Commentary | The entire month of November was Islamophobia Awareness Month in Great Britain and while it passed without even a mention in the United States, it raised a storm of controversy in Europe. Everyone from outspoken Atheist comedian Pat Condell to French public transport company RATP staked out their own piece of turf in the debate that followed the proclamation. The event, which was organized by several Muslim Rights groups in cooperation with the London School Of Economics, caused many normally rational people to express utter outrage and anger at the very concept that a word like Islamophobia even exists.
While there is always a certain degree of bigotry directed at believers in every religion, according to the FBI, fewer Muslims are victims of hate crimes than any other religious, racial or social group. Here in the USA, incidents of anti-Islamic hate crime in 2010 accounted for only 12.1% of those motivated by religion and just 2.4% overall. There were only 160 incidents, 186 offenses, and 197 victims in a population of over 2.6 million Muslims. More importantly, no Muslim was killed for being Muslim. Fifteen years (1996-2010) of online FBI reports tabulate 149 deaths due to hate crimes, but the records show zero anti-Islamic fatalities during this period.
The FBI pointed out that Jews remain the faith group most likely to be targeted in hate crimes. There were 887 anti-Jewish incidents in 2010, comprising 67.1% of those linked to religion. This is 5.5 times the number of anti-Islamic incidents. Hate crimes against Jews in Europe are at the highest level since World War Two and Muslim youth are the primary perpetrators.
No one should condone bigotry and hatred but there is a feeling among the critics of Islam that many Muslim groups use the word Islamophobia to silence any discussion that runs contrary to the teachings of Islam or mentions Islam in a negative light. It doesn’t matter if the criticism is well deserved, absolutely truthful and factual and made without the slightest hint of bias. No one seems to grasp the very simple concept that you can criticize Islam without hating Muslims, just like you can criticize the Pope for his idiotic stance on birth control without hating Roman Catholics.
While there are certainly many people who dislike Muslims, there are countless examples of the overused word Islamophobia being spoken to stigmatize legitimate critics of Islam and intimidate even the most respected and serious scholars from publishing papers or voicing their opinions.
During the recent Islamophobia Awareness Month, RATP, the company that manages the public transport for the city of Paris raised a storm of outrage after they refused to run ads promoting the event. While the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France, (CCIF) sees the dispute in terms of a “campaign against racism and Islamophobia,” scholars pointed out that Islam is not a race and the company decided not to enter the argument.
Many French citizens are highly concerned about the situation in dozens of cities every Friday when Muslims crowd into specific neighborhoods, close the streets to all non-Muslims and hold open air prayers, in violation of French Law and the nation’s constitution which bans any religious display in the public sector.
Current French law also forbids women to walk around the streets of France covered from head to toe, with only a slit for the eyes. This is not done for religious persecution but to prevent crime and to make sure no one can cover their face to conceal their identity. Sociologists point out that most non-Muslim woman finds the nijab to be a prime example of the oppression of women, but when was the last time you heard any woman’s rights group speak out against it in public?
Certainly the crimes of Mohamed Merah, who singled out four Jews including three young children for slaughter in his antisemitic rage, did little to endear Muslims to the French people nor did the wave of hundreds of copycat attacks on Jews in the months that followed.
French Muslims have openly persecuted religious Jews in recent years, horribly illustrated by the brutal torture murder of Ilan Halimi by a gang of Muslim youths. Throughout Europe, Jews are afraid to walk down the street wearing any religious attire and Jewish cemeteries are routinely desecrated.
In England, there has been a public display of true racism and hatred against non-Muslims by Islamic leaders like Anjem Choudary that has reached universally offensive levels. Choudary spouts his hateful teachings with great hostility towards so-called infidels, openly advocates the death of every Jew on earth and routinely marches about with hundreds of followers holding signs that proclaim “Democracy Go To Hell” and “Behead Those Who Insult Islam.” Yet voice one word of criticism of his behavior and he is the first person to scream “Islamophobia.”
Strangely, as Islamophobia Awareness Month reached its peak, the Israeli government finally had enough of the endless stream of terrorist rockets being fired on its civilian population by an openly Jew hating, genocidal organization called Hamas and they decided to respond by killing the head of the Hamas military wing and destroying as many rocket launchers and weapons storage facilities as they could find in Gaza.
Hamas and their various terror proxies prefer to hide their weapons in Mosques, schools or hospitals and fire their missiles from neighborhoods full of civilians. They use innocents as human shields and then scream about Israeli war crimes when one of their shields is killed. Hamas also uses children to scout for Israeli soldiers and several alleged victims of Israeli brutality were actually killed by misfired Hamas rockets.
Over the years, we have heard many people try to describe the insanity and vile philosophy of Hamas with their genocidal charter of hatred towards the Jewish people, but no one has ever done it better than Pat Condell.
There are many of us in modern society who have no use at all for organized religion. Some of us are atheists or humanists and some believe faith comes from the heart, not the mouth of an Imam proclaiming death to homosexuals or a celibate Pope who threatens everyone with hell fire and damnation for enjoying life’s physical pleasures. We are sick and tired of the mindless eternal squabbles between the various religions and the exploitation and victimization of non-believers by whatever faith or government happens to be in control.
It is time to abandon all your phobias and hatred and instead, celebrate life and humanity. Keep your rage, keep your intolerance and please don’t try to force your dogma on me. My life is just fine without it and I don’t care which G*d you claim is the best. The G*d I would worship prefers no one human over another and has no title to impose, no threats to make and wants us all to cherish every moment of our existence until we draw our last breath and take one final giant step over the threshold into the great unknown.