Islamophobia? We Call It Enlightenment

JLH has translated another op-ed by Oliver Jeges from Die Welt:

[Picture caption: “Definitely an ‘Islamophobe’: The French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire had criticism and ridicule for Islam — but also for other religions.”]

Islamophobia? We Call It Enlightenment

It is not so-called Islamophobia that is the problem, but sentences such as “That has nothing to do with Islam.” Considering what is now happening in the name of this religion. concern is justified.

by Oliver Jeges

There is a good side and a bad side to all things. A wiener schnitzel tastes delicious, but is bad for the figure. With the invention of the internet, humanity gained unlimited access to both information and cat videos. Unfortunately, it also included trolls and cyber-mobbing. Social networks are good for spreading fashion and food blogs, as well as political propaganda.

Religion is no exception. Both good and bad things are done in the name of God. Just think of the Bible, which commands love of neighbor, but tolerates slavery. It is no different in the Vatican. One pope had an arrangement with the Nazis, another promoted the collapse of communism. There are two sides to every coin, whether its name is Pius XII or John Paul II.

There is and has been terrorism in some form in nearly all religions. There was Christian terrorism at the time of the Crusades, and there was Jewish terrorism by the underground organization, Irgun, at the time of the founding of the Israeli state. Believe it or not, there is Buddhist terrorism against the Islamic minority in Myanmar and Hindu terrorism, for instance the mass killing of Muslims in the Indian Gujarat in 2002. But, if you believe its apologists, there is only one religion with no such aspect: Islam.

Some time ago, I was a guest on Sandra Maischberger’s program. The subject was “Fear of holy warriors — Is this Islam threatening us too?” Seated next to me was Khola Maryam Hübsch, a German Muslim and prominent author. On the couch opposite sat Aiman Mazyek, chair of the Central Council of Muslims. It was only a few minutes before the use of one of the most popular rhetorical feats of legerdemain in the Islam debate. Khola Hübsch said: “When I look at ISIS, it is a fanatical ideology which has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.”

A Comfortable Shield

It is true that Aiman Mazyek forbore in this appearance his standard comment, always ready for any ordinary occasion and every international situation: “That has nothing to do with Islam.” But like a typical representative of Islam, he denied responsibility. Questioned about the radicalization of young people and whether it was not the duty of the respective communities to prevent the drift of youth toward fundamentalism, he replied that that was the task of the security services and the police, wriggling out of the subject almost effortlessly.

In her turn, the moderator Kristiane Becker, too — a convert to Islam as well as an apostate from MTV — used her third sentence to clarify: “What IS is doing has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.” It makes you wonder why Muslim women attend these talk shows, if all that has nothing to do with their religion.

“That has nothing to do with Islam.” What a convenient shield. This distancing reflex is what makes any sensible discourse about the dangers of Islam impossible. Instead, anyone who criticizes the conservative and radical excesses of Islam is characterized as suffering from a severe form of “Islamophobia.”

If, daily somewhere in the world, a passenger plane should crash, people would be justifiably afraid of flying. The fact that most fliers land safely would really assuage no one. When you were up over the clouds, fear of crashing would be a constant companion. An airplane a day! There would be the concern that it could happen anywhere and anytime. But that is just a mind game.

It is exactly the same with Islam. Nobody can say when or where it will strike next. Only a few weeks ago, we thought that countries like Australia and Canada were safe from Islamic terrorism. Until we learned better. In the meantime, every European city has witnessed its own Salafist scene.

Is it really impossible to criticize these things without each time incriminating the peaceful majority of Muslims? We don’t have to compliment airlines for being able to keep their jumbo jets in the air. Nor do we have to compliment Muslims for obeying the law. It is to be expected.

Modern society must, without limit, allow ideas and ideologies to be judged as bad and to be criticized. Communism or capitalism, vegetarianism or feminism, Christianity or Islam. For hundreds of years, our ancestors went through proverbial hell so that we could enjoy this right of free expression. And now we should revise it? Because Muslims feel insulted?

If you consider that the only true and legitimate criticism comes from those who are permanently branded as “Islamophobes,” it makes you want to be an “Islamophobe” too. If profound critics like the political scientist Hamed Abdel-Samed, the sociologist Necla Kelek, the politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the neuroscientist Sam Harris are all supposed to be “Islamophobic”, as they are accused, then Voltaire, Bertrand Russell and Sigmund Freud were all “Christophobic”.

