Free Speech and Islam — The Left Betrays the Most Vulnerable

May 6, 2016

written by Jeffrey Tayler


 

When surveying the ill-informed, shoddy work that at times passes as in-depth journalism regarding Islam these days, a rationalist may well be tempted to slip into a secular simulacrum of John Bunyan’s Slough of Despond.  In reputable press outlets, articles regularly appear in which the author proceeds from an erroneous premise through a fallacious argument to a fatuous conclusion.  Compound all this — especially in the main case I’m about to discuss, that of the British former Islamist turned reformer, Maajid Nawaz — with the apparent intent to defame or cast aspersions, and you get worthless artifacts of journalistic malfeasance that should be dismissed out of hand, but that, given the seriousness of the subject, nevertheless merit attention.

For starters, a few words about premises and some necessary background.  Those who deploy the “stupid term” (see Christopher Hitchens) “Islamophobia” to silence critics of the faith hold, in essence, that Muslims deserve to be approached as a race apart, and not as equals, not as individual adults capable of rational choice, but as lifelong members of an immutable, sacrosanct community, whose (often highly illiberal) views must not be questioned, whose traditions (including the veiling of women) must not be challenged, whosescripturally inspired violencemust be explained away as the inevitable outcome of Western interventionism in the Middle East or racism and “marginalization” in Western countries.

Fail to exhibit due respect for Islam — not Muslims as people,Islam — and you risk being excoriated, by certain progressives, as an “Islamophobe,” as a fomenter of hatred for an underprivileged minority, as an abettor of Donald Trump and his bigoted policy proposals, and, most illogically, as a racist.

Islam, however, is not a race, but a religion — that is, a man-made ideological construct of assertions (deriving authority not from evidence, but from “revelation,” just as Christianity and Judaism do) about the origins and future of the cosmos and mankind, accompanied by instructions to mankind about how to behave.  Those who believe in Islam today may — and some do — reject ittomorrow.  (Atheism has, in fact, been spreading in the Muslim world.)

Calling the noun Islamophobia “sinister,” Ali A. Rizvi, a Canadian Pakistani-born physician and prominent figure among former Muslims in North America, told me via Skype recently that the word “actually takes the pain of genuine victims of anti-Muslim bigotry and uses that pain, it exploits it for the political purpose of stifling criticism of Islam.”  In fact, denying Islam’s role in, for instance, misogynist violence in the Muslim world, said Rizvi, is itself racist and “incredibly bigoted, because you’re saying that it’s not these ideas and beliefs and this indoctrination [in Islam] that cause” the “disproportionately high numbers of violent, misogynistic people in Muslim majority countries, it’s just in their DNA.”

Also, remember that Islam claims jurisdiction not just over its followers, but over us all, with a message directed to humanity as a whole.  Which means Islam should be susceptible to critique by all.  People, whatever their faith (or lack thereof) deserve respect; their ideologies?  Not necessarily.  In fact, the cornerstone of any free society is freedom of expression – a freedom impeded by labeling as “phobic” those who would object to an ideology.

The misguided progressives who denounce “Islamophobia” and turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of, say, women, gays, and adherents of other religions in Muslim communities or in Islamic countries constitute what Maajid Nawaz has dubbed the “regressive left.”  Regressive leftists are not genuine progressives at all, of course, but deeply confused de facto apologists for the most illiberal notion conceivable: namely, that one group of humans has, on account of its religion, an inalienable right to dominate and abuse other humans — and to do so unmolested by criticism.

No better evidence of this strain of illogical, muddled intolerance of free expression exists than the suspicion and ire regressive leftists reserve for former Muslims and Muslim reformers working to modernize their religion.  In her moving, 2015 must-watch address, Sarah Haider, who is of Pakistani origin, recounts being called everything from Jim Crow to House Arab to native informant by American liberals for having abandoned Islam — by, that is, the very folk who should support women, regardless of their skin color, in their struggle for equality and freedom from sexist violence and chauvinism.

The brave, Somali-born ex-Muslim (and advocate of reforming Islam) Ayaan Hirsi Ali has received even harsher treatment, and to this day, for her outspokenness about her former faith and for making a film in 2004 portraying misogyny in Islamic societies, has to live under armed protection.  (The director, Theo van Gogh, was assassinated that year by an Islamist on the streets of Amsterdam.)  There are many other examples, but the point is this: those who criticize or abandon Islam may well be taking their life into their hands.  Quisling regressive leftists add insult to the injury (or worse) suffered by these people, who, by any progressive standards, should be celebrated.

The latest cases of regressive leftist skullduggery target Maajid Nawaz himself.  With the neuroscientist and groundbreaking “New Atheist” Sam Harris, Nawaz (who, again, is Muslim) recently co-authored Islam and the Future of Tolerance — a book of dialogues between the two men covering the prospects for reforming the faith that is the leading cause of terrorism the world over.  For engaging in this much-needed conversation — probably the most-needed conversation imaginable these days — Nawaz has suffered a hail of abuse from regressive leftists.

“Well-coiffed talking monkey,” “porch monkey,” “House Negro” and “House Muslim” are just some of the insults he has had hurled at him.  He also finds himself the object of an insidious attempt at discreditation — an essay in The New Republic entitled “What Does Maajid Nawaz Really Believe?” written by Nathan Lean.

Lean’s screed is wordy and rambling, and leaves the gullible among its readers bewildered, thrashing about in thickets of innuendo, and inclined to conclude Nawaz is a disreputable character, if not demonstrably guilty of anything outright reprehensible.  The bio note at the foot of the page describes Lean as the author of a book about Islamophobia (so, yes, the spirit of Hitchens’ “stupid term” will permeate his piece), but it makes no mention of his employment at the Saudi-funded Prince Alaweed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, where he directs research at the “Pluralism, Diversity and” — yes — “Islamophobia project.”  This is something readers should at least be aware of.

Anyway, so, according to Lean, what does Maajid Nawaz really believe?  Lean cannot tell us, since he nowhere offers Nawaz’s own words on the subject, which are a matter of public record and are (for example) available here.  Nawaz “didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment” — which is understandable, given Lean’s long record of issuing “Islamophobia” alerts.  Nawaz has stated that, “There is no such thing as ‘Islamophobia.’  No idea should be immune from scrutiny.”  Coming from a Muslim who slogged through five years in an Egyptian prison for Islamism (specifically, for association with the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir organization), such a declaration carries weight.

Lacking any correspondence with Nawaz himself, Lean relies on interviews with those (including Islamists) who at least at one time knew Nawaz.  But even before he gets to them, Lean, in the very first graph, presents Nawaz as a turncoat dandy, as “ambling” about an Oxford debating hall “sporting a slick black tuxedo and a gelled coiffure,” urging his audience to “accept the motion that the American Dream is a noble ethos to which all people should aspire.”  Hardly what one should expect, as Lean has it, from a “self-described former ‘radical.’”  

We then learn that Nawaz has been “ingratiating himself in [sic] the growing union of neoconservatives and hawkish liberals who believe in Western exceptionalism and the efficacy of power, especially military power, to expand its influence and protect its interests” against the “alleged threat” posed by Islamism.  (Alleged?)

Nawaz, Lean reports, has been all over the airwaves hyping this “alleged threat,” even “stroll[ing] through the streets of the French capital with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, explaining the need to confront the religious species in the genus terrorism,” and worse —horribile dictu! – even speaking to Fox News about it.  Furthermore, Nawaz has been “jet-setting” about, “mingling with thought leaders and politicians who believe that his journey from fundamentalism to freedom gives him the authority to opine on a broad range of topics related to religion and violence.”

Lean sarcastically refers to Nawaz’s renunciation of radicalism — again, arrived at after years in an Egyptian prison — as coming via a “Damascene conversion,” and then tells us that those in the know around Nawaz find his “dramatic tale of redemption isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.”  A man identified only as “a friend from Nawaz’s college days” believes him to be “neither an Islamist nor a liberal . . . .  Maajid is whatever he thinks he needs to be.”  A current affiliate of Hizb ut-Tahrir and former cell-mate “remembers Nawaz as a guy who wasn’t particularly religious, but [who] labored to appear committed to Islamism in an effort to win popularity and promotion.”

Ponder the last statement.  Given the attendant risks, why would anyone just pretend to be a radical Islamist, and not only join Hizb ut-Tahrir, but strive to attain “popularity and promotion” within it? 

Lean spills much more ink trying to convince us that Nawaz may not have really been an Islamist, but only posed as one, and may not have renounced the Islamism in which he may never have actually believed because he actually turned against it.  (You should be confused after reading that.)  What could have motivated Nawaz to give up those Islamist views he possibly never held?  “State dough,” and oodles of it, doled out to the Quilliam Foundation (a think tank Nawaz established in London to counter Islamist extremism).  “Last year,” writes Lean, “Nawaz drew a salaryof more than $140,000.”  But how on Earth can receiving remuneration for working to end Islamist violence be held against Nawaz — or anyone else?

Two thousand words into his piece, Lean declares his failure to reach a conclusion about Nawaz’s probity, which he appears to have been impugning throughout: “Whether a genuine conversion or an opportunistic about-face, it’s impossible to know with certainty what compelled Nawaz to leave Hizb ut-Tahrir and espouse his current agenda.”  (His “agenda?”  Again, countering Islamist extremism.)  Not having decided what Nawaz really believes doesn’t stop Lean from backhandedly maligning him with a characterization he attributes to his onetime Islamist buddies.  They “see him as an Islamic Judas Iscariot, a Muslim who turned his back on his fellow believers when state coffers flung open.” 

Lean plods on for another thousand words, but I’ll spare you further exegesis, with one exception.  Nawaz’s collaboration with Sam Harris “who . . . has advocated racial profiling and torture,” (false: see here and here, in addition to here), Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher (whom Lean accuses of spreading “extreme ideas” — false again, butdecide for yourself), as well as Ayaan Hirsi Ali only serves to confirm his disreputableness.  (If in fact Nawaz is disreputable.  Remember, Lean cannot say for sure.)  Their shared “extreme idea:” pointing out that something in Islam needs to change – a statement with which no unbiased follower of world affairs would argue.


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95 comments on “Free Speech and Islam — The Left Betrays the Most Vulnerable

  • Again, people deserve respect, but ideologies, however cherished, must be examined, discussed, and assessed rationally.

    Good luck with that endeavor! Separating the people from their ideologies seems quite difficult for many people. I had a running battle with some people on here who tried to convince me that you could not do that very separation. Still, separating people from their harmful ideologies seems to be something to strive for.



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  • In focusing on Nathan Lean’s article, Taylor is picking apart the weakest of the debunkings of Nawaz’s past activities and current message, not the strongest.

    For the much-more-detailed truth about Maajid Nawaz’s past, Google for the article by Ahmed and Blumenthal on “The Self-Invention of Maajid Nawaz: Fact and Fiction in the Life of the Counter-Terror Celebrity.” (The co-author Blumenthal is an anti-Semitic thug, but that does not invalidate his damning research regarding Nawaz.) Summary: The key points of Nawaz’s radicalization-to-secularization story are almost certainly highly fictionalized, if not invented outright.

    Worse, for the blatant, undeniable taqiyya by Nawaz in his dialogues with Sam Harris comprising their co-authored book, Google for Vikram Chatterjee’s article “Maajid Nawaz: Stealth Jihadist Exposed”. (If Harris’s written admiration for the indefensible, thoroughly debunked work of Dean Radin, Ian Stevenson, Ken Wilber, Terence McKenna, and his one-time spiritual teacher, the guru H.W.L. Poonja, hasn’t convinced you that he’s deeply gullible, nothing will.)

    As part of Nawaz’s hope for dialog and the emergence of a “moderate Islam,” he recently undertook a speaking tour of Australia. There, a full 45 Muslim groups, including the Lebanese Muslim Association and the Muslim Students Australia NSW, refused to even meet with him. Some of those groups even went so far as to say that Maajid was not welcome in Australia.

