A Muddled Definition of Islamophobia Undermines Real Efforts to Combat Bigotry

Yesterday, the British parliament debated a proposed definition of Islamophobia, one that would have potential legal ramifications. To the British Muslim writer Ed Husain, the term is itself a flawed one, often employed in such a way as to detract from serious efforts to counter the very real problem of anti-Muslim bigotry in the UK. He argues, in a brief submitted to the House of Commons, against adopting the definition:

[B]y officially [recognizing] the offense of “Islamophobia,” we open the door to the worst consequences. The German judge who refused to grant a Muslim woman a divorce from her abusive husband in 2007 did so on the grounds that [his behavior] was culturally acceptable and sanctioned by the Quran. Many more such incidents will become normal for fear of accusations of racism and Islamophobia. . . . As a Muslim, I could be branded an “Islamophobe” and prosecuted, possibly jailed, for questioning interpretations of the Quran that continue to discriminate against women in regard to violence, divorce, custody, or inheritance.

Among the muddled thinking behind the creation of the term “Islamophobia,” writes Husain, is a flawed parallel with anti-Semitism:

[While] anti-Semitism [is] based on untruths and . . . directed against a specific people, Islamophobia is about ideas, beliefs, and attitudes. [Furthermore], the Jewish population in Britain is around 280,000, while the Muslim population is around three million. Jews are not an evangelical or proselytizing community, while an increasingly visible number of Muslim activists in Britain are hell-bent on mass conversions to their brand of hardline Islam. To shield this phenomenon from scrutiny for fear of insult or consequence is to lose the battle of ideas before we even begin.

Anti-Semitism, [moreover], is based on outright fabrications that have haunted Europe for centuries: the historical specter of blood libels, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the lie of Jewish conspiracies. However, the “phobia” of Islam is based on real acts of violence that have been committed and justified in the name of the religion in opposition to the moderate Islam practiced by hundreds of millions around the globe. In 2015, nearly three- quarters of terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the global Islamist movements. . . .

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Spectator

More about: Anti-Semitism, Islamism, Islamophobia, United Kingdom

While Islamic Jihad Launches Rockets at Israel, Hamas Faces a Dilemma

Nov. 13 2019

On November 1, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iran-backed terrorist group based in the Gaza Strip, launched a barrage of rockets at nearby towns in Israel. The IDF responded by striking military targets in the Strip and, yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, killed Baha Abu al-Ata, one of PIJ’s senior commanders. The terrorist group responded by launching some 200 rockets over the course of the day, sending Israelis to bomb shelters not just in the immediate vicinity of Gaza but also in the center of the country and as far north as Tel Aviv. Khaled Abu Toameh analyzes the political calculations of both PIJ and Hamas:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror