Vox Pop – Islamophobia

The comments made on newspaper websites and on political or religious blogs give a remarkable insight into what non-Muslims think of Islam and Muslims.

Of special note is the Comment is Free (Cif) website of the Guardian newspaper. It regularly publishes articles by leading Muslim figures and by non-Muslims sympathetic to Islam, promoting or explaining the Muslim view on some issue. Time after time most of the comments on these articles are negative. Cif readers are not keen about Islam and what Muslims do and say.

It is noteworthy that the readership of the Guardian is likely to be well educated and well informed.

This section gives a small selection of these comments on articles concerning Islamophobia published on Cif over the last year or so. The articles are:

Fighting the defamation of Muslim Americans: For the first time, the fear-mongering and hate-preaching of US Islamophobes – and their funding – have been exposed

Thinktanks must drop this cold war approach to Islamism: Encouraging counter-subversion policies condemns peaceful Muslims while turning a blind eye to the threat of Islamophobia

Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain: The dinner party bigot’s attack on Islam as a creed can all too easily become an excuse for an attack upon an ethnic group

Islamophobia needs to be redefined: It is vital that we encourage open, honest and mutually respectful debate about the role of Islam and Muslims in British society

If you’re looking for Islamophobia, try the comments under my article about Baroness Warsi

A hatred exposed: The Guardian exposé of the English Defence League should now persuade Westminster to take anti-Muslim hatred seriously

The figure in brackets is the number of readers votes for the comment.

Fighting the defamation of Muslim Americans

For the first time, the fear-mongering and hate-preaching of US Islamophobes – and their funding – have been exposed Original article here. Wajahat Ali, 26 August 2011, Comments (148)

sussex1946 (236)
A ‘phobia’ is usually defined as an ‘irrational’ fear of something. The definition given in this article leaves that out. Therein lies much of the problem.

Those in theU.K.who distrust Islam can point to what is preached in some mosques here and what some Islamic schools have been teaching. Is that true in theU.S.?

Ade100 (375)
[fictitious threats such as the current “anti-sharia” fear sweeping the nation]

Seeing as Sharia tramples all over our basic human rights, its just possible that we may be justified in our concerns. Sharia denies the following:

  • Equality of sexes
  • Equality amongst religions
  • The right to choose which religion to practice (or not to practice one)
  • Equality regardless of sexual orientation
  • The outlawing of slavery

In the West our forefathers (and mothers) have fought long and hard to establish the equality and human rights that we now enjoy. When an ideology such as Sharia comes along with the intent of destroying them, its not surprising normal people are concerned. So maybe its not so much about fear and hatred, maybe its just about standing up and defending our human rights.

futdashukup (251)
Islam makes very large claims for itself. In its art, there is a prejudice against representing the human form at all. The prohibition on picturing the prophet—who was only another male mammal—is apparently absolute.

So is the prohibition on pork or alcohol or, in some Muslim societies, music or dancing. Very well then, let a good Muslim abstain rigorously from all these. But if he claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent.

Mintimperialist (158)
To me Islam is outdated, irrelevant, tiresome and banal. I wish people would stop banging on about it endlessly.

futdashukup (140)
Hitchens on Islam: “What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness”

More Hitchens.

“Now to Islam. It is, first, a religion that makes very large claims for itself, purporting to be the last and final word of God and expressing an ambition to become the world’s only religion. Some of its adherents follow or advocate the practice of plural marriage, forced marriage, female circumcision, compulsory veiling of women, and censorship of non-Muslim magazines and media. Islam’s teachings generally exhibit suspicion of the very idea of church-state separation.

Other teachings, depending on context, can be held to exhibit a very strong dislike of other religions, as well as of heretical forms of Islam. Muslims inAmerica, including members of the armed forces, have already been found willing to respond to orders issued by foreign terrorist organizations. Most disturbingly, no authority within the faith appears to have the power to rule decisively that such practices, or such teachings, or such actions, are definitely and utterly in conflict with the precepts of the religion itself.

Reactions from even “moderate” Muslims to criticism are not uniformly reassuring. “Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,” Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain atDukeUniversity, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like. What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness.”

error418 (143)
[We’ve defined Islamophobia as the following: an exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims]

Here you go wrong on two accounts:

First a phobia is an irrational fear, like fear of spiders, arachnophobia. After 9/11 it makes total sense for Americans to be careful with Islamists (those who take the Koran literally into the extreme).

Second, this rational fear is of Islam in it original 7th century Arabian rawness as being invoked by Islamists but not at most of people born as Muslims today who practice the religion in 21st century moderation.

Your definition blocks any criticism of the ideology – Islam in this case.

All ideologies can be criticized in the West today, no exceptions.

sarka (39)
Erm…I don’t like hate-mongering – I don’t believe there’s a mega-threat of Shariah in theUSA, but you wom’t convince anyone remotely informed of stuff like this:

“No religious Muslim scholar, let alone a practicing layman, would recognise this definition of sharia, which, in reality, deals primarily with personal religious observances, including practices such as charitable giving, prayer and honouring one’s parents, with precepts virtually identical to those of Christianity and Judaism. ”

The rather melodramatic statements about replacement ofUSconstitution were not “definitions” of sharia – but statements about the alleged wish of Muslims to substitute it for the constitution.