    For the actual percentages of Muslims worldwide who hold non-moderate (i.e., radical) beliefs, Google for:

    Clarion Project, “By The Numbers – The Untold Story of Muslim Opinions & Demographics”
    “Muslim Opinion Polls: A Tiny Minority of Extremists?”
    “Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority” (YouTube)

    Then there is Nawaz’s reprehensible treatment of Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer (and Quilliam’s equal mistreatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq), as Spencer himself (2014) recounts:

    “Nawaz’s attacks on me on Twitter were not the first time I had been attacked by someone from the Quilliam Foundation. In fact, at the time of its founding, its founder Ed Husain went out of his way to launch a gratuitous attack on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq and me. At that time I had been quite interested to determine whether Quilliam was really the sincere reformist organization it claimed to be–but this unexpected and unwarranted attack made me doubt it immediately. I know Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq. I know their work quite well. I know that neither is a “racist, bigoted Islamophobe,” just as I know that I myself am not one either. I know that they’re deeply concerned about how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, as I am, and want to preserve Western pluralistic societies with their freedom of speech and equality of rights for all people, as I do.”

    “It seemed to me then that if Quilliam were really sincere in wanting Islamic reform, it would not have counted Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq and me as enemies, but as allies–just as now I believe that if Usama Hasan and Maajid Nawaz were sincere about Islamic reform, they would not count Pamela Geller and me as enemies, but as allies….”

    “[Nawaz’s repetition] of the familiar claim that Islamic jihadists have ‘hijacked’ Islam, in defiance of the abundance of evidence that they win converts among peaceful Muslims by appealing to chapter and verse of the Qur’an and numerous incidents in the life of Muhammad as depicted in the earliest Muslim sources, strongly suggests that he isn’t really interested in Islamic reform anyway, but just in more deception.”

    For a clear-eyed and honest appraisal of the situation, Google for “Robert Spencer The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades II” (YouTube). From 2005!

    FYI, there has already been a Protestant-like reformation of Islam, effected in the eighteenth century, returning it to its founder’s original teachings. It’s called Wahhibism.

    Even if there was room for real reformation in Islam, how many generations would it take, not merely to un-brainwash any meaningful percentage of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, but to equally fix the university-educated, safe-space-needing, easily triggered special snowflakes of the “Regressive Left” who unfailingly enable and encourage Islamists to increase their power in the West, as fellow “oppressed minorities”?



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  • @OP – Free Speech and Islam — The Left Betrays the Most Vulnerable

    We are about to have a clear cut example of a “moderate Muslim politician of the left”, who we can observe for the next years!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2016-36232392

    Sadiq Khan has been elected the new Mayor of London – boosting Labour after it slumped in Scotland’s elections.

    Mr Khan is the city’s first Muslim mayor, after beating Tory Zac Goldsmith by 1,310,143 votes to 994,614.

    Mr Khan’s victory – which gave him the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history – ends eight years of Conservative control of City Hall. The former Labour MP and minister, 45, becomes London’s third mayor after Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

    In his victory speech, he referred to his humble origins on a council estate and said he had never imagined that “someone like me could be elected as mayor of London,” promising to be a mayor “for all Londoners”.

    He said the campaign had not been without controversy, but added: “I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear”.

    He added that the “politics of fear is not welcome in our city”.



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  • I find comment #2 here mean spirited, partial and under informed.

    It is telling to contrast Nawaz and Hirsi Ali’s encounter in 2013 with a second in 2016.

    Here is the first.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2prB3weT4c

    The second link I’ve posted before and will post in a following comment.

    The notable movement of opinion in the intervening 3 years is that of Hirsi Ali and as encapsulated in her new book, which effectively took on board some of Nawaz’s ideas of how to unblock the log jam of a seemingly unreformable Islam (Oh! The spooky power of that Book! Nope its the spooky power of the incentivised [male] theocratic bullies at the gates.).

    Interestingly it was Atheist Sam Harris that mooted the idea once that to promote Atheism in the USA it may be necessary not to banner Atheism so much but to rather “go under the radar”. He got Nawaz before others.

    And thats the point. To fix the problems of religion takes pulling all the available levers. They will multiply each others effect. Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens promoted the understanding of the great capacity for harm that ideologies built on faith could wreak. But not all are bright enough, or unneedy enough or unbullied enough or care enough to make the effort to ditch it. Families and childhood indoctrination when done right lock it in place too well.

    We have to supplement with strategies that allow the indifferent and the scared to give their kids a break and better educate them, to allow the creation of Muslim identities not based on religious adherence but on positive historical achievement, Cultural Muslims. (An [atheist] muslim actor friend of mine ran such a project to find narratives of Muslim identity not tied to religion.) A slow release from obsession into calmer waters that doesn’t rend families and end careers may be a long journey but this in truth is how these things mostly go.

    Hirsi Ali got it after Sam and wrote about it in her book.



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  • Alan4discussion #3
    May 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Sadiq Khan has been elected the new Mayor of London – boosting Labour after it slumped in Scotland’s elections.

    Mr Khan is the city’s first Muslim mayor, after beating Tory Zac Goldsmith by 1,310,143 votes to 994,614.

    Mr Khan’s victory – which gave him the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history – ends eight years of Conservative control of City Hall. The former Labour MP and minister, 45, becomes London’s third mayor after Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

    As part of the usual irrational dirty politics of faith-thinkers, during political campaigning some “politically correct ignoramuses” discovered that Ken Livingstone (a previous Labour Party mayor of London) had been overheard by some ranting idiot of an MP, discussing these issues on his phone!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehi_%28group%29

    It was initially called the National Military Organization in Israel,[1] upon being founded in August 1940, but was renamed Lehi one month later.[16]

    Lehi split from the Irgun militant group in 1940 in order to continue fighting the British during World War II. Lehi initially sought an alliance with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, offering to fight alongside them against the British in return for the transfer of all Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe to Palestine.[2] Believing that Nazi Germany was a lesser enemy of the Jews than Britain, Lehi twice attempted to form an alliance with the Nazis.[2] During World War II it declared that it would establish a Jewish state based upon “nationalist and totalitarian principles”

    The media then spent several days ranting about some fantasy “anti Semitism”, and despite Ken Livingstone telling them to “read the history books”, he was suspended from the party, while the ranting idiot was merely reprimanded and told to shut it!!

    This is an utter disgrace to British political debate! but hey, he mentioned Hitler’s historical association with Zionism, and as we know, some facts are just too offensive for some faith-thinkers to accept!

    It’s not only Islamic political parties who have those who would suppress free speech about inconvenient facts!



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  • I thought the Ken Livingstone “anti-semitic” beat up was simply vile. Once more, the “anti-semitic” card is played. No wonder the moslem extremists invented “islamophobia”, wanting it to be their own “shut down all discourse” card.



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  • Found a couple of comments on this from 5 months ago. This from the Guardian review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s latest book…

    She also believes that Muslims in the west have a vital role to play in forging a new identity for Islam. She divides followers of the faith into three distinct groups: the Mecca Muslims, the large majority who
    represent the more tolerant side of the religion, as articulated during Muhammad’s early Mecca period; the Medina Muslims (or the jihadist wing) who are inspired by the harsher aspects of the Qur’an that Muhammad is thought to have expressed during his later consolidation in Medina; and the Modifying Muslims – those dissidents and reformists who actively challenge religious dogma.

    The reformers and extremists, writes Hirsi Ali, are currently locked in a battle to win the hearts and minds of the mass of passive Mecca Muslims. She claims to be hopeful that the reformers will prevail,

    Just to be strictly accurate the poisonous and incoherent term “Islamophobia” was coined by moderately reasonable people at the time to help fend off right wing attacks and stem the formation of extreme Islamist forces within the community.

    My comment then ran-

    from Robin Richardson of Birmingham University.

    http://theamericanmuslim.org/t

    For the record it does a great job of identifying the first effective coining of the term-

    the word had first been coined by Dr Zaki Badawi, at that time principal
    of the Muslim College in London, or else by Fuad Nahdi, founding
    director of the magazine Q News. [4] The date of the coining by either
    of these would have been the late 1980s.
    I had come to believe this constituted the term’s Islamist roots. Dr Badawi, who died before my interest in these things seems upon further research rather more one the the good guys-

    He campaigned vigorously in favour of women’s rights and, most
    particularly, against forced marriage and female circumcision: he
    considered the latter to be an African custom erroneously inserted into
    religious tradition in some parts of the Islamic world.
    and

    Rushdie with death for his novel The Satanic Verses, Badawi called on
    Muslims to spurn the book but spare the man, and declared that he would
    not hesitate to offer the novelist sanctuary in his home.
    I now think, unlike the wilder claims for its bad-from-the-start coining, it was perhaps more intended part of a reframing excercise in dialogue balancing.

    It was then taken up a few years later by Trevor Phillips authoring a report on on anti Muslim sentiments and used thoughtlessly, seeding its use by Islamists as a weapon silencing legitimate concerns of Islam.

    Trevor Philips thoughts on the matter will be very different now. His concerns with Islam after presenting the Channel 4/ISM findings on UK Muslim attitudes reveal a chastened man.



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  • @Jerry Robinson

    You have written a long attack here on your opinion of Maajid’s character citing a anti-semetic thug among others and while I agree this does not necessarily invalidate what they have to say it should make you consider his real motives and his possible biases and therefore the reliability of what he is telling you. Never the less, you haven’t anywhere it seems to me really given a criticism of anything he has actually said. Or positions he holds. Instead you seem to be playing the man and not the ball. You also have tried to smear Harris on the basis of his study of mediation even though even a casual reading of his opinions of meditation clearly show him again and again stating that he does not believe any of the mystical claims of these people, he in short finds meditation useful and interesting (from a neurological perspective and as a manner of gaining insight into himself), and disbelieves all of the spiritual baggage associated with it and the numerous gurus he has done meditation camps with. This does not make him gullible. You also stated that some Muslim groups in Australia are not interested in Meeting with Maajid, and that he is not welcome in Australia. Again how does that invalidate anything he has to say? I’m sure most of the same Muslim groups would not be interested in anything Aayan Hirsi Ali has to say either. That fact might be saying something more about them than Maajid. Einstine was not welcome in WW2 Germany, did hostility to his presence have anything to say about what he actually believed or said? Was general relativity invalidated because of anti-Semitic views of the the NAZI party? I for one welcome him here down under whether I disagree with his views or not. As a non-Muslim I disagree with Maajid about a great deal but welcome he is none the less.

    I have read Sam and Maajid’s book, I have watched him debate against and have listened to and watched conversations with Aayan Hirsi Ali. So given I have read his work you would be in a good position to refute anything he has said that you might have evidence against. I would be happy to be convinced he is wrong if he is, you’d be doing me a service. So is there anything he has says that you are specifically refuting here or is this just you expressing your displeasure about his person (which is fine as well by the way IMO- it just has zero impact on me unless you are showing where or how he is wrong)?



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  • @phil #9

    Informative as ever, thanks Phil. Still, if not invented specifically as the moslem equivalent of “anti-semitic”, it certainly has been applied enthusiastically as such. I didn’t know it had a brief period of existence before being co-opted for this purpose.



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  • A version of Godwin’s Law states that if any poster mentions the Nazis in a discussion (by directly or indirectly comparing their opponents with them), they instantly lose the argument.

    We need a new one: if anyone invokes Islamophobia as a defence, or calls their opponent an Islamophobe, they instantly lose all credibility and no further discussion is necessary.



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  • O’Hooligan.

    The term is semantically flawed in itself and whoever coined it and for what purpose doesn’t make it any the less so. It turned out to be a spectacular hostage to fortune with its stark ambiguity.

    For a number of years I unsuccessfully propagandised for Muslimophobia as the right term to remove the ambiguity and restore coherence to the use of “phobia”. (I found my invention was preceded in the much earlier paper by Robin Richardson, where he proposes the word.) A much better and more pointed term though is anti-Muslim bigotry. This is the test of malice we need. Ideologies are always and necessarily the fairest of game.

    When confronted with the use of “Islamophobia” (a charge often laid against me) I ask if they mean am I an anti- Muslim bigot? Instantly they have to revisit their thinking and considerably flesh it out. Improved understanding nearly always follows. (Bloody polysemous language!)



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  • MadEnglishman

    The Toxic Werdz Brigade of the Army of the Social Justice Warriors are renowned for the simplicity of their cognitions and thought processes. The rabidness of their passions seems in inverse proportion to their neuron count.



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  • OHooligan #8
    May 7, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I thought the Ken Livingstone “anti-semitic” beat up was simply vile. Once more, the “anti-semitic” card is played. No wonder the moslem extremists invented “islamophobia”, wanting it to be their own “shut down all discourse” card.

