A Subway Murder and the 'Islamophobia' Industry

Last Saturday, a deranged woman pushed a man in front of a subway train in New York and killed him, explaining that she did it because of her anger with Muslims ever since 9/11. Immediately, leftist and Islamic-supremacist writers swung into action to blame the murder on what they called an “Islamophobia industry,” despite the killer’s obvious insanity and history of violent attacks on random people. The attacks revealed much about the use of the term “Islamophobia” as a propaganda tool designed to shut down thinking.

One written by Haroon Moghul, “a Fellow at the New America Foundation and the Center on National Security at Fordham Law” as well as “a doctoral candidate at Columbia University,” offered more intelligence than the usual character assassins and victim-mongers who spread the myth of “Islamophobia.” It also illuminated a great deal about the central premises of the real “Islamophobia industry” – the one that is dedicated to intimidating Americans into thinking that it’s “bigoted” to resist jihad and Islamic supremacism.

Moghul portrays the deranged killer Erika Menendez as holding Muslims “collectively responsible for the actions of a few,” which he and his ilk frequently complain is what “Islamophobes” supposedly do: blame all Muslims for the actions of a few “extremists.” There may be some nuts somewhere who do that, but actually people like Haroon Moghul (and a host of others in his camp) are the ones who constantly proclaim this, not counter-jihadists. Moghul and co. want you to believe that that is what counter-jihad analysts are doing when they note that jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. Actually, in doing that they are recognizing that there is a problem within Islamic doctrine, which Muslims could conceivably reform or reject outright, however unlikely it may be that large numbers will do either. They are not blaming all Muslims for 9/11 or any other act of jihad. But if they can convince you that counter-jihadists are indeed vilifying all Muslims, they will thereby discourage people from joining their ranks. And that is the goal.

Moghul complains that for “Islamophobes,” “all Muslims are on the hook for what some Muslims do, and must constantly distance themselves from other Muslims—as if the whole must bear responsibility for the acts and faults of individuals. How does that make any sense, except in a racialized and dehumanizing way?”

In reality, no Muslims are “on the hook for what some Muslims do.” But virtually every day, somewhere in the world, some Muslims harm and kill people and justify their actions with reference to Islamic texts and teachings. How are we to deal with this? Do those Muslims who operate mosques and Muslim schools in the West (and elsewhere) not have any responsibility at all to try to ensure that their pupils don’t become jihad terrorists? Certainly non-Muslim states have felt a great responsibility to prevent jihad terror, and have thus showered money on Pakistan and other Muslim countries in a vain attempt to stop it, while spending yet more money on hearts-and-minds initiatives such as building schools in Afghanistan, etc. Whether or not these programs are wise, is it entirely up to non-Muslims to try to stop jihad terror, with its 20,000+ attacks since 9/11?

There is no program teaching against the “extremist” version of Islam in any mosque anywhere, despite the fact that converts to Islam seem peculiarly susceptible to this understanding of Islam (cf. John Walker Lindh, Adam Gadahn, Richard Reid, and on and on) and the universally held assumption that the vast majority of Muslims reject and abhor this version of Islam. Why isn’t there? And why is Haroon Moghul obfuscating this issue, instead of expatiating on how unjust it is for him to be “on the hook” for what some other Muslims do?

Moghul insists that “Islamophobes” give short shrift to the fact that peaceful Muslims have a different interpretation of the Qur’an from that of the violent ones. That may well be, although the violent interpretations are far more mainstream than he lets on; in any case, the existence of the peaceful interpretations doesn’t cancel out the existence of the violent ones, just as Hamas-linked CAIR’s ad campaign that tries to sell the idea that jihad is helping your sixth grader with her homework and playing hopscotch with her when she’s done doesn’t do anything to address the inconvenient fact that a significant number of Muslims believe it involves warfare against and subjugation of infidels. The people who need to be convinced — the Muslims who believe in violent jihad — aren’t being addressed.

The common claim that the “Islamophobes” endorse the view of Islam of the “extremists” and ignore “moderate” versions ignores the deep traditional roots that offensive jihad for the subjugation of infidels has in Islam. Those who hold to the “extremist” view are actually quite mainstream. Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was not an “extremist” by anyone’s account, and yet he wrote that “in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” In Islam, he added, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

In modern times, Majid Khadduri, an Iraqi scholar of Islamic law, wrote this in his 1955 book War and Peace in the Law of Islam: “The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world….The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.” Was Khadduri, a scholar of international renown, an “Islamophobe” who was cravenly endorsing the “extremist” view of Islam in order to dehumanize Muslims? Come on.

But Moghul rejects any connection between the Qur’an and violence, asking, “Imagine how we’d react to the proposition that reading the Bible explains George W.’s war against Iraq?” Well, if “George W.” had said that the Bible explained his war in Iraq, we would be remiss if we not only refused to look in the Bible to try to understand what George was up to, but vilified those who did look in it as haters of George. But that is the situation we are in today: Islamic jihadists explain and justify their actions with reference to the Qur’an, but those who look in the Qur’an and Islamic teaching to try to understand them, and who call for reform and reevaluation of the teachings they use to justify their actions, are vilified and demonized as “Islamophobes.”

Then when we look at the “moderate” Muslim establishment in the U.S., we see Muslim Brotherhood ties, open cheer-leading for the murderers of Hamas, and the like. It does not, to say the least, inspire confidence.

Haroon Moghul could have really struck a blow against any actual “Islamophobia,” i.e., the things that really make people dislike Islam: the bombings, the beheadings, the murders by Allahu-akbaring hordes. Instead, he is enabling them, by doing all he can to destroy their opposition.


Image courtesy shutterstock / Marcio Jose Bastos Silva