The definition of shariah on which they rely (but which you don’t mention), is that shariah represents a total (and non-liberal democratic) system/conception of law.

While I think it is alarmist to suggest that US muslims wish to have shariah instead of US law, in fact this view of shariah is theoretically far sounder than yours (again not actually a definition, but a vague characterisation).

Shariah does not deal primarily with personal religious observances – or rather that formulation is misleading, because personal in English suggests private, whereas most Islamic thought does not recognise the same kind of distinction between private and public.. A great deal of Shariah law deals with personal status (as a religious-public matter) – see marriage, divorce, inheritance – and its principles and procedures for dispute settlement in these matters are in direct controvention of some important legal principles in the US and other liberal, democratic states….and this is not even to mention Shariah-based criminal law.

In practice, your characterisation of shariah would be valid (though unrecognisable to Shariah experts in Muslim-majority countries) only in the case of Muslims who had already entirely accepted that the only form of sharia applicable in a secular democratic state and society was as a personal, private entirely voluntary set of guidelines relating to a very narrow sphere of life. Insofar as Muslims accept this – and no doubt many do – it is a massive reduction of the claims of Shariah as previously understood in Islamic cultures.

Accepting this does not mean accepting the case of hate-mongers or merely those who are over-alarmed by the perfectly real phenomenon of Islamist radicalism. nervous. But you won’t help the situation by dishing up bland, generalising untruths.

YourChairmanMao (116)
[I dont see how that could be possible. The religious and other wars inEurope..the slaughter throughout theAmericas.. the continual wars in Africa andAsia.. WW1 and 2 ..Vietnam..were all blessed and approved without too much restraint by Christians . The numbers killed in total will be in the hundreds of millions. Presently Christianity is more tolerant of sexual choice which is wonderful and which the Muslim world must come to terms with as a matter of complete emergency . But my original point stands. Christianity stands head and shoulders above Islam as a killing machine.]

Vietnamand WW1 and WW2 were very obviously not wars waged in the name of Christianity.

Completely barmy post as per usual

brookben (59)
Any religion whether it be Islam or Christianity which preaches ” Our way or no way” should be exposed.

TarzantheApeMan (60)
[We’ve defined Islamophobia as the following: an exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination and the marginalisation and exclusion of Muslims fromAmerica’s social, political and civic life.]

That’s because it is a made up word and is not in an English dictionary.

Thinktanks must drop this cold war approach to Islamism

Encouraging counter-subversion policies condemns peaceful Muslims while turning a blind eye to the threat of Islamophobia Original article here. David Miller, 23 August 2011, Comments (323)

Peason1 (414 readers votes)
Can I just clarify what is meant by Islamaphobia here because it appears to mean thinking, saying or otherwise holding an opinion about Islam in any way, shape or form that isn’t entirely positive.

I’m getting the same feeling about this as I did about the immigration issue – anyone who wishes to discuss it is shouted down as some sort of sub-human monster.

And that worked out well didn’t it?

Solicited (393)
I can, and do, criticise, bash and mock Chrstianity all the time. Yet, I have never been called a ‘Christianityophobe’. No one called me a racist.

So , I don’t get why Muslims should get special treatment.

IvyLeague (209)
[In one report, The Hijacking of British Islam, Policy Exchange famously attacked mosques alleging that they were selling extremist literature.]

I think it’s fair to say that certain characters atFinsburyParkmosque were doing a little more than selling extremist literature, they were openly preaching hate and encouraging jihad amongst young British muslims.

adw84  (249)
…. we could just grow up, respond to criticism of Islam (or whatever) with reasoned counter-arguments, and desist from this childlike – and ultimately totalitarian – instinct to censor anything we don’t like.

haardvark (276)
You can be no more phobic of islam than fascism, communism or any other political ideology.

The fact it’s hung around for 1400 years doesn’t buy it a free pass I’m afraid.

What’s more worrying is the response to the killings inNorwayrepeated again in this piece. Nutjob inNorwayresults in the left in overdrive to blame the politics. Nutjob inspired by Islam does the same thing and the left goes into overdrive to blame everyone else.

Could it be that both beliefs are nothing but pure poison at heart?

Lokischild (158)
[responding to the rise of Islamophobia.]

Is not this apparent Islamophobia itself just a response to the rather aggressive rise of Islam within the context of a secular/christian context?

nothing2say (273)
I wish the writer would come and spend 6 months living in a moslem country. That would open his eyes to what Islam and Sharia is really all about.

Most of my ex girl friends and my wife were all Moslems but have managed to escape. Islam is not a place for women.

UndyingCincinnatus (542)
…. Lots of reasonable people have objections to Islam for a lot of reasons. Most of these reasons are not racist or due to fearmongering, but caused by what they see with their own eyes.