    In politics there will always be politicians and voters whose stupidity is taken as adding credibility to bullshit slingers! – The media will then amplify this many times when feeding it to uncritical gullibles who are busy swallowing this toxic mix and shooting in the foot those who are trying to help them!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ken-livingstone-claims-votes-may-have-been-lost-amid-accusations-he-created-jewish-backlash-to-a7017086.html

    Ken Livingstone was suspended following comments he made about Zionism – Reuters

    Ken Livingstone claims votes may have been lost amid accusations he created Jewish ‘backlash’ to Labour

    A Labour councillor has blamed Ken Livingstone for the loss of two council seats in Bury, the area with the UK’s second biggest Jewish population.

    Alan Quinn said Mr Livingstone’s controversial comments that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism had offended Jewish voters in Prestwich and accused the former London mayor of causing a “backlash against the Labour party”.

    “It’s down to one person, and that’s Ken Livingstone. He has caused grotesque offence to the Jewish population in Prestwich with his absolutely awful comments.”

    “Our councillors put their hearts and souls into representing the area and there really is no place in the Labour Party for bigots like Ken Livingstone,” Mr Quinn told the Manchester Evening News.

    Labour lost out to the Conservatives by a 22 per cent swing in Mr Quinn’s ward of Sedgley. The party also lost to the Liberal Democrats in the Holyrood ward.

    Or perhaps Labour councillor Alan Quinn lost out, because he was too incompetent to look up and quote history, so as to expose and refute the dishonest bigotry projected by knee-jerk bigots on to Ken Livingstone and the Labour party!
    Perhaps there should be a further inquiry into Labour councillors with loose mouths and very limited intellects!

    The right-wing media has had several field days “debating the fictional invented controversy” of “anti-semitism in the Labour Party”, when people’s attention should have been on real issues!
    It will probably have more distracting innuendo when the suspension comes up for consideration!

    Ken Livingstone is an experience political leader, so I would not be at all surprised if he wipes the floor with these air-head critics!

    Mr Livingstone, who has been suspended from the Labour party over his comments, told BBC News the antisemitism row had “definitely been damaging” to the Labour party.

    But he blamed the right-wing Labour MPs “who made this into a great issue and demanded my suspension,” saying they have “cost us seats”.

    Mr Livingstone said “far-right Labour MPs” had caused attention to be diverted from Mr Corbyn’s anti-austerity programme and economic policy.

    “What was disgraceful was the group of MPs – the embittered old Blairites – who want to get rid of Jeremy saw this as an opportunity to make all sorts of allegations and smears in the hope that would divert attention and damage us massively.”



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  • If you want to stand in the town square an proclaim an idea, a thought, an ideology or anything really, then your position is open to question. If your position is found wanting through lack of evidence or a poorly constructed argument, then criticism of your position is valid and welcome. Only through this long history of questioning does a society advance.

    If your ideas are questioned, then to paraphrase Hitchens, “Being offended is not an argument”. It is a statement of emotion. It is not available to those who’s soapbox is public to claim offence as a debate stopping statement. If you are so wedded to your ideas, that criticism leads you to feel offended, then you need to look in the mirror, because it is likely your adherence to your idea has moved from rational and argued to dogma and faith. Anonymous quote from my date calendar back when we all had date calendars us relevant here. “It is the privilege of the extremist never to doubt”

    So to vilify those who dare to criticize is an activity that doesn’t stand the test of the Town Square.



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  • Allow me to point something out.

    Islamophobia. A phobia is an irrational fear. Some people do have Islamophobia. But fearing Islam in itself does not necessarily constitute a phobia. Islamophobia exists, and so does justified fear of Islam.

    Tired of everyone fulminating and generalizing about “the Left.”



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  • I think Dan I am fully justified in ignoring your comment as a phobic response to witnessing justified criticism.

    “STFU” speech (like “Islamophobe!”) is never a contribution to debate. Of all the commentary on ideologies how much of it is “phobic” in nature? Please use me as an example. I have issued quite clearly my distaste for dogmatic thinking….

    The regressive lefties are not the lefties you’re looking for.

    Find me a single example of Islamophobia that is not either evidenced criticism of Islam or anti-Muslim bigotry.



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  • David R Allen #17
    May 8, 2016 at 8:02 pm: “Being offended is not an argument”. It is a statement of emotion….“It is the privilege of the extremist never to doubt” So to vilify those who dare to criticize is an activity that doesn’t stand the test of the Town Square.

    Dan #18
    May 9, 2016 at 12:36 am: Allow me to point something out….Tired of everyone fulminating and generalizing about “the Left.”

    phil rimmer #19
    May 9, 2016 at 2:22 am: I think Dan I am fully justified in ignoring your comment as a phobic response to witnessing justified criticism…..The regressive lefties are not the lefties you’re looking for.

    Of course this article and the attached string has nothing whatsoever to do with the struggle against terrorism or extremist Islam. During the anti-communist witch-hunts of a large part of the last century, anyone holding up a rational critique of societies which produced the Great Depression, two world wars, incessant colonial wars, Africa, Vietnam, Malaya….was immediately, without evidence, attached, by the media and the political and economic centres of power, to the Soviet Union with the convenient tag of fellow traveller.

    Todaythe trick employed is to use terms like leftie, misguided progressives, regressive leftists, bleeding hearts quislings….Now everything Fox News and the Republican Party say about the apologists for an accommodation with Muslims may well be true, but it is not accurate to call them leftists. The Left is a broad church, based on reason and social commitment, and it certainly does not include people who would support misogyny, religious violence, sexual repression, elitism, theocracy, or the repression of free speech.



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  • Lest my satire in the clipped quotes gets eclipsed by misunderstanding and risking treading on someone else’s perfect satire let me just offer it due appreciation-

    The Left is a broad church, based on reason and social commitment, and it certainly does not include people who would support misogyny, religious violence, sexual repression, elitism, theocracy, or the repression of free speech.



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  • [#20]

    Hi eejit,

    I was struck by your paragraph, which sounded like this to me (in my admittedly dim head):

    Now, everything the Catholic Church and the Baptists say about the supporters for a middle-of-the-road agreement with Progressive Christians may well be true, but it is not accurate to call [those seeking an agreement] communists. The Left is a broad church – [a scale from dogmatic revolutionary communists to pseudo-liberals who claim to] base their position on reason and social commitment – and [they] certainly don’t include people who would support [socialist] theocracy …

    … err …

    Right …

    Double-take, I need to read the preceding paragraph again and my parallel stream of consciousness continues:

    Of course this article and thread have nothing whatsoever to do with the struggle against terrorism or extremist Islam

    Is that true? Might it be in someone’s interest to continue the ’struggle’ [check], might they have sponsors in the press? [check], could Jeffrey Taylor be that sort of journalist? [check]. Not proved.

    During the anti-communist [political dogma fought political dogma] … of the last century, anyone holding up a rational critique of societies which produced the Great Depression, two world wars, incessant colonial wars, Africa, Vietnam, Malaya …

    Hmm, having studied WW2 and having lived through the Cold War; do I recognise this description: Geopolitics dominated by a dogmatic clash of Titans. For WW2, no. For the Cold War, yes. But, methinks, eejit protests too much. Revolutionary communists were clearly on a ’religious’ crusade to free the global proletariat – it’s in their Holy Scripture for goodness sake! (see: Communist Manifesto) and what is international socialism if not a sliding scale for each socialist.

    The [Western] media and the [politicians], made sure anyone who sided with the Soviet Union [or was critical of the dogmatically-favored alternative] was immediately, without evidence, [given the] tag of [Commie].

    Equally: The [Eastern] media and the [politicians], made sure anyone who sided with the West [or was critical of the dogmatically-favored alternative] was immediately, without evidence, [given the] tag of [Capitalist Dog].

    Meaning: Both sides of the Cold War were dogmatic and tended to over-simplify all and every political argument to a clash of dogmas.

    The regressive pseudo-liberals who are members of political parties that flip to denying communism on the one hand (in order give every appearance of distancing themselves from the losing dogma of the Cold War – as New Labour did in Britain) then flop back to “socialist” because they think this discredited label is equated in the minds of voters with “social commitment” are only fooling themselves.

    Note to American readers: Your use of the word socialism is very different to the way it’s used in Europe where Bernie Sanders’ and his policies would be seen as simply: A very nice man who is a supporter of ordinary working Americans.

    Those of us who actually lived through the Cold War know dogma when we see it.

    Dogma is clearly evidenced by the use of the word ‘islamophobia’ (more on this below).

    ’Islamophobia’ is a word most often employed by people who label themselves socialist (in the flip-flop sense). Is their use of this word progressive? or, to put that another way, is this word likely to engender social advancement to a future that is more harmonious and peaceful?

    It seems to me, eejit, that you have provided the answer: No. ’Islamophobia’ is clearly a strong indicator of dogmatic thinking about social groups and the false premise that religion equals race. Handing a religion special privileges in the political debate is getting people’s backs up for good reason. My ideas, for example, if challenged, cannot be shouted down with:

    HOW DARE YOU, THAT’S SO STEPH-O-PHOBIC!

    But if I criticize any Islamic ideas that is exactly the treatment I get.

    It therefore seems just honest, to me, to say leftists and regressive in the same breath.

    I believe you should make a clean break with the old dogma and lose the “socialist”. Become what you truly are: a classic liberal.

    Media over-simplification of the issues are a key factor in the West’s debate over Islam and – lest we forget – they made good use of dogmatic positions during the Cold War. The media appear unable to learn new tricks – you know, like nuance, or truth, or facts-so-you-can-make-up-your-own-mind.

    I’m not a fan of the popinjay Maajid Nawaz. Even so David Lean’s piece on him is a clear hatchet job – designed to simplify the debate to: No middle ground exists it’s only:

    ISLAMISTS VERSUS US!!!!! – FEAR – CRINGE – HORROR

    To focus on the regressive language is what we need to do. Taylor rightly points out, as he begins his summary:

    The larger issue is not only that reform-minded Muslims and ex-Muslims face danger from repressive Islamic regimes … they suffer slings and arrows of disdain from those witless [so called] progressives who decry “Islamophobes”

    … and …

    … people deserve respect, but ideologies, however cherished, must be examined, discussed, and assessed rationally. Those ideologies found wanting must be discarded

    Defending lefty or socialist labels is to support the media in their crusade against a new politics, to support their attempts to make ISLAMISTS VERSUS US! the new dogma-versus-dogma. You’re simply moving yourself and your fellow travellers from Reds-under-the-bed quislings to ISIS-under-the-bed quislings.

    My take on Taylors final thought:

    We need to dump the [over-simplified labels such as religion = race and socialist = liberal] in the waste bin of history [and] return to Enlightenment principles [of rational with empirical evidence and recognition for education because not all of our problems boil down to FOR or AGAINST] (which include unfettered speech about [dogmas]), and start working for the common good, free from … dogma

    Key short-term goal: Democratic, un-dogmatic, media.

    We stand at the foot of this mountain.

    Peace.



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  • 23
    Pinball1970 says:

    It is a sad inevitability that Maajid Nawaz is going to get attacked from both sides.

    1/He recognizes there are problems in his religion, cultural and scriptural

    2/He recognizes there must be a counter message that can be effective prevent disaffected non white, (mainly Asian) youngsters, from following the path that he took in his late teens.

    3/His ultimate goal is a peaceful co-existence of the different identities in the UK/Europe globally

    So..Islam and pluralism? Islam and progression? Islam and self criticism?

    Plenty to pick apart there.

    Plenty of atheists, ex muslims, anti muslims, anti Islamists, and yes Islamophobes (no definitions please, it really does not matter anymore) saying how awful Islam is (I am one of them)

    I am sticking with him and there is no one else out there is doing anything like this.

    Every time I criticize Islam on line, on atheists forums, twitter, you tube, news papers I will reference him for the only way forward.



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  • [#69]
    Hi Pinball 1970,

    I must be missing something – Tommy was 1969, no?

    I feel properly chastened by your glowing review of Maajid Nawaz.

    I will put him on my reading list. Which of this ‘inslamophobe’s’ works would you recommend?

    Peace.



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  • [#22]

    CORRECTION!

    Para. should read:

    Is that true? Might it be in someone’s interest to continue the ’struggle’ [check], might they have sponsors in the press? [check], could David Lean be that sort of journalist? [check]. Not proved.

    Apologies to Jeffrey Taylor but post editing has been removed for Windows users.



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  • Hi, Stephen.

    I appreciate your piece, greatly.

