Johann Hari asks:
Do you believe a religious leader who fights to save Section 28 and says gay people spread disease is a fulminating bigot? Do you believe a “leading cleric” who advocates stoning gay people to death should be denounced? Do you believe sharia law – which requires gay people to be lashed or stoned – is always and forever unacceptable? Then, according to an energetic and aggressive group of white straight boys who surreally consider themselves to be on the left, you are an “Islamophobe” and “objectively pro-Nazi”.
He is talking, of course, about the silly website, IslamophobiaWatch: the pet project of Livingstone groupie, Bob Pitt.
Some choice extracts:
While Islamophobia Watch talk about defending Muslims, they end up defending the nastiest and most right-wing part of the Muslim community – the ones who are oppressing and killing the rest. For example, the gay rights campaigner Brett Lock wrote to one of the website’s authors, asking if he really thinks it is Islamophobic for gay people to resist sharia law, a system that demands we should be lashed or stoned. He replied, “As with adultery, I think it’s not homosexuality as such that’s an offence but the sexual act itself. And you need four independent witnesses for a conviction.” This is, of course, the distinction made by the vilest homophobes across the world – we don’t dislike gays, just the ones who actually fuck each other.
Johann’s conclusion is characteristically on the nail:
Islamophobia Watch – and the dense chunk of the hard left that adopts a similar approach – is trying to redefine consistent atheism as a form of racism. I believe that the idea of God has been a disaster for humanity, and any person who bases their morality on the writings of hallucinating pre-modern nomads is going to have pretty warped values. Islam is no worse than the absurdities of Christianity and Judaism, but it is no better. Yet Islamophobia Watch call the National Secular Society – which campaigns on this basis – “bigots”.
At the moment, there is a fierce battle within Islam between fundamentalists with a viciously reactionary agenda, and liberals with a more moderate agenda. If Muslim women and Muslim gays are going to have any kind of decent life, the liberals need to receive solidarity and support – but slap-dash charges of Islamophobia intimidate people who could offer it. They make people afraid to help the Muslim critics of fundamentalism, encouraging people to see Islam as a homogenous block defined by its most reactionary elements.
Like all people who cry wolf, those who cry Islamophobia are aiding and abetting the real wolves out there. There is an authentic Islamophobia howling in the background. It is the notion that Islam is a uniquely evil religion, more inherently war-like and fanatical than Christianity or Judaism or the other primitive delusions.
Frankly, I doubt whether the IslamophobiaWatch gives a toss about real muslim men and women. My assumption has been that it is essentially little more than a Socialist Action run PR front for the Livingstonian wooing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Given that the Muslim Brotherhood (Youth Section) has taken to sticking two fingers up at Socialist Action’s gay muslim politicos, I wonder why Pitt still wastes his time on what he must now accept is a rather thankless task.
I haven’t given up hope. Perhaps he will rejoin the Left, one day.