Richard Dawkins explains why he’s not Islamophobic

August 10, 2023 • 12:15 pm

We’ve had some discussion about words like “transphobia” and about what they mean. To gender activists, that word may mean anybody who doesn’t want natal men competing as transwomen in athletics, even though those holding that opinion have nothing against transgender people and would defend their civil liberties ardently.  That’s why I’ve been called “transphobic.”

Others, like me (and Richard Dawkins below) think that “phobia” means an “irrational fear”, and so a “transphobic” is someone with an irrational fear of trans people. Thus, while I adhere to natal sex separation in sport, I reject the label “transphobic.”

In the article below on his Substack site, Richard Dawkins also rejects the label “Islamophic,” which has been copiously applied to him. Yes he still sees Islam as the world’s most harmful religion, and deems some people like Salman Rushdie as being justifiably Islamophobic.

Click to read. This site is an infinitely better way for Richard to express his views than through truncated and often misunderstood tweets that cause huge Dawkins pile-one:

Some excerpts:

If your belief is indefensible, your ignominious last resort is to accuse your critics of “-phobia”. I have long criticised all religions as irrational, and faiths as dangerous. Most of my attacks have been against Christianity, because I know it best. In spite of this I have never been accused of Christophobia. But I am regularly berated for Islamophobia, and I even had a radio broadcast in California (about a totally unrelated subject) cancelled because of my reputation for “Islamophobia”. Cancelled, mark you, not by Muslims but by American so-called “liberals”.

Phobia is defined as irrational fear, as in arachnophobia, agoraphobia etc. If Salman Rushdie fears Islam, it would not be an irrational fear, it would be eminently rational. At the whim of a nasty, bigoted old man in Iran (in character strongly resembling the Abrahamic God), Rushdie has lived much of his life with a massive bounty on his head. He has recently suffered a religiously motivated stabbing, which has left him blind in one eye. Rational fear is not phobia.

I’m wondering, though, given the characteristics of much of Islam that Richard decries below, if all the separate phobias he lists (I give only a partial list) doesn’t add up to “Islamophobia”.  Remember, that’s a fear of a religious ideology, not a fear of Muslims themselves.

I am not Islamophobic. I am certainly not Muslimophobic. Indeed I regard Muslims as Islam’s main victims, badly in need of defence against their own religion. If we temporarily redefine “phobic” not as irrational fear but as rational detestation, then I am phobic about the following:

Throwing gay people off tall buildings or crushing them under a collapsed wall. (CNNDailymailHindustan Times)

Or publicly caning them (note the laughing glee of the audience, including children (VICE News)

Whipping women for the crime of being raped, or the crime of being seen in public with a man to whom they are not married. (The GuardianTORONTO STAR)

Stoning women accused of adultery to death. (THE WEEK)

Female genital mutilation. (Nursery World)

Compelling women to cover their hair and faces, leaving only a slit for the eyes.

Compelling girls to stay indoors, while boys roam free. . .

This list goes on further, and Richard concludes:

If all, or even any, of that list could be laid at the door of any religion, then a profound dislike of that religion could be defended. It certainly is not the case that most individual Muslims would endorse the list – although it has to be admitted that more than a quarter of British Muslims (Harris poll 1989) wanted Salman Rushdie to be killed, and nearly two thirds thought The Satanic Verses should be burned.

It is often pointed out that Christianity used to be just as bad, and it still is just as irrational. But the worst excesses of Christianity now thankfully lie in the past. If only the same could be said of Islam. What is especially galling is those Western “liberals” who think Islam is a race, and are so terrified of being thought racist that they refrain from criticising the above horrors, even those perpetrated against women and gays.

Hitchens often pointed out the past excesses of Christianity when addressing Islam’s present perfidies, and pointed out, like Richard, that only one religion now supports all the oppressive acts listed above. And, in fact, Dawkins ends by quoting Hitchens:

“Islamophobia” is a deeply silly and pernicious abuse of language. And it’s not the only fashionable word ending in “-phobia” that condemns itself as a last-resort substitute for rational discussion.  In all such cases, I recommend the Hitchens Riposte: “I’m still waiting to hear your argument.”