    I suspect I am more often to the left on matters than you, but these labels are mostly our cognitive biases dressed as reason.

    eejit’s quoted paragraph I genuinely read as satire. So many instances through history of “wrongly” constituted leftism, this public purgation to achieve a “true leftist” aligned it with a religious holier than thou mindset. (No-one is holier (more moral) than me. I hope each one of us feels the same….about themselves.)

    As with religion, nobody actually owns the brand (left) and anyone trying to do so and seeking to police it must demand some degree of faith from its adherents to do so.

    A powerful trope amongst the left is championing the under dog. Reading the level of under-ness in dogs is what most confounds the left and brings all of us who find ourselves on this wing into disagreement most often.

    Nawaz is an Essex wide boy and former jihadist. The rather intimidating self-confidence of the popinjay is inevitable. Though it is not to my taste either, as a role model for young others who would make his journey I think this may be exactly what is needed.

    Pinball, glad of your voice here. I think Nawaz , Namazie and now Hirsi Ali are starting to pull those other levers.

    Please reconsider Islamophobia…anti-Muslim bigot is the telling term. Its asking are you presuming what is in this person’s head perhaps? It aids this slow release from obsession.



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  • Hi, Phil [#26],

    Seeing that you were on-line I thought I’d wait for the inevitable 

    I suspect I am more often to the left …

    Yes, I think it’s safe to say we’ve qualified that before today.

    … these labels are mostly our cognitive biases dressed as reason

    I agree, and I therefore dislike them with a passion – they’re the antithesis of rational debate.

    eejit’s quoted paragraph I genuinely read as satire.

    I fall victim to Poe’s law more times than Sadiq Khan sees a photo of Zac Goldsmith and smiles (or should that be: Sees a picture of Jeremy Corbyn and frowns? I know, I know falling victim to press labels … ).

    As with religion, nobody actually owns the brand (left) and anyone trying to do so and seeking to police it must demand some degree of faith from its adherents to do so.

    I’m with you so far.

    A powerful trope amongst the left is championing the under-dog. Reading the level of under-ness in dogs is what most confounds the left and brings all of us … into disagreement …

    Again I won’t demur, this is something that exercises liberals too (and some would probably claim most politicians – many are in politics entirely on their own account while, simultaneously, having an unearned sense of self-value which they translate, falsely, to under-dog status). A humane assessment of the human condition, and its many variants, is what leads many to consider politics in the first place.

    Nawaz is an Essex wide boy …

    I wonder how small is the http://www.richarddawkins.net community group that doesn’t have to look up Wide Boy?

    I am of course happy to have my own tu’penny-ha’penny ’analysis’ confirmed. Have I got the era about right?

    Though [Nawaz] is not to my taste either, as a role model for young others who would make his journey I think this may be exactly what is needed

    I can see I may have been a tad hasty.

    Please reconsider Islamophobia …

    As below.

    … anti-Muslim bigot is the telling term

    It is.

    [The idea of Islamophobia] is asking: Are you presuming what is in this person’s head perhaps? It aids this slow release from obsession.

    I’m not convinced.

    Labels perpetuate myths. There are few more malicious myths than the label ’Islamophobe’ (you see all Muslims as the same) it supports both sides – both dogmas. From the IS view an ’Islamaphobe’ is good, telling all Muslims there is one Islam thus cutting their persuasion time in half, and it supports the fascists: One dogma to fight and finding the enemy is easy, stand outside any mosque.

    That means I observe the opposite of your claim.

    In addition ’Islamophobia’, as per the OP, creates the illusion that there is a right way and a wrong way to talk about ideas. It poisons the well of public discourse. It excludes alternative views, and even wide boys deserve to be heard some of the time. Excluding views is, by definition, anti-democratic and tends to produce bipartisan, yes-no, politics. I can see why a ruling oligarchy (or wannabe oligarchy) will push the media to lean in the direction of labels. As a former running dog lackey of capitalist-imperialist oppressors I’ve seen the power of negative political posturing.

    Labels support dogmas – as per my post [#22].

    Dogmas support over-simplified – some would say wholly false, and some would even say disgracefully fraudulent – presentations of the politics of the day to the average Joe.

    Labels and dogmatic, over-simplified, politics support the politics of fear and the rise of authoritarianism.

    I can see why a socialist might not have any difficulty with that.

    Peace.



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  • SoW #27

    I’m not convinced.

    Nor should you be as you’ve taken it…..my fault… I’ll give it another shot…

    By substituting anti-Muslim bigot for their term (Islamophobia) you are asking them to consider that they may be being presumptuous about what is in his, her or my (the accuseds’s) head. They now must choose what the specific accusation is. Myself I’m happy to defend either with evidence but until the muddle is cleared up no defence is possible.

    As for anti-Muslim bigots they should be called clearly what they are, without them having cover of a slippery term. Ha! They called me an Islamophobe. Thats like Hitchens, right? Thats me. That Trump’s got the right idea too….



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  • phil @ # 28.

    “As for anti-Muslim bigots they should be called clearly what they are, without them having cover of a slippery term. Ha! They called me an Islamophobe. Thats like Hitchens, right? Thats me. That Trump’s got the right idea too….”

    Blimey.

    Are you feeling alright Phil?

    Ha ha ha!



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  • Hi Phil [#28],

    Okay, got it now.

    (Dear Reader, if you don’t read Private Eye you can skip to the next post).

    One of my favourites columns is Luvvies. Even though my every sinew is telling me not to gush:

    Once again we start apart and meet at the same spot.

    Ha! They called me an Islamophobe. Thats like Hitchens, right? Thats me. That Trump’s got the right idea too…

    Stop! my sides are aching!

    🙂

    You’re bang on and I’ll start saying anti-muslim bigot.



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  • @OP – Free Speech and Islam — The Left Betrays the Most Vulnerable

    Following on from my previous posts, this should provide a very interesting debate, as in England (unlike the US) a Left wing (Labour) Party is at present the major opposition party and was previously ruling nationally. It still has a majority on many councils, and we now have a current mayor of London who is a Labour Party member and a Muslim.
    We also have silly allegations of anti-Semitism against the previous Labour Party Mayor, Ken Livingstone.

    This debate is likely to hot up in London!



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  • Now, everything the Catholic Church and the Baptists say about the supporters for a middle-of-the-road agreement with Progressive Christians may well be true, but it is not accurate to call [those seeking an agreement] communists.

    Well, I suppose that one way to win an argument, put words into your opponent’s gob. I was talking about the capitalist/colonial/imperialist system which certainly did lead to the catastrophes I mentioned. Don’t see how RCs and Baptists connect with the argument at all. Confusing.

    The Left is a broad church – [a scale from dogmatic revolutionary communists to pseudo-liberals who claim to] base their position on reason and social commitment – and [they] certainly don’t include people who would support [socialist] theocracy …

    Like I said, it’s a broad church. I suppose that saddles us with Stalinists, but does not mean the rest of us are Stalinists, which is what was always falsely claimed. On the other hand, I don’t see how you can include liberals in the fold, who might sometimes be nice intelligent people, but who believe in the hidden hand and the unfettered efficacy of the market in solving social and economic problems, and in the impoliteness of not upsetting other people’s prejudices. Liberalism, whatever Fox News tells you Stephen, is not of the Left.

    Revolutionary communists were clearly on a ’religious’ crusade to free the global proletariat – it’s in their Holy Scripture for goodness sake! (see: Communist Manifesto) and what is international socialism if not a sliding scale for each socialist.

    Don’t know what you mean by the last bit of the sentence – revolutionary communists are not all that there is of the Left, in fact they’re only a very small part of it. In days of yore in Western countries on both sides of the pond and in the antipodes, there were vast organisations of workers pursuing socialist goals by peaceful methods. Labour Parties, trades unions, progressive women’s movements, were all actively engaged in their countries and in society, trying to better the lot of ordinary people. That’s not to mention the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. All were called fellow travellers and Commie sympathisers; many were actually forced into ultra leftism and the arms of the Stalinists, by the behaviour of the political systems they were challenging.

    FOR or AGAINST

    Politics in the end is binary, it has to be. Either governments do something or they don’t do it. Support/condemn, pass/reject, agree/disagree, engage/keep out of, war/amity. There is seldom much riddle room, especially as inaction is always condemned as apathetic indolence.

    So, like most people of the left, I’m not a quisling, or a dogmatist, though some are. No I’m timorous, poor, but rather large, and definitely cowering, with fear in my breast. Therefore I am Islamophobic. Whether rational or irrational, why wouldn’t I be?



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  • Stafford.

    Are you feeling alright Phil?

    Acting, dear boy. Sometimes I feel a little bit of the thespian in me…

    Stephen of W

    we start apart and meet at the same spot

    Its that reason and evidence doing its thang again….



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  • I hate and fear Islam but defend the individual. Islam itself cannot hurt me without the individual. That MUST make my fear of Islam irrational. I am an islamaphobe aren’t I?



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  • eejit,

    Therefore I am Islamophobic. Whether rational or irrational, why wouldn’t I be?

    If you were irrationally fearful of black folk (Like Brian Griffin) would you admit to it in public? in front of your kids?

    I’m scared of spiders and strove to hide it from my kids so they wouldn’t think it a thing. They are much braver than me now.

    It matters a huge amount not to display irrational fear of other humans lest you bring it about. (And that is what too many others will take from the term. They take from it that it is directed at people and their culture.)

    Nor can you say, look, scary people, now you have made me phobic of people who look like you. You cannot decently hand them that longed for victory of polarisation.

    Acting brave is part of the moral deal here. I know you are not an anti-Muslim bigot.

    Politics is the art of the possible and works against inhuman and selfish ideas by slow attrition. Step far enough back and the graph looks good.



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  • Olgun.

    No.

    Besides you should be hating the bullies, those exploiters of a very suitable text for their purpose, but merely a text.

    Work to finger the bullies…er… The dim the dull the needy the thoughtless cleave to those texts, well the idea of those texts. They’ll slowly get turned into the just so stories that eventually sublime away.

    Not everyone is like you, can manage what you can manage.



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  • I can point out the bullies. I can point out the terrorists and the anti Muslim bigots and feel I can point out the poorly informed islamaphobes cowering in the corner. I feel the need for clarity.



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  • Olgun

    I can point out the poorly informed islamaphobes cowering in the corner.

    Like eejit? Or that other sort?

    I feel the need for clarity.

    Phew! eejit was nearly a gonner there.

    Its hatred of other people before you even know what is in their head that is to be clearly pointed out and despised.



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  • Hi eejit [#32],

    Well, I suppose that one way to win an argument is to put words into your opponent’s gob.

    Ouch! Well that’s a proper telling off isn’t it.

    I was attempting to use religious dogma as stand-in for political dogma – drawing comparisons to try and highlight how we don’t hold back on discussion of ideas of politics, so why hold back on other ideas.

    Confusing.

    Sorry.

    The Left is a broad church (etc.) … does not mean the rest of us are Stalinists, which is what was always falsely claimed

    Like Phil addressing me I must apologise for being less than clear to you, my mistake. If one was to take the dogmatic view that all forms of socialism were (are) good because: socialism … would that be defensible?

    Clearly, as you don’t rate Stalinists, you would answer: No.

    So too with the use of Islamophobia. Those who use this silly term are being dogmatic about the ideas of Islam – the full range. They may, as you do with Stalinism, back-pedal when an obvious example of less-than-great Islam is presented, but they begin from the point of view that Islam is beyond criticism.

    Liberalism, whatever Fox News tells you Stephen, is not of the Left.

    Agreed – thus my aside on Mr. Sanders, among other clues.

    … what is international socialism if not a sliding scale for each socialist. Don’t know what you mean by the last bit of the sentence – revolutionary communists are not all that there is of the Left …

    Again, understood. From memory: International Communism, or Proletarian Internationalism, was founded by Trotsky who went on to head one of the socialist Internationals. The Internationals (usually read in the French way with a stress on the last –al) existed before Trotsky and were sets of meetings and institutions designed to bring together all branches of socialism and unionism in one international struggle for the workers. Trotsky, as I understand it, used his leadership to appropriate moderate socialists to the communist cause by presenting (organising?) them as a continuum under the banner of International Socialism (cue: some kind member to correct any major errors – but I’m pretty sure that’s the gist).

    Frankly eejit, if you’re relying on me for primers on socialism you’re really in trouble.

    In days of yore in Western countries on both sides of the pond and in the antipodes, there were vast organisations of workers pursuing socialist goals by peaceful methods.

