My Blog has Moved to since 1 November 2011

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It is not racist to criticise Islam

Laurie writes: ‘Great isn't it! I sign your petition and sent the link to friends, liberal freethinkers (like me, I thought) requesting they consider adding their names. I might as well have asked them to join the BNP! If it's not that then it's a stony silence and clear indication that there is to be no discussion on this matter. Having read your last email I can see this is going to be your biggest problem. I think the only way out of this is a full open debate, with the headline "ISLAM IS A RELIGION - NOT A RACE!" unless we can separate these two fundamental issues there is no hope of moving forward.’

Maryam Namazie responds: You rightly say that Islam is a religion not a race. Therefore, like any religion or belief, it has to be open to criticism and even ridicule. This becomes even more important in this day and age give that it is the ideology behind a political movement that is wreaking havoc across the world. It must be criticised and ridiculed because that is how throughout history reaction has been pushed back. Our criticism is often all we have to fight this movement.

Islamophobia - and now by the way the Church has asked that Christianity-phobia also be included in UN rights terminology –are not racism because criticisms of a religion, idea, a belief and even the practices that result from beliefs – even a phobia and hatred against beliefs have nothing to do with racism against real live human beings. Just as an attack on the belief and practice of Female Genital Mutilation is not an attack on girls who have been mutilated, just as a criticism of Judaism or the Israeli government is not an attack on Jews and just as Monty Python’s Life of Brian is not an attack on or racism against Christians.

Saying it is racism is merely part of the effort to silence criticism of religion and the political movement that holds it up as its banner.

You can see a video clip of my response to an Islamist at a public meeting in Canada in 2004 where I talk about how Sharia law is Islamic law and why criticism is not racism. This was the first public meeting of the successful International Campaign against Sharia Courts in Canada:

You can also read more on this in my 2006 speech in defence of free expression here.

Having said this, though, I must add that this in no way means that racism does not exist. Or that because the BNP, EDL, the Stop Islamisation of Europe or Geert Wilders criticise Islam, they are not pushing forward a racist agenda. They are. But I have already addressed that elsewhere.


AM said...

This seems very true. To criticise religion is to dissent from an opinion which is all religion amounts to. It is not as if the criticism is directed against people for the language that they speak or the colour of their skin or their sexuality or their disability - things which they can do little about.

Anonymous said...

The whole ballgame (knowledge and understanding) is about to go through a major expansion, understanding a brand new (and traditional) view of our worlds. For doubters, it is a scientific approach, taking a theory and checking phenomena to see if that theory makes them more understandable.
How great it is to find a blog of people who are honestly looking for answers. You people see only what is material; lots of Christian ideas are out of this world (and help us to live better in this world). Plato in his 'Allegory of the Cave' started it. Abbott, writer of 'Flatland', described contiguous dimensional worlds. 'Techie Worlds', available at, analyzes in a mechanistic sort of way. It looks at Christian concepts like Trinity, resurrection, judgment, soul, Satan and hell. Viewed dimensionally, those ideas make logical sense. That follows the pattern of science: examine phenomena in the light of a theory. When phenomena become more understandable, accept that theory.
Throughout history mankind has experienced strange ideas and events: Wicca, Greek gods, Hindu pantheism, upturned corners on oriental temples, the sun dancing at Fatima. Materialists just deny them all. 'Techie Worlds', with its geometric understanding of worlds contiguous with ours, explains the structure of our real worlds. It is not accepted by bible thumpers and professional religious. They have faith. Instead it serves thinkers who are able to integrate sensible ideas.
Most remarkably, if Muslims can read and think, they will soon accept these ideas.

blog's author said...
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Stephen Gash said...

So why do you keep calling us racists then, Maryam?

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