I would add that the kowtowing towards the excesses of Islam by many Westerners is craven, patronizing, and evinces “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” How dare Westerners excuse or ignore the behavior of countries that execute gays, atheists, and apostates, oppress women and deny them education, and force women to wear coverings so as not to excite the presumably uncontrollable lust of men, while at the same time demonizing Israel, which does none of these things.  It’s because Arabs, even if genetically similar to Israelis, are seen as “people of color”, while Israelis are seen as “white adjacent.” It’s as if implied pigmentation conferred virtue! These differential views of Arab versus Jewish states constitute one of the most pernicious aspects of Authoritarian Leftism and Wokeism.

43 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins explains why he’s not Islamophobic

  1. I am not sure I accept that “phobia” always means an irrational fear. We don’t hear the terms much anymore, but there used to be Anglophobes, Francophobes, Russophobes, and the like. No one felt that their opinions were irrational, although perhaps mistaken. It just meant a strong dislike or prejudice. Of course, nowadays, to label someone a “phobe” is an attempt to indict them and case them into one of the deeper levels of hell.

    1. I think the psychiatric definition is a little different from the common use you correctly cite, DrB. Since psychiatrists see only people with disturbed mental health, phobias in the medical sense are those fears, whether rational or not, that impair psychic or social functioning, as Sastra says further down. A recluse who likes being reclusive to protect herself from Covid and doesn’t feel “sick” can’t be called agoraphobic. But someone who seeks help because she is desperately, achingly lonely out of fear of going out to see her (former) friends would get a diagnosis of agoraphobia, assuming she realized her fears were irrational. If she had no insight into the irrationality of her fears, she might actually have schizophrenia. Phobias and delusions aren’t the same thing.

      The more severe the impairment of function, the more irrationally we tend to paint the fear. A financial analyst from New York City who had became so fearful of Islamist extremists that he had got himself fired for refusing to go to work in the twin towers of the old World Trade Centre or fly in airplanes would be confidently diagnosed as having Islamophobia in a psychiatric sense. This would be a mental health diagnosis, not a moral failing.

      So Russophobia, Sinophobia, or modern communistophobia, in psychiatrically well people did and does have valid implications for foreign and domestic policy. It’s not so much irrational paralyzing fear as thoughtful planned-out opposition to an existential threat. I agree with Richard Dawkins and Jerry that Islamophobia should be regarded in the same light. One shouldn’t admit to Islamophobia, though, because it gives away too much to the opponents who use it to mean hate and bigotry. A well-founded or politically motivated fear should just be called “prudence”, or “stopping entry of Muslims [= adherents of Islam] into our country until we figure out what the hell is going on.” Accusations that a viewpoint or policy is “Islamophobic” (or “transphobic”) should be met with, “Still waiting for your argument” (Hitchens) or the shorter, “So?”

      1. Apologies if I am misunderstanding you but I don’t think that one can describe all “~phobias” in psychiatrically well people as “thoughtful planned-out opposition to existential threat”. There are, for example, plenty of people (many religiously motivated) who detest homosexuals without being under any kind of existential threat from them. There are also many people who dislike foreigners (sometimes vehemently) for no reason other than the fact that they have different customs to ours and eat spicy/garlicy food. There is a clear distinction between this and a rational fear of the governing regimes in Russia and China which is justified by ample evidence that they do indeed present a threat. To my mind the former can be reasonably described as phobias (in the non-clinical sense) but the latter is best not.

        Unfortunately describing people as ‘~phobes’ is often used as a disreputable means of closing down debate, as in the case of labelling people as islamophobic when they criticise Islamic regimes for the oppression of women and gays, cruel punishments, sponsorship of terrorism, etc. In other words those concerns are simply based on irrational bias and not to be taken seriously. This tactic is, of course, to be resisted.

    2. I agree. The ‘phobia’ suffix has changed meaning and it seems quaint to insist that ‘homophobia’ means fear of gay people rather than prejudice against them. ‘Islamophobia’ generally means prejudice against Muslims. ‘Antisemitism’ means prejudice against Jews, not against all semitic people. Let’s just accept these shared meanings, even if they’re at odds with their derivation, and debate the issues themselves. We don’t want to end up like those people who insist that ‘decimate’ means ‘reduce by 10%’, even though it plainly doesn’t.

  2. It’s because Arabs, even if genetically similar to Israelis, are seen as “people of color”, while Israelis are seen as “white adjacent.”

    That’s because “whiteness” is now identified with being successful. Israelis have been successful in founding, expanding and defending Israel, and making it a place with high standards of living and respect for human rights. Therefore they are now “white”.