    Again: I was there – for the Cold War part at least.

    FOR or AGAINST. Politics in the end is binary, it has to be.

    Evidence please.

    Either governments do something or they don’t do it.

    This sounds as if you’re convinced that all government decision s must be a choice between A, or B, or do nothing? Why? Why can’t governments do C, or W, or 976, or Rabbit or … ask the people for ideas?

    There is seldom much [wiggle] room, especially as inaction is always condemned as apathetic indolence.

    Only if the politicians who decide on inaction are incompetent to explain inaction as a policy.

    So, like most people of the left, I’m not a quisling, or a dogmatist, though some are.

    As a Catholic I see that Bill Donohue and I ask my friends: Hey! he’s not a true Catholic though, right, you get that … right?

    You know, I read through what I wrote and I realize I owe you an apology eejit. Really I shouldn’t have addressed my comments directly to you – I was just using what you wrote to bounce off. Sorry about that.

    Islamophobia is a word that is not only conceived in ignorance, it’s poorly defined (and therefore widely misunderstood) and it’s a cop-out – it stops us from having a truthful open and honest political debate. The Original Post (OP) also points out that it’s preventing those of us who are liberal from talking to each other and I was attempting to add: This plays into the hands of those who want to play the A-or-B-only game. You know, like the fascists. 😉

    Peace.



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  • (Alan4Discussion #7) : “The media then spent several days ranting about some fantasy “anti Semitism”, and despite Ken Livingstone telling them to “read the history books…….” .
    ( OHooligan #8) : “I thought the Ken Livingstone “anti-semitic” beat up was simply vile. Once more, the “anti-semitic” card is played………”

    Don’t let Livingstone off the hook over this. He quite deliberately sought to deflect attention from the clearly anti-semitic comments about wholesale transportation of Jews which had earlier been transmitted by labour MP Naz Shah. He referred to an accomodation (however slight) between some obscure German Zionists, the transportation of Jews as a policy choice, and Hitler in the early 1930s – the so-called Haavara (transfer) Agreement of 1933, not the 1940 Lehi movement cited by Alan4Discussion.

    In fact, his grasp of history was somewhat garbled. However, this was a calculated political gambit to diminish Jewish outrage at Shah’s remarks by trying to dilute Jewish justification for it. Livingstone knew exactly what he was doing, and it was a despicable tactic.

    Livingstone belongs to that sad little clique of embittered old leftists and Trots who hate the very idea of Israel because of its close association with the even more hated USA. In doing so they form an unholy alliance with the other principal Israel haters – the Islamic fascists. Livingstone of course assiduously courted some of their spokesmen, such as the vile Egyptian cleric Qaradawi, during his time as London mayor, as did his mate Corbyn with his stated choice of ‘friends’ in that area.

    While it is wrong to imply widespread anti-semitism in the Labour movement, there is clearly a hard-core element that serious Jewish thinkers who are in no way associated with the Daily Mail-style right-wing media pack – such as Howard Jacobson or Jonathan Arkush – have recognised as being long established. It is doubly unfortunate that this stain on the party now runs so close to its current leadership.



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  • rogeroney #40
    May 9, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    He referred to an accomodation (however slight) between some obscure German Zionists, the transportation of Jews as a policy choice, and Hitler in the early 1930s –

    This seems to be trying to down play the facts!
    There were agreements between the NAZIs and the Zionists, so I don’t see how citing an earlier Zionist involvement, in any way challenges Ken Livingstone’s statements!

    the so-called Haavara (transfer) Agreement of 1933,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement

    The Haavara (Transfer) Agreement was agreed to by the German government in 1933, and continued in effect until the German government ceased to support it in 1938. Under the agreement, Jews fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany could use some of their assets to purchase German manufactured goods for export, thus salvaging some part of their personal wealth during emigration. The agreement provided a substantial export market for German factories in British-ruled Palestine. Between November, 1933, and December 31, 1937, 77,800,000 Reichmarks, or $22,500,000, (values in 1938 currency) worth of goods were exported to Jewish businesses in Palestine under the program.[13] By the time the program ended with the start of World War II, the total had risen to 105,000,000 marks (about $35,000,000, 1939 values).[14]

    Emigrants with capital of £1,000, (about $5,000 in 1930s currency value) could move to Palestine in spite of severe British restrictions on Jewish immigration under an Immigrant investor program similar to the contemporary EB-5 visa. Under the Transfer Agreement, about 39 percent of an emigrant’s funds were given to Jewish communal economic development projects, leaving individuals with about 43% of the value of whatever assets they were able to transfer out of Germany after administrative and shipping costs.

    Hanotea (Hebrew: הנוטע) was a Zionist citrus planting company which served to assist German Jews’ emigration to Palestine as part of the Zionist endeavor. In a deal worked out with the German government, Hanotea would receive money from prospective immigrants and use this money to buy German goods. These goods, along with the immigrants, would then be shipped to Palestine. In Palestine, import merchants would then buy the goods from the immigrants, liquidating their investment. This arrangement appeared to be operating successfully, and so paved the way for the later Haavara Agreement. Connected to Hanotea was a Polish Zionist Jew, Sam Cohen. He represented Zionist interests in direct negotiation with the Nazis beginning in March 1933.[12] In May 1933 Hanotea applied for permission to transfer capital from Germany to Palestine.

    The Haavara Agreement was thought among some Nazi circles to be a possible way to rid the country of its supposed “Jewish problem.” The head of the Middle Eastern division of the foreign ministry, the anti-Nazi Werner Otto von Hentig, supported the policy of concentrating Jews in Palestine. Hentig believed that if the Jewish population was concentrated in a single foreign entity, then foreign diplomatic policy and containment of the Jews would become easier.[18] Hitler’s own support of the Haavara Agreement was unclear and varied throughout the 1930s. Initially, Hitler criticized the agreement, but reversed his opinion and supported it in the period 1937-1939.

    not the 1940 Lehi movement cited by Alan4Discussion.

    There was indeed much more extensive co-operation earlier.

    @7 – Lehi split from the Irgun militant group in 1940

    The Lehi and Irgun were Zionist terrorists who who attacked the British, blew up the King David hotel, and after WW2, assassinated the UN mediator when he would not uphold their Biblical claims to the detriment of equal treatment for Palestinian Arabs.
    Prominent members of the Irgun later became ministers in the Israeli government, which methodically ran an apartheid state attacking the Palestinian Arabs and seizing their property. – a process which continues to this day!

    Conflating criticism of Zionism with claims of “anti-Semitism” is simply an admission of a lack of a credible answer!



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  • @ 41 Alan4discussion

    I don’t want this to stray too far off topic into arcane discussions of early 20th century Zionism when the issue with Livingstone is not with history, but with his attempts to excuse anti-semitic remarks by others and to dilute the justified outrage they caused to Jews by the very tactic you refer to – conflating – in this case conflating Zionism, and by implication Jews, with the Nazis, hinting that perhaps the mass transportation of Jews by Nazis wasn’t such a big deal after all.

    Just in case you don’t understand the nature of the offence he caused by dredging up this obscure and irrelevant history, let me enlighten you with a direct analogy :

    Let’s say a politician, we can call him ‘Livingstone’ just for the sake of argument, on the day that the Hillsborough Inquests verdict was finally announced, decided to go on a tour of news media outlets giving accounts from the history of the 1970’s and 1980’s of occasions when football hooligan gangs had indeed engaged in fights on the streets, vandalised trains, urinated on opposing fans, thrown coins and bottles, and mounted invasions of the pitch.

    Can you imagine the outrage, the sheer offence caused?
    Well, can you?

    The fact that ‘Ken’ apparently cannot is the nub of the problem. I hope you are not in the same camp.



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  • Phil #38

    The other sort. The sort cowering in the corner whilst their hand is looking for a suitable rock to throw when and if the mob attack.

    I always have trouble fitting in. I can be all of the nationalistic lefty humanist and rationalist and feel comfortable fitting into the islamaphobic position. I can work out the detail in a conversation. I understand the position against the word but don’t agree with the over-reaction. The overuse of “Anti-semitism” has now lost its bite and maybe we should allow this word, accurate or not, to go the same way?



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  • rogeroney #42
    May 9, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Can you imagine the outrage, the sheer offence caused?
    Well, can you?

    That is that issue! Facts are not “offensive”!
    The reaction to them in posturing offense is disingenuous!

    While condemning the NAZI atrocities of the !930s and 1940s, that does not excuse subsequent Israeli or Zionist atrocities. (recognised by the UN and the European Union.)

    There are many sensitive issues that are skirted around because some people don’t like facts, or wish their propagandists to re-write history, but these issues are very relevant to the modern problems of Israel and Palestinians.
    There are very clear parallels between the “NAZI master race”, and the “Zionist fundamentalist God’s chosen people”!



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  • Olgun

    The sort cowering in the corner whilst their hand is looking for a suitable rock to throw when and if the mob attack.

    Is their fear filled behaviour the result of Islam or their Muslim neighbours? Is it truly unjustified?

    Are these what anti-Muslim bigots look like before they spook themselves out so much they act out of wrong headed fear?

    Or are these people, if genuinely Islamphobic, who could pull some rational thought together, realise that Islam is not a spooky zombie plague, but a socio cultural phenomenon albeit with the capacity for a topical toxicity, with a variety of causes, that could separately and together be tackled and the poison drained?

    Anti-semitic was just trying to look a little more scientific when it was coined. This was the scientism that served racist bigots in the late 19th Century. Its explosive use after 1931 has so embedded itself in our literature that it would be an error to remove it because of misuse. Indeed the alternate concept of anti-zionism is the simple clarifier we need most often. Semite is a scientistic euphemism for Jew (Arabs, say are never invoked), his very physical being being unique and somehow inadequate.

    It is a powerful and important word though coined by haters (seeking to avoid the unseemly Judenhas) it could have suited the moral side more if it included the term “phobia” or bigot

    Islamophobia is semantically incoherent (irrational fear of an ideology qua ideology is not a thing, nor should it be manufactured into one) and points in utterly confusing directions. It blames the blameless, and gives cover to the bigot in the confusion. It silences me, more times than I care to recount and aids above all the Islamist Coined actually in 1986, it has little literary legacy and replaced swiftly with a better choice of clear terms will aid debate and quell somewhat shutthefuckuppery.



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  • Conflating criticism of Zionism with claims of “anti-Semitism” is simply an admission of a lack of a credible answer

    Lack of a credible answer doesn’t worry the Zionists or the Israeli state. Conflation works doesn’t it? It works better every year, as fewer people remember the events which led to the foundation of Israel and the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland. Fewer still know that Zionism long predates the Holocaust and that Jewish settlers were at war with the Arab population well before the Great War, let alone Hitler and WW11.

    The murky relationships between the Nazis and the Zionists are well known by historians, though polite people don’t mention them, at least if they know what’s good for them, even though they were successfully exposed in Israeli courts in the 1950s. ( June 22, 1955, Protocol of Criminal Case 124/53 in District Court, Jerusalem). The Zionists were willing to trade what was left of European Jewry, for the foundation of the Israeli state.



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  • People like this Phil!

    I watch this and laugh nervously as I have seen many like them in my forty years working on council estates. I cannot even bare to watch Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie as I have memories of smell in those houses they try to clean.

    who could pull some rational thought together

    As long as they are talking to me but the moment I walk out the door the builder gets the “what a fucking liberty”, and back to normal. No matter how many times you tell them there are no funnel-web spiders in the UK their irrational fear never goes away. Over the years, I have seen the ugliness of their changing fears and maybe I am being kind in describing it as a phobia. Bigot is probably more accurate but uglier to me, as it should be I suppose. I fear this entity of islam even more is now, just as Turkey should have matured to the point where it could show a fully working secular muslim country, is collapsing. I found myself telling my wife to cover up a little on holiday……what a fucking liberty!!



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  • @ Alan4discussion #44: Facts are not “offensive”!

    Well ok. So take a trip to Liverpool, and go visit some Hillsborough families. Explain to them in historical detail how violent and disruptive football supporters could be throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. I’d love to be there when they give you their response and you explain how their ‘posturing’ offense is ‘disingenuous’. I might even call the ambulance for you!

