Along with “progressive” (a word that should be restricted to poker), “Islamophobia” is one of the more maddening propaganda constructs of our time. Orwell could not have done better.
Of course we all know what a phobia is — an irrational fear. It comes from the Greek phobos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear.” Common ones are acrophobia (heights) and agoraphobia (crowds).
With very minor exceptions, I have seen little irrational fear of Islam in our society. What I have seen is a lot of serious and justifiable dislike of the religion for its ideology — notably its heinous treatment of women and homosexuals and its opposition to the separation of church and state, all codified by its all-encompassing Sharia law that seeks to legislate all facets of existence while instituting a global caliphate.
Nevertheless, soi-disant liberals and progressives or whatever they want to call themselves accuse those who dislike Islam for those reasons of irrational fear. That’s like having an irrational fear of totalitarianism. Ironically, it could also be construed, according to those same progressives, as an irrational fear of their own professed liberal values.
Crazy, no? La vie a l’envers. Life upside down.
We are back in the days of the ACLU defending the Nazis marching in Skokie, except the situation is quite different. In those times, the number of Nazis in Illinois was minuscule and the likelihood of a return to the Third Reich remote. Today there are 1.5 billion adherents of Islam, 21% of the world’s population. Achieving a global caliphate is not entirely unlikely. Irrational fear or ideological battle?
Clearly I see it as ideological battle with the word “Islamophobia” itself a weapon in that battle. It is an obvious way of avoiding debate by tarnishing the opposition.
Only it is not working very well anymore. It’s become too obvious. With 70% of the country opposing the Ground Zero mosque, a huge number of people aren’t buying it. Or don’t care. How many times can you attack someone before we’re back in grammar school and it becomes a case of “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”?
Okay, I’m an Islamophobe. Bleh.
But I propose a new term for something I suffer from much more acutely — Islamophobiaphobia. It’s an irrational fear of ideological nitwits.
There are many examples but some recent ones are Fareed Zakaria — who has informed us that GZM critics are worse than Hezbollah — and the New York Times‘ Timothy Egan — who thinks most Republicans are dopes. Talk about projection. (Note to Egan: As one who was once a Democrat and now hangs out, relatively speaking, with Republicans, intelligence and ideology do not correlate.)
So now you can call me Islamophobiaphobic. But I am not the only one. My suspicion is that we are many. How do you know us?
Well, not just because we break out in a rash when touching the editorial page of the New York Times or get migraine headaches in the presence of Christiane Amanpour. There are subtler indications. One of the key ones is the ability to differentiate. For example: just because you oppose a mosque being built at Ground Zero doesn’t mean you oppose mosques in general.
And finally, as you know these are difficult times, so I have some special advice to you, in the tradition of that great Dos Equis ad: Wherever you go and whatever you do — stay Islamophobiaphobic, my friends.
UPDATE: This article has been translated into French by Daniel Laprès.