Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fear of Islam is not a Phobia

Last night on TV I saw Imam Rauf tell us that if he has to move his planned mosque, there will be an explosion of violence in the Muslim countries. Does that mean Imam Rauf is Islamophobic, expressing a pathological fear of Muslims? Or is he a person particularly knowledgable about Islam and Muslims whose characterization of their expected behavior is reasonable?

And today I see that the US State Department has issued a travel advisory over fears of violent Muslim reactions to the planned burning of some Qurans by a small church in Florida:
The Department of State is issuing this Travel Alert to caution U.S. citizens of the potential for anti-U.S. demonstrations in many countries in response to stated plans by a church in Florida to burn Qur'ans on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Demonstrations, some violent, have already taken place in several countries, including Afghanistan and Indonesia, in response to media reports of the church's plans. The potential for further protests and demonstrations, some of which may turn violent, remains high. We urge you to pay attention to local reaction to the situation, and to avoid areas where demonstrations may take place. This Travel Alert expires on September 30, 2010.

So, is the US State Department Islamophobic, expressing a pathological fear of Muslims? ? Or is the US State Dept. particularly knowledgable about Islam and Muslims and this anticipation of their expected behavior is reasonable?

If Americans are frightened of Muslims, I am thinking maybe it is due to actual world events and anticipated world events as expressed by Imam Rauf and the US State Dept.

In support of the US State Dept travel advisory, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan says that if the Pastor in Florida burns Qurans, it will be received as "a declaration of war":
Claiming that burning the Koran is a part of freedom of expression is ridiculous and does not make any sense," the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, said in a statement.

"Insulting religions and holy books is a crime that provokes people. It is a declaration of war against them," it added.

I'm not supporting the idea of burning Qurans. But I do think it is a free speech issue. I wish he wouldn't do it. But the blame for any violence that results must be placed on those who react violently to a symbolic act.

This is comparable to the way women in the USA had to deal with arguments about rape. The fact that a woman dressed in a sexy way used to be used against her in rape trials in the USA. But now, in the USA, we accept that the man is responsible for his own actions. Hmmm, of course in many Muslim countries, women are still held responsible for the actions of the men. Women have to wear burkas so the men won't be aroused.

It sure seems like Muslim men have not been taught to separate their feelings from their behavior and that they are responsible for their own actions. They blame others for provoking them to violence and they blame others for provoking them sexually. It makes sense to me to be afraid of people who don't take responsibility for their own actions.


fooburger said...

I was loosely against the Quran burning until the *entire world* descended on this guy to stop him.
Now I'm disappointed to see that threats of violence, even abroad, are successfully chilling our freedom of speech. Who needs to pass 'Amendment 1.1' outlawing blasphemy of islam, when the entire political, military, and media establishments are going to come down on anybody who would do exactly that?

Search for 'bible burning' on youtube... scads of video of burning the christian bible. Search far and wide for videos of people burning Qurans, nonexistent. No media provider wants to get sued for their employees being killed because they didn't stop blasphemers against islam, I guess?

This is really messed up.

Perpetua said...

Hi fooburger,

That is my reaction, too. Thank you for putting it in to words. We have "de facto" outlawed blasphemy against one religion, and only one, Islam. And it was done out of fear, submission due to credible threats of violence.

Andy said...

Kudos Pertetua. Personally, I place Mr. Terry Jones in the same category as the friendly folks from Westboro Baptist Church. Constitutionally, he is within his rights to burn the koran, but rectitude would demand otherwise. This action is at its best, sub-christian. At its worst, benighted and giving no thought to unintended consequences.
I'm troubled by the disparity in "official" reactions to blasphemies. When the assault is aimed at islam, there is palpable dhimmitude. When the assault is aimed at the Judeo-christian community, all we hear are the crickets chirping.

Perpetua said...

Hi Andy,

Yes, it does seem similar to the awful activities of the Westboro Baptist Church. So, how is it that provocative acts of the Westboro Baptist Church against greiving US military families have not resulted in violence but just the stated intentions of Terry Jones had already resulted in violent Muslim riots in Afghanistan and Indonesia?

The worst part for me was that we were told this needed to be called off before Muslims went to Friday services at mosques or they would hear preaching against it and emerge enraged. So that tells me the problem isn't the ordinary Muslims but what they are told by their leaders in the mosques.