    Returning to the core issue: to suggest that objecting to the endorsement of mass deportation of Jews and the deliberate conflating of Jews with Nazis in an attempt to excuse such anti-semitism, is merely ‘posturing’ and ‘disingenuous’, given the experience of Europe’s Jewish population in the mid-20th century, reveals a moral compass that is seriously skewed. The actions of the Israeli government, deplorable in some cases as they may be, are totally irrelevant to the real offence caused by crassly insensitive statements from certain Labour party members and their apologists.



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  • @Olgun, Phil

    I hate and fear Islam but defend the individual. Islam itself cannot hurt me without the individual. I must be irrational.

    You actually have it backwards, in my opinion. It is the individuals that you should fear and defend, and perhaps you should defend the religion, if you are determined to defend the individuals.

    No phobia, Olgun. I fear fascism. Your mistake (perhaps) is in rigidly presenting two positions that appear mutually exclusive but in reality are not, —and in imagining that they (Islam and the individual) must remain separate at all costs. (I am not singling out Islam, which is why you can substitute fascism or any kind of oppressive regime you wish.) At a certain point the individuals that one defends will become affected by the abstract entity that one imagines Islam (or in my case fascism) to be.

    At a certain point the individual (and that is an abstraction as well) will become our enemy, will persecute us or worse. And while we might still want to defend them, we will also be justified in either fearing them or reviling them.

    Phil,

    “Islamophobia. A phobia is an irrational fear. Some people do have Islamophobia. But fearing Islam in itself does not necessarily constitute a phobia.”

    That’s what I said. What are you talking about? What does this mean? (below):

    “Find me a single example of Islamophobia that is not either evidenced criticism of Islam or anti-Muslim bigotry.”

    I don’t understand that sentence. I just said that Islamophobia is the irrational fear of Islam! So there isn’t going to be evidenced criticism. Why are you twisting words around? One can have a phobia about anything. I was just making a point: Islamophobia exists. It is probably a mask for bigotry and ignorance, yes. But it exists. Fear of Judiasm is a phobia. But there can be what I called ” justified” fear of Judaism which is not bigotry or phobic, necessarily. It is based on the fact that the religion as a whole (which is an abstraction) cannot be separated from the people that use it. Religion is what it does. That does not mean that Islam or Judaism is bad. It is good and bad. The individuals are the religion, however.

    What did I say that was “phobic”? Please explain. (I don’t have much interest in the Mid-east. I should but I don’t.)

    To conclude, there is – dare I say it – a fine line between irrational fear of something and rational fear. How the hell are we supposed to separate the two at all times and why should we feel compelled to do this? If I were living in Germany during WWII and I saw some German thugs running toward me, I would recognize and fear them as German individuals, and not just as Nazis. I am sure many holocaust survivors developed a life-long distrust and fear of all Germans. Irrational? Phobic? Bigoted? Yes and no. A Palestinian sees a group of Israeli soldiers coming toward him. Is his fear “fear of Judaism”? Is that a phobia? Yes and no.



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  • Olgun #47

    Bigot is probably more accurate

    I agree

    People need to see the person they harm by their irrationality. They musn’t think it inconsequential because it is somehow more abstract.



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  • Dan

    “Find me a single example of Islamophobia that is not either evidenced criticism of Islam or anti-Muslim bigotry.”

    I don’t understand that sentence. I just said that Islamophobia is the irrational fear of Islam!

    Yes so here are three categories mooted.

    Exemplify one not in my two categories but in your category. Of course, I will try to argue it suits one of my two categories better or as well or more deservingly. (Because causing harms means causing harms to people,)

    Is that a phobia? Yes and no.

    Unless we can issue a clear challenge, we should stay schtumm. This is all about using clear words clearly. Else we’ll muddle something into existence and do untold harm to reason.



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  • rogeroney #48
    May 9, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    @ Alan4discussion #44: Facts are not “offensive”!

    Well ok. So take a trip to Liverpool, and go visit some Hillsborough families. Explain to them in historical detail how violent and disruptive football supporters could be throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.

    I would not see a problem with calmly discussing the protection of regular football supporters from hooligan gangs – as well as incompetent policing! Most clubs arrange this, and most fans welcome it. You are conflating football hooligans with football supporters in the same way you conflate Jews with Zionists!

    I’d love to be there when they give you their response and you explain how their ‘posturing’ offense is ‘disingenuous’. I might even call the ambulance for you!

    You are projecting your emotional confused thinking onto others. There may be a few too emotionally damaged to look constructively at the issues, but it would be pointless in trying to resolve planning issues with them.

    Returning to the core issue: to suggest that objecting to the endorsement of mass deportation of Jews and the deliberate conflating of Jews with Nazis

    You simply continue to conflate the full spectrum of Jews, with Zionist fanatics!

    in an attempt to excuse such anti-semitism,

    You have it backwards again. Anti Semitism is a prejudice against Jews in general, NOT valid criticism Zionist fanatics or their dubious political plotting.

    is merely ‘posturing’ and ‘disingenuous’,

    That’s precisely what it is! – pretending valid criticism is some unevidenced bias, as a means of keeping the real crimes and abuses off the agenda!

    given the experience of Europe’s Jewish population in the mid-20th century, reveals a moral compass that is seriously skewed.

    Once again you are simply making vacuous assertions by pretending Zionists are all Jews, or that abuses of the Jewish population is an excuse for Zionist crimes and abuses against others.

    The actions of the Israeli government, deplorable in some cases as they may be, are totally irrelevant to the real offence caused by crassly insensitive statements from certain Labour party members and their apologists.

    Oh dear!
    “I have flashed an anti-Semitism badge, so this excuses the Israeli government from all crimes and abuses, so politicians who are trying to get a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian problem should shut up and join me and the other Zionist apologists with our heads in the sand, our rose “faith-spectacles”, and our ‘keep off anti-Semitism badges’ stuck high in the air on our backsides!”

    Classic psychological projection!!



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  • Dan 49

    You actually have it backwards

    Backwards, forwards, sideways and up/down. That is why I said it was a phobia…irrational.

    and perhaps you should defend the religion

    I don’t have to defend the disease, only the victim, in spite of themselves. That much I am clear on.

    Your mistake (perhaps) [….]

    Islam, the book? Islam and its many many different adherents? I don’t subscribe to the “Islam is worse than any other religion” crap ( I would get a Hitch slap there). All religions are as stupidly conceived and some are equally violent. Blare and Bush saw to that.



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  • What’s in a word? This whole string has become heated, destructive and pointless. Thanks for the handsome apology Stephen, no offence taken.

    I remember nothing of my degree in Linguistic Philosophy, I spent too much tax-payer funded time drinking and bonking instead of reading, but I did learn one thing from it, most words have many meanings and so can be deployed in any way that suits the user. When Humpty Dumpty uses a word he says that it means just what he chooses it to mean — neither more nor less, but the trouble with that is he then has to explain his meaning in words and so involves himself in an infinite regress of explanation. That’s what has happened to this discussion.



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  • Olgun, Phil,

    I was all over the place with that comment, and now I can’t think straight. Phil’s questioning of my use of the word phobia has confused me. I was just saying that a phobia is an irrational fear.

    By backwards, I was suggesting that the fear of Islam that you say you have raises the interesting question, as to who or what you should fear; the victims that you have, and should have, compassion for, might become your oppressor. Only the individuals that you defend can harm you or anyone. Only they can renounce the religion, or change it somehow, or become more moderate, or become monsters. Fearing or hating a religion, which was created and can only be destroyed by individuals, and regarding individuals as victims only, is a rationalization, and fruitless, perhaps. (Still confused.)

    Phil: An example of an irrational fear of Islam? Someone sees a Muslim family walking down the street and he scurries to the other side. I don’t understand your question.



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  • @dan

    Hi again. Gnawing the wrong end of yet another stick I see.

    Islamophobia exists

    Nope, it’s a made up thing co-opted for nefarious reasons by people of bad intent. There is only

    a) a rational (non-phobic) fear of the aims and ambitions and actions of islamic extremists,

    and

    b) a bigotry against people who are moslem, lumping them all together as a group to be discriminated against.

    Neither is a phobia. That, I believe, is what Phil said, rephrased to reduce the opportunity for misinterpretation.

    You could look into “blowed-up-o-phobia”.



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  • Is it islamophobic to be wary, disturbed, uneasy, offended, even, at the sight of a person out in public in a western country, wearing total black covering, face and all. If it is a person, and not a Dalek.

    I think such an apparition is quite insulting to our western cultural values, and shows great insensitivity by whoever is in charge of the person/dalek’s dress code. Not necessarily the wearer. I heartily agree with the French position on this.



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  • @eejit

    degree in Linguistic Philosophy, I spent too much tax-payer funded time drinking and bonking

    Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have gone for a science degree. You’re not as much of an eejit as you make out.



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  • Dan

    Phil: An example of an irrational fear of Islam? Someone sees a Muslim family walking down the street and he scurries to the other side. I don’t understand your question.

    So, shout out, “Islamophobe”, right?

    But his fear of Islam could be rational. Making a judgment of the motivations of the scurrier is spurious imputation.

    This is anti-Muslim bigotry. If they are any Muslim family, then the scurrier’s action’s, phobic or informed about Islam, imputes without evidence negative attitudes into the heads of the family.

    Islamophobe as a condemnation doubly misses the mark with two suspect imputations.

    The clearly distasteful action of the scurrier is what we see and know, a public signalling of distaste of real people.

    If he does that repeatedly with Muslims, then he is certainly an anti-Muslim bigot whatever his informed or uninformed views on Islam happen to be.

    All people deserve to be treated as individuals.



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  • OHooligan #59, Phil

    It is an odd word. Granted. But what about homophobia? Many anti-gay people are latent homosexuals, afraid of their own feelings, are homophobic.
    Phobias are defined as irrational or excessive fears. What would you call someone whose new neighbors are Muslim (and are good, decent people) and the guy is worried sick that they’re terrorists. That’s a frigging phobia, in my book. I am sure there are quite a few people like that. They are frightened bigots. The two go hand in hand: fear and loathing.
    (The word is also used to silence critics.)
    “Blowed-up-o-phobia” would be a rational fear, and therefore not a phobia.

    Phil #61, OHooligan

    If the scurrier is scared but has no “good reason” to be, then that would make him phobic and a bigot as well. But what is a good reason? Even claustrophobia has some basis in subjective reality… But that doesn’t harm others, so I guess I agree that the word should be used sparingly and judiciously. Is this reply acceptable to you?



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  • O’Hooligan

    Sorry to disappoint.

    I think such an apparition is quite insulting to our western cultural values, and shows great insensitivity by whoever is in charge of the person/dalek’s dress code. Not necessarily the wearer. I heartily agree with the French position on this.

    I don’t agree with the French position. I think bondage gear on adults is fine. Its seen often enough on London streets. (Yes I find the religious bondage gear really queasy making. Particularly so in front of kids.) But telling women what they may wear because you want to stop others telling them what to wear is infantilising them. Quite other strategies like advertising variants of our current “thats not right” [what cannot be imposed on you against your will] adverts (aimed mostly at teenage girls and calling for higher levels of interpersonal respect) with examples from other ethnic and religious cultures MUST happen. The French position on eliminating religious grouping symbols from schoolchildren, however, is perfect.



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  • 64
    Pinball1970 says:

    @Stephen-of-wimbledon

    I have not read anything at all by him yet
    Everything I am going off is from the interviews and debates I have seen him in
    It gets worse, I actually don’t know what his view on Islam is!
    I don’t know which parts he thinks are facts, or made up, important, can be ignored or are metaphorical

    I have not heard him talk about Islam that much, he is usually discussing what needs to be done in his own community to combat radicalization.
    The things the Islamic community seems to not want to talk about, Trojan horse, FGM, misogyny, anti Semitism, mass grooming and honour killings.

    He also talks about finding a path for peace a lot.

    I think he has an ego and likes the limelight a little bit (sharply dressed Essex wide boy is a good description) and there was a strange exchange between himself and Tommy Robinson from the EDL which takes some explaining.

    He may not be an angel (or Messiah) but I am taking a punt with the guy, I will get round to reading one of his books.

    Wrong pinball by the way Brian Protheroe 1974, the 1970 is just one of my fave years for music.



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  • Some muslims cover their hair and faces. So what? We wear clothes, don’t we?

    I’d like to see women liberated everywhere, but fear of the removal of all sexual prohibitions varies, and constitutes a continuum, doesn’t it?



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  • rogeroney #48
    May 9, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    The actions of the Israeli government, deplorable in some cases as they may be, are totally irrelevant to the real offence caused by crassly insensitive statements from certain Labour party members and their apologists.

