Does Lady Warsi know the difference between Islamophobia and Muslimphobia?

Does Lady Warsi know the difference between Islamophobia and Muslimphobia? January 20, 2011

A WHILE back, the print edition of Freethinker carried Three Reflections on Islam. In the last of these articles – under the heading Islamophobic? There’s No Need to Apologise, Asad Abbas pointed out the difference between Islamophobia and Muslimphobia.

Baroness Warsi
Following a report today that Lady Warsi – the first Muslim woman member of the British Cabinet – was about to deliver a speech about Islamophobia and bigotry towards Muslims, Abbas contacted us, saying:

She may not be aware of the danger of using Islamophobia when Muslimphobia is meant, and may not be aware of the motivation of some for deliberately blurring the distinction. It needs to be pointed out that the suppression of any criticism of Islam leads straight to blasphemy law, which is precisely what is happening in Pakistan.

He added:

It seems that she will suggest that the Muslim community should more forcefully condemn terrorist acts, but I wonder if she will say anything about the reluctance of Muslims to integrate. This is the main cause for creating suspicion of Muslims as Rumy Hasan so ably and convincingly points out in his book and in an interview he granted to the Freethinker.

Abbas was so alarmed by the Warsi report that he contacted the National Secular Society. Terry Sanderson, the NSS President, informed him at the following statement had been issued to the press:

If Baroness Warsi’s speech has been accurately reported, it is an alarming attempt to shut down debate about Islam in Britain. Using the Islamophobia concept, she seems to be saying that only approved opinions are permitted and that even genuine concerns about the growth of extremism in this country should not be expressed in case they reflect badly on innocent Muslims.
But there is a difference between inciting hatred against individuals, which is reprehensible, and debating the problems of how to integrate a culture into British life that often seems not to want any part of it. There is a genuine problem of separatism in this country and it cannot be solved by people like Baroness Warsi trying to stifle debate and discussion.

Last May Lady Warsi was described by Islamic hate preacher Anjem Choudhary as a “coconut”:

Sayeeda Warsi is not a Muslim in my eyes. She may look like a Muslim and have a Muslim-sounding name but she does not ­represent Islam or anyone in this country who is a Muslim.

And, for good measure, he added this racist comment:

She is a ‘coconut’, brown on the outside but white on the inside. In fact, she is whiter than most of the other white people in government.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • “It seems that she will suggest that the Muslim community should more forcefully condemn terrorist acts, but I wonder if she will say anything about the reluctance of Muslims to integrate.”
    Well that would be a start. Who knows, Choudhary may finally realise there are more moderate Muslims in the world than he likes to think…if he does think that is.

  • Robert Stovold

    All three of the “great” monotheistic religions contain a story about Abraham which celebrates his willingness to kill his own son when God asked him to, and a major Islamic festival still commemorates it. Small wonder some people get jittery – after all, Muslims are more likely to take these stories seriously.
    If a smart loving god exists, which teaching is he more likely to inspire – which story would do more to better humanity?
    a)”If I ask you to do something revolting, do it”
    b)”If you think God’s telling you to do something revolting, you need your head examined, and no-one else should listen to you”
    Answers on a postcard please…

  • Newspaniard

    I read somewhere that the Desert Death Cult will destroy us using our own institutions and laws. If the above report and its conclusions are correct, it would seem that the Baroness is giving the cult a hand up.

  • Stonyground

    I am pleased to say that both News Thump and the Daily Mash have taken a swipe at her, sorry I’m too lazy to supply links.

  • Timur’s Grief

    She may have a point, albeit a weak one. But if a prominent Muslim such as Baroness Warsi is unable make the distinction between criticism of a Race and criticism of an Ideology then how does she expect lesser citizens to make the distinction between Muslims and fundamental Islamists?
    I’m afraid she has shot herself in the foot and looks in danger of exposing herself to the criticism of “returning to type” by playing the hypersensitive Muslim victim card.
    Silly woman.

  • Broga

    I have no doubt that she will be given plenty of air time on the BBC despite the confusion that she creates. I doubt whether an atheist will get a look in. She gives the impression of a woman with a mindset which conveys, “I am a very important person. I must be because I am in the Cabinet. Therefore anything I say must be important. Therefore I know how you should think and what you should say.”

