The 'Science' of Islamophobia

The neologism "Islamophobia" seems to be a quasi-scientific effort to suggest that suspicion of Islam is simultaneously irrational and racist.  Even more of a concern is the attempt to employ science in the service of politics.

The Nazis in the last century concocted a scientific theory about the inferiority of the Jews in order to rationalize their plan to annihilate Jewry.  Now pseudo-science is used to defend Muslims.  The disturbing fact is that in both cases, we deploy social science in the service of a political agenda.  While some scholars such as John Denham have drawn parallels between modern Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, their implications are not only illogical, but dangerously deceptive.  

The scientific obligation in the case of Islam is to investigate its connections to terrorism and irredentism in the face of normal relations with Israel.  Arabs still teach their children that Israel belongs to them, just as the French taught their children about Alsace-Lorraine after losing it to Prussia.  Islamophobia fails to conform either to the psychiatric criteria of a phobia or to the social science definition of racism.  While one must be careful of concluding that all Muslims are terrorists, the fact remains that there is an ideological connection between mosque and murder.  It is more than coincidence that Muslims leave the mosque with hostility rather than equanimity.  Jihadists are Muslims who explain their murder and mayhem in terms of Islamic theology.

Certainly, it is true that not all Muslims are terrorists.  The question for us is, why are most terrorists Muslim between the ages of 18 and 45 who have prayed in mosques, heard the sermons of imams, and watched their children play at Hamas kindergartens and summer camps?

A legitimate inquiry into the nexus between the ideology of modern Islam and its influence upon Muslim attitudes toward Jews and Christians has become problematic because engaging in such an inquiry gets labeled as "mad" science.  In our inverted politically correct culture, we witness the opposite of what science is supposed to do.  For example, social scientists did not accuse anti-Nazis of racism.  It was the Nazis who were the racists.  The notion of Islamophobia has contributed to a false conclusion that terrorists are criminals and that terrorism is mere violence.  They are not criminals.  They, like the SS guards at Auschwitz, are loving sons, daughters, and fathers.  Comprehending this is basic to our realization that we are not dealing with thugs.  We are dealing with the devout.  We are dealing with pathogenic ideas, but not with insane individuals.

The world, Charles Beard once wrote, is ruled by ideas.  Among the most potent ideas are those fashioned by religion.  Faith lends a power to ideas that mere speculation cannot inject.  Our faith in democracy, for example, demands that we treat, as Jefferson wrote, all men as created equal.  We do this despite the fact that there are wide-ranging discrepancies in the physical, mental, and social positions of people.  Muslims, on the other hand, treat all non-Muslims as dhimmi, a loose Arabic equivalent of the Nazi untermenschen (subhumans).  Ideas contain energy because they constitute the conscious form of our feelings and impulses.  Thus, in our investigation of Islamic notions such as jihad and caliphate, we might be guided by John Locke and offer tolerance only to the tolerant.

Islamophobia, either as a diagnosis or as an allegation, fails to stand up to simple logical and evidentiary analysis.  It is less an instrument of social understanding and more of a tool in political manipulation.  By maligning inquiry into Islam's contribution to terrorism as racist, we intimidate those whose morals are defined by political correctness.  We tolerate campus movements preaching hatred and violence under the rubric of free speech.  Moreover, casting a critical evaluation of the Islamic link to world domination as either insanity or racism inhibits our ability to develop appropriate strategies against an inevitable onslaught.  

Islam has not evolved by interacting with the Enlightenment.  It has remained medieval.  However, when medieval is no longer merely antiquated, it becomes dangerous.  The practice of medieval medicine would constitute murder.  We see how the practice of medieval religion is equally toxic.  All modern religion has undergone change.  Judaism has dispensed with animal sacrifice and rebellious adolescents are no longer stoned in the village square.  Catholics have ceased their allegations that Jews are guilty of deicide.  And Protestants have stopped witch-burnings.  These amputations have not caused damage to these religions.  On the contrary, they allowed people to focus upon the central and common theme uniting them to Judaism: love your neighbor.  Our focus must be on the obviously intolerable.  Otherwise, we would be like the physician discovering a small tumor in a patient's brain and nevertheless reassuring the patient that she is ninety percent healthy.  Denying the latent toxicity of Islam perpetuates murder in the name of Allah. 

