Thursday, January 12, 2006

Am I Anti-Muslim? Am I Racist?

Am I anti-Muslim or racist? Some folks seem to think so. I have received comments on other sites where I have posted some of my thoughts on radical Islamist terrorism accusing me of this.

Personally, of course, I do not consider myself to be either of these. Just in case you have your doubts I am printing a reply I recently made to several of my accusers over at Blogcritics. They had been responding to my post entitled, "Steyn Predicts the Collapse of 'The West'- Sadly, I Agree." (also posted on this site here).

Greetings. As the author of this post I see that Aaman and Swingpuss have chosen to describe it as "racist." That is all well and good. But labeling the article as racist does not even address the issues being presented. That sort of name calling does not rise to the level of adult dialogue. It more resembles the behavior of otherwise inarticulate children in an elementary school playground. Please, can't we raise the level of conversation a little bit.

Frankly, I am puzzled over the term "racism." I don't seem to find any reference to "race" in my article at all. Islam, whether the more radical kind found in Shi'ite Iran or in the Muslim Brotherhood/Wahhabist/al-Qaeda Sunni varieties, is not a matter of race but of sectarian religious beliefs.

I am merely critiquing a particular version of Islam that seeks to replace "Western Civilization" with a completely different set of values.

As you well know, Muslims come in all shapes and sizes and races and there are many different ways in which different Muslims apply the teachings of the Qur'an to life in the 21st century. To call a critique of a particular viewpoint within the Muslim world "racist" demonstrates that the person bringing that charge has absolutely no idea of the subject at hand...or, more charitably, has misunderstood the subject as presented.

As to xenophobia, this is a word defined as, "Fear or hatred of strangers, people from other countries, or of anything that is strange or foreign." I am not aware of anything in my article that reflects any of this. While it may be xenophobic to have a fear of anything that is strange or foreign it is most certainly not xenophobic to have a critically informed fear of a "strange or foreign" religious sect that would like to see my country and all it represents swept away into oblivion.

This is not xenophobia but common sense...assuming there is a reasonable foundation for the fear...which I believe is easily demonstrable.

Yes, I completely agree that India is a remarkable example of how an experiment in Western-style Democracy is (thus far) successfully evolving and adapting to an Asian multicultural and multi-faith context.

The success of democracy in India actually supports the point of my article. By its constitution, the government in India (as it is in the United States) is required to be secular. Under secular law, Muslims and Hindus and Christians and Buddhists are, at least theoretically, considered as equals.

Under the religious Muslim law of sharia, Muslims are granted one legal status, Jews and Christians another and all the rest still another. The Qur'an does not readily adapt to the concept of secular law and secular government (although that experiment continues in such places as Turkey). What most historic and theological interpretations of the Qur'an envision are variations on the political practice of theocracy, where religious and civil matters are inseparable.

I personally believe that most Muslim versions of a sharia theocracy are not a good least in light of the freedoms and rights I value as part of Western Civilization and the Judeo/Christian propositions that undergird this world view.

If having a healthy fear of someone's philosophy, political beliefs or religious pracitice is "racist" and "xenophobic" then a critical view of communism, nazi-ism, anarchy or even the Klu Klux Klan must be "racist" as well.

And this, of course, is absurd.

I look forward to continuing with this dialogue. I am also publishing two follow-up articles related to this subject. They will appear whenever the blogcritic editors choose to publish them.

Some six months ago I wrote a post attempting to answer the question, "I Thought This Was a Christian Blog? Why All the Muslim Stuff?" If you are wondering the same thing, follow the link and read my answer.