Sam Harris‘ The End of Faith opens with a fictional account of a suicide bomber killing innocent people on a bus with the press of a button. We don’t know much about the bomber… but Harris suggests we do have a good idea of one thing: His faith.
Why is it so easy, then, so trivially easy — you-could-almost-bet-your-life-on-it easy — to guess the young man’s religion?
It’s writing like this, which has only grown stronger over the years, that has led many of Harris’ critics to call him “Islamophobic.” Harris, of course, contends that he’s criticizing faith and dogma, not people — and I agree with him. When I’m reading his books and blog posts, I see a writer who is raising controversial questions and answering them in ways that may not be politically correct, but none of those things are coming from a place of hate. Even when he suggested looking specifically for Muslims (or at least people who look like them) at airport security checkpoints, I didn’t get a sense he was being racist or anti-Islamic. Even if he ended up being way off the mark, his overall suggestion was more tactical and practical than anything racially motivated.
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