Sunday, April 27, 2008

Irrational Islamophobia

UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian defined Islamophobia as "unfounded hostility toward Muslims and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims." (Looking at people's phobia of Muslims, by Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer, Saturday, April 26, 2008)

I’m sure that since the first academic conference focused on Islamophobia is being held at Berkeley, the finding will be that fear of Muslims is totally irrational.

It’s certain that Bali tourists, London and Madrid commuters, Danish cartoonists, Salman Rushdie, Theo van Gogh and Aayan Hirsi Ali, Hindus in Kashmir, former Muslims who convert, Israelis living anywhere, but particularly near Gaza and the West Bank, the children of Beslan, the Moscow theater hostages, and many others, would all agree that fear of Muslims is totally irrational. Those still alive would, anyway.

Unlike Nicholas Berg, the three Christian girls in Indonesia, Daniel Pearl, Jack Hensley, Eugene Armstrong, Paul Johnson, some Turks, an Egyptian, a Korean, some Bulgarians, a British businessman, a Nepalese, and countless others, we shouldn’t lose our heads and give in to irrational fear.

Personally, I lived “on the economy” in Turkey with my late first wife and infant son for a year in 1964, and felt no fear. However, I can’t say the same for Armenians half a century before.

Although fear of Islam is irrational, American newspapers that had no qualms about publishing such things as photos of Serrano’s “Piss Christ” will not print the Danish “Mohammad” cartoons. It’s safe to criticize Islam, if you are ready to go into protective custody the rest of your life.

No comments: