Here are some things I learned when I posted on Facebook an article about the rising abuse of innocent Muslims in America for no valid reason but an irrational fear of Islam. Trigger warning: a fuckton of awful racist shit follows (or equivalent).
First, The Set-Up
I posted that this is what happens when you fan the flames, and linked to the article “It’s Not Just Trump: Islamophobia in America Is Spiraling out of Control.” It documents at excruciating (and yet still not even comprehensive) length the rising tide of violence, intimidation, and bigotry against innocent and peaceful Muslims in the United States, including murders, shootings, assaults, mobs, acts of vandalism, racism (like open discussion of killing “ragheads”), planned acts of mass murder (luckily thwarted by the FBI), even the actual dismemberment and murder of a child in the street, all amounting to well over a thousand hate crimes targeting Muslims in the last decade. All in the U.S.
This includes one mass mob incident (the terrifying video of which leads the article—BTW, that is what a witch hunt looks like), and one armed militia action that involved shows of armed force and acts of intimidation (such as spying out and publishing the names and addresses of all Muslims and “Muslim sympathizers” in the area). And those were just examples (there are other documented instances of anti-Muslim mobs, armed and not; likewise vandalism and assaults). Vox writers themselves have received a barrage of racist and Islamophobic harassment (“including threats of sexual violence against women writers” and “expressed hatred of Muslims”), just for documenting this racism and Islamophobia.
The article also shows many not-likely-to-be-coincidental links between all this and public Islamophobic rhetoric by pundits, media, and politicians. It notes the following shocking examples, each of which differs in no relevant respect from Nazi propaganda posters and broadcasts against the threat of “the Jews” in the 1930s:
- A third of Republicans want Islam outlawed and all Muslims banned from public offices.
- A major conservative group easily raised tens of millions of dollars in donations for its campaign to “inform” the public via mass media that “nearly every” Muslim American group, “including campus student groups,” are “extremist sleeper cells bent on launching ‘stealth jihad’ and subverting the Constitution.”
- That same organization (as well as popular pundits and politicians) are spreading inflammatory myths about “no-go zones” in Western nations (even in the U.S.) that “police refuse to enter and where Sharia law prevails.” (Yes, that’s bullshit.)
- Major political candidates repeatedly dehumanize Muslim refugees as “rabid dogs” (arguably worse than the “rats” that Nazi propaganda reduced the Jews to) and raise alarmist rhetoric about them “invading” our nation.
- Others (even the supposedly sane Marco Rubio) have suggested we start closing Muslim businesses and places of worship, based on criteria even Jo McCarthy would have resigned before suggesting: any facility (commercial or religious) that can be connected in any way with any one who was inspired to be “a radical” (whatever that means; the state will surely in its wisdom decide).
- Yet others have said things about the Muslim religion (and indeed as a whole) like, “You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand.” On nationwide television. Unchallenged by anyone else on that network. Or even, “calling for the United States to arm death squads throughout the Muslim world to kill all Islamists and members of Islamist organizations,” even though “many of those organizations are avowedly peaceful and have millions of members, including women and children.”
- Also spreading panic over fictional ‘Muslim training camps’ hidden in the U.S., including such ridiculous and inflammatory rhetoric as claiming that “peaceful Muslim American families were in fact hiding vast training facilities that, if left undisturbed, would be used to launch terror attacks across the US.”
- And employing similar rhetoric implying that “Muslims are somehow less human and more violent” than other human beings. Even major news media continually assert this. Pundits have said “vast numbers of Muslims want humans to die for holding a different idea” (even though that’s not true of Muslims in any democratic nation, like the U.S., the U.K. or E.U., or any Western nation in fact, as well as Turkey, and even barely democratic nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Azerbaijan) and share “too much in common with ISIS” (even though in fact the “vast majority” of Muslims not only oppose ISIS, but Muslim nations are unanimously united in actively fighting ISIS).
Other evidence of Nazi-era style anti-Jewish…I mean, anti-Muslim propaganda include:
Hosts [on national news programs] have repeated bigoted falsehoods, for example that female genital mutilation is an inherently Muslim problem (in fact, it is a regional practice that crosses religious lines [e.g. “In Niger, for example, 55 percent of Christian women and girls have experienced FGM, compared with two percent of their Muslim counterparts”]) or that restrictions on women driving are “commonplace” in the Muslim world (in fact, it is restricted to one country, Saudi Arabia, that represents 2 percent of the global Muslim population).
Okay. So, that. All that. That’s a lot of hard core dehumanizing and often violent and scary bigotry. All directly at innocent, peaceful Muslims. If you are not appalled by this, there is something wrong with you.
Second, The Equivalence
Yes, Saudi Arabia is just a successful ISIS. Just as Kim Jon Un is a successful Bond villain. But Turkey has nearly three times as many Muslims as Saudia Arabia has, and the vast majority of them do not at all share the criminal views of the Saudi regime. Much less the Saudi people, which one should not confuse with the elite in a tyrannical state: most Iranians are de facto secular, for example, and simply required by law to pretend to be Muslim, not even being allowed to elect their own candidates. But set that aside. Even still, the contrast between Saudi Arabia and Turkey proves that no false generalization from one evil regime (e.g. North Korea) can warrant attributing its villainy to everyone sharing a culture in common with it (e.g. South Korea). That is irrational. Even if one wanted to harrumph at Islamic conservatives in Turkey (an actual minority there, as our Christian conservatives are here), you should note that their political wish-list does not substantially differ from far-right Christian conservatives already sitting in the U.S. legislature or rigging our elections with vast sums of slush money. And if you are a pot calling that kettle black, you might want to figure out where your shame went.
Similarly, much is made of Islamic opposition to homosexuality rendering it especially evil, as if that hasn’t always been a Christian thing as well. In fact, it is not notably different. The Koran does not even command the killing of gays; the Christian Bible does. And like a slight majority of Muslim, and still many Christian, nations now do, Christian authorities in America were jailing gays as recently as 1986; even life sentences remained on the books until 2003. In fact, it was American Christian lobbyists who tried to get the death penalty for gays instituted in several African nations in just the last few years (because they couldn’t succeed at this in any decent nation on earth). Meanwhile, nearly half of Muslim countries don’t even outlaw it. Think about that.
Even this year, major American presidential candidates (Jindal, Huckabee, and Cruz) spoke at a rally calling for the death-penalty for gays. Several highly popular imams…I mean, preachers…who still command large followings on that topic, stood on the same stage at the same event to speak (Kevin Swanson, Phil Kayser, and Joel McDurmon). Imagine if indeed these candidates had attended a Muslim-run rally that said all the same things. What do you think the reaction would be?
What about the most famous imams…I mean preachers…in America being repeatedly asked by mainstream media outlets to represent Christianity, endorsing the death penalty for gays? Oh, yeah. That happened. There are U.S. lawmakers who have even tried getting such policy enacted. And remember when Larry Pratt was a major player in the GOP machine only until he was caught hobnobbing with white supremacists? Funny that. His continued public support for the state-sanctioned murder of gays never bothered his peers. And don’t forget pastor Steven Anderson, still with a congregation of a hundred or so in Arizona (far better than Phelps ever did). And many others like him.
This decade, in the very United States, hundreds of thousands of Christian voters still support kill-the-gays candidates. Last year, kill-the-gays Scott Esk won 5% of his district in a primary. In 2012, Charlie Fuqua won 30% in a general election (even though p. 168 of his book God’s Law makes clear what he wants for gays: executing them is the “kind and loving thing to do”). Very small districts, but these percentages were no fluke. Larry Kilgore “ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and came second in the Republican primary behind Senator John Cornyn with 225,897 votes,” which is about 19% of voting Texan Republicans. And Merrill Keiser, also openly calling for the death penalty for gays (even saying Elton John and Mary Cheney should be killed), received 163,000 votes in Ohio as recently as 2006.
Yeah. Fuck those guys.
But don’t for a minute tell me shit about ISIS as if the Christian right doesn’t in fact envy everything ISIS can do, and wouldn’t be doing it the moment we let them. Because everything ISIS is doing, they want to do. Oh, maybe not to every jot and tittle. They might let women show some skin. And they won’t bother sawing heads off, because that’s just gross. They’ll just shoot us. Or stone us (yes, several of the above American Christian leaders insist the actual practice of stoning should be reinstituted…even against disobedient children). But otherwise, Dominonists, Reconstructionists, Restorationists, Armageddonists, David Barton, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, John Hagee and his tens of thousands of worshipers and millions of fans, 57% of Republican voters…yes, let me say that again in case you missed it, 57% of Republican voters…they want sharia law instituted in this country.
And unlike ISIS, which has no rat’s chance in hell of ever instituting sharia law in this country, they actually do. So why are you worried about a bunch of barbarians thousands of miles away who can’t even touch us, and not worried about these guys, who actually sit in our legislatures and are commanding the votes of millions of Americans?
Never mind that these folks have figured out how to inspire (and then endorse) terrorism in our own country to extra-legally advance their sharia law. (Valerie Tarico, Here’s How Far-Right Christians Incited Stochastic Terrorism at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood.) Never mind that in America now, you are over seven times more likely to be killed by a right wing (and usually Christian) terrorist than a Muslim one (and less than 10% of all terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe are Islamic). And never mind that ISIS is not actually recruiting fighters on a platform of sharia law, but simply absorbing dispossessed men on a revenge kick, most of whom actually don’t give a shit about sharia law. They just have nothing else to live for; or we fucked them over too many times; or both. [Further analysis on that point besides what I already just cited, is available here and here and here.]
