Oh hell, Andrew Sullivan (and Bill Maher, wow) and I are starting to agree on more things than I’m used to. Due to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s recent confession that radical Islam and for unspecified reasons, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the motivating factors, there is an argument I’m expecting to see produced very soon; criticism of religion, Islam in particular, is merely an expression of racial/religious prejudice, and further, we’re to blame for their radicalism.
In fact, I have little doubt that many fellow liberals will, in the coming days, be able to provide Dzhokhar with as many reasons for terrorism due to our wars and foreign policy than even he could think of.
Up with this, I will not put.
There are more than enough examples of how radical Islam is currently more dangerous than any other religious ideology and should be met with the strictest criticism open debate allows us. To promote an open society is not to prevent ourselves in advance from criticizing those ideologies that oppose such a society. To promote an open society demands opposition to those systems and ideologies that seek to oppress.
To ignore the overriding religious element in radical Islamist terrorism, and instead attribute it all to economic and social elements, is to be ensnared in a deep cognitive dissonance. The best recent example I can give of the highest form of cognitive dissonance, is the recent New York Times article quoting a family member of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, stating, “… he was angry that the world pictures Islam as a violent religion.”
Yes, one wonders what a Jainist would do in response to accusations that their religion is viewed as violent. I’m sure their response would likewise have nothing to do with their religions leaders teachings and holy scripture.
Liberals the world over are going to have to start getting real. As Sam Harris recently discussed in his own rebuttal towards the charge of “Islamiphobia”
The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.
I’m personally loathe to allow right wing nationalists to take charge of the argument against Islam. There is a stronger, more democratic, and rational liberal argument to be made. However, before such an argument can be made, our fellow liberals cannot shut down discussion with knee-jerk-reactions, accusing the rest of us with racism, Islamophobia, or hatred. We must meet this argument with reason, even if our enemies are motivated by dogma.