Labour group slammed over ‘no such thing as Islamophobia’ post

Labour group slammed over ‘no such thing as Islamophobia’ post May 10, 2019
Image via Facebook

ANAS Sarwar, above, chair of Holyrood’s Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, has hit out at a Scottish Labour group for posting a meme on Facebook that said ‘there is no such thing as Islamophobia.’

The Argyll and Bute Labour account also claimed Islam is “responsible for more terror attacks than any other” and treats women as “second class citizens”.

What is described in this report as a “racist” message was posted on Tuesday afternoon, alongside the question:

Any disagreement with this meme?

Sarwar said:

This is a shocking and disgraceful post that demonstrates why the campaign to tackle all forms of hatred and prejudice is so important.

We have made great strides over the past year to expose the extent of Islamophobia in Scotland, and political parties have adopted an agreed definition of Islamophobia.

But this shows there is so much more work to do, and I hope the Labour Party – an anti-racist party rooted in the principle of equality – takes immediate and meaningful action in light of this post.

Labour last night claimed the account is “unofficial”, despite it regularly publicising details of constituency meetings and promoting local Labour politicians. They said:

This post is disgraceful and we will be making inquiries about who operates this local, unofficial account.

I have no doubt that Maajid Nawaz, founder of the counter-extremist organisation Quilliam will soon be wading into this latest row. He has said in the past that:

Muslimphobia is real but Islamophobia is misnomer used as a shield to introduce blasphemy laws.

And:

It’s wrong to hate individual Muslims as persons but it’s perfectly legitimate to scrutinise Islam as a religion.

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  • Freethinker

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9bc037ec4e16477de704915f98d16b322ccffc73f56db1c911253819403ae577.jpg

    ‘Islamophobia’ is as blunt of a tool to silence critics of Islamic practices and political systems as the word ‘Antisemitism’ is used to silence critics of the Apartheid policies of Israel. Good on the Scots for standing up to the misuse of irrelevant term.

  • If you have an alternative term for irrational prejudice towards Muslims, let us know. As for Maajid Nawaz advocating the use of Muslimphobia I doubt it will make most of the people complaining about the use of Islamphobia any happier.

    As for the term anti-Semitism it was used to describe anti Jewish attitudes decades before Israel came into existence.

  • It’s wrong to hate individual Muslims as persons but it’s perfectly legitimate to scrutinise Islam as a religion.

    This is a distinction without a difference. Defining Islam has to involve discussing how Muslims think and behave.

    Denying that Islamophobia is a real phenomenon is just a defense mechanism bigots use to justify their demonization and exclusion of Muslims.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    The interesting part is how everyone agrees with each other. Islam is the cause/permission for these deeds. Just that some talk about this fact as if it is real and relevant and others just want to ignore it because it damages the position that they dearly want to hold. Do to the Qur’an what Jefferson did to the bible and you will have a good starting point. Not doing that will allow Islam to continue to be used as permission to damage society. Anyone who disagrees with this, is one whom Hitchens is talking about.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    I am so amused by the criticism of Islam that it treats women as second class citizens. Is the West really any better? We have a pay gap and a contingent of people who vehemently deny that it exists. We have Republicans right now that are drafting and passing legislation that strip women of personhood so they can literally be second class persons to the fetus they carry inside of them. We have Christians in this very country who fight against child marriage laws, who hate gay marriage and oppose it, and who reject birth control and other forms of liberation for women. They want to roll back No-Fault Divorce laws and force women to remain married to abusers. They think that women don’t belong in the work force, and that they should be seen and not heard. A particularly strong extremist section believes women should be handed out like candy to appease males who can’t have sex. And some of these men have power, and it’s both Christian and atheists who do this. Hell, some of the most virulent misogynists I’ve ever met have been atheists. It’s not some cutting observation when we say that Muslims treat women as second class citizens. It’s bloody fucking hypocrisy.

