For secularists to stand up for secular principles, Islamism and also anti-Muslim hate must be tackled. Religious identity is used by both to undermine the concept of individual human rights, justice, and liberty for all.
Beware the binary approach that says you should only ever be critical, or focused, on one side. That you are a traitor for not being solely focused on the enemy, that you must be without concern for collateral damage. In this “for me or against me”, nuance becomes obfuscation and cowardice. You are on one side or the other in this battle for civilization, where the means will justify the ends to save it.
Bethany Blankley articulates the Christian far right view of this in her piece: As Christianity exits Europe, ‘Criminal Muslims’ fill void with rabid violence in The Washington Times
She states empty pulpits impact fertility rates and good works. Nothing apparently to do with the resin soaking through your pants. Feeling the gospel just makes you want to breed for Jesus:
Heterosexual marriage and procreation cannot be forced. But both are the natural heartfelt response to hearing the Gospel. And if there is no one preaching, teaching, or encouraging the development of family and community life, both will cease to exist.
No place for gays in the community with this theology – they are the unnatural. However, having given us this anti-gay point her attention becomes focused on “The rise of secularism, multiculturalism, and failed immigration policies created the perfect storm for crime in epic proportions to plague Europe.” She explains this a bit more in a tweet.
She claims (with no sources cited) Muslim immigration and secularism have combined to create a Muslim crime wave in Europe. The deportation of Muslims is advocated, with Dutch politician de Graaf quoted as saying “The Dutch government must commit itself to repatriation of Muslims back to Muslim countries so we will not be plagued with honor killings, cousin marriages, anti-Semitism, homophobia, animal abuse, rampant crime, rape.” This is not just about immigration, it is the criminalising of an entire people based on religious identity.
In her own words, she claims 80% Muslims as religiously inspired on welfare (really only think 20% are in employment?), that all Muslims are Islamists (notice how she interchanges in the next quote) who will kill more than the fifty million people the Nazis were responsible for:
What the EU fails to acknowledge and each country is realizing is that Muslim immigrants have no intention of integrating. Eighty percent are on welfare, following Islamic teaching to take money from the non-Muslim “Kuffar.” Both Sharia4Belgium and Sharia4Holland advocate complete extinction of Jews.
Both countries have the largest population of Muslims at 6 percent, (behind France’s 7.5 percent), with over 25 percent living in major metropolitan areas. These percentages are no small matter, represent imminent threat to European civilization.
Three generations prior, in 1936, nearly 6 million Germans were members of the Nazi Party, representing 7 percent of Germany’s population. Those 7 percent caused over 50 million deaths in less than 10 years.
The 6 and 7.5 percent of Islamists in Europe will cause even more death unless they are stopped. Unless others like de Graaf speak truth, name and fight evil, which is Islam, these countries will implode. Swedish ministers Bjorkborg and Vikstrom both identified what their people need.
The question remains, will leaders rise up and heed minister Charles Finney, who warned: “If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
Believing such a raving narrative, it is no wonder 17,000 people may protest at Muslim immigration in Germany – organised by the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” (Pegida).
Most PEGIDA followers insisted they had no connection to Nazis, calling themselves “patriots” concerned by the “watering down” of Germany’s Christian-rooted culture and traditions. They often accuse mainstream political parties of betraying them, and the media of lying.
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), called Monday for citizens to launch a “rebellion of the decent” against the anti-foreigner movement, telling a weekly magazine “that’s the kind of public reaction we need now.” [DW]
Chancellor Merkel had a message for those demonstrating “I say to all those who go to such demonstrations: do not follow those who have called the rallies because all too often they have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts”
Xenophobia and racism find cover by saying they are attacking Islam, not a race. Yet when you read the thinking and claims behind it, it is white christian supremacist nonsense directed at all Muslims. Advocating unjust mass action against all Muslims as self defense.
Those that claim to be secularists should see how dangerous and craven the narrative is. It is not one to copy or emulate.
