Andrew Brown: Hating Islam Means Hating Muslims

To hate a religion according to Andrew Brown is to hate religious believers. To the point you want to make them victims. My hatred of religion for endorsing slavery makes me apparently hate modern religious believers, which is equivalent to rascism.

It is a trope among people who loathe and fear Islam that their fear and loathing has nothing in common with racism because Islam is not a race, the implication being that hating Muslims is rational and wise whereas hating black people is deeply irrational and stupid.

Racial and religious hatreds have one thing in common: they are not inspired by the race or religion of the hater, but by the religion or race of the victim. This is clearest in the case of antisemitism, which can appear as either a racial or a religious hatred, or indeed both. What’s constant is that it involves hating Jewish people, whatever the reasons given. Similarly, if you hate black people, you hate them on racist grounds whatever the colour of your own skin, and if you hate Muslims, Catholics, Quakers or Mormons, you hate them for their religion – whatever your own beliefs. So it is perfectly possible for religious hatred to be motivated by atheism and it may be quite common in the modern world. [Guardian Comment Is Free: Why I Don’t Believe People Who Say They Loathe Islam But Not Muslims

The article ends with Stalin and Mao being motivated in their religious hate by atheism. That these mass murderers would endorse Sam Harris, whose photo appears at the top of the article. That communism as an ideology promoted the hatred and brutal destruction of religion in society is not mentioned, just atheism.

The distinction between religion and its practitioners is an important one. Ideas do not have the rights, privileges and civility that people are entitled to enjoy. For me it is important to draw a distinction between Islamism and Islam, in that the former calls for society to be transformed along fundamentalist lines. Muslims that disagree and cross those lines are the first victims of such fundamentalists.

The body count is far higher for muslims killed by fundamentalists than it is for non muslims, when we look at the modern day blood bath playing out. The fundamentalist view that people are inseparable from their religion is one Brown is endorising.

Far right extremists need challenging because they promote discrimination (from immigration controls to no mosques being built) on back of religious critique debate. Secularism matters because it treats people regardless of their beliefs as equal citizens before the law and with the same universal human rights.

There is too much anti-muslim hate out there, when it is the fundamentalists and extremists which deserve our rancour. The oppressed by Theocratic States need solidarity, and to hell with people who suggest humanism is just a cover here to hate religion.

People matter not Gods. That is why I will continue to dislike religion, but stand up for people whether they have faith or not.

Andrew Brown offers no way to unite the religious and non religious to tackle extremism. Rather, he promotes that atheists are quite prepared to become mass murderers on the basis of other’s religious beliefs (just like plagiarist CJ does). Without specifying the context of what Sam Harris was saying about actions caused by beliefs that threaten humanity.

Feeding the paranoia of religious extremists, and deliberately misrepresenting how atheists feel about religious people is counter productive.

Those that discriminate against religious people need to be challenged. When it comes to religious freedom, atheists will be there supporting it. For it also means freedom from religion too.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Andrew Brown: Hating Islam Means Hating Muslims

  1. K P Spong

    Using my exquisitely attuned, super sensitive, all perceiving intuition I can divine that though Brown criticizes communism , he really has a problem with the Russian people, and almost certainly the Chinese, too. The man is a rampant racist!

  2. Benazir

    I wonder what Andrew Brown thinks of ex-muslims, those who, by leaving the faith, must at least dislike it in some way. Do they also dislike muslims too? Do they stop loving their family members and friends just by leaving the faith? If they look critically at their former beliefs and practices, are they engaging in the deeply unacceptable?

    What if they speak out against their oppression by the muslim majority in the community to which they still have links?

    These questions aren’t rhetorically. I genuinely want to know what I should be doing instead.

  3. I think you’ve misrepresented Brown’s point here quite seriously. He isn’t talking about disliking specific religious doctrines. He’s saying that it’s incoherent and “psychologically unnatural” to claim that you hate a religion but don’t hate the people who believe in it. He’s right. No one would ever say “I hate Nazism but I have no problem with Nazis”, or “I hate racism but I have no problem with racists”. People use it with Islam and muslims because it’s seen as politically incorrect to attack members of minority religions, but psychologically and conceptually it’s a nonsensical thing to say. “Islam” and “Judaism” do not exist outside of the communities that interpret and live them.

    • Reread him. He is stating you cannot oppose an idea with every fibre of your being and respect, even campaign for, the rights of your opponents as equal with yourself.

      You can, we do make a distinction between ideas and people. I fear for humanity when we no longer can tell the difference.

      Or else you claim atheists that hate religion are Stalin’s in waiting. I found Brown’s words appalling, sickening and even more importantly, wrong.

  4. Reread him. He is stating you cannot oppose an idea with every fibre of your being and respect, even campaign for, the rights of your opponents as equal with yourself.

    I don’t think the issue of “rights” ever actually was raised in the article. The title of the piece was “Why I don’t believe people who say they loathe Islam but not Muslims”. The issue is about psychology, not law. Again, as I mentioned he’s not talking about disliking specific religious doctrines/concepts. He’s talking about believing that “religions” are evil, while denying that their practitioners are.

    It’s very simple. Is the statement “I am against Nazism but I have no problem with Nazis”, coherent to you?

    • I’m making very clear how atheists distinguish views on religion, while promoting the human rights of believers too. Religious freedom and freedom from religion are the two faces of the same coin.

      Muslims are not islamists, which using your analogy would be Germans are not Nazis. Brown does not make the distinction that clerical fascism – state theocracy – needs to be opposed. So it is a poor metaphor to use.

      I do not confuse fundementalists with majority of religious people anymore than Germans with Nazis.

      Those that cannot see that difference really are not helping secularism.

      • I’m making very clear how atheists distinguish views on religion, while promoting the human rights of believers too.

        Yes you are making it very clear, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the topic.

        Muslims are not islamists, which using your analogy would be Germans are not Nazis. Brown does not make the distinction that clerical fascism – state theocracy – needs to be opposed. So it is a poor metaphor to use.

        German is a language. There’s no connection between speaking German and having a specific set of political beliefs/values. There’s an American Nazi Party and I would assume most of them can’t speak German. You’re saying that the relationship between “Muslim” and “Islam”, is equivalent to that between “German” and “Nazi”?

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