Even apart from all that. (Really? Apart from all that?) Just consider that Islamic terrorism is not qualitatively different from Christian terrorism. Which ISIS differs from only in its concentration of absolute power—which is not a function of it being Islamic, but of our creating a power vacuum in the region with a stupid war we should never have fought.
Just survey the facts:
- Yes, There Are Christian Terrorists [in the World].
- Here Are 8 Christian Terrorist Organizations That Equal ISIS [in Depravity].
- 10 Worst Examples of Christian or Far-Right Terrorism [in the U.S.].
- Christian Terror: 12 Examples of Terrorism from the Right.
And of course, don’t forget that the Catholic Church practically was ISIS for over a thousand years. And that the greatest religiously-motivated genocide in human history, starting a whole worldwide war to exterminate the Jews, gays, and other “undesirables,” was the work of a Christian political party—popularly known as the Nazis. (Who, unlike ISIS, were even democratically elected into power.) And yet even in recent memory Christian atrocities include the Serb Orthodox Genocide, the Christian Lebanese Massacres, and the Irish Troubles (which I shall assume requires no link).
Finally, with respect to the “Syrian refugees” everyone is afraid of, ween yourself off your woobie. Not a single one of the terrorists who hit Paris was Syrian. Nor a single one of the terrorists who hit San Bernardino. And, as I just noted, few of the members of ISIS are Syrian. The majority of ISIS fighting ranks are dispossessed adventurists from other countries (like Egypt and Iraq, occasionally even the U.S. and U.K., which means more jihadists are going over there than coming over here—good riddance, frankly). ISIS has even by the wildest estimates no more than 200,000 fighters. There are 6.5 million Syrian refugees. Even if all of ISIS were Syrian (and remember, not even most are), that means of Muslims in the area, hardly any of them support ISIS; almost all of them want to get the fuck away from ISIS. In fact, the ratio is 32 to 1. That means for every “crazy ISIS fanatic” there are thirty two Muslims who want nothing to do with crazy ISIS shit and are trying to get the fuck away from it.
I want you to ask yourself, why, that being the case, you are more afraid of those 32 times more Muslims who are fleeing ISIS (gods forbid that happened to be you) than the tiny fraction of lunatics assembled from all over the globe that doesn’t own a boat much less have any chance at all of ever crossing the sea to get you. Also ask yourself why you are okay with allowing ten thousand plus murders a year in this country as merely “the cost” of hypothetically keeping a gun, but the vastly fewer deaths that could possibly result from a handful of ISIS moles slipping in with the refugees, you consider an unacceptable price to save the lives of millions people. What if these six million were the six million Jews liberated from concentration camps, and the fear was German saboteurs slipping in among them? Or maybe a more close to home question: What if these six million were the Japanese Americans we actually did decide (to our eternal shame) to put in our own concentration camps, merely to maybe hypothetically block the handful of Imperial saboteurs that might maybe hypothetically have been among them?
If you can’t run these equations in any sensible way, there is something wrong with you.
Third, The Lessons
So, I post the Vox article. The comments are appalling. Eventually I am forced to declare:
It’s interesting to see how quickly just posting extensive evidence of Islamophobia, provokes numerous people to deny Islamophobia exists by expressing their own Islamophobia, thus actually adding to the evidence in the article.
Indeed. And what we got, is a menagerie of tropes and examples of Islamophobia, and how Islamophobes justify their Islamophobia or their denial of it.
Classist Bigotry as Deflection:
- First comment, “Look at the color of his neck. Any questions?” (In response to the picture included even here above.)
- I reply right away, “Digs at ‘red necks’ aren’t helpful, when plenty of the people the article documents are college educated Yanks. This is not a ‘red neck’ problem. It’s an American problem.”
- Caught being a bigot, this commenter then the tried to claim he wasn’t judging a man’s character by the color or appearance of the man’s neck in the picture. We weren’t fooled.
- Another commenter caught him out right away: “If you insist that the broader definition of ‘generic bigot’ is the correct definition, then you can’t use the existence of a sunburnt neck to identify a ‘redneck’…which is classism and bigotry itself.”
- He throws random vile invective at her. Because he is a rational person who understands how to construct an argument.
- I have more patience than she does (for no adequately explained reason) and respond by remarking (among other things):
I used to dig ditches in the sun. I used to look like a red neck. I know plenty of liberals who look exactly like the guy in the image. You can’t identify a bigot by their neck or face or body type. You know what you can identify a bigot by? What they say. And you are saying a lot of shit that makes you sound like one.
- He throws random vile invective at me. Because he is a rational person who understands how to construct an argument.
- His departing shot is some mumbling about PC nutters.
