Eagleton forgot to mention a few things…
There is one particular, pressing problem with Eagleton’s incoherent rant: the problem is that, as in the past, he writes as if the only criticism there is to make of Islam and Islamism is ‘terrorism,’ meaning terrorism in the sense of blowing the legs off small children. That is not the only criticism there is to make of Islam and Islamism. Terrorism-as-bombing is not the only reason there is to be critical of Islam and especially of Islamism. How Eagleton can be unaware of that fact is hard to understand. Does he carefully avoid all news coverage? Does he have a special filter that excludes anything with the word ‘Islam’ or ‘Taliban’ or ‘women’ or ‘girls’ in it? If he doesn’t, I really don’t know how he manages to ignore the way Islamists and Islam treat women, not to mention gays and ‘apostates’ and ‘blasphemers’ and other rabble. It’s inexcusable, this blindness, this silence. It’s inexcusable of him to pretend to be giving a defense of Islam against the whatever-it-is of his selected bogeymen while never mentioning the plight of women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, northern Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, Ethiopia, Algeria, Palestine, Berlin, Paris, Birmingham, London, Toronto, Atlanta. It’s inexcusable of him to fail to mention ‘honour’ killings and forced marriage and FGM and beatings and purdah and blown-up schools and murdered teachers and acid thrown on girls going to school and all the rest of it.
There is no quarrel about how to treat those whose scorn for liberal values takes the form of blowing the legs off small children. They need to be locked up…Writers such as Martin Amis and Hitchens do not just want to lock terrorists away…There is also an honorable legacy of qualifying too-absolute judgments with an awareness of context: the genuine liberal is appalled by Islamist terrorism, but conscious of the national injury and humiliation that underlie it.
That’s it – that’s all he admits – ‘terrorism’ – by which he makes sure to let us know at the beginning he means only blowing legs off, he does not mean the terrorism of threatening girls with death if they keep going to school, of butchering girls who refuse a marriage or want to marry someone of their own choosing or get a job or wear jeans or refuse to wear a hijab, of yanking girls out of school and out of the country and marrying them off to a stranger. How dare he keep silent about all that? How dare he rant and rave at Hitchens and Grayling for not keeping silent about that?