Is it because of Islamophobia or Islam? Is someone trying to show Islam in a bad light or is Islam showing itself in a bad light?
This is one of the most important questions of the age. If it’s because of Islamophobia, then it’s nothing to do with Islam (apparently). If it is because of Islam, then it simply actually can’t be because of Islam and someone’s just being islamophobic after all.
That’s they way the narrative too often goes. Islam good. Islam can’t be bad. Islam good. All good – no bad in it at all. And any criticism of Islam is (you guessed it) islamophobic.But that would kind of mean Islam is islamophobic in some weird but real sense. Because Islam does seem to do, a pretty good or bad job depending on your perspective, of showing Islam (itself) in a bad light. Don’t take my word for it – turn on the news programme every night at my house. When someone who is claiming to be a very serious Muslim, citing islamic motivations, imperatives, and texts does a pretty awful thing, we are told it has nothing to do with Islam. Huh. Nothing? Seriously? Nothing at all? Not even just a little bit. But he – the guy that did the bad thing and thousands and sometimes millions of other Muslims think it has something to do with Islam. That’s why he did it and they support him for it. So a muslim can think it is nothing to do with Islam and another muslim can think it is to do with Islam but I cannot think it is anything to do with Islam. I am simply not allowed to do that. Many muslims say I can’t think or say that – they quickly label me islamophobic. And the liberal media says the same thing – not because they are muslims because being liberals wouldn’t go so well for them in any regard – but because of their a priori committment to the philosophy that bad things could never be specifically attributable to a particular ideology particularly one with non-western stripes. Ideology good – sometimes bad person misinterpret ideology – he bad, ideology always good. There is one general exception and that’s those Christians – they bad blood, with bad blood ideology.
So why is Islam on my news programme every night. It’s a tricky question with a tricky answer. How you answer or even get to answer this question will tell us a lot about the future world we will live in. How you get to answer is important because the charge, slur and whip of islamophobia will try to dictate if and how you get to answer. The ‘how’ will involve courage on your part if you are going to be in any way critical. Islam does not appear to sit well in a world of appraisal, weighing and critique.
I have had some interesting conversations with muslims who believe in free speech so long as no one speaks freely. This conversation occurs without any sense of irony. Many muslims have imbibed the non islamic mantra of free speech as exactly that – something spoken of – but without any really meaning. You can speak freely but you mustn’t say x, y, or z. Oh! so not free speech then. Limited restrictive speech. I wish you would call it that – you are confusing non muslims when you say you believe in it when you don’t. But actually maybe you are being as consistent as you can be (but not actually very consistent) because you think we mean the same thing as you when we talk of free speech. Like we don’t really mean it – it’s just something you say. If that’s the case, well then can I apologise to you if you are a muslim with ideas of ‘not really free speech’ free speech. We should have been clearer.
I believe in free speech. I think I know what that means. You may say anything – no matter how offensive it is and who it offends. I do not want the law to restrict you. When Christ returns – he will come with other authority in this regard and he will deal with the free speech issue as he sees fit. In the meantime the best way for me to protect my freedom to share the gospel through speech is to protect all peoples freedom to say whatever they want, even if the gospel and the God of the gospel are defamed.
Why is Islam on my news programme every night. It’s obvious. It’s because of Islam silly.