Is it unconscionable if we:
a) Talk about homophobia in the black community?
b) Think that honour killings may not be entirely a good thing?
c) Find mutilation rather distasteful?
d) Don’t much like the idea of Shari’a?
e) Think that Russians sometimes get things wrong?
f) Think that maybe there is an argument to be had about the headscarf ban?
g) Suspect that Islam and women’s rights are not perfect bedfellows?
Answers on a postcard.
Since the author of the to whom you link, and which ends with the word you highlight has a penultimate sentence which begins “By all means, condemn what one wishes in whatever culture,….”, I suspect that he thinks (as I do) that it is not in fact “unconscionable” to talk and write about these things.
I myself think that it is implicit from context that his final sentence should be read as stating not that mention of the topics you list is “unconscionable” but rather that to present them as being the full or whole truth about Islam (and to do this in the service of liberalism) is “unconscionable.”
Admittedly, to read him as I do, one has to be guided by a principle of charity in interpretation such that when there is a choice between construing a person as saying (a) something absurd or (b) something much more sensible, one plumps for (b).
“as being the full or whole truth about Islam (and to do this in the service of liberalism)is “unconscionable.”
But you’d have to be a lunatic to think that there is no good in Islam (or pretty much any religion, for that matter); or that you can tell the whole truth about a religion by looking at its distasteful aspects.
Even if you’re talking about something as unabalanced as The Sun newspaper, they are extremely careful always to say that they’re talking about certain aspects of Islam (to the extent that they go out of their way to include comment from moderate muslims).
So, if we employ a principle of charity, I’m not sure who Marc is condemning. Maybe the BNP and NF, but surely not *liberal* ‘Islamophobia’.
One of the reasons it is important for people on the Left to flag up this stuff is that it shouldn’t be left to the headbangers on the Right.
After all, just how concerned are most of them going to be about Islamic homophobia; how many of them are interested in Arab feminism; how much are they worried about the pervasive influence of religion; and so on?
Sure, some of them will have genuine concerns in these areas, but most will not. In such a situation, it ill behoves the Left to take itself out of the debate for fear of upsetting minority groups (with the caveat, of course, that one must say loudly and clearly that bigotry and racism are quite unacceptable).
“But you’d have to be a lunatic to think that there is no good in Islam (or pretty much any religion, for that matter) … “
Between ‘pretty much any religion’ and ‘for that matter’ insert ‘or any political ideology’ —
In a way, that is the tragedy: the reason inhumane religions and ideologies (such as Nazism and Communism) haven’t been a total flop — and have indeed sometimes been highly, if briefly, successful — is that there has ALWAYS been something ‘good’ about them, or something that seemed good to lots of people at some time or other. As every historian can tell you, the reason why certain belief systems or ideologies have been immensely popular at certain periods is that their advocates have always ‘had a point’, that they haven’t been total lunatics. Hitler (there he goes again) ‘had a point’ when he said that the Germans had been given a raw deal at Versailles. And ‘Mein Kampf’ had something like a ‘social chapter’ (for Aryans). Partly for this reason, Hitler eventually won the hearts and minds of over 30% of the electorate, some of them the ‘brightest and the best’, such as pre-postmodernist Martin H. If Hitler had merely banged on about a Jewish conspiracy to corrupt German youth by selling low-price central heating systems and cheap eiderdowns, thus leading to an epidemic of masturbation, he wouldn’t have ‘had a point’. If that’s what Hitler had preached, you wouldn’t have ‘had to be a lunatic’ to think that there was no good in him — he would have been the lunatic, not you. The tragedy is that Hitler wasn’t a lunatic.
Ditto for Communism — the book to read being, of course, Paul Hollander’s ‘Political Pilgrims’, which you’ve all read, so I need say no more.
Ditto for Islam — of course it’s got good points. The Koran, like all religious instruction manuals, is chockablock full of commonsensical and pragmatic ethical principles. The problem is that for secularists of all persuasions, they’re not good enough. The bad points outweigh the good ones. And if there are quite a number of multiculturalists just looking for the bright side, one may be quite justified in focusing on the dark side, as a counterbalance. Sometimes a fair judge has to be partisan — and say, quite bluntly, that when push comes to shove, Islam objectively sucks.
If you guys know French, the book to read is Alexandre Del Valle’s ‘Le totalitarisme vert’.(http://www.alexandredelvalle.com/publications.php?id_art=67)
Not only funny, but very selective of the comments he allows to appear on his own blog.
Oh yes? You tried to comment then?
“very selective of the comments he allows to appear on his own blog”
Eh? I’ve never blocked any comment ever. I just don’t get many.
Tripod, which hosts my site, is not very user friendly, so it might be that.