    Sure, Islam is terrible. But there’s nothing special about its terribleness. That it’s terrible is a result of the fact that humans are terrible. Your problem isn’t Muslims. It’s humans. And to single out Muslims and followers of Islam uniquely as being guilty of something every other fucking religion — hell, every other fucking people group is guilty of . . . well, that’s what we call “Islamophobia.”

  • anne marie hovgaard

    I don’t know if Maajid Nawaz will succeed, but he is unfortunately 100 % correct here. We need a term for irrational prejudice towards Muslims, since that exists and is a problem (although, most of the time it’s just plain old racism). But scrutinising, or even hating, despising, ridiculing Islam or any other religion/ideology is not a bad thing.

    “anti-Semitism (…) was used to describe anti Jewish attitudes decades before Israel came into existence” Yes. And now it is impossible to criticise the policies of Israel without being accused of anti-Semitism. Even when those policies are obviously anti-Semitic.

  • persephone

    That’s saying that every Muslim believes exactly the same things and will respond to things in exactly the same way. That is completely incorrect. Scrutinizing a religion, all religions, is important.

  • Freethinker

    What does a gender pay gap has to do with women unable to make any decisions for themselves, have a voice, vote, drive, choose who to marry etc? What does discussing Republican agendas have anything to do with a religion plagiarized from the Jews and Christians by a murderous pedophile whose followers perceive him as the “ultimate” being? To imply that Islam is no different in its origin, philosophy and subsequent behaviors of its followers, than any other region is to show ignorance at basic understanding of Islam. Most Christians have largely evolved from the more primitive foundations of their original myths and rituals although some sects would like to drag the world back to their good old days. Islam is 600 years behind ( we are in Islamic year
    1440) thriving in the good old days and is determined to bring everyone else on board by any means necessary. As per Koran’s teaching. Simply look up the percentage of Muslims worldwide who would prefer Sharia law over any secular law. Hint, the vast majority. Who think that the values or freedom, equality, brotherhood, egalitarianism, authentic self expression, etc are fully incompatible with their mythologies which is why so many of them can be radicalized to commit the most horrific atrocities against the infidels of the West….just like their prophet who was sent to them by their Allah did. Look at the source of where the philosophy comes from and the actions of its followers. And don’t cherry pick.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    What does a gender pay gap has to do with women unable to make any decisions for themselves, have a voice, vote, drive, choose who to marry etc?

    We don’t do anyone any favors when we’re blind to our own faults. And the pay gap is just where the inequality begins, not where it ends. Women are not quiet the second class citizens that they are in Muslim countries — or in China, for that matter — but to claim they’re equal in the west? Not remotely.

    plagiarized from the Jews and Christians by a murderous pedophile whose followers perceive him as the “ultimate” being?

    Let’s not pretend Christianity is particularly original. The entire Old Testament is lifted wholesale from the Torah, and the bits that weren’t are imported from Zoroastrianism and various pagan belief systems.

    Also, as gross as it is, child marriage was very common among European elite and royalty. In fact, the age of consent in New York was 10 years old as late as the 1800s.

    To imply that Islam is no different in its origin, philosophy and subsequent behaviors of its followers, than any other region is to show ignorance at basic understanding of Islam.

    I’m speaking in arch terms here. In specifics we’re dealing with entirely different cultures (plural, since there’s more than one Muslim culture; Arabic culture is a radically different beast from Berber culture, which is a wholly different animal from Indonesian culture). In arch terms, however, comparisons are apt. All religions are backwards facing; there’s no point in singling one out for special treatment when they’re all guilty of the same thing.

    Most Christians have largely evolved from the more primitive foundations of their original myths and rituals although some sects would like to drag the world back to their good old days.

    Otherwise known as the Republican Party, the current party that holds power in the United States. Or the Tories, or any other Christian Nationalist Party — you can really take your pick. All of them are typically vehemently anti-Muslim and accuse Muslims of the same exact shit they do.

    Islam is 600 years behind (we are in Islamic year 1440)

    It’s 5779 by the Jewish count. Does that mean Orthodox Jews are more than 3000 years ahead of us? Because from where I’m setting, most Orthodox Jews are every bit as toxic and reactionary as their conservative Christian and Wahhabist Muslim counterparts.

