by Amir Taheri
- The irony is that no major power in recent history has gone out of its way as has the United States to help, respect, please and, yes, appease Islam. And, yet, no other nation has been a victim of vilification, demonization, and violence on the part of the Islamists as has the U.S.
- The politically correct crowd has turned Islam into a new taboo. They brand any criticism of Islam as racist, ethnocentrist or simply vile, all crammed together in the new category of “Islamophobia.” Is it Islamophobia to question a religion whose Middle East leaders often preach “Death to America” and hatred for Western values?
- More prevalent than Islamophobia is Islamophilia, as leftists treat Muslims as children whose feathers should not be ruffled. The Islamophilia crowd invites Americans and Europeans to sacrifice part of their own freedom in atonement of largely imaginary sins against Muslims in the colonial and imperialist era.
- Many Muslims resent the kind of flattery that takes them for idiots at a time that Islam and Muslims badly need to be criticized. The world needs to wake up and ask: What is going on?
When the last Islamic Caliph was driven out of Turkey in 1924, he went into exile first to France and then to the United States, where his descendants lived in New York. In fact, the last pretender to the Islamic Caliphate, Ertugul Osman V, died in Manhattan in 2009.
An open society, the U.S. has always welcomed Islamic exiles of all kinds, including some of its own bitter enemies. The only time that the pan-Islamist Hezbollah movement, founded and led by Iran, has ever held an international conference outside Iran or Lebanon was in Austin Texas in 1986, when a number of Latin American branches of the movement were created. Hundreds of former high-ranking Khomeinist civilian and military officials and clerics have ended up in the U.S. as exiles, while many others have their children attending U.S. schools and universities.
Today, half of Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani’s closest aides are holders of PhDs from U.S. universities, among them his Chief of Staff, Muhammad Nahavandian, a Green Card holder, and his Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif. (The other half consists of former holders of U.S. hostages in Tehran, among them Defense Minister Hussein Dehqan and Environmental director Masoumeh Ebtekar.)
Quite a few of Osama bin Laden’s 50 or so siblings are either holders of U.S. passports or green cards, along with thousands of other Saudis.
Unlike Russia, which has a 200-year history of war against Muslims, having annexed Islamic land at the rate of one square kilometer a day during the 19th century, the U.S. never annexed any Muslim-majority nation. And unlike China, which is still holding its Muslim minority, the Uighurs, in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) surrounded by a ring of steel, the U.S. is not trying to stop a Muslim nation’s aspiration after self-determination.
In the 1990s, when Saudi Arabia normalized ties with the People’s Republic of China, it shut down the offices of the Uighur exiles in Jeddah. Where did the exiles transfer to? The answer is: Washington DC, since neither Muslim nations nor Europeans would agree to host them.
Since the 1970s, the U.S. has been host to more than five million Muslims from all over the world, many of them fleeing brutal Islamist regimes in their homelands. In a conversation in 2002, Princeton Professor Bernard Lewis expressed the hope that Muslims in the United States and other Western democracies could become “beacons of enlightenment” projecting light back to their old counties. Many of us shared that hope.
Now, however, we see that the opposite is happening. Instead of exporting “light” back to the Muslim world, a growing number of Muslims in Western democracies have become importers of darkness in their new abodes.
Worse still, the politically correct crowd has turned Islam into a new taboo. They brand any criticism of Islam as racist, ethnocentrist or simply vile, all crammed together in the new category of “Islamophobia.”
Is it Islamophobia to question a religion whose Middle East leaders often preach “Death to America” and hatred for Western values?
More prevalent than Islamophobia is Islamophilia, as leftists treat Muslims as children whose feathers should not be ruffled.
The Islamophilia crowd does great disservice to both Western democracies and to Islam itself.
They invite Americans and Europeans to sacrifice part of their own freedom in atonement of largely imaginary sins against Muslims in the colonial and imperialist era. They also invite Muslims in the West to learn how to pose as victims and demand the rewards of victimhood as is the fashion in Europe and America. To the Muslim world at large, the message of Islamophilia is that Muslims need no criticism, although their faith is being transformed into a number of conflicting ideologies dedicated to violence and terror.
Never mind if Islamic theology is all but dead. To say so would be a sign of Islamophobia.
Never mind that God makes only a cameo appearance in mosque sermons almost entirely obsessed with political issues.
All that Western intellectuals or leaders need to do is stop flattering Islam, as President Obama has been doing for the past seven years, claiming that virtually anything worthwhile under the sun has its origin in Islam.
Many Muslims resent that kind of flattery, which takes them for idiots at a time that Islam and Muslims badly need to be criticized. The world needs to wake from its slumber and ask: What is going on?
This article originally appeared in a slightly different form in the New York Post.
Amir Taheri was born in Iran and educated in Tehran, London and Paris. From 1972 until the 1979 Iranian Revolution, he was executive editor-in-chief of Iran’s main daily newspaper, Kayhan. He is currently a contributor to the pan-Arab daily, Asharq al-Awsat, and serves as Chairman of Gatestone Europe.
© 2015 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved.