Our effort to defend against Islamic terrorism has been cut off at the knees by a thought crime known as Islamophobia: a dislike of, criticism of, or prejudice against Islam or Muslims. Where did Islamophobia come from? “Islamic law,” observes author and activist Pamela Geller, “considers any critical examination of Islam to be blasphemous and subject to the death penalty.” The term Islamophobia was invented in the 1990s by a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood in order to export Islamic blasphemy laws to the West. Muslim writer Abdur-Rahman Muhammad reveals the original intent behind the concept: “This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliché conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.”
Islamophobia is classic political correctness. You don’t have to deal with the substance of arguments against Islamic extremism. All you have to do is label critics a cluster of “Islamophobes.” If this lie prevails, we become infinitely more vulnerable to terrorism and the negative impact of Islam because we are afraid to talk about them. As a manipulation, it has been highly effective.
Here is an example of what is described as Islamophobia: British author and journalist Douglas Murray said, “Less Islam in general is a good thing. It is not worth continuing to risk our own security simply in order to try to be politically correct.” Murray echoes the sentiment succinctly expressed by Mark Steyn, author of the prophetic America Alone: “The choice is liberty or mass Muslim immigration.” Steyn has warned about the correlation between large numbers of Muslim immigrants and the proliferation of terrorist attacks against Western values. Germany, England and France have opened their borders to hordes of Muslim immigrants and the reward has been disruption of their societies. Poland and the Czech Republic “have very few Muslims so they don’t have terrorism,” notes Steyn.
Murray has been vilified as an Islamophobe by Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain on the grounds that Murray and those like him are spreading hate. Anyone who criticizes Islam, says Versi, is “spreading hate” and is a “hate preacher.” Islamophobia is used in this way to defame and silence anyone who tries to combat the problem of Islamic terrorism. The UK and other European countries have bought into this nonsense by criminalizing “hate speech.” Islam has won its first significant battle against Western values with the suicidal collaboration of Western governments.
Versi and his Muslim apologists have it all backwards. Murray is not spreading hate—he is criticizing the hateful ideology and acts of terror that are the calling cards of Islam. When you denounce Islam for its intolerance, misogyny, and glorification of violence, that does not make you a spreader of hate. It makes you a critic of the most hateful ideology on the planet. The question is, do we support Murray’s critique as an expression of free speech? In a free society, the answer must be a resounding YES.
In the US, the thrust of the Islamophobia strategy is to (a) accuse Americans of harboring a deep prejudice against Muslims, (b) convince the public that, as a result, Muslims are disproportionately targeted by perpetrators of hate crimes and acts of discrimination, and (c) suppress any and all criticism of Islam and Muslims. “This sense of victimization has now reached a point that many rank-and-file Muslims genuinely believe that they are a persecuted and oppressed group,” says Abdur-Rahman Muhammad. In reality, FBI data on hate crimes show that the incidence of anti-Muslim abuses in the US has actually declined since 9/11 and that anti-Islamic hate crimes constitute a small fraction of overall religious hate crimes. In 2006, for example, 66 percent of religiously motivated attacks in the US were against Jews and only 11 percent targeted Muslims. Even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was virtually no violent backlash against Muslims in the US.
Salman Rushdie, the author who was sentenced to death by Muslim clerics, criticized the use of Islamophobia by saying that “ideas cannot be ring-fenced just because they claim to have this or that fictional sky god on their side. It is right to feel phobia towards such matters. To feel aversion towards such a force is not bigotry. It is the only possible response to the horror of events.” The late author Christopher Hitchens reminded us that the language of the First Amendment “was designed to protect criticism of religion.” Referring to Islamophobia as “religious bullying,” Hitchens said, “We have to hear propaganda in the Muslim world telling children to kill Jews, Christians, and Hindus. That homosexuals should be stoned. And we have to claim not to be offended.”
Muslims have become a special protected class. You can say nasty things about Christians and Jews, but if you criticize Muslims, you are accused of spreading hate. Thanks to the fear of Islamophobia, our great institutions of learning have been intimidated into trashing the First Amendment. Yale University Press has declined to publish the Danish cartoons that were declared offensive to Muslims. At the University of Minnesota, an attempt to recognize the 9/11 terrorist attacks was blocked because protesting students argued that the memorial could fuel Islamophobia. Brandeis University planned to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of Islam. When the university’s president received a letter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling Hirsi Ali a “notorious Islamophobe,” Brandeis reversed course and decided not to award a degree. I suppose Brandeis feels it is okay to stifle free speech now that Yale has set the precedent.
“The political correctness that has metastasized in American culture requires that no one speak ill of Islam or say anything that might stigmatize or other-ize a Muslim in any way,” says journalist Matthew Vadum. “All Americans must think and say only nice things about Islam,” he adds. “To object to this kind of politically correct censorship is not to make the gross generalization that Muslims are bad people, but it is to say that people have the right to criticize.”
The Islamophobia scam is insidious because it shuts down the most important of American values, freedom of speech. We must not allow our core values to be trampled upon by a barbaric seventh-century ideology. The really scary news: One group in the US actually approves of the Islamophobia scam. According to a poll by Wenzel Strategies, 58% of Muslim-Americans believe criticism of Islam is not protected free speech under the First Amendment. “To learn who rules over you,” said Voltaire, “simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
Ed Brodow is a political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left is Destroying America.