Is “Islamophilia” a Greater Problem than “Islamophobia”?

December 29, 2015 | Amir Taheri
About the author: Amir Taheri, formerly the executive editor (1972-79) of Iran’s main daily newspaper, is the author of twelve books and a columnist for the Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Historically, Amir Taheri notes, the U.S. has compiled an exemplary record of defending Muslims, from Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to ensure Arab independence after World War I through the defense of Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. Yet this history has engendered little affection, and neither have contemporary efforts to combat the supposed danger of “Islamophobia”:

[N]o major power in recent history has gone out of its way as has the United States to help, respect, please, and, yes, appease Islam. And yet, no other nation has been a victim of vilification, demonization, and violence on the part of the Islamists as has the U.S. . . .

[In modern times], the politically correct crowd has turned Islam into a new taboo. They brand any criticism of Islam as racist, ethnocentrist, or simply vile, all crammed together in the new category of “Islamophobia.”

Is it Islamophobia to question a religion whose Middle Eastern leaders often preach “Death to America” and hatred for Western values? More prevalent than Islamophobia is Islamophilia, as leftists treat Muslims like children whose feathers should not be ruffled.

The Islamophilia crowd does great disservice to both Western democracies and to Islam itself. It invites Americans and Europeans to sacrifice part of their own freedom to atone for largely imaginary sins against Muslims in the colonial and imperialist era. It also invites Muslims in the West to learn how to pose as victims and demand the rewards of victimhood as is the fashion in Europe and America. To the Muslim world at large, the message of Islamophilia is that Muslims need no criticism, although their faith is being transformed into a number of conflicting ideologies dedicated to violence and terror. . . .

All that Western intellectuals or leaders need to do is stop flattering Islam, as President Obama has been doing for the past seven years. . . . Many Muslims resent that kind of flattery, which takes them for idiots at a time that Islam and Muslims badly need to be criticized.

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