Islamophobia Defined

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Just as the Muslim Brotherhood had affinities with Nazi totalitarians, so they absorbed and embraced Marxist indictments of the capitalist West. Their instructors were first their Communist allies and then post-Communist, “social justice” progressives. Islamic jihadist pronouncements regularly incorporate the analyses of American leftists. Among the books recommended in Osama bin Laden’s fatwas are Mearsheimer and Walt’s conspiratorial text on how the Jewish lobby controls Washington’s policy in the Middle East and Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.

Indeed, the anti-Islamophobia movement has been built on the foundations created by progressives and, as a result, is already well advanced in the West. In 1996 the Runnymede Trust, a leftist group in England, established a “Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia.” Its elaborate definition of Islamophobia has since become a model for Muslim Brotherhood fronts like CAIR and the Muslim Students Association in their drive to impose anti-Islamophobia strictures on everyone and suppress critics of the Islamic jihad. Under the Runnymede definition, Islamophobia includes any one of these eight components:

  1. Islam seen as a single monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to new realities.
  2. Islam seen as separate and other – (a) not having any aims or values in common with other cultures (b) not affected by them (c) not influencing them.
  3. Islam seen as inferior to the West – barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist.
  4. Islam seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, engaged in ‘a clash of civilizations’.
  5. Islam seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
  6. Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand.
  7. Hostility towards Islam used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
  8. Anti-Muslim hostility accepted as natural and ‘normal’.”

Note, at the outset, how contradictory these proscriptions are. The very first Runnymede injunction seeks to ban all references to Islam as a “single monolithic bloc.” But then, with one exception, every other Runnymede proscription presents Islam as a single monolithic bloc: “Islam seen as separate;… Islam seen as inferior;… sexist; Islam seen as violent,” “Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand”…, These statements presume that Islam is a unitary entity, and can, for example, make judgments about the West with a single voice that are rejected out of hand. These definitions of Islamophobia are made as though there were no separatist Muslims to be concerned about, no violent Muslims to fear, no doctrines associated with “Islam” that are backward and sexist, and no Muslim criticisms of the West that should be rejected out of hand.

There is a reason why the Runnymede statement and its imitators take a monolithic view of Islam. It serves their primary goal, which is to conflate criticisms of some Islamic doctrines and opposition to Islamic terrorists with attacks on Muslims as such. As the signers of the Rushdie manifesto put it: “‘Islamophobia’ [is a] wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.” Thus critics of Islam’s relegation of women to second-class citizenship are labeled anti-Muslim even though they are defending Muslims, and opponents of Islamic terror are called Islamophobes.

Each one of the Runnymede criteria is so vague as to be easily applied to any criticism of Islam. Is Islam sexist – i.e., do women have diminished rights in Muslim societies and cultures? It is undeniable that they do. But in the Runnymede view to say so is Islamophobic. Is Islam engaged in a clash of civilizations? The leaders of Islamic jihadist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, and the rulers of Muslim states like the Sudan and Iran proclaim that they are in a civilizational war with West. But to recognize this fact is Islamophobia. Is Islam a political ideology? It is the ideology of political organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban and states like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Islamic apologists all over the world criticize the idea of the separation of religion and state, and compare Islam favorably to Christianity precisely because Islam has a political doctrine and Christianity does not. Yet to note this fact is anti-Muslim.

There is no mystery as to how the Runnymede principles will be interpreted. They have already been used to condemn every critic of the Islamic oppression of women, Islamic support for suicide bombings and other acts of terror, and of Islamic intolerance. Such critics are Islamophobes.