Geert Wilders on Islam: Ideology or Religion?
Jonathan Kay, editor of the National Post, a Canadian-based newspaper, offers a defense of the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders in an article titled "Geert Wilders' problem with Islam" (May 8, 2011).
Wilders is "controversial" for such things as his remarks on Muhammad, describing "the Muslim Prophet as a dictator, a pedophile and a warmonger," so I think that we can infer that he doesn't like Muhammad, but he insists that such dislike doesn't extend to Muslims generally: "I don't hate Muslims. I hate their book and their ideology."
Mr. Kay offers a somewhat murky gloss on this point:
[I]n the modern, politically correct Western tradition, hatred expressed toward a religion typically is held on the same level of human-rights opprobrium as hatred expressed toward a race or an ethnicity. But Islam is not really a religion at all, as Mr. Wilders sees it, but rather a retrograde political ideology with religious trappings.And he adds of Wilders that:
[H]is insistence on the proper distinction between faith and ideology is an idea that deserves to be taken seriously.I know too little of Wilders to know if he's making such a distinction, but I wouldn't make the distinction myself. Faith -- by which I suppose is meant an authentic religious belief -- includes ideology, if we mean by that term a system of ideas.
I think that we have the right to criticize any ideology, including a religious system of ideas, which are often the most dangerous sort of ideas, as we can see nearly every day in the news.