Every Feminist Should Be “Islamophobic”

The conviction prevails among many Muslims that Islam itself is perfect, just individual Muslims are sometimes not. But if terrorist attacks, honor killings, genital mutilation, forced marriages and the IS caliphate have nothing to do with the otherwise oh-so-perfect Islam, then every defeat of Pep Guardiola’s soccer team has nothing to do with the otherwise oh-so-perfect FC Bavaria of Munich.

If it were possible to draw an artificial line between Islam and Islamism, and if everything that is bad “had nothing to do with Islam,” there could be some very interesting results. “Global Warming” would have nothing to do with climate change, the economic crisis would have nothing to do with capitalism and the left would have nothing to do with the SED (Socialist Unity Party).

If Ayatollah Khomeini once called uncovered women “Islamophobic” (zed-e eslam, Persian: against Islam), then, as enlightened humanists in the here-and-now, we must also be. Indeed, every feminist, every critic of totalitarianism and every anti-fascist should be. Every human rights advocate and peacenik, too.

Saying: Good Islam means peace, and there is no bad Islam — this exposes the representatives of and experts on Islam as impostors and deceivers. So long as the Islamic world is indecisive, ambiguous and hesitant about radical tendencies, so long as they will not admit that this is a pan-Islamic problem, that is how long we can mix up Islam and Islamism. Or, to paraphrase Aiman Mazyek: All that has nothing to do with Islamophobia. We call it Enlightenment!

16 thoughts on “Islamophobia? We Call It Enlightenment

  1. If I were appearing in a public forum with Muslims, I would pin them down on the issue of death to apostates—agree or disagree?

  2. Just as an FYI, the words used in the New Testament refer to bond servants, not slaves. Being a bond servant is an elective choice, not slavery. Think of it as indentured servitude for an agreed upon length of time. Although many Gentile nations had slaves and bond servants, the New Testament word choice refers to the practice of voluntary servitude.
    Although the message could be understood and practiced by Roman slaves, they were not the audience being spoken to.
    Hope this helps,

    • P.S. Islam’s use of ‘slavery’ means ‘slavery’. This holds for today as much as it did in the 6th century.


    • If a heathen may correct you, Christian, I’m not familiar with the New Testament reference, but it’s in the Old: Leviticus, chapter two. The King James says “bondservants”, if I recall correctly, but adds that they must come from a neighbouring country, not one’s own, which makes consent unlikely- indeed as this was written for the Jews, then a religion and ethnicity, it’s pretty similar to Muslims’ views on who may be enslaved.

      • Just to be clear……
        The Old Testament does not form part of US or British law.
        The Koran – all of it – is part of Islamic Law.
        The death penalty applies for denying any verse.

        • The British Common Law is based on the Ten Commandments, which is clearly Old Testament. The Puritans took very seriously the OT.

    • Bringing up the contents of the Christian Bible in order to use it in our fight against Islamic ideology is not very productive. For in doing so, we enter into a red-herring type of argument. Avoid comparing Islam to Christianity and focus on the evil that is Islam. Otherwise we get entangled in a Tu Quoque distraction and lose our focus.

      • One of the most important underlying irrefutable premise in our argument against Islam is this: Muslims , now today, are killing and doing other evil deeds in the name of Islam.

        • We exercise our free speech rights less and less while we import more and more muslims . At the current rate of ignorance we will eventually be little more than a bunch of losers yapping away at the injustice if it all. Victims. It’s beyond belief that the families of these half human savages are being catered to by taxpayers. Let alone that these creatures are allowed back into the country to infect and no doubt are heroes to their fifth column “brethren”.

          • You are correct. It must be remembered that Muslims do not believe in family planning. Every pregnancy, every child is deemed a precious, blessed gift from Allah and therefore happily received.

            At first Muslims may be the minority in their host country. But in time, due to their prolific birth rate, they will become the majority. When that time arrives they will surely make advantageous use of their superior numbers to dictate to their hosts, who would by then be the minority in their own country, what they can or cannot do as they impose their religious rules on everyone regardless, for after all the country follows the democratic system and in a democracy the majority always gets what it wants.

