Sunday, April 5, 2015

Islamophobia (A Five-Part Post)

Part 1: Introduction

Islamophobia is a kind of bigotry that has exploded in the United States, post-9/11. More recently, Islamic State, Boko Haram, and shootings in Paris, Sydney, and elsewhere have fueled the kind of fear that breeds such bigotry and racism. When times get tough, some people – instead of uniting behind the difficult work of solving problems – choose instead to sit on the sidelines and demonize a group of people. By demonizing Muslims, either directly or through attacks on their religion, bigots can freely vent their frustration and rage (both of which are really just fear). They also free themselves of having to think or deal with the complex problem of fighting terrorism, because they have convinced themselves that the only problems are Muslims and Islam.

The problem with such oversimplification is that it is self-sedation, and it has never worked to solve any challenge humanity has faced. Centuries of race wars, religious wars, and spates of violent nationalism in which bigots and racists demonized groups of people have never once solved anything. In fact, history shows that bigotry and racism only make things worse by adding a layer of hate and violence to already difficult situations, while allowing the real problems to fester unhindered. Racism and bigotry have always been wrong in the final analysis, and actions taken in their name have always wrong. Given this, many people have come to believe racism and bigotry should not be tolerated in any form. I urge people to resist Islamophobia on these grounds.

My five-part post covers several issues that build off each other:
1) Introduction
2) Racism & Islamophobia in The New Criterion (the catalyst for these posts)
3) Why Islamophobia is Wrong
4) The Cause of Terrorism from the Middle East
5) Implications for the United States

Part 2 of this five-part post (“Racism & Islamophobia in The New Criterion”) will be added soon.

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