    As per Koran’s teaching. Simply look up the percentage of Muslims worldwide who would prefer Sharia law over any secular law.

    Sure. And there’s a percentage of Christians who would like to enforce Biblical law. And they have power. I keep looping back to this, because Muslims do not have power in the west. Christians do. Christians have a chance to make things better and prove they’re different, but every time they get in a position where they can, we get shit like the law in Georgia outlawing abortion. Or worse, we get authoritarian assholes like President Trump, Andrzej Duda, and Victor Orban, supported by a revanchist theocratic fascist movement preaching Islamophobia and seeking to blow up democracy for their own gains.

    Who think that the values or freedom, equality, brotherhood, egalitarianism, authentic self expression, etc are fully incompatible with their mythologies

    Oh, sure, The vast majority of Westerns do. And so do most Muslims who move to the West and settle here. The folks who don’t? Christians with power. And they realize it’s incompatible with their faith, which is why they’re ramming through judicial activists right now that are going to skew our laws reactionary Christian for a long, long time. It isn’t just the U.S., either. I already referenced Poland and Hungary, but Russia is another example — a very toxic example. And while the vast majority of Westerners do, scientific racism is alive and well among some White male atheists, who very much oppose equality and egalitarianism. I go back to being blind to our own faults, and how we don’t do anyone any good.

    And don’t cherry pick.

    That’s actually not possible. People cherry pick all the time; like I finished telling the guy in the other threat over on Progressive Secular Humanist: all humans receive an ethical code from our community and family, and we look for things to justify our holding of that code. In the cast of Christians, it’s the Bible. In the case of Muslims, it’s the Koran. And segments of the book are cherry picked to support the ethical stance the person is taking. I cherry pick from Aristotle’s philosophy to support my own, what little bits I think are useful given my general dislike for Aristotle personally. Cherry picking is what we do when we want to support an ethical system using an outside source, whether it’s the Bible, the Koran, or something else entirely.

  • Um no, that kind of diversity is what makes defining Islam such a difficult task. You can’t “scrutinize” a religion without dealing with the range of interpretations throughout its belief communities.

    Of course, if we just want to think Islam is whatever experts like Sam Harris or Bill Maher say it is, I guess our dedication to objectivity speaks for itself.

  • Nick G

    I certainly agree with your last paragraph, but there is a very real difference between scrutiny or criticism of Islam*, and hatred of or prejudice against Muslims, which is what the term “Islamophobia” means. The difference is fully recognised by Muslim organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain, who say explicitly:

    Being critical of Islam does not make one an Islamophobe.

    *Of course, Islam is not a monolith, and of course “criticism of Islam” can be framed in ways that make clear the person making it is in fact poisonously prejudiced against Muslims – as “Freethinker” does in:

    a religion plagiarized from the Jews and Christians by a murderous
    pedophile whose followers perceive him as the “ultimate” being?

  • Freethinker

    I like the way you think.

  • Bezukhov

    Islamophobia is most certainly a concern. Here is a quick test to see if you’re suffering from this condition.

    1) Do you wish to convert to Islam?
    2) If you are not a Muslim do you pay the Jizya to Muslims?
    3) If you are not a Muslim do you acknowledge that Muslims are your lords and masters?

    If you answered “No” to any or all of those questions you are definitely an Islamophobe.

  • The Scottish Labour Party, along with the SNP and even the Conservatives have adopted the pernicious definition of Islamophobia produced by the Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group on Muslims which does attempt to link Islamophobia with racism. Not ordinary racism but a bogus hybrid called Cultural Racism. Details here:

    https://ecawblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/parliamentarians-duped-over-islamophobia-part-3/

  • Ann Kah

    ^^^ ALL the upvotes.

  • Ann Kah

    As a Scot, I’m pretty sure that they’re not acting as grammar police in this instance.

  • Ann Kah

    “In the Christian world women are treated as second class citizens and bound by ancient laws that have no place in a modern world.”

    FIFY.