Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Karen, Bill and Sam show: Islam in the frame

One of the (many) things I don't get: why Karen Armstrong should be revered as a non-Muslim commentator on Islam.  She has been showered with honours for her work in the field, which is more, to my mind, Islamopology than genuine analysis.
I have read her books.  She clearly misrepresents Islam (in the positive), and is often outright duplicitous (I can't imagine that she doesn't know whereof she speaks; but rather that she lies about its uncomfortable tenets: that is, rather knave than fool).
I have written about her before: 28 July 2013, 22 May 2012, 24 Feb 2012, 30 Jan 2012 and 25 Jan 2012.
Lately, she has a bee in her bonnet about two of the too-few lefties who speak out about the supremacist tenets of Islam: Sam Harris and Bill Maher.
Criticism of Islam is, she says, the sort of talk that led to the concentration camps.
Bill Maher says this is "beyond stupid":
“It doesn’t sting because it’s beyond stupid. Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay. It’s idiotic.”
The late, great Christopher Hitchens (one of those too-few lefties who face squarely this issues of Islam), skewered the Armstrongian view that criticism of Islam is the same as the holocaust:
Reactions from even "moderate" Muslims to criticism are not uniformly reassuring. "Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s," Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like. What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness.
Robert Spencer has a spirited and reasoned take-down of Armstrong's "beyond stupid" statement here.