Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"The useless and meaningless term Islamophobia, now widely used as a bludgeon of moral blackmail, is testimony to its success."

Hitch gives us the word on yet another insidious plan to stifle free expression, in the name of "not offending Islam":

Yes, I think we can see where we are going with that. (And I truly wish I had been able to attend that gathering and report more directly on its rich and varied and culturally diverse flavors, but I couldn't get a visa.) The stipulations that follow this turgid preamble are even more tendentious and become more so as the resolution unfolds. For example, Paragraph 5 "expresses its deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism," while Paragraph 6 "[n]otes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001."

No decent person wants to defend actual bigotry against Muslims, or ethnic profiling, but there is something subtle and wholly sinister at work here. He continues:

You see how the trick is pulled? In the same weeks that this resolution comes up for its annual renewal at the United Nations, its chief sponsor-government (Pakistan) makes an agreement with the local Taliban to close girls' schools in the Swat Valley region (a mere 100 miles or so from the capital in Islamabad) and subject the inhabitants to Sharia law. This capitulation comes in direct response to a campaign of horrific violence and intimidation, including public beheadings. Yet the religion of those who carry out this campaign is not to be mentioned, lest it "associate" the faith with human rights violations or terrorism. In Paragraph 6, an obvious attempt is being made to confuse ethnicity with confessional allegiance. Indeed this insinuation (incidentally dismissing the faith-based criminality of 9/11 as merely "tragic") is in fact essential to the entire scheme. If religion and race can be run together, then the condemnations that racism axiomatically attracts can be surreptitiously extended to religion, too. This is clumsy, but it works: The useless and meaningless term Islamophobia, now widely used as a bludgeon of moral blackmail, is testimony to its success.

First off, I find it morally absurd to be lectured, via the agency of the U.N, by theocrats who commit unspeakable acts such as these, on the virtues of tolerance. Secondly, 9/11 wasn't just tragic. When someone drowns in a lake, that's tragic. 9/11 was an abomination, and an act of war. A lot of decent, freedom-loving, non-terrorist-loving people have decsribed it as a tragedy, but in this context (tragic events), it comes off as an insult, much like the whole of the document.

Read the whole thing.

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