|Pascal Bruckner. Credit: Wikipedia|
The ambiguous word "Islamophobia", often taken to mean some form of bigotry against Muslim but indeed "flexible" enough to apply to anyone who doesn’t follow every single demand of Islamists to the letter, continues to be used as a tool of political pressure like no other. On the other hand-there are indications that among politicians, at least some are growing a backbone and calling the accusers’ bluff.
There is nothing new about use of the word “Islamophobia” to silence criticism of Islam and force Muslims and non-Muslims alike to live under de facto Islamic restrictions on speech. But the lunacy of giving in to blackmail by the threat of receiving such an accusation has only served to encourage Islamists to demand more every day. Look, for example, at the following “ultimatum” from the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the Western World:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that if the European Union (EU) is opposed to Islamophobia, it must accept Turkey within its ranks, the Hurriyet Daily News reports. "We are testing Europe. Will Europe be able to digest and to accept Turkey, whose people are Muslims? If you oppose Islamophobia, then you must admit Turkey into the EU," he declared, saying that otherwise the EU is a "Christian club," according to Turkish news website Today's Zaman.
Well there could be other reasons for Europe’s failure to admit Turkey as a member, such as Erdogan’s own dismal record on freedom of expression and women’s rights (both, as it happens, tied to his Islamism). But Islam’s culture of irresponsibility is nothing new to those of us who have been paying attention: never exercise introspection, always blame others for your own problems.
On the other hand, some politicians may be realizing that Islamophobia accusations are empty, and nothing to fear about. Which is unprecedented, and, one would say, about freaking time.
From your mouth to God's ear!The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, has emerged over the past tumultuous week as one of the West’s most vocal foes of Islamism, though he’s actually been talking about the threat it poses for a long while. During the course of an interview conducted before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, he told me—he went out of his way to tell me, in fact—that he refuses to use the term 'Islamophobia' to describe the phenomenon of anti-Muslim prejudice, because, he says, the accusation of Islamophobia is often used as a weapon by Islamism's apologists to silence their critics.It appears as if Valls came to his view on the illegitimacy of 'Islamophobia' after being influenced by a number of people, including and especially the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner and the writer (and fatwa target) Salman Rushdie. Rushdie, along with a group of mainly Muslim writers, attacked the use of the term 'Islamophobia' several years ago in an open letter: “We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia’, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.”