Paul Sheehan has an article in today’s SMH that asserts that Islamophobia is a fabrication, in response to an approach from a graduate student doing a thesis on the topic.
In a statement of the bleedingly obvious, Paul states that Islamophobia is a fear of Islam, or a fear of Muslims, and he states that the “prevailing orthodoxy” – some sort of bleeding-heart, left-wing conspiracy he’s made up, I imagine – maintains that there’s a undercurrent of racism or prejudice against Muslim society. Naturally, in Paul’s view this all a load of crap.
Actually, Paul, it’s such a load of crap that the UN Human Rights Commission have adopted a resolution against religious defamation, primarily aimed at preventing people from equating Islam with terrorism. Although I agree with Canada that human right laws should be focused on people, not religions, and think that such a resolution could be used to prevent legitimate criticism of religions, I agree that people should not be vilified solely for the cultures to which they belong or the beliefs they hold.
Paul’s states that he does not “fear” Muslims; the quotes are his. What a cheap trick – putting the word in quotes as if fear is not fear but the politically correct code that his opponents use to tag him as a rascist. Paul wants us think that this is all a word game by people who don’t live in the real world – that there is no fear of, or prejudice against, Muslims.
And yet, he immediately starts telling us that there are real reasons to fear Muslims (or at least Arabs). He references half a dozen incidents that all involve criminal elements in the Muslim community – Adam Darwiche, the Skaf brothers, Muslim and Lebanese bikie gangs and Sheik Hilaly – as examples that we should be wary of the Muslim community. I’m sure that the same logic could be used against the Vietnamese community, or the Italian community or against the Anglo community. Criminal tendencies are not something foreign to your ethnic grouping, Paul. White people are not innocents who are being corrupted or targeted by a largely evil Muslim community.
Paul, since you’ve gone to such lengths to tell us that we should rightfully be fearful of Islamic elements in society, what does that say about your declaration that Islamophobia is is some sort of idealogical construct and not reality? As you say, it’s a small number of violent antagonists who are Muslim, and yet the papers have, at times, been full of articles or letters denouncing the Muslim community in more general terms; and you also say in this acticle that Australians have become uneasy about Muslims in general. That sounds like a reasonable description of Islamophobia to me.
In fact you’ve actually shown yourself as a poster-boy for the anti-Muslim community. Why not just come out and say it – “I’m racist and I’m proud”. That’d be more honest, Paul.
I know, I know – I shouln’t respond to SMH trolls trying to drive up page hits. Normally I just skip over articles by either Paul Sheehan or Miranda Devine because I know that they’re both fuckwits with an idealogical barrow, claiming that they’re oppressed by the Greens or the political left or whoever. I’ll try harder to ignore him from now on.