I would invite the author to come and live in the back end ofLutonI inhabit. If he has a wife and kids, even better, invite her as well and it will make the point clearer. First thing you notice is that you are the only white person. Not a major issue for such a progressive author, I would imagine, so let’s keep going.

If you take your kid to the school, you will see a strange sight in the morning. Hundreds of women dressed head to toe in black taking their kids to school. You will be completely ignored and be the only person there speaking English.

Your kids will be completely isolated in school. They may not care about skin colour or religion, being the kids of such progressive parents, but the others there do, because their parents define themselves and their children by their religion above all else. And Islam, like most religions, is intolerent of others.

So, kids are dropped off, you go to the shop. If you brought your wife with you and she is wearing Western clothing, this is when the fun really starts. She will be jeered at in the streets. Ignored by the shop owners. Hell, my girlfriend has even had people spit at her feet when she was wearing a skirt. You will be treated with either cold disdain or outright hostility, and will not be able to buy anything because the signs are not in English. ….

UsuallyRight (243)
Ask a committed Muslim their views on 9/11 or 7/7 and you’ll hear “They were terrible but…” and then go on to offer some sort of justification. I think the “but” says it all. These people are able to sympathise with evil murderers who killed thousands.

How would The Guardian react to someone who said of the Norway attacks by Anders Brehing “They were terrible but…” and then went on to offer some sort of justification?

I don’t think it’s Islamophobia we should be concerned about, it’s those who sympathise with these mass-murdering evil doers all in the name of some made up fairy story.

TarzantheApeMan (321)
Why is Islam the most favoured and protected religion by the Guardian? When it stands for everything the Guardian supposedly despises.

Unionised  (147)

Why is it irrational to be opposed to Islam? I am opposed to Zionism. Am I Zionismophobic? What about my opposition to Scientology? Am I Scientologyophobic?

“anti-Muslim racism”

Islam is not a race. Therefore opposition to Islam is not racism.

johnmrson (192)
I assume that you understand that political Islam involves implementing Sharia Law in every aspect of life? We aren’t just talking about stoning adulterers or hanging homosexuals from cranes but also all financial matters, family law etc etc. It is going back to create the society that Mohammed led and the rules he created about 1400 years ago.

I’m staggered how The Guardian seems to be so protective of Islam when it reperesents pretty much the opposite of what The Guardian champions.

Humanoid1 (107)
Islam is as much a political ideology as it is a religion. It’s perfectly reasonable to see Sharia law – which accords lower status to women and non-Muslims – as a threat and groups that advocate it as subversive. They clearly are subversive.

You simply destroy your own credibility through the casual over-use of such terms as “racism” and “islamophobia”.

SantaMoniker (111)
Islamaphobia is a word coined by apologists to try and explain away a perfectly rational fear of the extremist and hateful words that stream out of various Islamic sources on a daily basis.

This fear of frequently expressed hatred for everything positive that the West has so laboriously built up is not a phobia.

MatthewPB (102)
Another day, another “Islamophobia” article in the Guardian (along with anotherIsraelbashing one too).

Yet during the uprising inEgypt, when Coptic Christians were murdered by Muslims, we got a wishy-washy piece about how the Copts need to engage in politics more. Barely any criticism of the Muslim murderers there, but what a surprise.

Where are the articles on the Christians continually being killed inNigeriaby Muslims? Where are the articles on the plight of women in the Muslim world? Or the plight of gays?

Why does the Guardian ignore these issues? The answer is that it is morally bankrupt, and sees the prospect of “offending” a certain demographic as a far greater crime than the evil things which go on every day in Muslim countries.

Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain

“The dinner party bigot’s attack on Islam as a creed can all too easily become an excuse for an attack upon an ethnic group.” Original article here. Giles Fraser, 22 January 2011, Comments (688)

HypatiaLee (1941 readers votes)
[Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain The dinner party bigot’s attack on Islam as a creed can all too easily become an excuse for an attack upon an ethnic group]


Stop trying to confuse the issue. Islam is a nonethnically homogeneous religion.What people who object to Islam object to are:

a) Its objectionable practices and beliefs and b) Its militancy.

Get that though your head and stop defending a homophobic, mysognistic, racist creed.

HypatiaLee (1482)
[The worst sort of dinner party bigot may talk about Islam as a faith but – nod, nod, wink, wink – we all know what they mean]

No. You don’t know what they mean.

You know what you want them to mean, so that you can just stand on the sidelines braying “Ray-cist,” and avoid having to engage with the issues.

ToryVoter2010 (1454)
I don’t hate muslims but I do pretty much detest Islam.I think it a medieval religion full of hate, spite, sexism, homophobia and a desire for conquest.

Pretty much everything the worst parts of Christianity used to be a few hundred years ago but has now largely grown out of. Islam need to grow up or go wither somewhere.

BristolBoy (813)
This is merely an attempt to muzzle critics in exactly the same way that critics of Israel’s policies are inevitably called anti-semitic and should be treated with the same disdain.

Yuthugai (590)
[The other difference between robust critique and what is tantamount to bullying has to do with the power relations between those involved. The Muslim community in this country is generally more socially disadvantaged and has less access to the levers of power. British Muslims do worse at school than any other faith group, they are more likely to be unemployed and live in poorer housing]

Choosing to live with a worldview stemming from the middle ages will do that to a person.

