Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Is Islamaphobia a Form of Racism?
I have to say, right off the bat, that I agree somewhat, with Hamid Dabashi in his opinion piece at aljazeera.com - Donald Trump did "hit a new low by calling for a 'total and complete' ban on Muslims entering the United States". While the U.S. should be very careful who is allowed to enter the country, banning all Muslims isn't the way to go.
I would, however, ask Dabashi to pay closer attention to his language.
Dabashi, and others like him, continue to call anti-Muslim views and opinions "racist". The last I checked, Islam is not a race. Islam is a religion - an ideology. So called "Islamophobia" may or may not be bigoted but calling it racist gets us nowhere.
Words matter. When you call someone or some idea racist, you immediately shut down all conversation. We're not allowed to discuss Trump's idea on banning Muslims because of the racist call.
The same can be said about a charge by Yassin Musharbash in the guardian. Yassin Musharbash claims "Islamophobia is racism, pure and simple".
Call anti-Muslim comments and actions "bigoted" or "prejudice", if that's your opinion, but I cannot say it often enough - Muslims are not a separate race. There are Muslims of every race and language group.
A web search of "Is Islamaphobia racist?" brought me to debate.org where 63% of those responding to that question agree with me. Reading the arguments of many making up the 38% who believe Islamaphobia is a form of racism, it's obvious that they do not understand the meaning of the word.
In the U.S., quite a few Progressives who might be inclined to call Islamaphobia racist have no qualms about being a rabid anti-Catholic. Shall we likewise call Catholiphobia a form of racism?