Recently Q & A hosted a panel which included Pauline Hanson. She is quite well known in Australia, critics would describe her as an xenoophobic and supporters would say she is asking some serious questions. Her political party has done well in recent elections and has a policy of a Royal Commission into Islam and of halting immigration exclusively of Muslims. Christopher Hitchens, who has died, was a militant atheist and very critical of Islam, as well as warfare and imperialism.
I am not a devote follower of politics, but I am confident in asserting that Ms. Hanson is the main Australian politician who is critical of Islam. I would assume Mr. Hitchens would support her attitudes, to a limited extent. A question to ask his ghost via spirit medium, would be ‘Do you think all religious political groups have a definite & active interest in marginalising criticism and a result of this, is the obscuring of reasonable criticism of Islam by the undesirable title of Islamophobia?’ His answer to banning Islamic migration would be a little more predictable, I reckon.
It is difficult for atheist criticism to gain traction, in part due to an attitude that religion is well intended. Neither the Bible nor the Quran (nor the Torah) are perfect guides to morality, and this is in direct conflict with strong Christianity & strong Islam (& strong Judaism). As long as discussion centers on the positive parts of the Bible, the assumption of the perfection of the Messiah & his message is left unchallenged, and the explicitly murderous verses & verses of nonsense don’t become part of the reputation. It is distasteful to connect murder and nonsense with the Christian theology, with the Christian holy book. However, I would think it less provocative to do so, than to criticise Islam. Criticism of the Quran, or of Islam on the evidence of the nations where it has been strongest for the longest, is seen as fanning the flames of right wing extremism and intolerance.
To briefly discuss Aisha (an active figure in the Sunni – Shia schism), explicit details in the Koran provide Islamic acceptance & approval of at least one occurrence of paedophilia (10 y/o girl and 54 y/o man) and polygamy (to the 11th degree), both crimes in ‘the West’ and both significantly, but not exclusively or totally, associated with Islamic communities, including migrants & refugees. This is an honest criticism is diminished & ignored by things such as the fear of the label of Islamophobe & genuine Islamophobes who only squawk of terrorism. Also, those Muslims who either want to change their community or represent a change are less publicly active than would otherwise be the case, and so their views do not propagate as one would wish.
In a moment of support for Ms. Hanson, those nations (Saudi Arabia & Iran) have not produced a respectable democracy. Democracy in Indonesia (which is successful & mostly respectable) I believe to be a product of historical capitalism (controlling profitable spice trading) which in turn led to colonialism (by the Dutch) who imported their systems of organisation which were retained after the Dutch (& others) departed.
Criticism of Kim Davis was a much greater presence in the media than criticism of Saudi Arabia & Iran in relation to LGBTQI causes, especially with the Saudi seat on the UNHRC. This illustrates the shielded (within the mainstream) status which Islam currently, and wrongfully in my opinion, holds. Further it is a dynamic which produces alienation of the right wing & conspiracy.
Ms. Hanson and her One Nation party represent citizens who hold strong negative views of Islam and seek to represent these views on the national scale. Mr. Hitchens was more an activist than a representative and sought to develop the international public discourse on religion. How would you compare Hanson & Hitchens? How do you compare Islamophobia and militant atheism?.