Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Innocence of Scandinavians

"Innocence of Muslims" is the title attributed to an anti-Islamic movie trailer. The 14 minute video clips were initially uploaded to YouTube in July 2012, under the titles The Real Life of Muhammad and Muhammad Movie Trailer. Videos dubbed in the Arabic language were uploaded during early September 2012. Anti-Islamic content had been added in post production by dubbing, without the actors' knowledge.    - From Wikipedia -

I ask you: Who would cause a riot about the title of this article? Does it seriously sound racist or hateful to you? Perhaps it sounds a little ignorant or simply incoherent or ambiguous for the simple fact that innocence isn't quite really an insult but can be. It's certainly not hateful. Now tell me, where was your bullshit-meter when the entire world was there asking forgiveness and condemning a poorly made amateur movie for being phobic (i.e. irrationally afraid) about Islam? What if there were 1.5 billion Scandinavians scattered around the world? What if any percentage of them thought it would be appropriate to slay you because of a movie transpiring an irrational fear of Scandinavia?

Well, we've got worse. Millions of people on this planet would kill me, simply for having compared Islam to being Scandinavian. My crime? A hate crime, of course. By accepting this as rational, hundreds of millions of so-called moderate Muslims are giving up not only on their freedom but also on mine, and it gets worse: they're hoping you're even willing to give up on the ability to criticize that very fact. Why? It hurts their social identity; emotional pride. Well, sorry but it doesn't work like that in the enlightened world. There's a world of difference between a phobia and hatred. Basically, the message this is sending is: Fear us yet be very careful to keep it to yourself, please.

When you first heard (or read) the term islamophobia, did it not automatically remind you of a word used to describe disdain against the LGBT community? More than anything, I saw it as just another of those silly attempts at silencing public criticism of Islam. Without studying sociology, we can still guess why it is that the qualificative homophobic is such an effective mean of fighting intolerance against homosexuals. Nobody likes to be called as such, probably because, in most societies, there's a still huge taboo around mental illnesses and phobias are part of that spectrum. Labeling most people as mentally deficient plays with their self-esteem and tricks them into denial. It's almost too easy... yet it doesn't really fix anything by itself. Real haters are not all that scared.

Haters are hateful; they're up to no good. Fear may often breed hate but it isn't hate all by itself. It actually is a very natural reaction that has helped our survival for a long time and still does in many situations. It may prevent you from trying to cross a highway. But not all fears are rational. Those that aren't are usually labeled as phobias. Let's ask ourselves: Are we really phobic of Islam? Most importantly, what would qualify as "islamophobia" supposing it does exist? Some people could genuinely be afraid of specific elements of Islam. Would that necessarily qualify as an irrational fear? When islamists threaten to behead infidels, is it irrational to take those threats seriously? Even when a cheap mind trick compromises one's mental pride, you still cannot call that a phobia.

While the term "Islamophobia" gains in recognition, we should get one thing straight: Gays are not threatening to riot over the alleged "crime" of homophobia. If a group of lesbians did, no one with an ounce of self-respect would cower in fear and try to appease the attackers. Besides, Islam is more complicated than sexual orientation. It's a socio-political religion and if you bring political views in, expect your ideas challenged. What we have here are completely opposite world views clashing with one another. Moderate Muslims are not exactly like your average mainstream Catholic. Please realize that most really believe The End is coming, just like any eschatological cult. A surprising number of them seem genuinely afraid of whatever would happen if they allowed someone to make fun of their imagination, without displaying some sort of God-appeasing reaction.

If you acknowledge this mind-set, it is more easily understandable why they'd expect us to be afraid too. Instead of pretending it's all a matter of culture and ethnicity, we should make space for a clear distinction between our political views and the ones they've been indoctrinated with (and ordered by Muhammad to spread everywhere they go). Because they're intrinsically political, these views pitted against ours, are dangerous to every single of the ideals we have fought for over the last centuries. It's perfectly normal to be worried when you read about large areas of the UK in which people are militating for strict Islamic law; or when you realize that one can get away with screaming ''Behead those who insult Islam!'' on European television, without the slightest fear of getting sued for hate speech. Because the hate clearly comes from phobic people like you and I...

1 comment:

  1. Good angle... Food for thought