Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Islamophobia as a Political Ploy

Columnist Usman Ahmedani describes how Islamophobia is created and is being used a political ploy.
Irshad Manji's arguments 'perpetuate the tendency to think of Muslims as Muslims first and alone'. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian
I was reminded of this cartoon during Irshad Manji's recent talk at a Free Speech Debate event at Oxford University. Manji opposes all legal prohibitions on free speech, even to the point of permitting the publication of death threats against herself. While certainly idiosyncratic, this position is internally consistent, avoiding the hypocrisy that habitually bedevils attempts to ban certain types of free speech on the grounds of offence but not others. However, once we accept that the state should not play the role of censor, an absolutist defence of free speech as "life itself", as Salman Rushdie once put it, cannot tell us how to judge between individual instances of its exercise.

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