  3. Maybe it’s all in a name.

    Maybe we simply have to divide peaceful Islam from murderous Islam by the following: peaceful Islam follows texts that are beautiful and warm and kind, let us call this beautiful, warm and kind religion simply “The Peaceful Religion.” This clearly would satisfy people who insist that Islam is a peaceful religion. Wouldn’t it? And let us agree to call the murderous religion which permits slavery, forces women to cover themselves up, murders homosexuals, stones adulterers, kills apostates, sends children and adults to murder, rape and pillage mankind, etc, something else. Say Islam. The Peaceful Religion People who happen to be known as Muslims now, they can change that name later if they wish, be they Arab, or Persian, or any other ethnic group, are fine with me. Those people who “submit” to this other branch of what was formerly one religion, Islam could still call their religion Islam if they like, or they could change that name into something else, like for example, The Barbarians. That way well intentioned people like former President George W. Bush could go around saying that “The Peaceful Religion” is in fact peaceful and swell, and those crazy people who are burning and looting and killing people across the face of the earth in what?, 85% of the world’s countries are in fact The Barbarians. Or if The Barbarians so choose they could keep calling their religion, Islam. It’s up to them.

    This way we could satisfy everyone.

    Of course as with any great idea there is usually one little problem. If someone from The Peaceful Religion would make any excuse, even a little bitty itty one for someone holding a sign that said, for example, Kill the Jews, or Kill All Those Who Don’t Believe in Allah, or Sharia Will Rule Britain, they would have to immediately agree to cross back over to The Barbarian side, though of course as already said they may still choose to call it Islam.

    This sensible suggestion is made if only to make things easier on nice people like former President George W. Bush.

  4. If you look at how Mohammad lived the later part of his life, not only where he gave the koranic messages and also by the hadiths and siras, then you must say that Mohammad was wrong in many things in what he said, and did.
    Not sure who will be applying the verse Qur’an 3:54—

    And they (the unbelievers) planned to deceive, and Allah planned to deceive (the unbelievers), and Allah is the best of deceivers.

    Also allah divine directions may have been wrong, as allah was the greatest deceiver, and so also perhaps Gabriel the angel misheard and mispoked and Mohammad was mistaken in what he heard or was also a deceiver in relaying the message.
    So easy so far, as many ways of reinterpreting this and the reasons why.

    Surely every freedom loving peaceful muslim will openly DECLARE that Mohammad was wrong and that allah was not very good at giving messages to Mohammad and so was wrong. Also that Mohammad was wrong in many things he did, and practiced as seen in the hadiths and siras

    So far no problem for Bush or Obama as they DECLARE this, religion of peace.
    So there should be no problem then to state how mohammad was ok with enslaving men and women, taking young girls for himself, killing many men, looting etc. and how as he got older proved to be a sober, corrupt war lord.

    I do agree about the one law for all too, and important to have free speech, so that even the Presidents and Prime Ministers can say these things., and plus a few cartoons, open and free discussion, a few laughs etc.

    I think you are looking at segregating people by their beliefs, which in part is sort of workable. If a government can do that, it will be an interesting story. The first step may be stop islamic immigration which would be another long story, as it difficult just to stop illegal immigration, let alone what people may or may not believe in.

    Hey it is possible as there are the Ahmadiyya population of 20-30 million that do not practise violence. They are heavily persecuted in muslim countries.
    The only fault I have with them is the interference they run seeming to be apologists for islam and against violence. They do push dawa a lot, but I do wonder even though not deliberate, if it can be a precursor to the other schools of islam.

    Hey Mike, keep on reading, and I am sure you will find in and earlier post Baron’s that “will there ever be a moderate islam”
    We never can be exactly sure of what is in the future. After all I am sure we would all welcome a peaceful resolution to this islamic problem for muslim and the free world.

  5. As I have been reading recently, “There is only one Islam.” Which means that what we are seeing, all the death and bloodshed, is Islam, so no excuses. It is not the religion of peace, it is the religion of death for anyone who does not fall into line with their beliefs.

    This is the 21st century and this religion hails from the 7th or the 6th century. It has no place in our world.

    The problem is what to do about it.

  6. I’m glad to have been enlightened.

    I used to think “those Muslims are doing monstrous evil; we have to go kill them”

    Now I see that is wrong.

    Now I think “those people who have nothing to do with Islam are doing monstrous evil; we have to go kill them”

  7. Men there is no Christian, Buddhist or Jewish terrorism for one single reason. Nothing in the texts of these religions justifies terrorist actions nor any of the “Christian” terrorists did his actions because of Christianity with quotes from the Bible. On the other hand, you have plenty of verses in the koran which even instruct muslims to create “terror” among unbelievers.

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