SaraNovember (437)
There is nothing with criticising Islam as a belief system, and to criticise objectionable beliefs and practices is not to be a racist.

Why on earth play that card? If a white convert to Islam told me that he or she would like to see the infliction of Sharia law upon the general population of Europe, I would find that just as infuriating as if it were said by someone from Pakistan. Grow up!

senttoexile (349)
The real question re morality is why are labour and the tories letting in so many millions of muslims when so many of them are asylum seekers, or low skilled relatives/ spouses from abroad, who invariably will live on benefits, as the stats show.

This is state sponsored sectarianism. It is legitimate to ask whether we need it.

georgesdelatour (317)
There is no such thing as Islamic science, or Buddhist science, or Mormon science. There were great contributions to science made under the Abbasids. We cannot know whether these scientists truly believed in the inerrancy of the Qu’ran or whether they chose discretion.

We do know that their discoveries in, say, astronomy, did not depend on such a belief. Which is why later scientists who rejected Islamic beliefs could use their discoveries.

You might as well give Christianity credit for Galileo and Darwin.

GregK (160)
A classic liberal muddying of the waters I am afraid.

… Your article brings out the standard shibboleths about deprivation. Yes Muslims do worse at school than any other faith group .. but why is that a sign of institutional racism?

Why is it not instead simply confirmation of the lack of respect for modernism and learning embedded with a faith rooted.. and sometimes anchored .. in the 7th century.

You make reference to the contributions of Muslim science, but to so so required you to go back over 1,000 years to find said contributions. Please enlighten me as to the contributions forthcoming in recent centuries ? When not a single University in the Muslim World ranks in the top 300 globally. When Finland with 5 million people produces more in GDP (excluding Oil which is hardly “produced” by anyone) than the entire Arab World of 300 million.

TakeNoPrisoners (146)
[Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of 21st-century Britain.]

No, the moral blind spot is the prejudice coming from within the Muslim community.

On two separate occasions, Islamic schools have been caught teaching anti-semitism; Channel 4’s ‘Undercover Mosque’ revealed the extent of hate preaching against Jews and Christians; and even Guardian contributors like Mehdi Hassan have been caught on tape vilifying Kuffars.

What really needs to be addressed is the prejudice coming from within the Muslim community, which is far greater than the prejudice directed against it.

MichaShoecleft (106)
[The dinner party bigot may never have been to a mosque or read the Qur’an, but he already knows what he thinks.]

So. A person seeing an internet video of a ‘freedom fighter’ cutting off a mans head while the victim screams and the executioner is reciting words from the Koran is a bigot if he hasn’t been to a Mosque?

A person seeing the results of 7/7 on a television screen is a bigot because he has a negative impression of Islam.

Lady Warsi should recommend introspection for UK Muslims more than she should be complaining to the UK public at large about Islamophobia.

Bubblecar (96)
[The dinner party bigot may never have been to a mosque or read the Qur’an, but he already knows what he thinks]

I have read the Quran, and I found its extreme intolerance and extreme sexism very disgusting. I haven’t been to a mosque, but I have read transcripts from the Undercover Mosque of the kind of sentiments – reflecting those in the Quran – that I can expect from Muslims who take their religion seriously.

Of course, the most ludicrous thing about this Giles Fraser article is that he thinks because Islam is an old and foreign ideology, it’s inherently deserving of respect, no matter how obviously insane it is.

Sadly, there may well be cultural relativists saying the same about Nazism, when it’s old enough to be considered someone’s “ethnic cultural heritage”.

tapout (78)
Baroness Warsi seems to think that people making fun of Islam at the dinner table in the privacy of their own homes is an unreasonable reaction to the absurdities this religion offers.

People do not like Islam very much because in recent years a large number of vociferous Muslims have been plotting and trying to kill us.

That is if if they are not busy telling us how awful we are and how heinous our way of life is, despite them reaping the benefits of our civilized society at every opportunity.

And if they are not trying to kill/insult/forcefully convert Westerners then they are busy killing each other in other Muslim countries on a much wider scale over little Islamic disputes that sane people would just shrug off.

And suddenly people in the West don’t think Islam is all that great. Wow, what a surprise.

… I don’t like Islam, I see no reason to, only that it should be regarded with extreme caution. That does not mean I don’t like ‘brown people’ and conflating a skin colour with ideological beliefs is abject stupidity.

Waltz (75)
[I cannot think of a single other group in our society about whom such vile remarks would be in any way socially acceptable.]

Can’t you? I can. BNP supporters and others of similar political creed. Why? Because most people find what they believe in to be abhorrent.

Ditto with Muslims and Islam. “Muslim” does not denote a racial grouping. It denotes a creed – one that, for all the dancing around and denials, not only includes but also too often puts into effect all manner of cruel, repressive and unashamedly hateful diktats. That’s why people dislike “Muslims”. Not because they’re often brown-skinned but because they define themselves, and are therefore defined by, an ideology with many deeply unpleasant aspects.