  • sailor1031

    Asad Abbas is of course quite correct. There is a difference between anti-muslim bigotry and genuine fear of islam itself and what it preaches. I am sure there are many peaceful muslims in our western societies of whom there is no need whatsoever to be afraid. They are like the cafeteria catholics so prevalent in the west.
    But only a fool would not be afraid of islam and its teachings. Go read the koran, especially suras 2 through 9 and remember that no muslim can repudiate any of it. It is the sacred word of his doG.
    And only a fool would not be greatly concerned about the many western apologists for it, who constantly raise the smokescreen of islamophobia to deter criticism and give islamism a boost in western societies. One need look no further than the craven dutch government.
    As for baroness Warsi, she’s just a token

  • barriejohn

    I still don’t follow the distinction between Islamophobia and Muslimphobia – unless, as the good baroness appears to be, you are using the term “muslimphobia” as a racial term. In what way is a Muslim not an Islamist?

  • Adam Tjaavk

    A very good point was made by Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion on Thursday’s World at One, BBC Radio 4: The claim that we shouldn’t separate extremists from moderates is an absurd suggestion. What other name than extremist can be given to those who blow up London Underground in the name of Islam? If we are not allowed to make that distinction, then do we put the blame on all Muslims?

  • Har Davids

    People may of course be wrong criticizing the ‘Religion of Peace’, but trying to stifle any kind of debate doesn’t help. On whose side is this woman, the secular one or the fundamentalist one?

  • My guardian comment follows
    “As a founder member of a secular discussion board on the internet, and an equal opportunity opponent of superstition and ignorance I deeply resent any attempt to conflate racism with opposition to Islam or any other religion.
    Our discussion board maintains friendly links with the brave folk at the Council for Ex-Muslims in Britain, and I would be interested to see the CEMB view on Warsi’s speech.
    Being an ex-Muslim in Britain is not always easy.
    I quote a little of the CEMB guidelines for ex-Muslims.
    “Ex-Muslims: Important Points
    Freedom of religion and belief is a human right
    Everyone in the UK has the freedom of religion and belief, which is a fundamental human right protected by a number of international treaties and declarations. This right encompasses freedom of thought on all matters. No matter what your family or the wider community says and irrespective of your race, sex, age, and background, you have this fundamental right.
    Know how to protect yourself
    If you are worried about your personal safety, take it seriously. Consider the risk and whether you should involve the police.
    Open a separate/secret bank or savings account.
    Leave copies of important documents such as passport, National Insurance number and birth certificate along with spare clothing and cash with a trusted friend.
    Keep helpline numbers close at hand. Have a telephone card or change for urgent phone calls.
    Arrange alternative emergency accommodation in case of need.”
    While I would defend the rights of Muslims to believe what they like, as long as they don’t seek to impose their beliefs on others, I am equally if not more concerned with the rights of people brought up in the Muslim to tradition to change to any other religion or, preferably in my view, to none.
    I sign by my usual internet handle
    David B”
    Just a thought, but perhaps The Freethinker might consider approaching CEMB with a view to establishing mutual links.

  • “Just a thought, but perhaps The Freethinker might consider approaching CEMB with a view to establishing mutual links.”
    I for one agree.

  • Anonymous

    Dave & Dave,
    CEMB is linked in the sidebar, as it has been for quite some time.
    Here is a video recently produced by CEMB forum members
    http://www.atheistmedia.com/2011/01/atheists-and-agnostics-speak-out-in.html

  • I didn’t check here, I’m afraid – but I did look for The Freethinker at CEMB and didn’t find it.

  • Angela_K

    So Warsi blames the indigenous population rather than blame her fellow muslims who adhere to their proscriptive death cult and are determined not to integrate. The moderate/extremist labels are just a smoke-screen; any person who uses the Koran as a guide for life is an extremist just as those xtians and jews who follow theirs.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me for my quick typing, I meant David and Dave 🙂

    Here’s The Daily Mash Stonyground referred to; I think it’s the best coverage of all the news reports!
    Warsi asked to explain why Dubai locks you up for having a shag
    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/warsi-asked-to-explain-why-dubai-locks-you-up-for-having-a-shag-201101203453/

  • barriejohn

    The Daily Mash is spot on as far as I am concerned!

  • chrsbol

    Warsi hasn’t timed this very well with the news of the “Harry Potter” star Afshan Azad being attacked and beaten by her brother for dating a non-muslim.He must be another of those extremists!
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/8273984/Brother-of-Harry-Potter-star-jailed-for-attacking-her.html

  • Graham Martin-Royle
  • Russell W

    I also don’t understand the difference between ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Muslimophobia’,after all it’s reasonable to be wary of individuals who promote an ideology hostile to liberal democratic ideals.
    The equation of race and religion and the invention of ‘Islamophobia’ must have seemed brilliant ideas at the time,however the result is that the Islamic apologists have painted themselves into a corner.

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