Friday, January 17, 2014

Religion is not an ideology?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
Photograph by Matt Rourke
Associated Press

Matt Apuzzo, reporting for the New York Times, writes "U.S. to Expand Rules Limiting Use of Profiling by Federal Agents," (January 15, 2014):
The Justice Department will significantly expand its definition of racial profiling to prohibit federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation in their investigations . . . . The move addresses a decade of criticism from civil rights groups that say federal authorities have in particular singled out Muslims in counterterrorism investigations.
To the rational mind, this sounds so weird that I have to at least wonder if the report has been inadvertently edited in a way that conflates "profiling" with "racial profiling" -- except that I've too often seen the term "racist" itself deployed as an epithet against those who subject Islam to critical questioning (which perhaps has its intellectual origin in Edward Said's abusive use of the term "Orientalist"). I therefore find regrettably all too plausible this report that the Justice Department will expand its definition of race to include religion. (Not to mention gender and sexual orientation.) Wouldn't this mean, for example, that a Christian who converts to Islam is suddenly a different race? Perhaps the Justice Department labors under the arguably racist notion that all Muslims are Arabs?

Whatever else it might entail, a religion is an ideology, and whether one thinks Islamism is Islam pure and simple or Islam tainted and distorted, Islamism itself is a religion. Will the Justice Department refuse to consider Islamism as a factor in its investigations of terrorism?

Is the expression "religious terrorism" to be an oxymoron?

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At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is bullshit.

People/Police require a "map" to operate.

Herschel Ducker

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feds are People too. Until I read that, I'd included "employees in DOJ rules-making committees" to be included in the People/Police category.

Herschel Ducker

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

By "BS," I assume you mean the DOJ's decision.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well. I suppose I coulda been a wee bit more precise with my language.

This DOJ guideline is Bullshit!

Less ambiguous Professor?

Herschel D.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Perfectly pellucid.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The crux of the problem here is the religion enjoys special legal protections in the First Amendment and the Civil Rights Act. The same US legal logic that seeks to exclude religion as a basis for profiling also allows mega church mogul and prosperity gospel prophet Joel Osteen to pay zero property taxes on his $10-million-dollar mansion because it is owned by the church he founded. Why should people and institutions promoting religious ideology enjoy tax-free status without having to meet the more rigorous IRS standards applied to non-profits?


At 11:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, you raise an important issue, but how does it relate to defining Islam as a race?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I searched the DOJ website to verify the actual wording and could find none, I' did find other docs listing race, religion, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation as separate, protected groups. Based on the wording currently used in DOJ docs, I conclude that media headlines sloppily mischaracterize the proposed change as expanding the definition of race rather than expanding the number of groups protected from profiling,


At 8:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That was my suspicion, that there was a conflation of "profiling" with "racial profiling."

Jeffery Hodges

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