Just Who Has to Adjust in the Name of Tolerance?
Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy Fellow Shadi Hamid recently criticized the West as “illiberal” for refusing to accept the fact that Muslims, both in the West and globally, are different from Westerners.
It was an unusual argument, one to which The Atlantic devoted 3,400 words.
Although President Obama insists that the “fight against terrorism is not a religious war,” Hamid seems to disagree with him.
According to a variety of polls, Hamid is right. For example, while a 2009 Gallup poll shows that European Muslims overwhelmingly reject violence, they are far more religious than those who live in secular Europe (France, England, and Germany), and are more strongly opposed to homosexuality than are secular Europeans. In addition, young, second or third generation European Muslim men favor veiling for women, polygamy, the execution of apostates, and favor prohibiting Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men.
Muslims are more likely to view “blasphemy as unacceptable,” Hamid wrote. He described Muslims as “deeply conservative” and, to varying extents, wanting “the application of Islamic law.”
The liberal West believes in criticizing everything, especially religion, beginning with Judaism and Christianity. Extending this right-to-criticize, satirize, or examine Islam has led to major Muslim meltdowns.
Creative and scholarly exposures of Islam’s history and practices amount to shaming and therefore are impermissible, especially when infidels are doing the exposing. Lawsuits, assassination attempts, lynch mobs, and political murders have been the radical Muslim response to books, films, lectures, and cartoonsthat detail Islamic gender and religious apartheid.
Documentation of normalized daughter-and wife-beating, child marriage, forced veiling, forced marriage of adults, polygamy, pedophilia, FGM, and honor killing has led to cries of “Islamophobia” and “blasphemy.”
In a recent conversation, Israeli Arabist and counter-terrorism expert, Mordechai Kedar said: “Why would anyone get so outraged by a cartoon unless they believe that the cartoon is telling the truth? They are angrybecause it is the truth.”
According to a 2006 Pew poll, 79 percent of French Muslims blamed the 2005 cartoon controversy on Western nations’ “disrespect for the Islamic religion.” The general population blamed “Muslims’ intolerance.”
This is completely foreign to the West’s post-Enlightenment culture. Many Muslims are very clear on this point.
Hamid writes that French Muslims are “more likely to believe that attacks on the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran should be criminalized as hate speech and incitement, much like denial of the Holocaust is.”
This is a shocking but familiar false equation. Jew-haters and Islamists minimize, disbelieve, but deeply envy the Jews as victims of the Holocaust. But they covet the reverence for sacred victim status that they believe Jews have—ostensibly via trickery. Islamists invented the false allegation of “Islamophobia,” positioned the Palestinians as the “new Jews,” and appointed the Jewish Israelis as the “new Nazis.”
Unfortunately, many Europeans signed onto this lethal narrative in the hope that doing so would appease their hostile, unassimilated Muslim citizens. Also, latent European anti-Semitism happily found a new outlet in anti-Zionism, which is the new anti-Semitism.
Are Muslims being falsely accused and even persecuted? Can one even ask this question in an era when Muslim-on-Muslim, Muslim-on-infidel, and Muslim male-on-female barbarism is borderless, boundary-less, and beyond surreal?
Nevertheless, the false concept of Islamophobia – often defensively raised when the discussion focuses on radical Islamic ideology – has become equal to real concepts such as homophobia, sexism, and anti-Semitism. Despite FBI verification that hate crimes against Jews are far greater than those against Muslims, Muslims continue to insist that they are being racially and religiously targeted.
Islamophobia is worse than anti-Semitism, according to Hatem Bazien, the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine and the director of Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, in a 2011 report co-sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Bazian concluded that, on a scale from 1 (best situation for Muslims) to 10 (worst possible situation for Muslims), “Islamophobia” in America stands at 6.4. One does not know how to greet such brazen foolishness.
Globally, Islamists demand that the West, which has separated religion and state brilliantly, accept and accommodate an aggressive and entitled theocratic state—not only abroad but in its midst.
In Hamid’s view, real “moral courage” in France would consist of a “major political party” calling for “a rethinking of laÃ¯cité [secularism], and for the broadening, rather than the narrowing, [of] French national identity.”
Challenging the “tolerant” West to accommodate an intolerant Islam is the tried-and-true Islamist method of hoisting the West by its own petard. Sophisticated Islamists are trying to use post-Enlightenment laws to achieve the right to practice pre-medieval and barbaric customs. Western political leaders and the intelligentsia are flirting with cultural suicide and siding with barbarism over civilization.
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and the author of 15 books, including The New Anti-Semitism and An American Bride in Kabul. She is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, writes regularly for Israel National News and Breitbart, and is the author of three pioneering studies about honor killings.