The lesson here is that you might be an Islamophobe, if your way of convincing yourself you are not, is to convince yourself only some other group you have bigoted views of would do that. Sure, only “rednecks” are Islamophobes. Except for all the Islamophobes who aren’t. (As documented in the article this loser didn’t read.) But as long as you can convince yourself you, at least, are not a “redneck,” then you can’t possibly need to examine yourself. Because that racism stuff, only those people ever do that. And I’m not one of them. Hmm.
It’s also dangerous to do this. Because if you convince yourself only “uneducated hicks” are the bigots, then you won’t be motivated to do or say anything about the actual leaders in this country (no hicks they) who are spreading, fanning, and endorsing this bigoted shit. Of course, with that tactic, you also won’t have much chance of gaining humanist inroads among the “uneducated hicks” you just insulted and dismissed—or rather, the regular people of this country, who actually aren’t all stupid conservative racist whatevers but actually increasingly informed and progressive.
Islamophobia Can’t Exist Because It Doesn’t Exist Fuck Your Evidence:
- Second comment, right out of the gate, trolls the very existence of the phenomenon with semantics. “Rational” dudebros love semantics. Because empiricism fucks them over, so semantics is the only sandbox they have left to play in. “How do you define Islamophobia?” Ba-da-dump.
- I answer: “Irrational fear of the practitioners, practice, and presence of Islam (Muslims, Mosques, Korans). All documented in the article.” As, in fact, it was. Extensively. I later point out, that these three things entail, “That’s a fear of Islam, not just Muslims,” so this isn’t just “Muslimophobia.” It’s the religion causing their terror, as if it were a disease infecting “the Muslims.”
- That started a 78 comment long thread in which several dudebros tried to convince me that…
- (1) There is no such thing as an irrational fear, therefore all fears are justified, therefore Islamophobia cannot exist.
- (2) Criticism of a thing is a form of fearing that thing, therefore Islamophobia includes criticism of Islam, we all agree criticism of Islam is good, therefore Islamophobia cannot exist.
- In category (1): “Just as there is legitimate rational fear of sexual assault within the US prison system, there is legitimate rational fear of the use of a religion as a weapon for promoting violence.”
- I reply:
Sigh. Fear and critique are not the same thing. Being wrong and being dangerous are not the same thing. Nor are irrational fears (“every Muslim is a terrorist/Korans and Mosques promote terrorism/Jews want to control the world/Synagogues support violent Zionism/every socialist is a Russian spy/every uppity old lady is a witch/every atheist is a baby killer/every black man is a criminal”) the same as rational fears (“I’m in a well-documented violent neighborhood/I’m in Saudi Arabia/certain kinds of rhetoric from the Right and/or Christian Dominionists and/or Muslim equivalents to Dominionists and/or White Supremacists etc. are a threat to my rights or life”).
- Oh, and, “Muslims are not prison rapists.” In fact:
To think that because Islam is false and leads to behaviors in many contrary to human rights, that therefore Muslims are like prison rapists, is Islamophobia. It is as absurd as saying that because Christianity is false and leads to behaviors in many contrary to human rights, that therefore Christians are like prison rapists.
- I cite the evidence that we are more likely to be killed in this country by Christian terrorists than Muslim ones (seven times more likely even). Because that exposes the irrationality of their defending a fear of Muslims, when they obviously don’t fear Christians. And an irrational fear of Muslims is Islamophobia.
- And to carry the point home, I continued:
There are over two million Muslims in the US. Count up how many have engaged acts of terror in the US. Seriously. Give me the count. Then explain why you are painting the remaining over-two-million Muslims with the brush of that fraction of a percent, a fraction vastly smaller than the number of Christian sociopaths in this country (sociopathy being 1 in 100 of any general population). And explain why sociopaths don’t scare you but Muslims do. And explain why even when sociopaths scare you, you don’t assume and treat everyone you meet as if a sociopath.
- Now they engage a derailing argument about “safe spaces” on university campuses. At which they exhibit no logic or understanding, but do reveal they are conservative wingnuts, deeply concerned about “safe spaces” on university campuses. I won’t bore you with the progress of that argument.
- Someone else cleverly mocks their last relevant argument with: “To clarify: DAESH is to Muslims as prison rapists are to people having consensual gay sex.”
- They don’t get the joke. Even though that joke nailed my point exactly. The point these wingnuts never fathom.
- Instead, they go back to category (1): “Would this be islamophobia? ‘We can draw a straight line from the actions of ISIS to some text or ideas in the Koran’.”
- I answer: “It depends on what you mean. The same thing as we can draw a straight line from the murder of gays to the Christian Bible?”
- Caught, they have no logical way out, so instead they seriously try for a long time after that to deny that there is any Biblical inspiration of actual or called-for murders of gays in this country. Class A bullshit. But I have more patience than I ought.
