The aftermath of the Christchurch massacre has seen a call for a law against Islamophobia but people such as Charles Moore who wrote an article in the Telegraph titled ‘’A law against Islamophobia is a terrible idea’’ explains that such a law will be a disaster. This post is focused on his article because it singularly merged most of the comments made by a other like-minded people.
Moore starts by saying that Islam as a proselytising religion seeks to ‘’convert the whole of humanity’’ and he reasons that a law against Islamophobia will seek to punish religious disagreements. Yes, indeed Muslims are offered great rewards for converting or reverting people to Islam but to do this, Muslims have to engage in an open dialogue. There is no foreseeable risk of taking away people’s freedom of speech – just their ability to insult and use derogatory language against Islam and Muslims. An internationally agreed definition of Islamophobia is only needed for non-Muslim nations, especially those that have an established democracy to protect the Muslims against violence and prejudice. The fear of branding Islamophobia is not because of eradicating religious contention, it is perhaps in fear of upsetting international relations with countries like China and Burma for their cruelty against the Uighur and Rohingya Muslims respectively. It will also force European countries to abandon (or further hide) their increasingly anti-Muslim agendas and UK political parties such as the Conservative party to confront their rampant Islamophobia as witnessed by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.
Moore argues that Baroness Warsi’s definition of Islamophobia as ‘’rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness’’ is in fact, false. He uses the example of Muslim girls being prevented from wearing the niqab in schools being classed as Islamophobia even though teachers will be acting along with the Western notion of equality between genders. This reasoning indicates that Moore is an Islamophobe – he is clearly not ignorant and is painting Islam as a religion that promotes inequality against women by virtue of their clothing. Also, laws are clearly well defined with set boundaries so why will it be difficult to have a definition of what is classed as Islamophobia.
‘’You can imagine similar confrontations breaking out about mixed-sex swimming, dietary issues, dancing or singing classes, science teaching and so on. Such rows are already sadly common.’’ If that is the case then practicing Jews can similarly bring up anti-semitism in such confrontations which contradicts his initial reasoning. Halal meals are to be found in most places and Muslims can eat kosher meat; women in general can demand different swimming sessions by right (it is actually available now); we promote science as it brings further clarity to some undiscovered meanings behind Quranic revelations. No one should be forced to partake in an activity that they do not want to i.e. singing and dancing.
Moore suggests that relying on good will is the way to manage Islamophobia, if that is the case, then why did the Churchchrist massacre happen? And, people’s right to speak against zionism by terming it anti-semitism within the definitions of the IHRA ‘’works against the values of an open society’’ but defining the meaning of Islamophobia along the lines of gender discrimination, ageism e.t.c. does not as it will just further the definition of religious discrimination for Muslims.
The authorities do not have to define what is Islamic in order to define Islamophobia just as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) did not have to specify who/ what is Jewish. Moore’s Islamophobic views are again obvious when he indicates that Muslim self-appointed leaders are always militant, they will diminish all our freedoms and it will result in more extremism. Surely if Western leaders sought guidance, a peaceful non-militant Imam or Mufti can be found amongst the billions of Muslims in the world? Moore and his like-minded, seemingly vacuous writers are very aware of the necessity for a definition of Islamophobia – they just do not care about the Muslims as they fear ‘’invasion’’. They rather have a watered down version that fits in with their ‘’Western’’ mode of religion as this is less likely to threaten Western civilisation.
The Churchchrist attack is comparable to the Charlie Hebdo incident that happened in France in that both attacks were perpetrated by terrorists with skewed ideologies but the reactions from world leaders and their nationals are drastically different. The news and social media were very active after the Charlie Hebdo incident with reactions from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Premier League and FA Cup football games held moments of silence, wore black bands and played France’s national anthem after the Charlie Hebdo attack but where is the sentiment now? Such behaviours are not significant to Muslims as Islam teaches predestination and that they have not really died, they just transcended to the next world. It nonetheless seems like nationality is not a consideration when you are a Muslim, indeed many forget that Muslims are thought to live according to and uphold the laws of the land in which they live and being a Muslim is not a race like Judaism.
Moore’s article is in itself an exemplary reason as to why there should be a law against Islamophobia but it is realistically highly unlikely that any such law will ever be enacted. Islamophobia is deeply rooted within the fabric of Western civilisation due to historic conflicts, far right instigations, the anxiety caused by Muslim immigration and the divine decree that they are naturally built to oppose Islamic principles. But, even though an Islamophobia law is highly unlikely, Muslims should remain optimistic and constantly pray to Allah for protection and guidance in this “prison for the believer’s”.