Day By Day

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tolerating the Intolerant

Toleration is a two-way street. In order to be tolerated, you must be tolerant and tolerable. But what if one of the disputants has no interest in  being tolerant and is making irresponsible demands that are profoundly offensive? Christopher Hitchens has a nice piece in Slate on the problem:
As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything "offensive" to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
As for the gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it's easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals. This is why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be "phobic." A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. Islamic preaching very often manifests precisely this feature, which is why suspicion of it is by no means irrational.
Read the whole thing here.

Hitchens is absolutely right on this matter. This is why the demands of the Iman Rauf and his backers must be resisted and why his supporters are acting shamefully by branding opposition "Islamophobic".

No comments: