Posted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:45 am
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'Islamophobia' by another name covers all religions
You know, there are Aussies who feel uneasy about Muslims for exactly the same reason we feel disquiet around Christians - the sheer irrationality of their religion.
Anybody who needs to say "I'm a Christian" falls into a semi-weirdo category of devotion that unsettles me because of the implausibility of their beliefs and need to advertise their superstition.
The same goes for people who kneel five times a day in the direction of a Saudi city where non-violent criminals are regularly beheaded because of the medieval jurisprudence known as Sharia law.
Knock yourself out praying, folks, it's your human right, but I'll also exercise my right to have as much fun at your expense as I do people who think rubbing ash on their forehead at Easter and drinking the "blood" of a 2000-year-old Jew named Jesus somehow brings them closer to the truth of the universe.
If you also feel the need to veil your face to signify your piety - away you go as well - but don't tell me it looks any less preposterous than a "Jesus Saves" T-shirt, promise bracelet or yarmulke.
We can all play "pick a verse" from said holy book to prove whatever argument we're prosecuting, but let's at least be honest about the connective tissue between religion and repression.
Christians block stem-cell research, prevent women accessing abortion, encourage the spread of HIV by denying third world couples condoms, demonise homosexuals and picket funerals of soldiers holding "God hates fags" placards.
Likewise, Muslims throw acid in the face of girls trying to go to school, see rape as a punishment, not a crime, and believe the just reward for renouncing their faith is death.
This is not to suggest all or even most religious adherents believe in these practices or that we should hate them for it. However, legitimate criticism of the many bad ideas pervading Islam should not be conflated with bigotry towards Muslims.
As atheist Sam Harris told the sulking actor Ben Affleck on Real Time with Bill Maher last week, the charge of Islamophobia hurled at people who denounce the poor "treatment of women, homosexuals, free thinkers and public intellectuals in the Muslim world" has seen liberals fail the very principles they espouse.
As Maher himself continuously points out, "freedom of speech, to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, to leave a religion, equality for women, for minorities including homosexuals, these are liberal principles liberals applaud but, then when you say, in the Muslim world, this is what's lacking, then they get upset".
I've written many pieces lambasting the religious nonsense that passes for morality among high-profile Christian legislators such as NSW's Fred Nile and Victoria's Geoff Shaw, yet to suggest Islam is equally thick with fantastic propositions and horrendous interpretations that have devastating real-world effects, you're assured of being derided as a "bigot" or, weirdly, "racist".
Much of the dialogue in this country about Muslims suggests they live in a cheery vacuum separate from the rest of the Islamic world and denies the very real link between belief and behaviour.
The simple fact is a significant proportion of Muslims here and abroad believe the Quran was written by the supernatural creator of the universe and to follow "his" words makes them a better person than those of us who do not.
That makes me uncomfortable.