    To complement that, being “of color” is identified with being unsuccessful and claiming “victim” status.

    See also Asian-Americans. They are not “of color” in woke ideology, they are “white”.

    It’s as if implied pigmentation conferred virtue!

    Or, rather, being unsuccessful confers virtue. The “white”/”of color” labelling signifies that.

    1. I think the reason the Authoritarian Left sees Israelis and Jews as white is because they see them as colonists, settlers. It fits in with their narrative that they don’t belong there.

  3. “Salman Rushdie”

    Wow – case closed.

    Sexuality does have a difference in kind : attraction.

    Thus, simple disinterest – or rejection e.g. on the “dating scene”, say, between incompatible individuals is all to easy to attribute to phobia.

    No – they’re just uninterested, thank you, and let’s leave it at that, thank you.

  4. I do not pay much attention to the phobia label any more than other popular labels such as woke. It is generally a made up label to use on individuals or large groups of people to make others in your tribe believe you and your position. It is simply name calling and often used because the person does not have a better argument. People love making up names to describe other people they do not like or do not agree with. That is why they often have a hard time explaining what the term means. The current governor of Florida has made woke his campaign slogan and he is the killer of woke. Bill Maher has also made it his step off point to complain about everything. The phobia label has worn itself out and the same is true of the woke.

    1. That is an important point. Looking at the accusers, it is clear to me that they use these labels in order to dismiss with extreme prejudice, and so protect their side. “I don’t have to even consider what you say because you are x-phobic”.

  5. I’ve always considered a “phobia” to be an irrational fear or dislike bordering on a clinical obsession, which is why equating it to criticism of doctrine or actual behavior seems like an attempt to shut down a debate by smearing the character of the person disagreeing with you. Now I have had Christians accuse me of being an atheist because I hate and fear God, which, since I don’t think it applies, seemed like a garden variety argumentum ad hominem. The overuse of “-phobic” applies.

    There are people who do qualify as Islamophobes, homophobes, transphobes, and, I suspect, Godphobes and atheistphobes, but the label has to be applied judiciously. It requires actual hatred and exaggerated terror. If you use it only when you think the group being critiqued is oppressed while practicing the exact same behavior against the privileged, you just might be a consistency-phobe.

  6. I agree with your observation that it’s unconscionable for leftists to support Islam, which violates almost every precept of left-wing morals. Most Muslims are to the right of Donald Trump on social issues, yet they are seen as “allies’ of the left (there is a good recent podcast between Razib Khan, Sarah Haider, and others discussing this very topic).
    I’d also add to Dawkins’ list another example of Muslim bigotry: Muslims believe that Jews are descended from apes and pigs, and a Hadith says that in judgement day the trees and stones will tell Muslims to eradicate the Jews.

  7. I think that those on the Left that condemn people that criticize certain tenets of Islam and the negative actions that flow from them as Islamophobiacs do so because they view the criticisms as code for signaling that ALL adherents to Islam hold values that are antithetical by default to western ones such as democracy. That is, they blithely charge that critics of Islam are really disguised bigots against adherents to the faith as individuals. There is hypocrisy here on the part of these leftists. They argue constantly that one can criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic against Jews as people. Yet, they don’t seem it possible that one can criticize Islam as an institution while not harboring personal animosity against individuals. But, then again, for these leftists, heinous actions carried out by some in the name of Islam can be explained easily as the unfortunate residue of western imperialism.

  8. I always understood “phobia” as meaning irrational fear, so I didn’t understand people being transphobic. What’s there to fear?

    Now I get it. “Phobic” now refers to dislike or disdain, rather than simply fear. I don’t really like the expanded usage, since the term is now ambiguous. If one is agoraphobic, is one fearful of open spaces or does one disdain them? On the other hand, perhaps the expanded definition does for arachnophobes. The arachnophobes I know both fear *and* disdain our eight-legged friends.

    1. Liberals often suffer from a paralyzing dread of being accused of “Islamophobia”, so apologists for Islamism leverage this irrational fear all it is worth. As a treatment for this Islamophobophobia, I suggest a period of residence in places where orthodox Muslim piety dominates life. Or just places where Islamic enthusiasts have conducted particularly strenuous exercises, like Paris.

