Defining ‘badness’

Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer tell worried Guardian readers about “Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence” as if they’re roughly the same thing rather than being very different things. Dislike of a belief-system is a very different thing from violence against people.

[M]embers of the EDL are echoing sentiments about Muslims they have adopted from sections of the mainstream media and the BNP. It is no coincidence that Nick Griffin has been peddling exactly the same hatred towards Muslims for the last decade. Similarly, a cursory examination of the records of Islamophobia Watch over the last five years provides a sense of the extent of Islamophobia in the mainstream media.

Islamophobia Watch! As if that were a respectable and reliable source! Bob Pitt notoriously sees any kind of disagreement with or criticism of Islam or Islamism as hatred of Muslims, which he labels “Islamophobia” as if that word meant hatred of Muslims, thus helping the MCB and the other “leaders of the Muslim community” to treat Islam and Muslims as interchangeable – yet here are two academics citing Pitt’s vicious blog as if it were an impartial record.

[W]e find a long list of politicians who have sought to define and embrace “good Muslims” while attacking “bad Muslims”. If these “bad Muslims” were limited to the al-Qaida inspired terrorists who bombed London on 7/7 and the extremist members of al-Muhajiroun it might at least be an accurate categorisation. Instead, the concept of “bad Muslim” has come to demonise thousands of ordinary Muslims who do not wish to compromise their religious or political principles.

In other words, the only “badness” is bombing; anything short of bombing is not badness, it is “ordinary Muslims” (which should be understood to mean Muslim men, but of course they don’t say that) not wanting to compromise their religious or political principles. Not wanting to compromise their religious or political principles, of course, means not wanting to stop taking their daughters out of school and forcing them to marry older cousins; it means wanting to go on forcing women to wear hijab, to kill them if they go out with the “wrong” man or get a job or go to university or otherwise act like independent human beings. That kind of thing, because it is not bombing, must not be called badness, and Muslims (Muslim men) who go in for it must not be considered “bad.”

In other words Lambert and Githens-Mazer are perfectly happy for Muslim women to have no rights, and they dress this up as generous protectiveness toward “Muslims.”

We’ve encountered them before. Lambert is a former cop; he headed the Muslim Contact Unit in the Metropolitan Police; he did lots of reaching out to “the leaders” of “the Muslim community” via the MCB and similar all-male Islamist organizations. Then he went off to get a PhD.

I did a comment on their post:

It sounds grand and brave to talk of not wishing “to compromise their religious or political principles,” but in reality not all religious or political principles are good or desirable or fair to others. Some religious or political principles stink. Fascist principles stink, and so do Islamist principles.

This sly evasive paltering with words is contemptible. Lambert and Githens-Mazer should at least have the decency to spell out what it is they’re defending. They cite, of all things, IslamophobiaWatch as evidence of hatred of Muslims; IslamophobiaWatch notoriously treats all criticism of Islam as “Islamophobia” as if there simply cannot be such a thing as reasoned criticism of Islam.

Bad Guardian. Bad newspaper. No cookie.

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