Some Islam/Islamophobia related posts by Jalees Rehman

Following up my recent post about Islam, Islamophobia, etc., here are some links to posts by US based German Muslim scientist Jalees Rehman. All of these were published over the past year or two. I wasn’t aware of him until he contacted me after seeing my post, but he appears to have similar views on Islamophobia and associated topics, and some other interesting ideas as well. From the little I know of him, he also seems to be a good example of the type of moderate Muslim thinker whose existence is often doubted.

First, a piece on Islamophobia and what he calls Occidentophobia, which commences:

Scapegoating Muslims has long been a convenient tool for promoting a far right political agenda. A recent Center for American Progress (CAP) report carefully outlines anti-Muslim fear-mongering in the United States, with the long-term hope that, by exposing the roots of anti-Muslim hostility, strategies can be developed to overcome such prejudice. However, relatively little attention is paid to “Occidentophobia,” or more appropriately (since it does not constitute a true “phobia”), anti-Western sentiments among Muslims. Is the Muslim anti-Western prejudice due to ignorance, or is it the consequence of a very selective view of Western society?

And a couple of other pieces, both from the Huffington Post:

On why “Islamophobia” is (in Rehman’s opinion) a misnomer.

And a recent piece on appreciating atheist thought from a Muslim perpective.

These are thoughtful articles and merit a reflective audience. I encourage you to have a look and see what you think.

  1. Douglas Anderson

    I am starting to see a disconcerting trend develop with regards to right-wing Christian organizations in especially the US, and their alignment with Islam, or identifying with Islam, in attacking liberalism and atheism. And this I find deeply disturbing. We all know that the media tends to hyperbole and sensationalism, and for this reason Islam is often identified by its fundamentalists and bigots rather than by its average practitioners, thus the question; is Islamophobia attracting right-wing Christian fundamentalists who are identifying with a perceived mind-set?I am starting to see a different trend devloping with egards to right-wing Christian organizations in especially the US;

  2. Some interesting points, but where, I wonder, does he get this: “The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable for discussing the term.” That certainly doesn’t form part of the diagnostic criteria in DSM-IV. Indeed, a Google search for that exact phrase leads only to Rehman’s own article. In truth, it would be kind of odd if we recognised morbidly excessive fears as ‘disorders’ only when the individual affected recognised them as excessive.

    But more generally, the suffix ‘phobia’ has been misused long before this. ‘Homophobia’ is frequently used to describe both the visceral revulsion that some people report on being in proximity to gay people, and the more considered opposition to homosexual practices that often (though not always) derives from religious teachings. I would suggest that, while both are highly problematic, only the former really comes close to meeting the definition. (Though considered opposition can, I guess, come to manifest itself in visceral ways.)

    Likewise with ‘islamophobia.’ Principled opposition to the tenets of the Muslim faith need not be ‘phobic’. In fact, it’s unlikely that they are. Likewise critique of ‘Muslim society’, however unfair it may be to generalise about that. But what about lop-sided or disproportionate fear of Muslim people? I’ve alluded before to Sam Harris’ (IMO) morbid fear of a nuclear-armed Muslim state. On a more mundane level, someone who experiences extreme anxiety whenever they see, for example, a man of ‘muslim appearance’ boarding a plane is probably not acting on reason or principle, but is displaying something close to a phobic reaction.

    So yeah, the term possibly does have its proper place, but it is a much narrower place than some users afford it.

  3. It is a reaction to Western foreign policy. Simples.

  4. There is no such thing as “Islamophobia”. Fear and loathing are the only rational response to this religion, especially if you are female, but it brutalizes everyone. Fear of Muslims is a different matter, and it is necessary to remember that the people whom Islam most victimizes are its own adherents.

  5. Religious Fundamentalism, Islamophobia and I | My Sister Eileen - pingback on September 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm
  6. Geert Wilders, Islamophobia and I « elcidharth - pingback on November 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm
  7. My Sister Eileen – Growing Western Islamophobia and I - pingback on November 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm
  8. Of Islam, Islamophobia and I | elcidharth - pingback on April 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm

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