  9. The most inexcusable attitude towards Islamism is that of feminists, who can’t bring themselves to excoriate (or even mention) the male muslims who freely commit honor killings, marry underage girls, condemn their wives and daughters to cover their body at all times and then accuse their critics of “Islamophobia”. These same feminists have slandered female victims of Islamism such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Phyllis Chesler and others who have had the nerve to actually tell the public about these atrocities. Apparently American feminists are happy to ignore the suffering and oppression of Muslim women. One wonders just what the word “feminism’ means to them if they can
    ignore the plight of 50% of the Arab and Muslim world. (It isnt just feminists who avert their gaze; add Ian Buruma and Nicholas Kristof to their number for insulting
    Hirsi Ali).

    1. A female Islamist (Linda Sarsour) actually said (Tweeted) “Brigitte Gabriel=Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away — they don’t deserve to be women.”

      1. Yes, I find Sarsour to be a particularly odious theocrat masquerading as a democrat. Her tweet suggests that all women who criticize Islam deserve to have their vaginas removed. Truly repulsive.

        1. And she said these things to a woman who already endured the agony of having much of her clitoris removed! Despicable.

  10. Nowadays, the suffix “-phobia” seems less to mean “fear of” and more to mean “hatred of”. As for “Islamaphobia” it is absolutely legitimate to hate Islam for certain reasons. Adherence to the tenets of Islam is a choice, not a condition. All mutable properties can and should be subject to evaluation and criticism. So, hating someone for being an Arab (for example) is unacceptable, but hating someone’s adherence to the most barbaric tenets of Islam (for example), is not only acceptable, but a way forward.

    1. A modest demurral, Mitten.

      I would be careful with legitimizing hate, even if an ideology (or a religion) has to be fought against with lethal violence, as in war or in hostage rescue. Hate prompts irrational actions that can cause pointless losses of one’s own forces and incites needless massacres of unresisting civilians or prisoners. If killing large numbers of the enemy, even his civilians, is necessary, (as it often is), to destroy his ability to make war on you, your soldiers and airmen will be mentally healthier to regard it as doing a dirty job to the best of their ability, not giving licence to some hateful lust that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Killing without hatred is the way forward.

      In recent years, many Canadian veterans of RAF/RCAF Bomber Command died off. In interviews recalled in their obituaries, they invariably described being mostly terrified twenty-somethings determined to do what they had signed up for, to take the war to Germany. Sixty percent were lost on operations, although some did return home from POW camps. (It was hard to get out of a stricken Lancaster.) Hating German factory workers (and their families) enough to kill them in the numbers they did didn’t feature in the stories they were willing to tell. These vets were the ones who lived to ripe old ages, perhaps forgetting their wartime hate. The ones who drank themselves to death uncelebrated in the 1960s may have had a different outlook.

      Hate might be OK for people who will never actually meet the enemy on the battlefield, or be called to stanch his bleeding and try to save his life. But I doubt that Israeli soldiers truly hate the Islamic Palestinians they have to shoot sometimes, no matter how much the hate is taught to be sent back their way. Maybe they do, and I stand to be corrected, but I don’t believe they would be as successful if the men and women with the rifles (and the scalpels and the aortic cross-clamps) were motivated by hatred.

      1. Sure there is hate involved, with the exception of the rare few who can totally detach themselves from the grim reality of it.
        I remember when I was in Iraq, this was something we talked about. I think it came down, in the simplest terms, to the need to blame someone for the fact that we were sent there, stressed out and miserable.
        Blaming the people who actually ordered us there would have been less productive.
        Anyway, it was a general consensus at the time that we would have preferred the whole place be carpet bombed, and any of us would have been glad to pull the lever.

        I cannot see how a sane person could dispassionately rake an enemy with fire from a .50 cal machine gun.

        But you pull yourself out of that mindset with a little time and distance. What I remember is not the feeling itself, but talking about the feeling with my peers. If the conversations had not happened, I would probably not remember how I felt at all.

        You put yourself at risk because of your comrades. You risk your life to protect them, or sometimes because you worry that they will think less of you if you do not do your best. But well controlled hate is very helpful for the violent bits.

        I think the poster you replied to was using too strong a word.

        My opinion.

      2. Thanks for your thoughtful reply Leslie. I understand it, and I agree with it. But please note that I was careful to specify a hatred of “someone’s adherence to the most barbaric tenets of Islam”. In other words, the focus of legitimate hatred is an ideology, not the person who espouses it. Certain ideologies are fully worthy of my hatred, and, I hope, yours.

