the dots and saw this religion (like all religions) for what they are instead of sitting here watching another atrocity be committed in the name of Islam and politely nodding out of a false sense of decorum, kidding ourselves into believing that hey, that doesn’t mean it is Islam’s fault after all , “it is just gravely misunderstood.”
So once and for all: Islam is not misunderstood. No religion is. The crap you see coming out of Islam and countires where Islam is the forced state religion is what you get. There is no grey area, no misunderstood anything, no shades of grey, no in between. Islam is what it is: a hateful, intolerant, violent and militant religion asking subservience and obedience by its followers under penalty and by employing scare tactics.
Any abused individual will tell you that “obeying” someone out of fear is not love, it is fear. And there is nothing warm, divine, enticing, great and peaceful about fear and about coercing people by induction of fear.
Now this is not to say that there are no kind Muslims or non-violent ones who do not condone this kind of behavior, but as a movement Islam is pretty obvious. Of course not every single person is a violent zealot. Most Muslims themselves are, more than likely, the victims of their own regimes and its oppression – constantly under the yolk of the state and its perceived divine backing, held in ignorance and controlled by fear and terror.
And this is also not so much a criticism of people practicing Islam. They can practice Santa Clausism as far as I am concerned.
However this is about religion inciting hate and violence and the notion that other ideas are so dangerous and frightening that we have to destroy those who think or utter them.
When your religion is in the habit of treating an entire segment of the population like second class human beings, such as women, or killing those who disagree with you, don’t tell me that isn’t so and that your religion is misunderstood. When your religion is in the habit of exerting control over people regarding every aspect of their lives: from what they wear, what they listen to, what they watch, what they say and heck even what they think, you cannot state without a trace of irony that your religion is a peaceful one that is gravely misunderstood.
Having no choice and being controlled are hardly peace conducing things. Atheists despise all religion and it just so happens that sometimes the discussion is about Islam, while sometimes about Christianity and sometimes about Judaism.
As the dust on the horrific Boston bombings by the Tsarnaev brothers has yet to settle, Muslims have already felt the impact of their association with Islam. Some scholars are observing a rise in what they call Islamophobia in popular media and blogosphere.
While Muslim-bating rhetoric and explicitly racist legislation, police surveillance, witch-trials and discriminatory policies towards Muslims in North America and abroad cannot be denied, from the stand point of the atheist such volatility and aggression perpetuated by Islamic countries is expected and nothing surprising. What is surprising is calling criticism of Islam Islamophobia and in some cases even racism.
One Huffington Post contributor even went so far as to refer to outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins as a “xenophobe” because he tweeted that “Islam [is the] greatest force for evil today”. Said contributor even went so far as to suggest racism, because “the vast majority of the world’s Muslims are non-white“, ipso facto criticising Islam is criticizing a non-White person which supposedly then constitutes racism.
Islamophobia is not the correct term to refer to criticism or critics of Islam. That just makes it sound like the critics are afraid of something they don’t understand and that is not true.
I (and most atheists) understand Islam and Christianity, Mormonism and Scientology and Quaker-rism, and Shaker-rism and Judaism perfectly well and atheists are only afraid of them in so far as the power they have to make people engage in all sorts of atrocities and lies, bigotry and hatred on its behalf.
Secondly, the notion that we have to stop “picking on” Islam because most Muslims are non-white and it could lead to something like racism is ludicrous. The notion that criticizing an act committed by non-whites constitutes or could be construed as racism is beyond flase.
I am tired of giving credence to the imaginary friends of religious people and a god who can create entire universes but is also endlessly interested in my personal thoughts.
Moreover, xenophobia, which means extreme fear of foreigners, is definitely not the accurate way to describe Dawkins. The man has been just as outspoken against Christianity and people in the West and all religions for that matter as against Islam. It is just that right now – given the immense oppression that is at the heart of the Muslim world – he has chosen to talk about Islam.
Dawkins has very valid reasons for criticizing religion, the practice of which has lead to the marginalization, persecution, and oppression of women and others because they do not adhere to the ridiculous tenets of such a faith. There is no grey area. Islam is very clear in what it promotes.
Finally, Dawkins is not unhealthy marginalizing a minority group. This group people are so wholeheartedly defending, just like any other religion, is – if left unchecked – the cause of a lot of misery, death and marginalization of people – even their own people.
Religion has many ugly parts and often it does not matter what that religion is. Just look at what the Zionist regime of Israel is doing to the Palestinians whose land they stole. They treat them no better than the Nazis treated the Jews some 80 years ago. Save for concentration camps (that we know of) Israel is maybe just a notch better than the Nazis and their systematic and inhumane way of annihilating a peoples. And why? Because Jews think they are god’s chosen people (based on a book they themselves wrote) and thus have divine backing of their atrocities.
When you think you hold a privileged position in society vis a vis other human beings and when such a belief is “backed” by some holy divine book, then the doom of the entities at your mercy is sealed. How do you argue with and rationally have debates with entities who think they are better than the rest of human kind and have divine backing of all their actions, no less?
When people criticize atheists for Islamophobia, it is often out of ignorance about what Atheism is. If you understand what Atheism is and what informs an Atheist, you don’t go running around saying they are Islamophobes. Atheism dislikes all religion. I have just as many critical things to say about Islam as I have about judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism or whatever other religions are out there.