Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Islam-Bashing is for Losers: "New" Atheism, or Same-Old Racism?

2 Comments
Great scientist, bashes Muslims too much.
Anyone getting tired of these "new atheists" and their penchant for Islam-bashing? I am, and that's without having the slightest regard for modern-day Islam (or any religion.) In many ways I'd be their fellow traveler (science, rationality, progress), but this persistent Islam-bashing is bullshit.

Yes, all religions are metaphysical bullshit. But if you come from a predominately Christian country, known for oppressing Muslims (looking at you, US and UK) , and especially if you're a white male from said country, singling out Muslims for special contempt looks a little suspicious. As do the fans of that kind of attitude:

  • White males, particularly the Internet-savvy, self-styled "libertarian"ones
  • White "atheists" (especially the superior, obnoxious ones)
  • Right wingers, Christians
  • Neocons
  • White millennials (because they know fuck-all about religion, racism or geopolitics, and because they're 20)
  • etc.
Something of a rogue's gallery, is my point. Strange bedfellows.

Not that there's anything inherently wrong with bashing religion (I do it all the time). Pointing out the ridiculousness, the destructiveness, of Islam - or any religion - is great. But othering Muslims and appealing to Islamophobia isn't.

Here's the thing. You don't have to explicitly assert that a whole group of people are inferior, you just have to use the right language.

"These Muslims", huh?

Here's another "New Atheist", Sam Harris, from his "In Defense of Profiling" article: "We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it." (As a mixed-ancestry - black/white - person of color who could "conceivably" look "Muslim", I speak for many when I say we get profiled enough, fuck you very much, white man. How's that for honesty, Sam?)

In the above examples, switch "Muslims" with "Blacks", "Jews", "Gays" (using the nice terms), etc. You get the idea. Where have we seen this kind of language before? Oh yeah, throughout the entire history of oppression.

Dawkins and Harris are using othering language, and they know it. If they don't, they're strikingly ignorant for people of their intellect.

And they must know that this kind of Muslim-bashing isn't the same as Christian-bashing. Christians aren't the ones being profiled at airports or intimidated by the NYPD. Christians aren't exactly an oppressed minority here in the States (more like an oppressive majority), and if they live in fear, it's only fear of the bullshit they make up in their own heads. When bashing, these things ought to be taken into account.

Could have missed it, but haven't seen any of these guys acknowledge what significantly contributed to the rise of militaristic, radical Islam in the first place: colonialism and imperialism, primarily by (surprise!) the UK and US. If Islam is to blame, then certainly Christianity is, too. More importantly, our (Anglo) nations share  direct culpability. Maybe we should take responsibility, instead of acting self-righteous and throwing temper tantrums.

You know, like Jesus said, deal with the huge plank in our own eye before we worry about the speck in someone else's. I'm not saying that Islam's issues are a speck, but I'm definitely saying that we have a plank, and if we don't acknowledge and deal with it, we have no right to be taken seriously. Hypocrites never should be.

Please, New Atheists, stop piling on. And remember that you're privileged white people talking about predominately black and brown people. People whose countries we invade. People our countries oppress, occupy, and kill in greater numbers than any terrorist could dream of.

I agree that Islam, - like most, or all, religions - is bullshit, and destructive, but your strident preoccupation with bashing Muslims looks a lot more like racism than enlightenment.
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2 comments:

  1. You made a myriad of such appalling claims, I don't have the slightest clue on where to start.

    ReplyDelete