  11. I have a friend who has a phobia of clowns. She doesn’t simply dislike clowns; they provoke a panic attack. Even a picture of a clown in the newspaper will provoke this reaction. She knows it’s just a photo, it can’t hurt her, but her body reacts to the stimulus. That’s a phobia.

    I don’t think all bigotry qualifies as a phobia, but some do. The horror writer H.P. Lovecraft for example, seems to have had a phobia toward minorities. He didn’t just despise them; they provoked a physical response in him. He wrote that the sight of them turned his stomach, made him shudder, made his skin crawl, etc. I would reserve the term “phobia” for cases like this.

    1. I suffer from Trypophobia, defined as an irrational fear of hole or bump clusters usually irregular. Some definitions state that this incites disgust. This for me is not the case, I usually feel anxiety when viewing certain hole clusters, some plants exhibit this to me however the “regulation” of for example a shower head has no effect but a friend once burned the imprint of a very hot shower head on his back and this was terrible for me to look at. I cannot explain it and for a long time did not actually admit to it until I found that others have the same problem. Strange human.

  12. Iran and Lebanon used to be fairly progressive for the Islamic world, until the hardliners took over. I’m certain that there are Christian hardliners in the West who would do the same if they got the chance. I wouldn’t dismiss Christianity as no longer toxic.

  13. OED lists it as “a strong unreasonable fear or hatred of a particular thing”
    So, irrational or unreasonable seems to be the key bit. The antonym is “philia”.

    A good example is wild animals some people are just ignorant, such as those who try to take selfies with buffalo. They seem to largely have received their knowledge of large animals from Disney movies, where the creatures can talk and are usually friendly.
    Other people have a philia for tigers or poisonous snakes. They know the animals can be dangerous, but believe (unreasonably) that they have a deep personal connection with the animal, and will never be harmed.
    I myself am not going into the tiger cage, but not because of a phobia.

    Islam is a complicated subject in this regard. I have had people try to kill me with rocket launchers and machine guns because they were Islamic and assumed that I was not. A great many people have had that experience.
    Countering with the Spanish inquisition and the crusades is a poor argument, because fearing them today would be irrational. Beyond which, both can be reasonably seen as reactions to Islamic conquests in Europe and the holy land.$zoom_1%2C$multiply_1.4066%2C$ratio_1.777778%2C$width_728%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/0ee273ec3a40cb353a126f67d430ab37eb71cb5a

  14. Backing Israel in its fight against terrorism: Islamophobic. Refusing to allow biological males to compete in sporting events against biological females without the women’s uncoerced consent: transphobic. Believing that clergy should not be forced to sanction gay marriages through their religious ceremonies: homophobic.

    The “phobic” terms oftentimes have little to do with pointing out fear or hatred. More often they are means of slander; at worst, attempts to dehumanize. They are little different than using the term “illegals,” little different from a slew of derogatory terms used for adversaries during shooting wars. In the culture wars the ones using the terms can exhibit more hatred (and ignorance) than the ones who are supposedly “phobic.” Well, at least in my “lived experience” . . . another asinine term that is perhaps best ridiculed rather than debated.

  15. The difficulty is always going to be how one takes criticism of an idea with criticisms of adherents to the idea. Ideas are inert after all, and it comes down to a question of whether particular behaviours are compatible with the kind of society we wish to live in. In that respect, speaking out against the odious nature of a religion is speaking out against particular adherents of that belief system. If we speak in generalities about the belief system itself, we are going to run into issues when adherents only “sorta” (to borrow from Dan Dennett) believe it, or interpret it differently, or reject it altogether. In anything as complicated as a belief system, all outcomes are possible.

    I think this is one reason why when the New Atheists came out against Christianity, a lot of the pushback was a variation of “not all Christians” or “not True Christians”. Because if we are criticising an idea, ultimately we are criticising those who believe in the idea, and those believers are going to take criticism as bigotry if it doesn’t exactly mirror the most charitable form of what they specifically believe (since a person always holds the most charitable form of a belief in their head).

    Point being, that to criticise Islam is to criticise believers in Islam, and to call Islam anything is to condemn those who hold that belief sacred. It doesn’t even matter if that’s not what’s intended, or whether there are aspects of Islamic belief and practice that are in conflict with liberalism. The act of criticism is the act of othering a group of people. And in an environment when xenophobia has plenty of ways of othering marginalised groups, it’s natural to be sensitive to attempts that may further cause harm.

