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