A dear friend has written to me recently about her worry about the rise of Islam, which, she wrote, is opposed to all the values she holds dear. Ronit, she implored, ’listen to them, to what they want. Look at the mass demonstrations after the Innocence of Muslims film. Look at how they treat women. How come that you, a liberal intellectual, a feminist who fights for equality, cannot understand that you are speaking a language that is no longer relevant? This for me is the main problem of the pacifist intellectual left’.
For a long time now Islam and Muslims have become the main enemy of the West. In the name of ‘protecting our way of life’ the West has gone to bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the name of the ‘war on terror’ Western states racially profile and persecute people of Muslim and Arab appearance everywhere. Although Muslims have definitely reacted violently to racial slurs in recent weeks, I would suggest that the main reason for this racialisation is racism and fear. Fear, as the fascist Dutch politician Geert Wilders warns, of ‘the last stages of the Islamisation of Europe’. A fear called Islamophobia, another way of saying racism against Muslim people. Continue reading “Anti Muslim racism and freedom of expression”