    I see you are demonstrating the “balance” of your tribalistic viewpoint!

    Stealing Palestinian farms from those whose families have farmed them for generations, and using air-strikes to kill children and civilians is “totally irrelevant to the real offense of hurting the feelings of the murdering thieves acting under “Biblical authority” and US weapons, by criticising their actions or challenging their fundamentalist beliefs!

    It is a similar demonstration of “wearers of MY tribal badge must be defended right or wrong, from valid criticism by outsiders “. — Just like the closing ranks of the corrupt police “tribe” you refer to in the Hillsborough incident!



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  • Hi eejit [#54],

    This whole string has become heated, destructive and pointless.

    I think this thread has become over-heated on an issue which is only tangentially related to the OP, I can agree with you that far. However, where there is overlap, it’s an important discussion. I don’t think it’s going in a particularly positive direction though, we can agree on that too.

    It’s about taking offence.

    If we value truth, and if we value social and political discussion based on the objective and skeptical: Empirical facts, reason and logic, then we need to set aside our emotions and accept that reality does not conform to our desires and wishes.

    Some posters are saying that this is asking too much. Others disagree, though I’m finding their arguments a little difficult to follow. I haven’t posted into that argument because I see both sides.

    The reality is that we are emotion-driven creatures. There are occasions when those emotions are so strong that we almost universally recognise when it’s inappropriate to present those affected with facts – even though it may be germane to a wider social dialogue. We do that by empathising. There are situations, ignorance or indoctrination in a point of view that demonizes certain other people, where we find it impossible to exercise our natural empathy. A good example is Westboro Batptists demonstrating at funerals. Most of us recognise, with no cue, that the mourners don’t deserve that kind, that burden, of additional pain.

    On the other hand, there are times when it is appropriate to ride roughshod over the emotions of others – in the name of truth, sanity and a brighter future for us all. For example, those who were disappeared (note the use of disappear as a verb – we’re talking about somebody’s actions) in Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s. Is it appropriate to discuss how and when the Argentine Junta was encouraged by the US to take that action? Does going over this ground again – far more recent than the German/Israeli agreements discussed so far and more raw in the memories and families concerned – hurt those who lost loved ones?

    Even those of us who remain emotionally involved accept, at some point, that if we value truth and objective decision-making, that there comes a time when emotions must be set aside. As a Humanist I summarize this approach: Remain passionate, seek justice with energy and keep a cool head. Actions speak loudest, and Argentinians are embracing this approach.

    The argument above revolves around this point: When is it appropriate to step over that line?

    My two-penneth worth: The term ‘taking offence’, in my judgement, contains the clue we need to properly understand what is happening when someone says – particularly in response to a simple related fact: “I take offence at that”.

    The person who says “I’m offended … ” is taking. They are attempting to take from the others in the conversation the ability to continue the conversation – they’re saying, in effect: My emotions trump your facts, my emotions are superior to your logic, my emotions deny your objectivity. Here is destructive dialogue. Here is the ultimate denial of free speech. Here is the Offended taking offence to themsleves – attempting to take control of the discussion and eliminate others views. If we accept, even once, that anyone has the right to do this we accept that we can only live in a society where those who are the most emotional and subjective call the shots. Taking that to its logical extreme would mean we let the hysterical set the political agenda. Is this a good idea.

    Are humans ever more subjective than when they’re being ‘spiritual’ or nationalist? I’m open to suggestions but I don’t think so, so far.

    The tangent that links this thread/discussion with the OP is that (so-called) Islamophobia is another emotional response. But, rather than simply the religious people (Muslims) themselves saying that they take offence saying “Islamophobia” also allows anyone who thinks of Muslims as under-dogs to also be offended on their behalf! Every time the word is used it becomes an attempt to close down the discussion, even though Islam relates to the ideas and not the people, even though there may be no person to be offended by the opposing idea in the room, even though the idea being presented may be perfectly rational, logical and evidence based!

    In essence the word Islamophobia relates to a form of blasphemy. It is a particularly bad form of blasphemy – it’s like Phil (a committed Catholic) posting a response to Alan (who merely mentioned that he was a Hindu before saying that he didn’t really think Buddhism is a real religion) – Phils calls Alan Buddhaphobic – because: blasphemy!

    I don’t know about the history lessons quoted above. To me they’re merely a distraction from what anyone who values freedom and truth should be discussing. The fact that a Londoner gave other Londoners an ancient history excuse to take offence, and they did, is completely irrelevant. If the Labour Party wants to know why I didn’t vote for their candidates here is the real reason – the fact that they think taking offence trumps substantive and policy issues tells me everything I need to know about a morally and intellectually bankrupt organization.

    Thanks for the handsome apology Stephen, no offence taken.

    Based on the above: Glad to hear it 🙂

    If I know I’m right be prepared for me to defend my corner – but if I’m wrong I hope I’ll always be ready to admit it. We should all strive to be what we would like to see in other people.

    What’s in a word? … most words have many meanings and so can be deployed in any way that suits the user.

    With the best will in the World eejit, that comment makes no sense to me. The fact that words have meanings must surely indicate that their use is limited to those meanings?

    When Humpty Dumpty uses a word he says that it means just what he chooses it to mean — neither more nor less …

    When we use words to communicate meaning, we use them as tools. To quote Socrates response to Cratylus: “We mustn’t forget that different blacksmiths, who are making the same tool for the same type of work, don’t all make it out of the same iron. But as long as they give it the same form – even if that form is embodied in different iron – the tool will be correct.”

    [Humpty Dumpty is] what has happened to this discussion

    I agree that the word Islamophobia is poorly defined, and that the above discussion has wandered into the long grass. But the central theme remains valid and urgent: Taking offence must be resisted at every turn – and when people invent words in an attempt to allow anyone to take offence for anyone else through a blanket application of blasphemy we’ve completely lost the plot.

    Is this really the best we can do?

    Peace.



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  • Islamophobia literally means excessive or irrational fear of the religion of Islam or its members. Are there no Islamophobes out there, bigoted or otherwise? What’s the matter with you people?
    If I were a secular Muslim I’d be offended if someone thought I was an extremist. I would consider them to be phobic and prejudiced.



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  • The problem with a lot of people on this site and in general is the inability to endure two or more ideas co-existing. That is rigid. This word we’ve been discussing has been used by some to silence criticism, yes, AND there are people that are prejudiced towards Muslims and unduly frightened of them, i.e, Islamo-phobic.

    The OP is one-sided, as is often the case. Reads like a diatribe. I love Harris and Hitchens, but “Islamophobia” is not in itself a stupid word. It’s not a very good word; but it is not a stupid word. Nor does it mean one thing only.



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  • Hi Dan [#68],

    Islamophobia literally means …

    Oh goody, another definition …

    … excessive or irrational fear of the religion of Islam or its members.

    Then why do people use it as an insult? Do those people not understand that phobias are a medical condition – do they have no compassion?

    In what way is a fear of Islam irrational? Do people who say Islamophobia have history blindness, have they never googled 9/11 or 7/7? Do they imagine that IS is a club for stamp collectors? Do they imagione that governments concerned with the radcalization of young Muslims are all inveterate satirists?

    Then why do people use the islamophobia to mean insulting behaviour? Do they not recognize that Islam is a set of ideas – like fascism, or free market economics – and not connected directly to people? Why are these people so ignorant?

    Then why do people who use Islamophobia always appear to be so emotionally charged, and why won’t they let me continue the conversation after they’ve used the word? Are these people deluded into thinking that the magic word Islamophobia causes other people to be struck dumb? What possible connection has this magic with my supposed phobia?

    Why do the people who say Islamophobia not understand that Islam is the religion (set of ideas) and Muslims are the people? Why are they ignorant, and what cane we do to educate them?

    Do the people who say Islamophobia understand the concept and vital importance of free speech? If not, what can we do to educate them?

    Are there no Islamophobes out there, bigoted or otherwise?

    In your definition? Yes. Their rational fears are pumped up out-of-proportion by the media seeking over-simplified politics.

    If I were a secular Muslim I’d be offended if someone thought I was an extremist

    In what way is it possible to equate secularism with extremism? I believe in extreme wealth distribution (all citizens to immediately note the balance of their bank accounts on a blank check and then complete it with today’s date and the payee to be my charity the Complimentary Association for Systematic Hoodwinkers – or just the acronym C.A.S.H. – please don’t forget to sign) and send it to me. How does that make me non-secular?

    Peace.



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  • Hi Dan [#69],

    The OP is one-sided, as is often the case. Reads like a diatribe.

    Humbug Sir!

    I contend that yours is a position without supporting evidence.

    Humbug I say!

    I love Harris and Hitchens, but “Islamophobia” is not in itself a stupid word.

    But! But?

    It was Hitchens who was first to call Islamophobia a stupid word – and he never retreated from that position.

    It’s not a very good word … Nor does it mean one thing only.

    Then why does your definition have only one meaning? Pray, Sir, enlighten us further – tell us the rest, tell it all.

    Peace.



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  • @ 70, 71
    It’s not a very good word… nor does it mean one thing only.
    Then why does your definition have only one meaning? Pray, Sir, enlighten us further – tell us the rest, tell it all.

    Back to Humpty Dumpty!



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  • In the US, we need a constitutional amendment that states:

    “There will be Freedom From Religion, and no religious group is able to control others by force of its own doctrines and beliefs.”

    Something like that. Perhaps the wording could be improved.



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  • 73, 74

    Hi, fellas,

    I regret entering this thread, but what can one do? Forgive me for getting muddled. I am Mr. Muddlehead on this thread – but that’s okay. I realize now that Phil’s point (53) was a pretty good one.

    My definition had three meanings: a term used by those who want to silence critics of Islam, an irrational (forget excessive; excessive is irrational) fear of Islam, and a kind of euphemism, used rightly and wrongly, for a prejudice against Islam. The latter two (fear and prejudice) often go together.

    I said it wasn’t a good word because it is often the case that undue fear is a mask for bigotry, and the word phobia does not necessarily include bigotry. But I should have gone further. “Islamophobia” is a fear that is not based on reason and evidence; it resembles and includes prejudice but is not itself prejudice. All prejudice is phobic, but not all phobias include prejudice. Yet it is impossible for me to imagine a person who had an “Islam phobia” who wasn’t also prejudiced. So upon careful consideration, I concluded that Islamophobia, while it must exist, just like any other phobia, is a misleading and ambiguous word, is “not a good word.” I will go further, am prepared to say that it is almost always misused.

    Stephen,

    Yes, phobias are bona fide psychiatric (medical, if you prefer) conditions.

    “If I were a secular Muslim I’d be offended if someone thought I was an extremist.” -Me

    “In what way is it possible to equate secularism with extremism?” -Stephen

    Secular Muslim. Maybe that’s a contradiction in terms. Not sure. There are secular Jews. Maybe that doesn’t apply to Muslims. There are non-extreme Muslims, right? That’s what I meant. I am no expert on Islam, believe me. Indonesia, I believe, is a secular Muslim country, but that is not the same as being a secular Muslim. I’ll change that to “If I were a nice, decent, enlightened, well-educated, erudite, amicable, non-violent, politically progressive Muslim…” How’s that?



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  • @ Stephen of Wimbledon

    Then why do people who use Islamophobia always appear to be so emotionally charged, and why won’t they let me continue the conversation after they’ve used the word?

    I don’t know. What are you saying to those people? And why do you give a shit about those people? Just walk away if you don’t like them, and find someone else to talk to. I myself have never once met anyone like that.



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  • One more and then I am through w/ this infernal thread.

    There is no regressive left. That is just like the word Islamophobe (as described by the strident Taylor). It is a way of silencing critics of the critics of Islam. Many of the critics of Islam are extremely unfair.

    And it is a way of rallying support (for what I don’t know) and gaining publicity.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon

    Then why do people who use Islamophobia always appear to be so emotionally charged,

    This genuine case of Islamophobia does usually seem to be emotionally charged and devoid of forethought!

    @3 – Sadiq Khan has been elected the new Mayor of London

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-sadiq-khan-muslim-ban-london-mayor-would-be-exempt-a7021806.html

    Donald Trump has announced that his call to ban Muslims entering the US would have one exception – the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

    The real estate mogul’s comment comes after Mr Khan said he would have to visit his US-based counterparts in New York and Chicago before next January in case Mr Trump is elected president.

