395 Liberalism and 'Islamophobia'

The Story of Liberalism and 'Islamophobia' had another chapter added, one in which Ben Affleck had a leading role; turns out there's a side to him I hadn’t been aware of. Apparently he is fast-talking, hot-headed, interruptive and can be quite irrational.

In his discussion with Sam Harris on Bill Maher's show Real Time he ripped into whom he perceived as 'islamophobic', where Harris said, “We have been sold this meme of 'Islamophobia', where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry toward Muslims as people.”




For more check out Sam Harris' blog ... I declare a bias, I like Sam Harris.

I blogged about him - and Project Reason - before.

Harris: "Affleck and Nicholas Kristof (another panelist) then promptly demonstrated my thesis by mistaking everything Maher and I said about Islam for bigotry toward Muslims. Our statements were “gross,” “racist,” “ugly,” “like saying you’re a shifty Jew” (Affleck), and a “caricature” that has “the tinge (a little bit) of how white racists talk about African Americans” (Kristof)."

The next point in the discussion I find very interesting, says Harris: "Kristof made the point that there are brave Muslims who are risking their lives to condemn 'extremism' in the Muslim community. Of course there are ... and I celebrate these people too. But he seemed completely unaware that he was making my point for me - the point being, of course, that these people are now risking their lives by advocating for basic human rights in the Muslim world."

Here is a video in the aftermath of the above debate, check it out: "The Facts about Islam after the Ben Affleck debate" 


Sam de Brito picks up the story in his Sunday Herald column All Men are Liars.

Says he: "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."

Hear, hear.

So the question is:

How far do we go with tolerating religion? Do we tolerate religious intolerance?

It seems if we don't, we'll be called 'bigots' and 'racists' by the likes of Ben Affleck.

For me the issue here is this:

We are living in a world and in an age where the acceptance of religious freedom often is a given; it has - in a way - become sort of a 'political correctness' to say I tolerate all religions (with the proviso [in my case] they don't denigrate or harm followers of other religions). If that is true, then what of Sam Harris saying,“We have to be able to criticize bad ideas, and Islam is the Mother lode of bad ideas ...” ?

photo Getty Images

I blogged about burqas before

Himself and Hirsi Ali specify why 'Islam is the Mother lode of bad ideas' in an interview he conducted with her: In Islam … “Women (don’t) have full equality with men under its doctrines, there’s (a) problem for apostates or blasphemers, and (with) honor killings, denying girls an education, denying women the right to leave their homes without permission from a male relative, performing marriages on girls as young as age 9, the continued practice of female genital mutilation for “purity,” the stoning of homosexuals …”

Is it 'Islamophobic' and 'Racist' to want to discuss the above?