The neologism "Islamophobia" seems to be a quasi-scientific effort to suggest that suspicion of Islam is simultaneously irrational and racist.  Even more of a concern is the attempt to employ science in the service of politics.

The Nazis in the last century concocted a scientific theory about the inferiority of the Jews in order to rationalize their plan to annihilate Jewry.  Now pseudo-science is used to defend Muslims.  The disturbing fact is that in both cases, we deploy social science in the service of a political agenda.  While some scholars such as John Denham have drawn parallels between modern Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, their implications are not only illogical, but dangerously deceptive.  

The scientific obligation in the case of Islam is to investigate its connections to terrorism and irredentism in the face of normal relations with Israel.  Arabs still teach their children that Israel belongs to them, just as the French taught their children about Alsace-Lorraine after losing it to Prussia.  Islamophobia fails to conform either to the psychiatric criteria of a phobia or to the social science definition of racism.  While one must be careful of concluding that all Muslims are terrorists, the fact remains that there is an ideological connection between mosque and murder.  It is more than coincidence that Muslims leave the mosque with hostility rather than equanimity.  Jihadists are Muslims who explain their murder and mayhem in terms of Islamic theology.

Certainly, it is true that not all Muslims are terrorists.  The question for us is, why are most terrorists Muslim between the ages of 18 and 45 who have prayed in mosques, heard the sermons of imams, and watched their children play at Hamas kindergartens and summer camps?

A legitimate inquiry into the nexus between the ideology of modern Islam and its influence upon Muslim attitudes toward Jews and Christians has become problematic because engaging in such an inquiry gets labeled as "mad" science.  In our inverted politically correct culture, we witness the opposite of what science is supposed to do.  For example, social scientists did not accuse anti-Nazis of racism.  It was the Nazis who were the racists.  The notion of Islamophobia has contributed to a false conclusion that terrorists are criminals and that terrorism is mere violence.  They are not criminals.  They, like the SS guards at Auschwitz, are loving sons, daughters, and fathers.  Comprehending this is basic to our realization that we are not dealing with thugs.  We are dealing with the devout.  We are dealing with pathogenic ideas, but not with insane individuals.

The world, Charles Beard once wrote, is ruled by ideas.  Among the most potent ideas are those fashioned by religion.  Faith lends a power to ideas that mere speculation cannot inject.  Our faith in democracy, for example, demands that we treat, as Jefferson wrote, all men as created equal.  We do this despite the fact that there are wide-ranging discrepancies in the physical, mental, and social positions of people.  Muslims, on the other hand, treat all non-Muslims as dhimmi, a loose Arabic equivalent of the Nazi untermenschen (subhumans).  Ideas contain energy because they constitute the conscious form of our feelings and impulses.  Thus, in our investigation of Islamic notions such as jihad and caliphate, we might be guided by John Locke and offer tolerance only to the tolerant.

Islamophobia, either as a diagnosis or as an allegation, fails to stand up to simple logical and evidentiary analysis.  It is less an instrument of social understanding and more of a tool in political manipulation.  By maligning inquiry into Islam's contribution to terrorism as racist, we intimidate those whose morals are defined by political correctness.  We tolerate campus movements preaching hatred and violence under the rubric of free speech.  Moreover, casting a critical evaluation of the Islamic link to world domination as either insanity or racism inhibits our ability to develop appropriate strategies against an inevitable onslaught.  

Islam has not evolved by interacting with the Enlightenment.  It has remained medieval.  However, when medieval is no longer merely antiquated, it becomes dangerous.  The practice of medieval medicine would constitute murder.  We see how the practice of medieval religion is equally toxic.  All modern religion has undergone change.  Judaism has dispensed with animal sacrifice and rebellious adolescents are no longer stoned in the village square.  Catholics have ceased their allegations that Jews are guilty of deicide.  And Protestants have stopped witch-burnings.  These amputations have not caused damage to these religions.  On the contrary, they allowed people to focus upon the central and common theme uniting them to Judaism: love your neighbor.  Our focus must be on the obviously intolerable.  Otherwise, we would be like the physician discovering a small tumor in a patient's brain and nevertheless reassuring the patient that she is ninety percent healthy.  Denying the latent toxicity of Islam perpetuates murder in the name of Allah.