Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs. Jon Stewart: Islam, liberals, and the media’s dangerous double standard

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2015/06/07/no_one_exposes_western_liberals_faulty_thinking_on_islam_better_than_self_professed_%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D_ayaan_hirsi_ali/

Progressives entangle themselves in "thickets of idiocy" trying not to judge Islam. Jon Stewart was no exception

Sunday, Jun 7, 2015

Progressive critics enamored of the semantically fraudulent junk label “Islamophobe” are de facto aiding the assassins of free-thinkers, abetting the oppressors of women, and shielding razor-happy butchers slicing off the clitorises of little girls.  And at no time do they betray the ideals for which they supposedly stand more than when they call ex-Muslims living in the West “Islamophobe.”

 To understand why, let’s examine the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  No one exposes the faulty thinking, moral incoherence and double standards pervading the Western liberal reaction to Islam better than this Somali-born, self-professed “infidel” and “heretic.”  Herself a survivor of female genital mutilation, civil war and forced marriage, and, for more than a decade now, the object of Islamist death threats, Hirsi Ali deserves the respect of all who cherish free speech, equality between the sexes, and the right to profess the religion (or no religion) of one’s choosing.
 
Brought up a Muslim and once so devout she joined the Muslim Brotherhood, Hirsi Ali deserves, to say the least, a fair hearing when speaking of Islam.  Yet in the constitutionally secular United States, Hirsi Ali often finds her views about her former faith treated with suspicion, even contempt.  Her media appearances and publications occasion slews of sanctimoniously ignorant commentary from liberal “Islamophobia” scolds.  The publicity tour she has been making for her recent book “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now” is no exception.

Before I proceed, a statement of what should be obvious: Islam is not a race, but a religion, one with universalist pretensions and followers of all skin colors. Understanding this, one easily sees through the linguistic sham that is the essence of “Islamophobia” and “Islamophobe,” terms that inveigle well-meaning progressives to conflate skin color with religion and impute racism to critics of a belief system.  The terms are inherently political, and serve one purpose: to squelch honest debate about Islam.  Islam, though, like all religions, is nothing but a hallowed ideology falling within the purview of free speech. People deserve respect, whatever their ideology.  The ideologies themselves?  Not necessarily.

Back to Hirsi Ali and “Heretic.”  Hirsi Ali summed up her book’s theses in an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal.  Radical Islam now motivates terrorism and warfare across the globe, but “by far,” she writes, “the most numerous victims of Muslim violence . . . are Muslims themselves.”  She considers it “foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself.”  Her conclusion: “Islam is not a religion of peace.”  (Italics hers.)

Hirsi Ali does not, however, contend that most Muslims are violent.  On the contrary, peaceful followers of Islam “are the clear majority throughout the Muslim world.”  But the jihadi-minded account for, by her conservative estimate, at least 3 percent of the religion’s 1.6 billion votaries, or 48 million people.  The problem, for her, lies in “the call to violence and the justification for it . . . explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam.”  To counter this, she proposes an Islamic reformation, one that would lead Muslims to reject their canon’s calls for violence, as do, by and large, Jews and Christians today.



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