MacAdder (69)
Terms like -phobia and “bigot” are often used as linguistic tricks, desgned to rule out challenge, not answer it.

A bigot is someone of extreme views who will not change them regardless of reason. so need not be reasoned with. So labeling anyone who disagrees with you in any way a bigot handily rules out having to listen to what they say, or justify your own position at all.

The same applies to “-phobia”. It means an unreasonable and illogical fear, again medicalised madness which means automatic exclusion from reasoned discourse. So again you needn’t listen to them. Or justify your position. Handy that.

If you apply such labels to those who don’t hold your position, you dont’ have to justify yourself ever. Discourse and reason are shut down. It is Newspeak in the classic sense. This is the idea behind Baroness Warsi’s otherwise incomprehensible speech, that if you can get any dissent no matter how ell founded labeled irrational, there can be no dissent expressed, job done. check 1984.

kvlx387 (69)
Giles Fraser, the neurotic liberal!

So you attend one of your ‘liberal dinner parties’ and the moment conversation turns to religion, you start shifting uncomfortably in your seat as you realise someone may just express a strongly held opinion about Islam!

I’m going to worry about ‘Islamophobia’ the day I see or hear evidence of Muslims being discriminated against in this country. As far as I’m concerned, Islamophobia is something Muslims invented to try to silence people who criticise Islam.

Anax (68)
What this sorry article is trying to do is ‘problematise’ criticism of Islam, turning it into a minefield where decent people daren’t go. Giles’ racism measuring stick is so vague, virtually anything becomes ‘it might be racism’.

[The dinner party bigot may never have been to a mosque or read the Qur’an, but he already knows what he thinks.]

Nice. So if I criticise Scientology without having a free personality test or reading Dianetics, I’m an irrational bigot?

tapout (66)
The arguments in defence of this article highlight how deeply wrong it really is. They boil down to ‘You cannot insult the murderous, disgusting, violent, repressive, and profoundly dangerous parts of Islam, because a lot of Muslims have brown skin. That makes you a racist.’

dynamo1940 (65)

Islam is an intolerant creed, that claims a divine right to impose itself on others. It is incompatible with our democratic values, based on the recognition that each individual has equal worth, whatever faith, whatever gender and whatever sexuality.

To criticise Islam is as legitimate as to criticise Communism. To stifle criticism with smears of ‘racism’ is unacceptable.

tapout (34)
Given that a lot of Muslims equally deplore the Western way of life as much as we hate Islam, and never tire of telling us, why aren’t our bleeding heart liberals defending us aganist this blatant racism? Westernphobia? Whitephobia? Civilizedphobia? What’s it called again?

Well? Is it maybe because not liking specific practises is not racism?

martinmorrison (31)
There is a difference between race and religion. To suggest that objecting to some aspects of Islam indicates racist tendancies is specious bullshit. Religion is a set of beliefs, a philosophy. I find Nazism objectionable and am allowed to say so. I find the rabid intolerance of the nosier elements of Islam equally objectionable.

It is not legitimate to discriminate against an individuoal or a group on the bases of geography or skin colour, but it is perfectly legitimate to dismiss and object to somebody if they hold and vehemently publicise a set of beliefs that are anethema to civilised society.

Given what we have heard from some Muslims, ever since the Salman Rushdie affair, I see no reason why I should tolerate them. Modern Islamofascism is as obnoxious as 1930s European fascism and to pretend otherwise is naive and infantile. I hold similar views to gun-toting American bible belters.

Islamophobia needs to be redefined

“It is vital that we encourage open, honest and mutually respectful debate about the role of Islam and Muslims in British society.” Original article here. Tehmina Kaz, 26 January 2011, Comments (340)

Bubblecar (111)
[Islamophobia needs to be redefined]

I’d say the word needs to be dumped. Islam is a religion. It’s perfectly possible to be entirely contemptuous of Islam without being at all “phobic” about it.

FrancisThomas (65)
There is nothing irrational about fearing irrational beliefs.

thetrashheap (56)
[“Is hatred of Islam now acceptable?”]

Religion is a belief set that claims a set of social political beliefs it’s up for judgement.

It is perfectly acceptable to hate Islam, just like you can hate communism or Christianity or Facism or liberalism or capitalism or socialism etc.

[“Islam is not about demanding this and that. It is about serving your community – and that means everyone, regardless of what their beliefs are.”]

What a lot of nonsense. It’s about a hell of a lot more than that. That sort of comment has no place in a intellectual debate. To exam Islam you have to look at it’s texts and how it’s practised a hippy one liner isn’t a debating point.

RufusRedcut (26)
[Is hatred of Islam now acceptable?]

No, but the realisation that is reasonable for people not to respect Islam should be acceptable to Muslims, particularly those Muslims who seem to want to have the benefits of living in a society which is majority non-Muslim.

It would be nice also if those Muslims who live in a Muslim-majority country could show a little tolerance and non-violence to those who do not share Muslim beliefs.

TheSmokingMan (19)
[Racism is something someone does or says that offends someone else in connection with their colour, background, culture or religion.]

