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I have officially been branded an “Islamophile” by a few posters on the LinkedIn Tea Party group.  My crime?  Pointing out that condemning a whole religion because of the actions of SOME of its members is wrong.  Pointing out that generalizations are unfair.  Calling a hate site — ReligionOfPeace.Com — a hate site.

And one poster in question, Mark W., was clear about what Islamophile meant — “someone who loves Islam so much that he is blind to its faults, and eager to lash out at anyone who identifies those faults.”  So basically they lashed out at me because I’m pointing out their faults.  O, the irony.  The self-incrimination continued with speaking out both sides of the mouth at the same time:

And criticizing Islam is not the same as being anti-Muslim. Those peaceful Muslims you imagine, to the extent they exist, are the first victims of Islam. Let’s set them free from its 1,400 year history of violence and hatred.

Imagine?  To the extent they exist?  And his criticism of Islam isn’t anti-Muslim, mixing “them” and “its” interchangeably?  He continues on with the notion we must “help the Muslims break free of Islamic hatred”, making clear except in his own mind that he is targeting all Muslims across the centuries — the human beings — not Islam in some abstraction.  If these pesky Muslims could only stop following Islam, they would be okay!  (A history lesson is desperately in order as well.)

But what I said was too painful to not shoot the messenger — I was given what I can only consider a new badge of honor.

Ken is an Islamophile, and will object strongly to any criticism of Islam, whether justified or not. In this regard, he is no different from the Ayatollahs.

Islamophile?  An “Islam-lover”?  I’m not a Muslim, and have no preference toward Islam versus any othe World Faith.  But that’s not what he meant, is it?  What was he really trying to say?

It didn’t matter that I did not actually object to any criticism —  only the way statements were applied wholesale to all Muslims.  How was I “Blind to [Islam’s] faults?”  There were none discussed except a random statistic about terrorist acts by Muslims, and from a hate site that would be no different than a site devoted to crimes committed by minorities.  The fact is Mark doesn’t know me personally and obviously never read anything I actually wrote.  The imagined straw man he made me to be aside, I am evil simply because I challenged him (and others) who are hiding behind the fact that the “race card” is overplayed at the drop of a hat these days.  If I call them prejudiced, I must be doing it to avoid the real issues.  Therefore, we should close our minds to any thought they might actually be prejudiced.

Because of all this, I was the one conveniently dismissed as “extremist” in concept, but the slurr was something darker …

All too familiar

I didn’t make the connection right away.  It was Freshman year in high school that I was first called a “nigger-lover”.  (It’s hard for me to even type the word.)  The kid in front of me made some racist comment and I voiced my disapproval.  By Mark’s standards, this means I could never admit a “Black man” could commit a crime.

I’ve said it before: Muslim is the new “Black”.  We can’t get away with blatant anti-African-American opinions, but now we have a religion and politics associated with a group of people, so we can condemn without the social limitations of criticizing people by genetics.  All the old rationalizations are new again, but fear of terrorism makes us TOLERANT OF INTOLERANCE.  It’s okay because Muslims are not a race.  Many Islamophobes even go so far as to redefine the whole religion as a political philosophy (not just [[Islamism]], if they even know what that is) to avoid the appearance of religious intolerance.  Or asserting there is no such thing as moderate Islam.

But it doesn’t matter.  Just read their statements and you’ll see they are repeatedly talking about Islamic “evils” in conjunction with Muslims in general.  They may even throw in the “I don’t mean ALL Musilms” — but everything else they say shows otherwise.  Specific, evil acts and beliefs (including a fictional rehashing of history or hate site explanations of Sharia) are belted out in the same breath as references to ALL Muslims.  It is frustrating to defend Islam and Muslims.  The nature of bigotry precludes the acceptance of facts that easily refute the false representations of dogma, scripture, history, and world domination conspiracy theories.  The rationalizations are as immense as the unawareness of their own hate speech.  But the mold of popular opinion has been set by an elaborate propaganda wave set in motion by the “Ground Zero Mosque” bigot bloggers.  Everyone is an “expert” now, and anyone who dares disagree, however educated and fair, is an “Islamophile” — someone who dares disagree with them.

The saddest thing is that the average person doesn”t even know they are doing this — it’s all perfectly rational(ized) and justified by the herd’s reassurance we have a right to “criticize”.  Instead of accepting due criticsm themselves, critics project their inability to be fair or objective onto the very people defending the quarter of humanity berated by them.

This sort of thing will keep the Tea Party — a group I do not wish to generalize either — looking like Klansmen in some people’s minds.  There are actually protesters calling themselves Tera Party activists picketing mosques, calling Muhammed a pedophile, calling the men wife-beaters, and yelling for (American) Muslims to “go home”.  The ignorance is staggering, and it’s as embarrassing in some circles as calling myself Christian because of Westboro and “Intelligent Design”.

One can only hope such people will have the sense to be embarrassed and recant now instead of be the black sheep bigot in the family tree generations from now.  After all, by then, there will be some different group more acceptable to hate.