What’s the difference between anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia? Many people use these two expressions interchangeably, which is why there is so much confusion surrounding their employment. However, there is a fundamental distinction between the two. I’ll quickly try to explain this distinction.
Firstly, what is bigotry? I’ll just use the dictionary definition:
As you can see from this definition, bigotry is intolerance aimed at human beings – in this case, Muslims.
Again, I’ll use the standard definition:
Notice that Islamophobia has 3 conflated elements:
- Anti-Muslim bigotry
- Dislike of the religion of Islam
- Dislike of Islam as a political force
This is precisely why I object to the employment of this vacuous, conflated and confused term. The first element is a problem in societies where Muslims are a minority, and it is one we should all be vigilant in rooting out, but the second and third elements are perfectly rational and non-bigoted opinions.
Dislike of the Religion of Islam & Islam as a Political Force
If you do not like Islam as a religion, you are an “Islamophobe”, which, as mentioned, is another way of calling someone a bigot. I have a number of very good reasons for disliking Islam. I don’t believe disobedient wives should be beaten by their husbands. Nor do I think sex-slavery or holy war are particularly desirable aspirations either. In my facetious apology to the religion of Islam, I highlight many reasons why I think Islam as a religion is problematic, and within numerous other articles, essays and books I have pointed out many other valid reasons for disliking this belief system. I don’t like Christianity either, so does that make me an anti-Christian bigot? No. It means that I don’t like a set of beliefs. Imagine if one were to be accused of bigotry for disliking a certain political philosophy. That would be absurd, right? Yes, it would, and it is this aspect of the definition of Islamophobia that I thoroughly reject. I reject it because it is an Orwellian, thought-policing meme which seeks to force people into either liking or censoring dislike for beliefs and ideas. People should not be coerced via laws nor social pressures to like things which they do not, particularly when those things are belief systems laced with inhumane, misogynistic and totalitarian teachings. Islam as a political force has shown itself to be a barbaric force that treats women as beasts of burden and prescribes through Shariah various heinous and insane punishments for trivial crimes, like blasphemy and apostasy, for example.
So when I object to the word ‘Islamophobia’, I am objecting to a meme that makes people mindlessly submit to an ideology through the employment of social pressure, and it should go without saying that in free and enlightened societies, no one should be forced to either like or censor dislike for beliefs and ideas, whether they be Islamic, white supremacist, or any other.