Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

May 30, 2011

‘Islamophobe’

Filed under: Bigotry — Razib Khan @ 3:25 pm

Over at Talk Islam thabet put up an interesting pointer to Richard Dawkins’ hostility toward Islam, which prompted a reader to ask whether Dawkins was an Islamophobe. thabet’s clarification was spot on:

Agreed. But I don’t think he holds a special animus against ‘Muslims’. You can be sure he has as much hatred against Catholics (not in the news enough) or religious Jews (too small a group in the UK).

I think he is a stupid man when not working in his own domain.

Dawkins famously has a knee-jerk repulsions. The fact that he has regularly been accused of being an “Islamophobe” shows how stupid the term is being used in execution, as Dawkins is also strongly anti-Catholic of much longer standing (I was in the room once when he was giving a talk and kept dropping gratuitous anti-Catholic comments). The term “anti-Semite” is also stupid in terms of its execution.

The reality is that a full-throated criticism of the way of life of Hasidic Jews is going to seem to appeal to anti-Semitic tropes, because anti-Semitism has a partial root in the fact that separationist Jewish life is deeply alienated from the Western mainstream, and always has been. This explains why liberal assimilationist Jews in the Reform movement often engaged in rhetoric which seems to be patently anti-Semitic when taken out of context.

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