I’m still having this problem getting used to the idea that a person’s religion is now their ‘race’.

… Race is your relationship to a group of people based on similar genetic make-up. This is reflected in the fact that sickle cell anemia affects people who claim parts of Africa as their point of genetic origin.

Islam is a religion, not a race.

Muhammad Ali and the Ayatollah Khomeini were NOT of the same race. They looked nothing like each other.

And, while you can not change your race, you can change your religion.

Bollocks to this ‘racist’ argument.

goldenjack (17)
… If a Muslim accepts that a human being has a right to reject Islam even if they were born into that faith; that human rights and equality applies to everyone, male or female, straight or gay, secular or religious; and that violence in the form of sharia law, suicide bombing, murder of cartoonists etc is – without exception – unacceptable – then I can accept that Islam has a place in the UK, or in any free modern society.

Islamophobia would also be greatly reduced if more UK Muslims openly and consistently stand up for freedom, human rights and equality in Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, Malaysia….

bluejewel (15)
[“Islam is not about demanding this and that. It is about serving your community – and that means everyone, regardless of what their beliefs are.”]

Oh, I see where I got confused. I thought islam was submission to god by means of adherence to the perfect and unchanging instructions on how humans are to behave in all aspects of life, personal, social, political, financial, legal and military, sent for all mankind (in arabic only) to an illiterate arab (who flew on a winged horse) via an angel.

If you’re looking for Islamophobia, try the comments under my article about Baroness Warsi

Origial article here. Peter Oborne, February 2nd, 2011, 2720 Comments

anders (617)
The antipathy to Islam is not irrational. Islam is an ideology that preaches radical separation between its adherents and others. It advocates the differential application of moral standards to members of its in-group and members of its out-group. There is no other major moral system in the world that rejects the principle of equality between people so overtly.

… What about the innumerable incidents of Muslim attacks on and abuse of indigenous British people that go completely unreported? I have heard so many anecdotes describing unpleasant behaviour of ordinary Muslims towards non-Muslims in areas they have come to dominate that I simply cannot believe that these tales have all been made up. There was even a Belgian Green MP who wrote about how he was routinely spat on and insulted, even by Muslim children, in the Muslim-dominated area of Brussels where he lived.

… One of the core tenets of Islam is endless struggle against the rest of the world until it is subjugated by Muslims. It is quite clear that many Muslims are indeed pursuing that objective. You say a “tiny minority”. A tiny minority pursue it using overt violence. Others pursue it using taqiyya or simple demographics to pursue their dreams of conquest.

maxlondon (252)
I am not islamophobic. I believe there are too many muslims in the UK and Europe. They are not only changing our cities and our culture, they refuse to integrate into British society. They mostly detest us and think we are inferior, try living amongst them if you don’t believe me.

It would be impossible for me to live in the place where I was born. It is almost exclusively taken over by muslims. My culture doesn’t matter according to people like you. What about my culture, what about my heritage?

You elitists make me sick.

victork (212)
… Violence against Muslims and attacking mosques both deserve to be condemnded, and prosecuted, as criminal acts. But that doesn’t change the facts about such things as Muslim terrorism and attempted terrorism, which are plain and undisputed, and which arise directly from the ideology of Islam.

… People are entitled to judge Islam by its teachings and even more by its practice, which have not varied over 1400 years as far as non-Muslims are concerned. Aggression and violence (codified as Jihad); suffering; death. Whenever Muslims have been in a position to mistreat non-Muslims they have. Sharia even codifies the insult and humiliation that kaffirs deserve to receive at the hands of the faithful, and there’s a word that’s come to stand for the inferior status that Muslims are obliged as a religious duty to enforce on non-Muslims: dhimmi.

If we were talking about Nazism it would be so much less contentious. Nobody would dream of talking nonsense about extreme and moderate Nazis, or complaining that all Nazis were being tarred with the same brush for the unrepresentative actions of a few hotheads. Nazism, as an ideology, and as practised, it would be understood, was inherently evil, and anybody who chose to subscribe to such an ideology shared its taint.

… I have a great deal of respect for you as a political commentator, but on this subject you are badly uninformed and your claims are simply risible.

harryf (202)
Whilst I generally have a high regard for your writing I have to say that your original blog and now this follow up are disingenuous.

You basically fed the trolls and now use the highly predictable feeding frenzy to claim your point is proven. It was entirely wrong of you and Warsi to confuse genuine criticism of Islam (a religion and philosophy) with racism.

Yes, of course racism exists and so do people who have an irrational hatred of religions. Pointing out the bleedin’ obvious is not helpful. What the vast majority of people resent is being lumped in with the lunatic fringe in mindless commentary like yours.

If Muslims do suffer greater hostility that anyone else (and let’s face it every race, colour, creed and religion has its detractors) then thinking people might feel that they have brought on themselves by allowing a vociferous minority (?) to be openly anti British and anti western values and yet still take advantage of our hospitality.