    I don’t believe a word of it!

    I would bet that if the Saudi oil minister or defence minister turned up there would be at least two exceptions!!!! 🙂



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  • @dan

    I liked your juxtaposition of “I….phobic” with “homophobic”.

    So an Islamophobe would be someone who fears that they themselves maybe a latent moslem, and is struggling to resist the urge to convert to Islam. Giving up beer & bacon & many other good things.

    Well, I’m pleased to announce that I’m absolutely not Islamophobic. Thanks Dan for that insight.



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  • 78

    How ya doin’, OHooligan?

    Yeah, I just meant that people are not up in arms about the word homophobic.—It has come to mean either anti-gay or fear of homosexuality, or both – even if the word phobia itself means fear-of.



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  • In “Islamophobia” the problem of phobia is fixed by making the identifier the person and not her alleged religion. The culture of Muslims is a wide thing encompassing habits and history and holidays, things in themselves reasonable and cherishable. The ideology of Islam is something that may well be rejected or adapted to suit ones temperament. It is important to work to build this potentiality of ideological variety in Muslims.

    Before I encountered the term ant-Muslim bigot I championed the alternate Muslimophobia. A fear is truly irrational of ordinary folks ordinary dispositions like being gay or being bought from childhood up to dress and eat like thus and so.

    This whole thread is about breaking the general public’s attitude of linking “Islam” uniformly with “Muslim, when we seek to have the ideology be more under intellectual control in its linkage, that is, be rejectable in whole or in part. It is never phobic to fear what you believe (rightly or wrongly) to be bad ideas (It may though be under informed).

    The rejection of “Islamo”phobia in favour of more obviously phobic or bigoted behaviours, not giving voice to the deadly automatic assumption that Islam is singular in its nature and constitutes the culture of Muslims should be our task. This other is the work done by the bullies and Islamists quite well enough thank you.

    PC speech was actually effective in the seventies in getting rid of much sexism. Choosing our language here instead of letting our enemies favourite reinforcing language hold sway is a good step.

    Gay is what you find you are wired for and you should never have to apologise for.

    Enculturation is what you find you are wired for and you should never have to apologise for

    An ideology we hope (however the indoctrinators have worked) can be rejected by reason and if taken into the public space must account for itself.

    Nawaz and now Hirsi Ali and many other brave Muslim writers I have been encountering are championing the Cultural Muslim, like the Cultural Jew.

    This later discussion is bang on OP target.



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  • Dan #75

    There is no regressive left.

    I have a distaste for the term. Elsewhere I have argued long and hard about the term because it misdirects about the nature of the problem. It implies a failure to be properly of the left. I think actually the problem may be of an excess of leftist sentiment.

    Tedious pedant that I am about the importance of word meanings in creating efficient political debate, the problem is though most startling on the left. The Left are about a broader and systemic fairness than the right. Deserts are not so easily justified as the right would have it.

    The left often loses sight of its basic principle, bamboozled variously by elaborating dogma that conflicts with evidence, but in this instance by failing to understand that like deserts, feelings are not always justified. I have termed the problem a while ago as one of hyper-pro-social behaviour. Some folk lacking the visceral mechanisms of empathy become anti social (males more often). Visceral empathy is a bell curve and mirroring the anti-socials on the low empathy side are the pro-socials on the other side of the hump. These super empaths (women possibly more often) feel others’ pain rather readily and make natural left wingers.

    Visceral empathy can be overdone though. The problem is accurately detecting harms in others. As professor Nicholas Epley observes in Mindwise, we are barely better than chance at reading the feelings of others. (Just good enough as all evolutions have been.) The hyper-pro-social simply over-read harms, intuit incorrectly bamboozled by their expectations rather than hard evidence. This is when the underdog in front of you takes precedence over a possibly more deserving case. It is when anti-sexist Iranian Maryam-Namazie is condemned for her alleged offence to UK Muslims for her views by LGBT and feminist groups. Make no mistake these people come mostly from the Left because they care deeply about fairness. But feelings aren’t enough, nor is a Catholic passivity in the face of moral choice. To not choose the lesser evil is evil.

    If the left didn’t screw up all the bleeping time I would be a happy bunny. Dogma and ignorance screw it up quite as much as the right.



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  • @Alan4Discussion:

    “Claims that Hitler was a Zionist, or supported Zionism, before his anti-Jewish policies turned into murder and extermination flare up at regular intervals. They usually cite the controversial Haavara Agreement (Transfer Agreement) of August 1933 as the most potent evidence of a wilful cooperation between Hitler and the Zionist movement. When viewed in a certain way, this deal does superficially seem to show that Hitler’s government endorsed Zionism – but just because it was a mechanism to help German Jews relocate to Palestine it does not imply it was “Zionist”.

    The Haavara Agreement was the only formal contract signed between Nazi Germany and a Zionist organisation. The signatories were the Reich Ministry of Economics, the Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland (Zionist Federation of Germany) and the Anglo-Palestine Bank (then under the directive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine).

    Under the agreement Jewish emigrants had to hand over their possessions before they left Germany, and the proceeds were used by a company specifically set up for this purpose in Tel Aviv to purchase German goods for sale in Palestine. The proceeds of these sales were then paid in Palestinian currency to the emigrants in Palestine.

    The agreement was immediately criticised from all sides. The Zionist Federation was accused of collaboration with the Nazis, and the Nazi authorities were criticised by fellow Nazis for helping Jews when their official policy was to “solve the Jewish question”. Still, at this point in time, both sides no doubt saw potential benefits for themselves in such an agreement.

    For the Zionist Federation, it was a way to save Jews from the claws of an increasingly hostile regime and attract them to Palestine, while for the Nazi state signing an international agreement was further proof of its legitimacy, broke the Jewish movement of boycotting German goods, and helped the recovery of German exports at a time when the German economy was still in the depth of depression…”

    From:
    https://theconversation.com/labour-antisemitism-row-there-was-nothing-zionist-about-hitlers-plans-for-the-jews-58656



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  • PeterS #82
    May 11, 2016 at 9:18 am

    -there-was-nothing-zionist-about-hitlers-plans-for-the-jews-

    This title does seem incompatible with the text you have just quoted showing a written legal agreement between Zionists and NAZIs – But then it is a magazine article not an academic history paper!

    The agreement was immediately criticised from all sides. The Zionist Federation was accused of collaboration with the Nazis, and the Nazi authorities were criticised by fellow Nazis for helping Jews



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  • Hi, Phil, my quark-loving friend,

    You use certain expressions sometimes, like:

    bang on op target.

    Is that a British expression?

    I said “there is no regressive left” out of sheer exasperation, and I don’t think it’s helpful to further denigrate the left. We’ll be sorry we did, when we all get swept up in a maniacal wave of nationalistic fervor. (I often conjure up these bleak scenarios.) Bleeding-heart liberals is what they used to be called.

    Interesting thing about words and expressions: anti-semite, for example; an “arab” is a semite too.
    Muslimophobia’s good. But that implies fear of all Muslims, doesn’t it, and can be used rightly and wrongly too, can’t it? Isn’t Islamophobia just as good and just as bad? As I pointed out to Olgun, the religion is not anything to be feared – and yet it is; so we’re screwed both ways: it’s the people, finally, that are going to either become monsters, remain benign in their use of a potentially destructive machine (religion), and will be everything in-between.

    No one word is ever a hundred percent precise, and is ever going to satisfy you – or me. As long as we know what we mean, what does it matter? Islamophobe or just plain old bigot should get the job done, shouldn’t it?

    By the way, here’s something you might want to take a look at. The word in question is alive and well, and I guess I think it should stay, although we need to remain critical. A few people on the list here clearly shouldn’t be. (You have to open the link and look inside.) Well, it’s an imperfect world, isn’t it?

    Not sure this topic interests me any more.

    http://www.islamophobia.org/



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  • Phil,

    Perhaps if people just explained what they meant or were challenged more often to do so, we wouldn’t be having this tiresome discussion.

    Hirsi Ali’s gotten much better, but she’s made some vile statements in the past. I once heard her say (a few years ago) something to the effect (if I remember correctly) that we should fear all Muslims – in the US, everywhere. Classic “Islamophobia.” I remember thinking that she was sick as hell.

    Your comments about “The Left” left me cold.



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  • Phil,

    Corrected sentence:

    it’s the people, finally, that are going to either become monsters, OR remain benign in their use of a potentially destructive machine (religion). And THEY will be everything in-between.

    I think actually the problem may be of an excess of leftist sentiment.

    When it comes to physics and other related matters, you are very precise; when you get into this stuff, you sometimes sound…uh, not as precise.



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  • Phil,

    I championed the alternate Muslimophobia.

    I guess that is a better word. Disregard this comment (from 86): “But that implies fear of all Muslims, doesn’t it, and can be used rightly and wrongly too, can’t it?”

    I’m sure you already have disregarded it. I’ve never been more befuddled, since I joined, than on this thread, although I made a couple of okay points, of course.



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  • Dan all of the above.

    Hirsi Ali’s gotten much better, but she’s made some vile statements in the past

    Her personal life story is one of great abuse. A victim of FGM whose partner/colleague was murdered by an Islamist I chose never to mention or praise or condemn her in the past because it was clear, because of it and living her life under constant threat of death, that she was not her best clearest self. She had my sympathy for her troubles but not her views. She had every right to be wildly angry, though.

    I think actually the problem may be of an excess of leftist sentiment.

    you sometimes sound…uh, not as precise.

    Unlike ideologues who pretend certainty in the analysis of others and their motivations I know when knowledge is tentative. Thank you for noticing this important fact.

    But that implies fear of all Muslims, doesn’t it, and can be used rightly and wrongly too, can’t it?

    All terms can. But as a clearer charge, not muddling in ideologies, it is clearer in the power of its offense, fearing people qua people. It is also a charge I am happy to receive because I can defend against it easily (as should others wrongly accused), by pointing to the many Muslims (religious Muslims!) I champion here. (Ahmad Shah Masoud, very pious, beautiful man. Malala Yousafzai, of course, the only recipient of regular charitable donations from me. My actor friend, who stole my girl friend [much thanks!]. My former Iranian boss, so clever, so cultured.) Accusers have to gather clearer and more specific evidence….

    I want the left to put up a much better show than at present. I want this country (already way to the left of the USA) to move further. Our country remains iniquitous. Our country’s innate talents are under exploited as a consequence. The left fuck up again and again because they too often appeal to sentiment or dogma or even loyalty when they should be using evidence and reason to make their case. This is why I champion The Equality Trust and the work of Wilkinson and Pickett.



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  • Phil,

    Very good comments. Thanks. I agree with most of it, if not all of it. I know about Hirsi Ali’s background, and one should cut her a good bit of slack for her earlier remarks. Btw, I had already said (89) that Muslimophobia (or whatever it is) was a better word than Islamophobia. You saw that one, right?

    I hate bigotry.

    [Here’s a word: Philosophobia…No, that won’t do. Philosopherophobia…Better, but that can be rational. Danophobia?]



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  • Neodarwinian @ # 1.

    “Good luck with that endeavor! Separating the people from their ideologies seems quite difficult for many people. I had a running battle with some people on here who tried to convince me that you could not do that very separation. Still, separating people from their harmful ideologies seems to be something to strive for.”

    It’s a very harsh thing to say, but I think that despite the racism and police harassment he suffered in his teens, it was most probably the damage done to Maajid Nawaz as a child by the influences of Islam that triggered his Jihadist activities, and that despite his courageous fight-back against the influences of those dogmas and doctrines, that try as he may, he will never be capable of fully extricating himself from them because that damage was so severe.



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  • 1 #93

    Separating people from their childhood indoctrination (all early experience and education falls into this category) is tough. The intelligent can build intellectual graft-on fixes, though emotional and aesthetic fixes are much harder. The less intelligent or simply less introspective, may have a harder time because they have a less developed idea of themselves, their parts and their potentialities.

    This is why Nawaz’s work is not about an intellectual intervention so much as a moral redirection of wired in habits. It is what someone who notices how hard the struggle for personal change is would do to help effect mass change.



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  • In my last comment I said: It’s a very harsh thing to say, but I think that despite the racism and police harassment he suffered in his teens, it was most probably the damage done to Maajid Nawaz as a child by the influences of Islam that triggered his Jihadist activities,.

    What on earth was I thinking? Most probably! No. It was most definitely the indoctrination in early life that screwed him over.



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