Sam Harris and Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins all want really badly for me to criticize Islam. They claim I’m scared to do so because Islamic extremists bully people into silence. They consider it a liberal failing that people like me have deferred to that bullying. They say it’s not “phobic” to criticize Islam, nor is it racist.
Then, of course, they say that we should profile Muslims, and their self-defense starts to fall apart. They fail to recognize that I do not live in a majority Muslim country, and that especially since 2001 but even before that, white Americans have exhibited incredible fear of Muslims (demonstrated by a call to profile them, coincidentally) and committed hate crimes against people who even “look” like they might be Muslim. They fail to see their own criticisms as so sweeping that they amount to a judgment on anyone with brown skin.
I won’t do it. I won’t take the bait of a patronizing call for feminists to set aside their goals in America to address problems in Muslim theocracies, and I won’t take the bait of an anti-intellectual call for atheists to denounce an entire religion simply because a handful of atheist leaders prescribe it. I will exhibit more caution and conservatism in my judgment, and here’s why: Keep reading »