“Islamophobia”: An Insidious Term

Prejudice and bigotry against Muslims certainly exist, but, writes Jeffrey Tayler, the term “Islamophobia” both obscures Islamic realities and serves as a cudgel to silence discussion about Islam itself. Indeed, those who decry “Islamophobia” often direct their ire at reformers who are themselves Muslim:

Those who deploy the . . . term “Islamophobia” to silence critics of the faith hold, in essence, that Muslims deserve to be approached as a race apart—not as equals, not as individual adults capable of rational choice, but as lifelong members of an immutable, sacrosanct community, whose (often highly illiberal) views must not be questioned, whose traditions (including the veiling of women) must not be challenged, and whose scripturally inspired violence must be explained away as the inevitable outcome of Western “interventionism” in the Middle East or racism and “marginalization” in Western countries.

Fail to exhibit due respect for Islam—not Muslims as people, Islam—and you risk being excoriated, by certain progressives, as an “Islamophobe,” as a fomenter of hatred for an underprivileged minority . . . and, most illogically, as a racist. Islam, however, is not a race, but a religion. . . .

No better evidence of this strain of illogical, muddled intolerance of free expression exists than the suspicion and ire that regressive leftists reserve for former Muslims and Muslim reformers working to modernize their religion. In a moving 2015 . . . address, Sarah Haider, who is of Pakistani origin, recounts being called everything from “Jim Crow” to “House Arab” to native informant by American liberals for having abandoned Islam—by, that is, the very folk who should support women, regardless of their skin color, in their struggle for equality and freedom from sexist violence and chauvinism.

Read more at Quillette

More about: Islamophobia, Moderate Islam, Racism, Religion & Holidays

 

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy