Where we have human rights we would not have in Muslim nations

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is having a hard time putting things together.

Among western elites – artistic, political, scientific, media – I notice more expressions of abhorrence of Islam and its diverse adherents than ever before…Influential anti-Muslim voices are no longer bothering with nuance. Douglas J Hagmann, director of the non-governmental Northeast Intelligence Network in the US writes: “The latest murderous rampage should be enough to illustrate that Islam is totally incompatible with freedom, democracy and the western culture.” I wonder how many of my British friends think exactly this…Radical Islamists peddle partial narratives about the Crusades, forgetting the Nato interventions to save Bosnian Muslims from genocide and the fact that millions of us would never leave the West where we have human rights we would not have in Muslim nations.

Okay stop right there. Stop there, and think about it. Alibhai-Brown should have, and she didn’t – she rushed on to make a different point, instead. She apparently didn’t even register what she’d said. If she had, she couldn’t have left the first part of the article as it was – she would have gone back and re-written it, or possibly abandoned it in despair. She needed to stop and think very hard about the implications of what she blurted out there: that ‘in Muslim nations’ she and everyone else would not have certain human rights. Well – why is that? Why is that the case? Why did even Yasmin Alibhai-Brown not say ‘in most Muslim nations’ much less ‘some Muslim nations’ much less ‘a few Muslim nations’? Why is it the case that ‘in Muslim nations’ in general, some human rights are not available? Is it not possible that that is because of something about Islam itself, which she doesn’t want to admit to? Because if it’s not something about Islam itself, it seems awfully surprising that it applies to ‘Muslim nations’ without qualification, and that even Yasmin Alibhai-Brown takes this for granted as a fact.

The horrible truth is that it is something about Islam itself that renders some human rights unavailable in places where Islam is entangled with the government, which is to say ‘in Muslim nations.’ Islam itself, as the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam makes so unpleasantly clear, does rule out certain rights, especially for certain people, such as women. This isn’t ‘extremist’ Islam, or terrorist Islam, or radical Islam, or any other minority or eccentric Islam, it’s just Islam. That fact could be different – it’s a contingent fact, as it is a contingent fact that some religions have learned to ignore the nastier parts of its holy books while others have not – but in the world as it is now, that fact is not different. Alibhai-Brown almost admitted that – but not quite. She clings to the idea of Islam’s ‘diverse adherents’ and fails to point out how much of the content of ‘Islam’ has to be ignored for that putative diversity to amount to anything.

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