Kunwar Khuldune Shahid Criticizes "Islamophobia," i.e., the Term "Islamophobia"
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, writing for the Friday Times (May 9, 2014), again (for we have seen him before) critiques the "Shameless apologia" of those who would exculpate Islam of any responsibility for the recent actions of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram:
The Islamist group Boko Haram currently has around 200 schoolgirls enslaved in Nigeria . . . . Reports of multiple rapes have already surfaced and this week Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has revealed that he considers the school girls his slaves who he will "sell off" in marriage. He justifies his plan in a recently released video saying: "I want to reassure my Muslim brothers that Allah says slaves are permitted in Islam." And here is Shekau's plan in his own words: "I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine" . . . . Boko Haram believes that Western education is haraam[, i.e., forbidden], even more so for girls, who according to their ideology should not be allowed to do much without their male guardians . . . . When Muslim countries burn themselves with rage . . . [through] protests against [anti-Islamic] cartoons or videos [ridiculing Muhammad], the lack of . . . [protest] against the most monstrous of acts resoundingly sets up our [Muslim] order of priorities. [Even the m]ost progressive Muslims' efforts . . . have been dedicated to cooking up apologia for their religion, and claiming how Boko Haram is blatantly misinterpreting its scriptures . . . . [When] terrorist organisations in . . . different continents are "misinterpreting" the Islamic texts identically -- mirroring a millennia-and-a-half of [the] same interpretation -- to wreak havoc in their respective regions, [this fact of identical interpretations] connotes that highlighting the "misinterpretation" isn't quite as important as highlighting the fact that the text can be [so consistently] interpreted to such devastating effect . . . . [But s]tating the obvious fact that . . . Boko Haram [and other Islamist groups] are driven by their religion -- as the militants proclaim themselves -- is dubbed "Islamophobia" in unison by both the progressive Muslims and overwhelming parts of the liberal left in the West . . . . The focus . . . is on how the ideology [of Islam] shouldn't, or doesn't (bizarrely), lead to violence. Political correctness . . . [deems the critic of Islam to be] "culturally insensitive", or an Islamophobe . . . . [Liberial] Western reports highlighting Islamist terrorism are brimming with disclaimers, stressing . . . various versions of Islam . . . . [W]hat is the immediate relevance of these disclaimers in a report narrating terrorists' acts and their own justification for . . . [the] attacks? Why is there reluctance in using the term "enslaved" in the mainstream media ever since Abubakar Shekau stated that his religion sanctions slavery? . . . It is ironic that all the endeavour of progressive Muslims is dedicated to shielding . . . [Islamic] ideology from criticism, when . . . actually this critique . . . [is what] would lead to necessary reform . . . . By claiming that criticism is unjustified, and denying the rather obvious influence of religion on religious extremism, one contradicts the "progressive" and "reformist" labels . . . . [T]he term "Islamophobia", used to shield the [Islamic] ideology . . . from scrutiny -- and hence [from] reform -- . . . becomes a self-defeating misnomer . . . . Playing "true and false" [Islam] . . . while thousands continue to . . . [suffer] under the Islamist gun is a very dangerous game . . . . Anyone who claims that the terrorism . . . [of] Islamism needs to be countered and condemned should focus on ensuring that no punches are pulled in condemnations for the acts. [Arguing over w]hether or not the Islamist ideology is a blatant misinterpretation of "true" Islam is tantamount to needless apologia in the immediate aftermath of an Islamist attack.Shahid is a brave man to write such scathing words while living in Pakistan, where such critiques can invite accusations of "blasphemy" -- the mere accusation of which is a death sentence even if there be no evidence.
As for those of us living in safer places, why allow concern over being labeled an "Islamophobe" deter one from criticizing Islamism, or even Islam itself, when such critics as Shahid write fearlessly despite the mortal danger?