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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Am a Proud Islamophobe

I, the author of the present, would like to state as categorically as possible that this is not a racist text. Neither Islamophobia nor I — a proud Islamophobe — have anything to do with racism, for the simple reason that Islam is not a race, it’s an ideology. Nor are Muslims a race, anymore than Christians are. So, just as one can be a “fascistophobe”, meaning “fearful of the principles on which fascism rests”, so am I an Islamophobe — and I’ll explain why. In doing so, at some point I’ll have to compare Christianity with Islam. In the discussion, I suspect some attributes of Islam will not appeal favorably to the tastes of Muslims. This is not intentional. I believe it is the result of an objective comparison. After all, I am not a Christian but an Atheist, and as such I have no reason to favor one religion over the other.
There is no such thing as Islamophobia.
Bigotry and racism exist, of course - and they are evils that all well-intentioned people must oppose. And prejudice against Muslims or Arabs, purely because of the accident of their birth, is despicable. But like all religions, Islam is a system of ideas and practices. And it is not a form of bigotry or racism to observe that the specific tenets of the faith pose a special threat to civil society. Nor is it a sign of intolerance to notice when people are simply not being honest about what they and their co-religionists believe.
Sam Harris.

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