- Doomed, they try to turn this category (1) argument into a category (2) argument:
Let’s say someone claimed the Bible inspired them to murder gays and they provided chapter and verse of God instructing them to do just that. And our response was that [that] is an immoral thing to do. Would we have an irrational fear of that action and/or idea?
- So, they try to convert criticizing an individual, into an irrational fear of an entire religion, so as to prove no fears are irrational, and all Islamophobia is just criticism.
- I point out, “No. That’s normal. That’s not what people are doing with Islam. As the article demonstrates. See the difference?” As in, the difference between what they just said (rationally criticizing a specific murderer’s immoral use of the Bible), and the actual Islamophobia documented in the article (not one example of which was any such thing).
- I continue: “You don’t fear Christians will kill you because the Bible tells them to (and it does, and has been cited as such). You know most Christians are not the murderers the Bible tells them to be.“
- To which they answer, “Interesting. So ISIS isn’t using the Koran to justify their actions we may find abhorrent? Am I understanding correctly?“
- I try again: “Even as Christians in this country publicly cite the Bible as supporting the execution of gays.” In other words, yes, of course ISIS cites the Koran, just as Christians cite the Bible. Identical. So why are they treating Muslims differently than Christians? (Though in fact, ISIS cites the Hadith for this, since the Koran doesn’t say anything about killing gays, but I wasn’t going to try explaining to these wingnuts the difference, or that in fact the Hadith on this is based on the same passages in the Bible the Christians cite on this.)
- One of them gets halfway to getting it with the admission, “It seems many Christians do not adhere to much of the Bible.” (As if they only just realized this.)
- I immediately add, “Nor do Muslims. Two million plus in the US. How many are killing us because ‘Koran’?” Crickets.
- I add again, “There is no appreciable difference between Christians and Muslims in terms of ‘killing based on scripture when allowed’. Except, Christians are killing more of us than Muslims are.” I cite the evidence of that again.
- But, alas, they still miss the point, and start over with the same tack, “Why does ISIS [throw] gays off of rooftops? What informed that action?” Yadayada. Already covered that, Dude.
- For several comments they seriously try denying again that any killing or calls to kill gays in this country have any basis in the Bible.
- I’m almost done with these turds:
Oh for fucks sake. Are you trolling me? Because I can’t believe you really doubt the kill-the-gays candidates are running on any platform but Leviticus-says-so. You know damn well gays are killed in this country by people citing the bible.
- I reiterate that it’s the same thing. “So you shouldn’t treat Muslims differently than Christians. QED.“
- Having lost the argument, they go full circle back to category (2), as if none of our conversation happened: “I’m just concerned that the term Islamophobia conflates ideas with people and ideas will be taken off the table.”
- I conclude with:
Read the article. It does not conflate those things, and thinking words do that is a Slippery Slope Fallacy. Don’t you dare deny the existence of the Islamophobia documented in the article, or make light if it, with the excuse that some hypothetical hobgoblin somewhere might jump out from under your bed and conflate it with reasoned critique.
The lesson here is that Islamophobes would rather defend their own privilege (their right to criticize a religion they don’t like) than admit innocent people are being subjected to horrible bigotry. Since there can’t be any difference between criticizing a religion and being a bigot (because they can’t tell the difference—because they are Islamophobes), then they can’t be a bigot, and no bigotry against Muslims exists, and fuck all the evidence I presented of bigotry against Muslims. Not one iota of which consisted of rationally critiquing their religion.
I find this is a common derail by Islamophobes. They need to conflate “rational critique” with all bigotry whatever, so they can be as bigoted as they want in their critiques, and deny that anything bad is being done to innocent people merely because they are Muslims (or even just mistakenly thought to be Muslims). The injustice of this, and the suffering of those people is utterly meaningless to these guys. They don’t give a fuck. They just want to be able to criticize Islam. Because it’s scary. More so than Christianity for some reason. And being more scared of Islam than Christianity? That’s Islamophobia.
Islamophobia as Islamophobia Apologetics (or They All Deserved It):
Okay. Then we get full double-barrel Islamophobic douchery. Remember everything I summarized in the first section above, as what the article I was citing documents. Keep that in mind as you read this comment. Have it all in mind again? Okay. Here goes…
Name-calling with the term Islamophobia is an aggressive tactic popularized by apologists for radical Islam to silence individuals who attempt to tell the truth about Jihadist Islam. The psychological term phobia describes an excessive and irrational fear. So-called Islamophobia, by contrast, is appropriate willingness to heed the solid evidence of who commits terror acts and their motivations.
