According to some Muslims, I seem to have contracted an illness of some sorts: Islamophobia. In the last few weeks I’ve come across this expression so many times that it’s started bugging me and I wonder whether anyone can provide some insight.
Hm, Islamophobia. Islamophobic.
I have been called this endless times now, as has any person criticizing Islam or any human not wanting to live according to Islam. We are automatically labelled Islamophobic. Certified by the people who endeavour to live their life according to Islam.
But pardon my ignorance: what exactly is this Islam? And what about the word phobia?
Let’s start with the easy part. A phobia is an unwarranted fear of something, such as arachnophobia is the fear of spiders – unwarranted because a spider doesn’t really attack and devour a human. Not recently at least.
Here’s a list of the most common and the craziest fears, like Ergasiophobia – Fear of Work and what many Muslims seem to suffer from, Gymnophobia – Fear of Nudity.
But can something like Islamophobia exist? Does this word appear on the list of the most common fears? Nope! Should it be? Is there really a need for such a word? Does it actually make any sense?
So, back to the beginning, Islam. Islam is kind of an ideology, a worldview with a religion. It is a socio-political system, which is based on a book which the followers of Islam, Muslims, claim is the work of a super-natural being they call a god. A god, which has never in the entire history of this Universe manifested itself or been proven or shown to even exist.
So what else is Islam? According to Wikipedia, an ”ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one’s goals, expectations, and actions”.
Since Islam inspires people to live according to the goals, rules and methods it has set out, it governs the interior ministry, the foreign ministry, the economics ministry, the war ministry, the finance ministry and the ministry of justice, making it a political ideology, just like Capitalism, Socialism, Nationalism, Anarchism, Communism, etc
And a religion, a state religion. like the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Islamic Republic of Mauretania or the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and so on. These countries have decided to accept the Koran, a book which appeared more than 1000 years ago, as basis of their country, along with a being which has never been shown to even exist.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1956
Islamic Republic of Mauritania, 1958
Islamic Republic of Iran, 1979
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2001
Are all countries where Muslims are the majority Islamic Republics? No. Why not?
Muslims believe there is evidence for the existence of a god. Their exclusive and yet highly jealous god. Without caring that 80% of the world’s population begs to differ. They believe they should pray to this their creator/god. And pay some money to an institution, go and walk around a black cube with a black stone, stop eating during the day for a month, well, not really, but wherever this happens to be possible.
If this is the definition for a follower of Islam the Muslim, is this the set of rules for all Muslims? No, some believe in more rules, some believe in less, some believe they should follow only the Koran, some follow mainly what a person named Muhammad said and did over 1000 years ago, some follow their local Imam and some don’t.
In other words, there as many interpretations for what Islam is as there are followers. In other words, there is no such thing as THE Islam with one definition which covers all aspects.
So which version of Islam do I need to be unnecessarily afraid of?
Which version of Islam should I unjustifiably be afraid of?
Maybe, since not a single day goes by without news of some Muslims somewhere killing humans, I SHOULD be afraid of Islam. But then it is a justifiable fear and not a phobia.
This does not really work, does it?
So let me try something different and look at those who mostly use the term and what the effect of Islamophobia would be.
Is there an example for Islamophobia accepted by all Muslims? No.
Is there an example for Islamophobia accepted by all non-Muslims? No.
Is there a commonly accepted example for Islamophobia? No.
So this also does not work.
Wikipedia defines it as: “Islamophobia is prejudice against, hatred towards, or irrational fear of or racism towards Muslims”
Prejudice against the Muslim race? Who would write something like this?
What are the characteristics of the Muslim race? The beard, the Jewish style skullcap and their cute dress the men wear? No, that’s clothes, not racial. What is racial about a Muslim that stands out? Nothing? Is it just a hiding place?
All other phobias are pretty much defined – why isn’t this one?
The Wikipedia definition would also cover almost anything ever brought up about any group in history.
So this is a load of rubbish, childish Muslim propaganda and also a dead end.
So let’s look in a different area: where is the term Islamophobia used? Ah, when Muslims feel a person criticizes their unsubstantiated claims. Or when someone says something true about Islam the followers don’t like. When a non-Muslim quotes a sentence from the Koran or the hadiths without quoting the sentence which says the opposite.
The summary then is that the word Islamophobia is used by the followers of Islam who can’t bear to hear the truth and can’t stand any criticism, whether factual or not.
Is there a reason to be afraid? Well, there’s nothing to fear for those who submit to the ideology. What about those who don’t? According to the Koran, they go to hell and get tortured. This is repeated something like 83 times. But is it Islamophobic to be afraid of torture when I am dead and can’t feel anything? Yes, apparently it is.
So my understanding of Islamophobia is that I should be afraid of Islam and Islamists when I am dead and then it is still unwarranted. Oh boy, this really doesn’t make much sense at all. Isn’t there anyone with a definite and logical explanation of what exactly Islamophobia is? Is telling the truth about a sentence in the Koran sufficient to be called an Islamophobic? Is showing that a claim made by a Muslim is actually a false claim or an outright lie sufficient to be called an Islamophobic?
There is a solution, which is, as always, quite simple.
I can either choose to submit to an invisible, jealous being which provides nonsensical instructions for some sort of life when I am dead, join in the obligatory Ramadan-a-ding-dong and all will be well.
Or I demand that Muslims decide on an acceptable definition of what they themselves deem as being appropriate. What they consider to be an appropriate criticism of Islam and then set the rules for what may be criticized in Islam and in what way. Bring some examples to the table of what may be criticized and in what way. What kind of criticism is acceptable? What may be criticized? Be productive and provide some support for a form of productive criticism. Be productive and come up with a word that does this action justice and not this ridiculously irrational word.
Then let Muslims decide which sentences in the Koran need to be updated and elevated or reformed to represent the reality of our civilization in the modern world today. Then do the same and select some relevant sentences from the hadith. Just mark the sentences which should be taken allegorically or as irrelevant in today’s state of civilization and we can all get along and play nicely. Or face the all too obvious trend visible today of Islam becoming extinct.
Oh, there is another alternative: recognise any real prejudice against you for what it is, anti-Muslim; that way we can all have a civilised and constructive discussion without your beliefs being abused as a source of scare-tactics or hatred against all Muslims.
Thanks for your time.