Islamists want Islam to pervade throughout society, via the state, the courts, the mosque and the household. There is no freedom to form your own opinion about God, or to be free from religion. Your conscience could be your death sentence. Sharia is the legal enforcement of religious interpretation – that God rather than legislators makes the laws. The segregation of women, their marital status, how they dress, and rights are reduced. While the benefits of childbearing to reduce fasting, and menstruating to avoid daily prayers, are talked up as an advantage over men. Apostates, atheists, LGBT and those of other faiths face legal discrimination. Free speech is curtailed from the arts to literature, let alone freethought.
Secularism rejects that theology is a basis for how a community or state should be run, because it denies a citizen their freedom of religion. It denies equality of citizens when religious identity promotes differential treatment by the state and law. Nor should a religious view allow the rights of any other citizen to be diminished.
Any theocrat must therefore be opposed. As Marc Schneier mentions “Islamist extremism is a genuine threat to world peace. But those who lump all Muslims together, and dismiss as meaningless the courageous stand of the moderate majority against extremism, aren’t helping to win that battle.”
We cannot ignore religion, and what people claim to be true about it. As Shadi Hamid and Will McCants observe:
While religion isn’t always the best way to understand the motivations of ISIS and its followers, it is, at the very least, relevant. We may not think the followers of the Islamic State are motivated by true Islam (whatever that might be). But it matters that they are motivated by what they think is true Islam.
The Islamic State has something to do with Islam. It’s only a question of what that something is.
That is why criticism of religion is essential. To point out that it is not just atheists quoting koranic verses about unbelievers being killed. There are Muslims claiming to be inspired by these verses as they kill. Naturally, the other Muslims they kill are claimed by them to be unbelievers too, so they can kill them with a clear conscience. How many Ahmadi have to be killed, while people still claim they are not Muslims?
The claim to truth is one that extremists use to justify violence against those that disagree with it. When ISIS destroy shrines they do so believing they are emulating the prophet when he destroyed idols in Mecca. When they crucify and behead they cite the koran which mentions them as punishments. Context, interpretation, the bigger picture, are used to say these things are not permissible now. Yet it exists in the verse, and ISIS are carrying it out.
Religion has something to do with it. Literalism, the infallibility and timelessness of a text have to be questioned. We can point at the book written in the Seventh Century as the problem. We can also look at the people who in the 21st century are interpreting it, their motives and reasons for enacting the way they do.
Yet the difference between criticism of religion and anti-muslim hate should be clear enough:
Where are the moderate Muslims standing up against fundamentalists and Islamists? A good place to start is Karima Bennoune’s “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.” As Nancy Graham Holm says in her book review:
Her stories have impact. They’ll force you to re-evaluate the opinions of fashionable western cultural relativists, who sometimes justify veiling and FGM as authentic and unassailable cultural practices. She wants us to see women’s rights as human rights, and cultural relativists as misguided individuals simply purveying another kind of racism.
Bennoune’s stories will awaken you to the clash within civilizations, not just between them. Most of all, her stories will make you re-evaluate whom you consider to be Muslim moderates, followed by the question: So what? Bennoune cuts Muslim moderates no slack, if they cannot recognize the human rights of women. She warns us about cooperating with so-called Muslim moderates just because they are not jihadists.
Karima Bennoune mentioned at the Secular Conference last October in London that within a religious paradigm people are challenging theocrats and fundamentalists on the front line. Atheists here must not play into the hands of the far right, which strengthens Islamists in turn. Targeting the funding of extremism from abroad is a key factor in beating the import of fundamentalism.
Just be warned, when you do challenge extremists and the bigoted hate of muslims, you will get hateful comments. They are nothing compared to what is at stake, in the battle against religious extremists and the far right.
Silence is not an option. Islamism and anti-Muslim hate both need to be tackled. They feed off each other. In their death grip on each other as they spiral downwards to the depths of dehumanising, the liberal and secular values that have given Europe it’s freedom will fall with them unless we stand against both of them.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog