Friday, 24 June 2011

Good on'yer Geert!

The modern version of shooting the messenger:
If you point out that someone is intolerant, you’re liable to be labeled intolerant.  If you point out that someone uses hate speech, you’re liable to be accused of hate speech.  If you point out that group x is homophobic, you’re liable to be called x-ophobic.
You can guess what I’m driving at here.  If you say that Islam is intolerant, even providing specific examples of its intolerance, you’ll be called intolerant.  If you say that Islam is rife with hate speech against infidels, you’ll be called a hater of the religion of peace.  If you say that Islam is homophobic, you’ll be called “Islamophobic”.
I’ve had experience of this myself. Quoting some intolerance in the texts of Islam, I’ve been accused of “flirting with bigotry”.  “How am I the bigot, when what I’m quoting is bigotry?” says I. 
The Dutch MP, Geert Wilders is the most prominent example of this mis-treatment. He criticized Islam, pointed out its hateful texts, its intolerant tenets, its homo-and femo-phobia.  He made a short movie, called Fitna (meaning a “disturbance” or “trouble”), in which juxtaposed texts from the Koran, then showed Muslims acting in obedience to those texts.
Yet it was he who was the in the dock, not those hate-mongers following the divine guidance of Allah, as set out in the Koran
No-one said “well, let’s see if what he says is right.  Let’s see if what he does in Fitna is fair comment.  If it’s not, then we can point out to him where he’s wrong”. No, he was hauled into court in Holland and has gone through a case that’s dragged on for a over two years.
Well, what a relief that he’s been acquitted.
Mind you, I don’t think he always did himself the best of favours.  His call for the Koran to be banned was a tactical error.  Sure his call was for consistency. He argued that if you’re going to ban Mein Kampf, which is an intolerant and anti-Semitic book, then for consistency you should also ban the Koran, for it is equally intolerant and anti-Semitic.  The equivalence of the Koran and Mein Kampf is an arguable proposition; personally, I think the Koran is the worse book.  Still, he should not have called for its banning, especially as he presented himself as the champion of free speech.
Nonetheless, he has been a fearless, robust and knowledgeable critic of Islam.  I have seen many of his speeches and read a lot of his writing.  There is no doubt that he is not racist.  There is no doubt that the case he makes against Islam is strong and well-founded:  that Islam, in its doctrine and practice is anti-thetical to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience, that it is against the rights of women and minorities, that it is supremacist and anti-Semitic. (phew! Every time I write out that list, it exhausts me, the extent to which Islam stands starkly against the liberal traditions of the west; yet each and every one of those statements is objectively true, in the tenets and practices of Islam).
Yet he was the one in the dock!
His acquittal means that we can continue to critique Islam.  And it’s sure in need of it.  For to point out the truth of it – that baleful list, above, of what Islam stands against – is not to be it.  To point out bigotry, homophobia and supremacism is not to be bigoted, homophobic and supremacist. Is not intolerant to point out intolerance. 
Should we stop criticizing Islam?   Has it had enough?  Is it time to call a halt?   What for? For the sake of “peace” and “good order”?  So as not to rock the boat?
If we do that, we find soon enough that the boat we’re in is rocked nonetheless, that it’s filling with water and we’re sinking while we sleep on in the mistaken belief that keeping quiet is “tolerant”.
Keeping quiet is to buy into the absurd proposition, the unstated assumption of liberal critics, that in pointing out the haters, we are haters; that in pointing out the intolerant, we are intolerant, that in pointing out the bigotry, we are the bigots. 
But that is crazy and it’s dangerous and it’s wrong
We, the many critics of Islam, we “Islamophobes”, we stand four-square for those hard-won freedoms, for women, for minorities, and for all religions and the non-religious.  Long live freedom and the right to speak one’s mind!
Good on’yer Geert!
Postscript (III): ... Geert Wilders lives under 24-hour armed guard because of explicit death threats made against him by the killer of Theo van Gogh and by other Muslims. Yet he’s the one who gets puts on trial.[ref]
Postscript (II): In this transcript from an Australian ABC television story, the reporter Rachael Brown, can barely conceal her contempt for Wilders and incredulity at the decision to acquit him.  She does herself no favours, though, with the snippet from Voxpop: "Officially, he didn't do anything wrong but I don't like him. I think he should be guilty of something and locked away forever because I really don't like his opinion."
Well, dearie me!  Didn't like his opinion?!  Off with his head.
Postscript (I): FrontPage magazine notes that the acquittal staves off, at least for a while "...attempts to criminalize speaking accurately about a radically repressive ideology that would use our self-enforced silence about its nature and intentions to advanced unopposed....
" is certainly a good thing that Wilders was acquitted. It is a great victory for common sense. But this is by no means the end of the Islamic supremacist challenges to the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression in the West. The OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which is made up of the 56 Muslim majority countries in the world] is bent on using Western “hate speech” codes to enforce Sharia blasphemy laws upon the non-Muslim states of the West, making honest discussion of Islam and jihad a crime to be punished instead of a necessary task in our defense against the Islamic supremacist threat. The forces that were responsible for the persecution and prosecution of Wilders will not give up."