    1. “The act of criticism is the act of othering a group of people”

      Does that include giving a speech (at Yale) titled “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind”? If not. Why not?

      1. Only going off the title, it’s hard to say. You’d have to look at the content to see whether it’s an attempt to other a group of people, or whether the title is just being provocative.

        A lot of discourse is about othering people, no matter the political allegiance. It’s easier to explain why someone isn’t a valid critic than it is to offer a well-rounded critique. Context is key, though, and an othering that enflames an already hostile crowd lands differently to someone talking in a way that only reaches a few academics and doesn’t have wider cut through.

  16. A compelling case – with citations to literature – that Critical Race Theory is but one fundamentalist religion – with faith in its belief – among all Critical Theories is made in :

    Race Marxism
    James Lindsay
    New Discourses 2021

    Citations include:

    Hood, et. al.
    The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism
    The Guildford Press

    Ben Clements “Defining Religion in the First Amendment : A Functional Approach”, Cornell Law Review, 74(3): article 4, 1989

  17. Richard Dawkins is a vile Islamophobe (and transphobe). He actually thinks (proof of his dire Islamophobia) that there is something wrong with FGM. If he was a real progressive (like PZ Meyers) he would know that FGM is a mere trifle compared with real crimes such as inviting a woman up to your room for Coffee at 4:00 AM.

  18. This is a common argument – Dawkins is arguing that because the word “phobia” refers to an irrational fear, that the term “Islamophobia” is therefore “a deeply silly and pernicious abuse of language”. But using this same logic, isn’t the term “Antisemite” equally silly and pernicious? A “semite” is a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language. It is in no way synonymous with the Jewish people nor (more to the point) those of the Jewish faith. Yet this term receives no such criticism. What would be the explanation as to why one inaccurate term is pernicious while the other inaccurate term is embraced?

    1. The operant words are “phobia” in one case and “anti” in the other. It’s understood that “Islam” refers to a religion and “Semite” to another: a member of the Jewish faith.

      I suppose your explanation is that people are coddling the Jews, right?

      1. This in particular is worth repeating:

        “It’s understood that “Islam” refers to a religion and “Semite” to another: a member of the Jewish faith.”

  19. No one has to love everyone…prejudices develop for usually trivial reasons but we seldom forget being attacked or mistreated. All we have to do is tolerate it if it doesnt
    develop into violence or slander, and accept the fact that even people with prejudices are entitled to equal treatment under the law and to free speech. The problem with Islam and most Muslims is that THEY wont extend these rights to nonMuslims (or women). Islam is an intolerant religion and its leaders need to be confronted and rebutted like any other oppressive ideology. Unfortunately feminists and leftists have a different moral standard for Muslims and excuse their scurrilous statements and oppressive practices, while excoriating (as Ian Buruma and Nicholas Kristof did) the victims of Islam like Ayaan Hirsi Ali for “provoking” these attacks. In the end all fundamentalist religions are the same: intolerant, authoritarian, morally righteous and in possession of the “true word” of one god or another. They dont know it yet but they are the ones who will end up in hell because their god really disapproves of them.

  20. @XV #14,

    You are quite wrong.

    Everyone knows antisemitism refers to animus against Jews. Regardless of the archaic or technical meaning of Semitic, the word is never used in ordinary speech. A child encountering the word antisemitism for the first time will discover what it means in its sense of hatred of Jews. It’s an example of how words with prefixes or suffixes live on while their roots die out, like ruthless, gormless, feckless. disgruntled. Anti- is an unambiguous prefix. Phobia does need some definition, even if its lodgement as a synonym for hate is perhaps irreversible. Our Prime Minister cites as an example of “transphobic hate” the notion that transwomen aren’t women.

    I see the task as trying to eliminate antisemitism while also resisting efforts to suppress dissent against government policy by silencing anyone who is -phobic about some aspect of it.

    1. Speaking for those of us who are gruntled and filled with ruth, gorm, and feck, I am both gusted and turbed by your comment, Leslie.

  21. Actually, I find Islam to be a scary religion because it’s essentially anti freedom. I wouldn’t like to live in a country where Muslims have significant political power. Fear of Islam has never been a phobia.

  22. Everyone who disagrees with Islamist terrorists’ version of Islam should be at least a little Islamophobic because Islamists are very open about letting us know they want to kill us.

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