Why ‘Is­lam­o­pho­bia’ is a bril­liant term

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - DEN­NIS PRAGER

What do anti-Semitism, racism and Is­lam­o­pho­bia have in com­mon? In fact, noth­ing.

But ac­cord­ing to Is­lamist groups, West­ern me­dia and the United Na­tions, they have ev­ery­thing in com­mon. An­ti­Semites hate all Jews, racists hate all mem­bers of an­other race, and Is­lam­o­phobes hates all Mus­lims.

Whoever coined the term "Is­lam­o­pho­bia" was quite shrewd. No­tice the in­tel­lec­tual sleight of hand here. The term is not "Mus­lim-pho­bia" or "anti-Mus­lim­ist," it is Is­lam-opho­bia — fear of Is­lam — yet fear of Is­lam is in no way the same as ha­tred of all Mus­lims. One can rightly or wrongly fear Is­lam, or more usu­ally, as­pects of Is­lam, and have ab­so­lutely no bias against all Mus­lims, let alone be a racist.

The equa­tion of Is­lam­o­pho­bia with racism is par­tic­u­larly dis­hon­est.

Mus­lims come in ev­ery racial group, and Is­lam has noth­ing to do with race. Nev­er­the­less, main­stream West­ern me­dia, Is­lamist groups call­ing them­selves Mus­lim civil lib­er­ties groups and var­i­ous West­ern or­ga­ni­za­tions re­peat­edly de­clare that Is­lam­o­pho­bia is racism.

To cite three of in­nu­mer­able ex­am­ples: The Guardian pub­lished an opin­ion piece ti­tled, "Is­lam­o­pho­bia should be as un­ac­cept­able as racism"; the Euro­pean Union has es­tab­lished the Euro­pean Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­ter for Racism and Xeno­pho­bia; and the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defama­tion Com­mis­sion of

Aus­tralia notes that "Mus­lims have also been the tar­get of racism in Aus­tralia, of­ten re­ferred to as Is­lam­o­pho­bia."

Even grant­ing that there are peo­ple who fear Is­lam, how does that in any way cor­re­late with racism? If fear of an ide­ol­ogy ren­dered one racist, all those who fear con­ser­vatism or lib­er­al­ism should be con­sid­ered racist.

Of course, some may ar­gue that whereas con­ser­vatism and lib­er­al­ism are ideas, Is­lam is a re­li­gion, and while one can at­tack ideas, one must not at­tack reli­gions. It is, how­ever, quite in­sult­ing to reli­gions to deny that they are ideas. Reli­gions are cer­tainly more than ideas — they are the­o­log­i­cal be­lief sys­tems — but they are also ideas about how so­ci­ety should be run just as much as lib­er­al­ism and con­ser­vatism are.

There­fore, Is­lam, or Chris­tian­ity, or Ju­daism, or Bud­dhism should be just as sub­ject to crit­i­cism as con­ser­vatism or lib­er­al­ism.

How­ever, the only re­li­gion the West per­mits crit­i­cism of is Chris­tian­ity. Peo­ple write books, give lec­tures and con­duct semi- nars on the fal­sity of Chris­tian claims, or on the im­moral record of Chris­tian­ity, and no one at­tacks them for racism or big­otry, let alone at­tacks them phys­i­cally. The head of the Anti-Defama­tion League an­nounces that con­ser­va­tive Chris­tians are the great­est threat to Amer­ica to­day, and no one charges him with racism or Chris­tianopho­bia.

The state­ment may be an ex­pres­sion of hys­te­ria and of ig­no­rance, but not of racism. But if one says that Is­lam does not ap- pear com­pat­i­ble with democ­racy or that the Is­lamic treat­ment of women is in­fe­rior to the West's, he or she is la­beled a racist Is­lam­o­phobe.

One might counter that ma­lign­ing peo­ple for crit­i­cism is not only true of those who crit­i­cize Is­lam, it is also true of crit­ics of Is­rael and of Amer­ica — the for­mer, it is said, are im­me­di­ately la­beled "anti-Semitic" and the lat­ter are im­me­di­ately la­beled "un­pa­tri­otic." Nei­ther is true at all. Both are, and I use this word rarely, lies.

No one is la­beled anti-Semitic for merely crit­i­ciz­ing Is­rael. Peo­ple are la­beled anti-Semitic for deny­ing Is­rael's right to ex­ist, for sid­ing with those who wish to ex­ter­mi­nate it or for sin­gling out the Jewish state alone among all the na­tions of the world for at­tacks that most other coun­tries de­serve far more.

And no one in any re­spon­si­ble ca­pac­ity has called any­one "un­pa­tri­otic" just for crit­i­ciz­ing Amer­ica. Sen. Hil­lary Clin­ton claimed dur­ing the last Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial de­bate that the De­fense De­part­ment called her "un­pa­tri­otic" for ask­ing whether the De­fense De­part­ment has a plan to with­draw Amer­i­can troops from Iraq. Yet the term "un­pa­tri­otic" was not only not used in the re­sponse to the sen­a­tor, it was not even hinted at.

The fact re­mains that the term "Is­lam­o­pho­bia" has one pur­pose — to sup­press any crit­i­cism, le­git­i­mate or not, of Is­lam. And given the cow­ardice of the West­ern me­dia, and the col­lu­sion of the left in ban­ning any such crit­i­cism (while pil­ing it on Chris­tian­ity and Chris­tians), it is work­ing.

Latest proof: This past week a man in New York was charged with two felonies for what is be­ing la­beled the hate crime of putting a Ko­ran in a toi­let at Pace Col­lege. Not mis­de­meanors, mind you, felonies.

Mean­while, the man who put a cru­ci­fix in a jar of urine con­tin­ues to have his art­work — "Piss Christ" — dis­played at gal­leries and mu­se­ums. A Ko­ran in a toi­let is a hate crime; a cru­ci­fix in pee is a work of art. Thanks in part to that bril­liant term, "Is­lam­o­pho­bia."

Den­nis Prager hosts a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated ra­dio talk show based in Los An­ge­les.

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