Fear of bigotry, not Islam
Sinem Tezyapar, Ynet News 29-3-2013
Islamophobia is defined as the irrational fear and intolerance of Muslims.
But is it really irrational and baseless?
Most Muslims are critical about the suspicions, concerns and sometimes prejudiced attitudes displayed toward them because of their religious identity, but for how much of this are the Muslims responsible? And do we, as Muslims, genuinely take into consideration the justified reasons behind this fear and take steps to eliminate them?
The concerns in the Western world are primarily based on the behavior of a special kind of people: people who want to “convert” non-Muslims compulsively or coerce them into living in a specific way in societies where there is a majority Muslim population, or persecute non-Muslims, or use terrorism or violence to reach their goals. The aforementioned are crimes that Islam clearly opposes, and those who resort to these cruel methods are also proving that they are not true Muslims…. I call them ‘bigots’
Today bigotry, backwardness, radicalism, fanaticism or extremism – whatever you want to call it – is the biggest problem confronting the Muslim world.
It is a huge threat, spreading like a virus, ruining otherwise good people, stripping them of their humanity and turning them into loveless, violent, rigid extremists. That is why so many in the world have an openly hostile, or at least deeply ambivalent, attitude towards Islam and Muslims.
Bigotry, which is one of the greatest barriers to beauty, love, friendship and happiness, is an all too prevalent common mentality. Every religion, every thought, every ideology has its bigots and fanatics; however the Muslim world has been wrestling with the dangers of bigotry and radicalism for far too long and on far too wide a scale.
Were this simply an internal issue, confined to a single tariqah (school of thought) or an isolated geographic location, the issue could be resolved easily enough. What we have seen, however, is a virulent strain of fanaticism that has been unleashed across the Islamic world and has spread with the rapidity of a pandemic. Fanatics who claim to be Muslims have introduced their pseudo-religion made up of their own rules as Islam… The bigots have very distinctive qualities which separate them from true Muslims.
* While a true Muslim is joyful, open and full of life, a bigot is sulky, with no expression of love in his/her eyes.
* While a true Muslim likes everything that is beautiful, appreciates a woman’s value and loves all living beings, a bigot hates women, and is against aesthetics or beauty in general.
* While a true Muslim likes the arts and has a very strong sense of aesthetics, a bigot not only disdains the arts and aesthetics, but actively opposes them.
* While a true Muslim attaches great importance to science and contributes to scientific progress, a bigot is against science.
Perhaps what is most important for everyone to know is that a true Muslim is loving, compassionate and sincerely desires peace, love and friendship to be the prevailing moral values. On the other hand, a bigot is aggressive, full of hatred and rage, and they see violence, the use of brute force, war and conflict as sacred concepts. …
Moreover, while a Muslim uses his wisdom and thinks deeply, a bigot does not reason, but rather acts in compliance with the dogmas he has learned…
Because of this bigoted mindset, Islamophobia has taken hold throughout the world. A human model that does not enjoy art, kindness or beauty, that has a harsh and narrow mindset, is of course not only a threat to the West, but to Muslims as well.
The author, Sinem Tezyapar, is a political and religious commentator from Turkey, and an executive producer at a Turkish TV.
Is It Right to Call a Bigot a Bigot?
Dr. Joe Wenke, Huffington Post 29-3-2013
Most bigots don’t think they’re bigots. They think they’re right.
When I was growing up in an all-white working-class suburb just outside Philadelphia, almost all the adults in my neighborhood were racists. … They all thought that black people were inferior to white people, intrinsically inferior, that is. They thought that black people were by nature stupid, immoral and dangerous. Yes, dangerous. … They also all thought that they themselves were good, god-fearing Christians. They didn’t think they were bigots. They thought they were right.
It’s the same today with most people who are anti-gay and anti-transgender. I’m sure the entire congregation of the Westboro Baptist Church thinks of themselves as good, god-fearing Christians. They think they’re not bigots. They think they’re just right. I mean, their website is called GodHatesFags.com.
Clearly, if somebody is a bigot, we need to call that person a bigot. But in calling out bigots, let’s start with the biggest bigot of all. To paraphrase the Westboro Baptists, God, or at least the god of the Old Testament, is anti-gay and anti-transgender.
But the Old Testament god’s bigotry doesn’t make bigotry right. It just makes the Old Testament god a bad god. Shame on him…
If, based on your religious beliefs, you demonize people […] then you are against freedom and equality for those people. You are practicing bigotry. You are a bigot, and you deserve to be called a bigot.
Dr. Joe Wenke is the author of ‘You Got to Be Kidding! The Cultural Arsonist’s Satirical Reading of the Bible’.