A hatred exposed

“The Guardian exposé of the English Defence League should now persuade Westminster to take anti-Muslim hatred seriously.” Original arrticle here. Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer, 1 June 2010, Comments (344)

proudlycynical (321)
What about the bigotry and hatred displayed by Islamists towards others? Jews, Westerners, homosexuals, secularism, women… Does that count too? Or are some types of hatred more important than others?

MrJoe (223)
[Instead, the concept of “bad Muslim” has come to demonise thousands of ordinary Muslims who do not wish to compromise their religious or political principles.]

If extremist Muslims hold political and religious principles that stand in opposition to our democratically enacted laws, then it’s for them to change – not us.

MonikerLewinski (91)
Look, the Guardian has been sponsoring identity politics for years now, the EDL are merely an extension of identity politics.

A great many of their members are quite clearly violent and bigotted scum bags, however amongst their number are clearly many people who are extremely concerned about the rise of Islamism and Islamist culture in Britain.

… By all means, criticise the EDL, but by turning a blind eye to the flip side your own argument sounds shrill and subjective.

Why is that the left needs to ‘understand’ and explain away the actions of the Islamists but they refuse to do so for the likes of the EDL?

Waltz (82)
If members of the EDL break the law – assault, criminal damage or whatever – then they should be prosecuted like anyone else who breaks the law.

The EDL itself simply organises demos representing the very widely held viewpoint that the liberal left leadership in this country has capitulated far too much to the discontents of Islam and that this must now be reversed.

Anglophobia (60)
If the EDL is violent, prosecute them.

But what insanity it would be to ignore the context in which suspicion of Muslims has grown. The article mentions, almost in an accusatory manner, that suspicion grew after 9/11 and 7/7–as if paying attention to the fact that those massacres were carried out in the name of Islam is racist.

… Just as polls show that there are worrying attitudes to Muslims among non-Muslims, poll after poll shows that a worrying number of Muslims have regressive attitudes towards non-Muslims.

Look at some of the links below, and then consider the core argument of this article: that it is wrong to try to understand and criticize the social context in which radical Islam arises, but that it is right to understand and criticize the context in which the EDL arises.

What we need to attack extremism on both sides is a common set of principles that we apply fairly to everyone. This article instead asks us to be guilt-ridden hypocrites, wilfully blind to to pathologies of one side while wilfully attacking the pathologies of the other.

Here are those links I mentioned:

“Five times as many young Asians as white people would only marry someone of their own race, a survey has revealed.”

“Muslims in Britain have zero tolerance of homosexuality, says poll”

“Six per cent of British Muslims believe that the 7/7 bombers were acting according to the true principles of Islam, while 7 per cent agree that suicide attacks on civilians in Britain can be justified under certain circumstances, a figure that rises to 16 per cent if the target is the military.”

“One in eight young Muslims said they admired groups such as al-Qa’eda that “are prepared to fight the West… 36 per cent of the young people questioned said they believed that a Muslim who converts to another religion should be “punished by death.” Among the over 55s, the figure is only 19 per cent.”

ImNoAngel (60)
[Instead, the concept of “bad Muslim” has come to demonise thousands of ordinary Muslims who do not wish to compromise their religious or political principles.]

So you mean that muslims are entitled to demonise me because I’m gay but if I make any criticism of Islam/Islamic homophobia then I’m indulging in anti-muslim hatred. Unbelievable rubbish.

thfc123 (56)
The film on the EDL set out to prove whatever the Guardian wanted it to prove.

I watched a BBC one last week which did the same thing but at least it acknowledged that whenever an EDL official steward heard anyone using racist language he told them to stfu.

…. As for the Muslim element here it has been demonstrated time and time again that people following this faith have different cultural values to Western Europe and many it seems have zero interest in integration merely colonisation.

That is not even taking into account the nutjob etremist Muslims who wish to blow us all the kingdom come.

PeterJackson (55)
These arguments suggest that any opposition to political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood/Jamaat/HizbUtTahrir caliphate type is opposition to all Muslims, and inspired by hatred. These Islamists are the people Mr Lambert and Mr Githens-Mazer mean by “ordinary Muslims who do not wish to compromise their religious or political principles”.

Against this background, the small groups of repurposed football hooligans in the EDL are played up as a looming threat when they are nothing of the sort. They are being used here to back up the authors’ idea that political Islam as represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Forum Europe in Tower Hamlets is a good thing.

RoadHogGB (47)
There was nothing insightful about that article whatsoever, it was just lazy journalism with a preconceived and utterly biased view

I have no anger and violence towards Muslims, if anything I have anger and violence towards our political elite who are allowing the Islamification of Britain. I believe in animal welfare (I voted for Labour in 1997 because of their promise to end fox hunting) and for that reason dislike the halal process, I don’t want our Common Law (what’s left of it after Labour replaced it with Statute Law) replaced by Sharia Law. If I was gay or female I’d be very worried about creeping Islamification of our country.

The majority of people or join the EDL are people who either see what is happening to our country or have been directly affected by it in some way. We are not the cause of the problems, we are the symptom and until our politicians start to listen to the public and address the issues, we are not going to go away.

Trying to tar and label us all as racists, fascists, BNP, hooligans isn’t going to work, you’ve played the race card too often, you’ve worn it out, it just doesn’t work any more. People are starting to see through the biased reporting and smear articles just don’t work, long live the internet were people can see the truth for themselves.

tomper2 (43)
So what are you proposing? Banning certain people from marching? Banning reporters from covering the activities of Islamists? A de facto blasphemy law so no one can say anything negative about Islam?

gkelly (42)
I am proud to be an islamophobe. I don’t hate Muslims, but I do hate Islam. It is an ideology that has had demonstrably damaging effects everywhere it has been applied in the 1300 years it has existed.

You and your fellow utopian extremists have tried to work up this word “islamophobe” to give it the same status and intimidating effect as “racist”. But it won’t work. Islam is not a fact of birth. It is an ideology that people choose to embrace. As such, it should be subject to the same degree of rigorous criticism that we would apply to any other ideology, such as Nazism, communism or environmentalism.

Ilovemisty (42)
… you systematically ignore any conflict in which Muslim’s are the occupiers, settlers or aggressors (even when the motivation is based to a significant degree on Islam – e.g. Southern Sudan).

You disneyfy your own long history of bloody imperialism (the “golden age” of Islam) while demonising the West for the exact same thing. You talk of Islamaphobia in countries where you can practice your religion freely, while simply ignoring the persecution of religious minorities in the very countries you come from (e.g. Pakistan and the Ahmadi, Christians etc).

Thats pretty much peddling hate in my book.

OBenson (41)
[Instead, the concept of “bad Muslim” has come to demonise thousands of ordinary Muslims who do not wish to compromise their religious or political principles.]

Meaning what? Thousands of ordinary Muslims who do not wish to compromise their religious or political principles which dictate that girls can and should be taken out of school and forced into marriage? That girls and women should be beaten for seeing “the wrong” man, for not wearing hijab, for getting a job, for being “too Western,” for generally being independent? That homosexuals should be thrown off a mountain? That the penalty for leaving Islam is and should be death?

It sounds grand and brave to talk of not wishing ” to compromise their religious or political principles,” but in reality not all religious or political principles are good or desirable or fair to others. Some religious or political principles stink. Fascist principles stink, and so do Islamist principles.

This sly evasive paltering with words is contemptible. Lambert and Githens-Mazer should at least have the decency to spell out what it is they’re defending. They cite, of all things, IslamophobiaWatch as evidence of hatred of Muslims; IslamophobiaWatch notoriously treats all criticism of Islam as “Islamophobia” as if there simply cannot be such a thing as reasoned criticism of Islam.

asianlover (40)
Some of the people in EDL are not very articulate and when they discuss issues of race and islam one has to allow for that. These people still pay taxes and have a vote, so don’t blame EDL for their poor education.

… Instead of sitting wringing their hands and doing a stitch-up, there’s nothing to stop “brave and insightful” Guardian journalists from interviewing the many articulate people to be found in the EDL forum, the Facebook groups, or even on the demos. But the words of these people would be harder to twist, eh?

I remember seeing a very articulate working-class lad in his early 20s being interviewed by a news-crew at the Geert Wilders demo. His answers to the questions were everything I’d hoped he (and even I) would be able to say, under the pressure of a spontaneous interview that was to appear on the news. Did his interview appear on TV? No. Now, tell me, why is that? Because it didn’t fit the sensationalist image of the EDL that you want to purvey.

asianlover (38)
If you don’t believe that there is a project to erect a caliphate, you’re ignorant. You need to start learning about Hizb-ut-Tahrir. You need to start learning about IFE and it’s conference at the Troxy:

That’s what EDL is here to protest against. And anyone who cared for the rights of women, or jews, or muslims, or homos would be opposed to things like that. There’s a good reason why some of those speakers are appearing at that conference by video-link. They are not allowed into the UK because they are extremists.

SD1000 (34)
What are you suggesting exactly? Some sort of censorship of criticism of Islam?

If being Islamophobic means being fundamentally opposed to the political ideology called ‘Islam’ then I am an Islamophobic and proud. I am also a Christophobe and a Judeaophobe. That is because I am a rational and moral human being, who knows a bit of history.

MiskatonicUniversity (24)
[“How many posters here have actually met with someone from IFE to ask them what their agenda is, or if they are part of an “Islamist” plot?” ]

Are they part of a plot (“a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme)? I thought they were quite open about their ambitions?

“Muhammad Rabbani, a trustee of the youth wing, told the recruits: ?Our goal is to create the True Believer, to then mobilise these believers into an organised force for change who will carry out dawah [preaching], hisbah [enforcement of Islamic law] and jihad. This will lead to social change and Iqamatud-Deen [an Islamic social and political order].”

and apparently this process of Islamification is needed because it is Europe which “despite all the furore about its achievements, which has a moral and spiritual vacuum

imbrian (20)
Wannabe “academics” who come up with such triumphs of logical process as – “The shift towards Muslim targets for violent attack has been especially marked since 9/11…” – deserve to have their taxpayer funding removed immediately.

As for the EDL – good luck to them.

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