Tuesday, January 04, 2011

a philosophe on Islamophobia

A French philosopher is now also weighing in on the dubious nature of this term:

On a global scale, we are abetting the construction of a new thought crime, one which is strongly reminiscent of the way the Soviet Union dealt with the "enemies of the people". And our media and politicians are giving it their blessing. Did not the French president himself, never one to miss a blunder - not compare Islamophobia with Antisemitism? A tragic error. Racism attacks people for what they are: black, Arab, Jewish, white. The critical mind on the other hand undermines revealed truths and subjects the scriptures to exegesis and transformation. To confuse the two is to shift religious questions from an intellectual to a judicial level. Every objection, every joke becomes a crime.

from Pascal Bruckner: The invention of Islamophobia
Update: There has been a response to this essay at Sign and Sight but its main argument is that something does exist - some kind of racism or religious bigotry - and "Islamophobia" is as good a word as any to describe it.
Call it what you will: there is a form of criticism of Islam which is attempting, via expressions such as "Islamic culture" on the one hand and "Christian-Jewish Leitkultur" (guiding culture) on the other, to establish the concept of two different classes of European citizens. This attempt is driven by an irrational fear, which is comparable to McCarthy's Anticommunist hysteria and which I call "Islamophobia". (And, yes, there were Communist spies in the US Government, and yes, there are Islamist terrorists. But hysteria and fear are not good advisors in the struggle for an open society and against its enemies.)

I'm open to suggestions for better words. But anyone who denies that the process of exclusion and denigration that I've sketched is in fact happening, is obviously suffering from a kind of delusion, a disconnect from reality; and for that person, it is only logical to wish to forbid the words that might remind him that reality exists.

from Alan Posener: Pascal Bruckner and the reality disconnect



At Friday, 14 January, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like some of your observations on Islam. Have you come across Bruckner's recent 'The Tyranny of Guilt'? or his much earlier 'The Tears of the White Man'?

At Friday, 14 January, 2011, Blogger Arizona said...

Thanks for the info on those books. This was my first encounter with Bruckner and I'll try to read more from him.


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