The Guardian is execrable, of course, but it isn’t just the Guardian: Islamic supremacists and their media stooges in the U.S. have been branding legitimate and accurate criticism of the human rights abuses sanctioned by Islamic law as “racist” and “Islamophobic” for years. Just days ago the New York Daily News published a piece by a demonstrable and unrepentant liar, Nathan Lean, demanding that criticism of Islamic jihad terrorism be driven out acceptable public discourse. Totalitarian thugs like Lean and Useful Idiots like Jonathan Freedland will dance on the grave of free speech in the West, and bow down before the tyrants they enabled come to power.
“The liberal media’s war on ‘trolling’ is becoming increasingly intolerant and censorious,” by Brendan O’Neill in the Telegraph, July 11 (thanks to David):
Jonathan Freedland has written an article for the Guardian about Islamophobic trolling on the internet. It contains an extraordinary line. Freedland says Muslim journalists are frequently subjected to vile racist abuse by some of the crankier commenters who lurk on the world wide web, including being branded “goatf**kers”. But there are also “subtler” forms of racism, he says, such as when trolls “dress up in progressive, Guardian-friendly garb”¦ slamming Islam as oppressive of gay and women’s rights, for example”. “Call it progressives’ prejudice”, says Freedland.
What is extraordinary about this is that it represents an explicit conflation of racial prejudice and political opinion, a mashing together of what we can all agree is irrational hatred of Muslims with what is surely just criticism of Islam. Now, you may agree or disagree with the idea that Islam is repressive of women and gays, but it is an idea nonetheless, a view some individuals have arrived at after thinking about various issues. To lump such an outlook together with abusive terms like “goatf**ker”, as if they both come from the same spectrum of racial hatred, is a see-through attempt to demonise certain political ideas by branding them racist.
According to Freedland, racism and Islamophobia consist not only of expressions of irrational prejudice but also expressions of unacceptable (in his view) political ideas. Criticising a religion and its practices comes to be equated with slating an individual on the basis of his perceived ethnic background. Maybe someone should tell Freedland that the right to ridicule and blaspheme against religion is a hard-won liberty, fought for over centuries by free-speech warriors, and it has nothing to do with racism….
One is forced to ask: who is really being intolerant here? Web-surfers who criticise Islam and don’t like the ideology of feminism, or respectable media outlets that now denounce pretty much everything they disagree with as “trolling”? The war on trolling is starting to look less like a demand for civility, and more like a demand for conformism.