I'm pro-Muslim. I sound funny just saying that. I'm not too keen on religion or zealots in general. But why would I be anti-Muslim any more than anti-Jew or anti-Christian? I have good friends who are Muslims. I have students who are Muslims. I have neighbors who are Muslim. I've traveled to Muslim countries. Muslims all nice people. Well, not all of them, but you know what I mean. People are not bad because of their religion. It simply doesn't make sense to hate people because of their religion. I'm not going to debate that issue.
Am I an Islamophobe? [cue scary music]
Time magazine has an article about Islamophobia [reprise scary music]. One of the questions Time asks is "Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers." That's supposed to show Islamophobia. Forty-six percent of people responded in the affirmative.
I would respond in the affirmative. I mean, I haven't done a study and certainly not historically (the Christians have a pretty bad track record from, say 1000 AD to well into the 20th century!). But today, if you were to look at people killed in acts of religious-inspired violence, most of those doing the killing believe they're acting in the name of Islam (Most of the victims are Muslim too, I would add).
What if parts of Islam are more likely to encourage violence against others? And I'm not saying that most Muslims agree with these zealots.
It's like asking if you believe that African-Americans are more likely than whites to commit acts of violence in America. Well... if you say yes are you a racist? It's un-P.C. to talk about it, but blacks are more likely than whites to commit violent crime in America. And yes, the academic in me wants to mention class, poverty, education, and other factors that explain much more than race, but yes, there is a crude-correlation between race and violent crime. We can be liberal and tolerant and not deny reality, right? To know that doesn't make me racist, I hope.
So why would thinking that Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence be a sign of Islamophobia? What if it's true?
Shouldn't we be working harder to end violence rather than pretend it doesn't exist?