Yep. This douchebag just justified all the horrible bigotry, violence and murder and dismemberment and all, documented in that article, with the argument that it’s all “appropriate” and in accordance with “solid evidence” of who is endangering us. That, in fact, none of the Islamophobia documented extensively in the article exists, because “Islamophobia” is a word invented by “apologists for radical Islam” to “silence” true prophets of doom like Sir Douchebag. All that documented Islamophobia? Just people “attempting to tell the truth about Jihadist Islam.” Not one iota of it demonstrates “excessive and irrational fear.” Nope. Not one.
No further argument is required. If you don’t already see what’s wrong here, your logic is fucked, and I can’t help you.
Oh, BTW? We are already and only at the third substantive comment on my post on Facebook. Within mere minutes of my posting it. Fortunately, the fourth was an expression of sympathy, so my hope for the world wasn’t dashed by the hideousness of bigoted souls.
Islamophobia Doesn’t Exist Because Those Incidents Are All Flukes
- The fifth comment, though, is from another Islamophobe:
That’s about 10 or so incidents…that’s “spiraling out of control”? The fact that Islamism poses a civilizational risk to all people needs to be shouted and brave Muslims who wish to moderate their faith are becoming louder and louder.
- Holy fuck.
- I reply:
Seriously? An entire town hall meeting mobbed? Numerous elite political candidates. Dozens of geographically scattered incidents of open assaults, vandalism, online statements of bigotry (about killing “ragheads”). Dismembering a child in the street. Shootings. Murders. All a statistical anomaly? How much evidence do we need to gather?
- And also:
And no, “Islamism” poses little threat to the US. The Christian right poses a far greater threat. Google Armageddon Lobby, The Family, et al. Right wing fundamentalist Christians actually nearly control our legislature, and actually are close to having access to our nuclear arsenal.
- At this moment, they try to deny any child was dismembered in the street. Because they can’t read.
- I won’t bore you with that thread beyond noting that they tried really really hard to argue the killer was a Muslim even though the sources all explicitly identified him as a Christian, and record that he engaged in multiple explicit, quoted, and documented anti-Islamic statements (including scrawling that “the Quran was a disease worse than Ebola” on his van…the van he used to kill and dismember a child in the street outside a mosque). Trying to deny the facts is a common tactic of all bigots in general. Because they don’t do empiricism. They’re bigots.
- Oh, and also, one of their arguments? He had a Muslim-sounding name, therefore he must be Muslim. Thus conveniently illustrating more Islamophobia.
- In a second attempt to (this time spontaneously) deny facts, they claim, “Ahmed the clock maker was not arrested.” This was more Dudebro fun with semantics to avoid admitting facts.
- I catch the first comment’s bone thrown to “moderate Muslims” whose voices are “becoming louder” and add:
But yes, the 99% of peaceful Muslims in the US have been denouncing Muslim violence for decades. They were ignored usually, by people claiming they weren’t speaking up when they were.
- Someone notices and calls out the original commenter’s Islamophobic dogwhistle about Islam being a “civilizational risk.” Like, say, a large asteroid impact, or Global Thermonuclear War (which requires arsenals of thousands of nukes, which no Islamic nation will ever have even a fraction of access to). Did I mention Islamophobia consists of an irrational fear of Islam? Yeah. That’s what this is. “Muslims will destroy civilization” is as irrational a thing to believe as “California will soon fall off into the sea.”
- I build on their apt quip:
Yes, because though Right Wingers pose a seven times greater risk of killing us than Muslims, and far more Christian Armageddonists and Dominionists actually sit and vote in our legislatures and are running for and have a realistic shot at becoming President of the world’s greatest superpower, only Muslims pose a “civilizational risk.” /sarcasm
- I conclude by returning to the inanity of the original argument:
[The article] documents dozens of bad incidents all across the US, including dismembering a kid in the street, rampant vandalism, murder, shootings, assaults, mobs, and violations of human rights. If you think this is normal, you should have been worried [about all this rampant abuse of innocent people] even before the article.
The lesson here is, Islamophobes don’t do facts. They need to deny all the facts. And thus justify all the documented bigotry. Because Islam is so scary it turns Muslims into flesh eating zombies that shall thereby destroy civilization. (“And why don’t you people see this, what’s wrong with you, we need these shouty angry people to be even shoutier and angrier so we finally do something about it or else we’re all going to die!!!”)
In a sad irony, while this Islamophobe said there wasn’t enough evidence presented to establish a trend (fuck all there wasn’t), another Islamophobe came along and actually said it was a “composition fallacy” to assemble all this evidence and conclude from it that a trend existed. Proving that, as I remarked to him, “You don’t do empiricism well.” They also don’t know what a composition fallacy is.
Argument from Boko Haram:
A new fallacy shall enter the lexicon heretofore, which I shall describe as, “Boko Haram exists; therefore all Muslims are dangerous radicals who will cut off your head and rape your daughters; therefore Islamophobia doesn’t exist, because our fears are totally justified.”
The Islamophobic commenters deployed this argument in many forms. One was explicit (actually citing Boko Haram). Others were more embarrassing. Like citing the Wikipedia page listing all documented terrorist attacks in the U.S. … As if that alone proved their point that all the Islamophobia documented in the article was justified, because of all this terrorism the Muslims are inflicting upon on us. At which I point out: “You do realize most of the US deaths in those incidents were not by Islamic but by Christian and right wing terrorists, right? Or did you just Islamophobically assume terrorism meant Muslim?” (Spoiler: They just Islamophobically assumed terrorism meant Muslim.)
They then tried derailing the argument as being about living in Kenya. Because all the Muslims in Kenya definitely want to kill you. Even though the article was about Muslims in America, not Kenya, and acts of Islamophobia against them, not Kenyans. And hardly any Muslims in Kenya actually want to kill you. Any more than “the Christians” want to kill you here in the U.S., though there are Christians here who want to kill you. The analogy of course is lost on them. They don’t fathom how this shows their fear is irrational: they fear Muslims far more than Christians, even when Christians pose a far greater danger, and yet that danger doesn’t even give any rational justification for fearing Christians!
That, BTW? That’s called an argument a fortiori.
Another variant of this fallacy could be called Argument from 9/11: 9/11 happened, therefore Muslims are all killers. Apart from the obvious irrational nonsense of such reasoning, I simply added:
Dude. Winging about 9/11 in justification of the acts documented in that article is like winging about Pearl Harbor in 1956, and saying even in 1956 that the Japanese Internment was a good idea and should be reinstated.
Fearing the bogeyman we wiped out years ago, when a sevenfold greater danger has plagued us for fifteen years since, is irrational. And using that fear to justify bigotry against the millions of American Muslims who have never attacked us even in decades (not even 9/11 involved a single US citizen; or a single person from Syria), is Islamophobia.
Actually, in my first remark there, I wasn’t being sarcastic. That is exactly what this guy was arguing. I am certain he would have been one of those guys gleefully rounding up “the Japs” to save civilization from their scourge, and grousing for decades that we had the audacity to ever let them out again. Because “Pearl Harbor.” That I even have to explain the idiocy of such logic appalls me.
Eventually I just ask, “If people were assaulting and murdering Christians in the US to avenge Kony’s Christian army [in Africa], would you defend that, too??” The answer would be, of course, no. Because Islamophobia is irrational fear. And they don’t irrationally fear Christians because of the existence of Christian terrorists. They are perfectly rational about that. The difference is what puts the phobia in Islamophobia.
That Article Insulted Bill Maher, Therefore All Its Evidence of Islamophobia Doesn’t Exist:
There isn’t any argument to report here. One commenter literally just dismissed all the evidence of all the horrible crimes and injustices and bigotry I summarized above, based solely on the fact that they didn’t like one thing the article said about Bill Maher.
This is the level of rationality we are dealing with here.
Reza Aslan Is Full of Shit, Therefore All That Article’s Evidence of Islamophobia Doesn’t Exist:
Ditto. Someone literally argued that. No comment required. Although this does neatly pair with the previous argument (so it is fascinating that they both came from the same person): one is an argument from Infallible Pope and the other an argument from Satan Sucks. So-and-so was insulted, therefore hats are shoes. And: So-and-so is a douche, therefore the moon is made of cheese.
Islamophobia Doesn’t Exist, Because Bill Maher Is Totally Right That the Vast Majority of Muslims Want to Kill Us:
Since that is not even remotely true, this argument is another glob of moon cheese. The vast majority of Muslims do not want to kill us. Even in Syria, by at least a 32 to 1 margin, the vast majority of Muslims want to be left alone and likewise leave us alone. They want nothing the fuck to do with ISIS. Many are more than content to accept a land of religious freedom as the price of getting away from them.
But when it comes to the over two million Muslims in America, the ones actually being subjected to all the violence and bigotry the article documented (the article this commenter is commenting on), if “the vast majority” of American Muslims wanted to kill us, then we’d have an ISIS army in the U.S. five times larger than in Syria by now, larger even than our own army—which is only half a million, and that’s counting all deployments worldwide; whereas the “vast majority” of American Muslims could field an army three times that size, in our homeland, overnight. But look? Almost none of the Muslims here are killing us. In fact, in fifteen years, out of over two million Muslims, barely a dozen have even tried. That’s a total headscratcher.
Do explain that Bill.
I won’t hold my breath.
Eventually, here quoting one of the Islamophobes ranting about how awful Islam was because it magically caused those infected with it to “behead” people etc., I simply asked them to answer a simple question:
How many of the over two million Muslims in the US “behead infidels, immolate apostates, crucify children, or defenestrate homosexuals”? Answer correctly. Give me the number. I’m waiting.
