Sunday, August 15, 2010

Because he is Muslim

So someone linked me to this thingy. And I'm conflicted.

On the one side, yes, Muslims get a lot of underserved shit. Every religion has their share of fucking crazy assholes, and claiming that every suicide bomber is representative of Islam is quite simply bullshit. It's the kind of stereotyping I hate everywhere else.

And burka bans and similar measures don't help the situation. Yes, some women are indeed forced to wear burkas, but as it turns out others aren't. And banning the symptom of the oppressive mentality does nothing to improve it. I'd argue it only fucks them over worse.

This whole "Mosque at Ground Zero" thing is an obvious example. Let's ignore it's not really a mosque and not really at Ground Zero for a bit. The entire argument against it is, what? That somehow the entirety of Islam is to blame for what individuals did in its name? That it upsets people, therefore it's evil? Would they argue that people shouldn't build churches anywhere in the Middle East that was affected by the Crusades?

So yes. Islam often treated as some sort of hive mind where every Muslim is an undercover Osama bin Laden, and every time any one of them does anything that someone might dislike it's "If we let them exist then the terrorists win!"

But. You can't ignore that Islam does have a part to play in what Muslims do. You can't ignore that some Muslims do horrifying things, sometimes because of Islam, in the same way that some Christians do horrifying things because of Christianity, Hindus because of Hinduism, and etcetera. And nowadays, because of a number of reasons, Islam is the best (worst) example of the evils religion can do.

To quote Greta Christina:
Of course religious wars and hatreds are complex -- multi-factorial, as the social scientists say -- with lots of causes feeding into them. But to deny the role that religion plays in religious conflicts is a textbook example of ignoring the elephant in the room. It's like looking at an enormous steaming pile of elephant shit in the room, and going, "My goodness, where could all this elephant shit have come from? It must have been brought here by a greedy, selfish, power-hungry elephant trainer. Elephant? No, I don't see any elephant here."
The key here, is that Islam is not inherently worse than all the other superstitions. At least, not by any significant measure. The sociological factors at work right now, in the countries where Islam is prevalent, means that worse aspects get shown. It's worth remembering that other religions were (are) just as horrible sometimes. And it's also worth remembering that you can't pretend that Islam plays no part in what is done in its name.

Or, at least, that's my obviously biased view on the matter.

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