I won’t hold my breath. Obviously Islam is not a magic spell that turns all who embrace it into ISIS. Quite astonishingly, almost everyone it “infects” does not become anything resembling a Reaver. Most by far are entirely peaceful and even in many respects nice and neighborly, even if indeed a little bigoted, mildly dangerous to civil rights, and wrong about many things. Just like conservative Christians. In fact, they are nearly indistinguishable from conservative Christians.
But the argument is a fallacy. Again. What nonsense Bill Maher vomits on camera has no bearing at all on whether all that documented evidence of bigotry against innocent American Muslims exists (and warrants our concern, and effort to stop). So this is kind of another version of Argument from Infallible Pope. Either this Maher worshipper believes all that violence and everything is deserved, because American Muslims mostly do all want to kill us (in which case, fuck you, you Islamophobic fuckwit, pull your head out of Maher’s ass and put your Reality Glasses back on), or they are just spouting a non sequitur (So-and-so said boo, therefore hats are shoes).
That You Are Appalled at All This Islamophobia Proves You Are in Cahoots with Terrorists:
- Yep. Someome actually responded to my posting that article with: “Sad to see the secular left become the defenders of Islam.”
- So, even just pointing out all the unjust and bigoted abuse of innocent Muslims constitutes defending Islam as a religion, and by implication defending the terrorists that “the vast majority” of Muslims must be, so as to to deserve all the abuse the article documents.
- That’s full on fuckbigotry.
- Someone commented in reply with the most marvelous of restrained understatements: “Which is a misrepresentation—it’s negation of a generalization that ‘all Muslims are bad’—which is not true.” In other words, pointing out that “all Muslims are bad” is a false statement, is not “defending Islam.”
- I have less patience by now. I call this out as Islamophobia, as I recognize the bigotry implicit in the original sentence:
[Anyone] assuming that merely being Muslim makes you dangerous and that anyone pointing out that Muslims have the same human rights as Christians (and the same record of violence in the US…actually, the Christians are killing more of us) [is thereby abetting said danger] should be ashamed of doing so.
It is false to assume [that] defending the 2 million+ peaceful Muslims against being treated like they were the four or five who killed anybody here [in the U.S.] as “defending Islam.” And to think those are the same thing, is Islamophobia illustrated.
I similarly think Christians are wrong, and indeed a great many of them a threat to human rights (by preaching and voting against those rights repeatedly), but I don’t assume they are all evil or a threat, and I defend their religious liberty and other human rights, because they are human beings. I don’t treat Muslims any differently. You, evidently, do. And that’s bigotry.
- The bigot answers that by saying we just defend Islam because ‘that’s what liberals do’, and praises Sam Harris for speaking truth to power (though Sam Harris was never mentioned by any of us in this discussion), and accuses us of “sucking the cock” of Islam. Literally.
- I answer, with remarkable restraint:
The violence and bigotry documented in the article, should be condemned even by Harris fanboys. That they instead defend it or make light of it [as this commenter was indeed doing], only verifies the inference that Harris’s rhetoric fans the flames and gives cover for exactly such Islamophobic acts of violence and bigotry. Anyone not appalled by the affairs documented in the article has a serious morality problem. To use “but Sam Harris is right” apologetics the moment such an article is cited, should scare you. Because that’s sounding a lot like the reactionary attitude of every other-fearing fascist movement in history.
- They ignored everything I said and simply kept accusing me of being a collaborator.
The lesson here is, there are actual Islamophobic bigots out there who actually think all this horrible abuse of innocent American Muslims is justified by Sam Harris’s alarm-raising about the cosmic threat all Muslims pose to the existence of civilization. So all you douchebags who think that isn’t what Harris’s rhetoric has wrought (wholly regardless of what Sam Harris meant or intended), behold your monster. Maybe your Dr. Frankenstein should be taking responsibility for it? Or doing something about it? I’ll leave that for you to ask yourselves. I’m tired of that debate.
I gave up at that point. I’m sure the Islamophobes are still babbling away with their Islamophobic Islamophobia apologetics in the thread. Having never learned a damn thing. And having never expressed a single shit for all the injustice and suffering the article I posted described.
Update 1: Some have sort of almost at least admitted briefly that the Islamophobic actions exist and are wrong. But won’t call it Islamophobia. Or care about it beyond brief platitude. Is that progress?
Update 2: That the whole notion of abandoning the word Islamophobia is illogical (and really bad philosophy) I now illustrate in a comment below.
Special rule for comments on this one article: Any comment that mentions Sam Harris will be deleted unseen. It will be deleted for violating rules (1) and/or (2), as being attempts at derailing. Not a single thing I have said above requires anything to be true of anything Sam Harris has ever said (and the question of its impact I have set aside). Deal with what I am actually talking about. This article is about the stated empirical facts, of what Islamophobia actually is, and the evidence it exists. It is not about the exegesis of your Scriptures.