BY SAM WHITE
If you say there’s a problem with de facto blasphemy policing around Islam, in which open criticism of this one particular religion is—to understate enormously—frowned upon, you might be chastised by left-wingers, who will inform you dismissively that no such problem exists.
But there’s a characteristic shared by all of these people who insist there’s no issue around criticism of Islam: none of them ever criticize Islam.
In fact, it’s worse than that. Many of them actively defend Islam from criticism. They obfuscate, draw false equivalences, and deny that there are any problems within the religion at all. They laugh at anyone who speaks out, and paint them as paranoid, or hateful, or having sinister, racist motives. In other words, by denying that there is a culture of censorship around Islam, and vindictively misrepresenting those who criticize the religion, they contribute to and reinforce that very culture of censorship.
It’s like claiming that the Spanish Inquisition is enforcing Catholic orthodoxy, and then having the Spanish Inquisition deny that the Spanish Inquisition exists.
Of course, Catholic enforcers of the past used violence, while these new authoritarians use words, but nonetheless, the words have an effect.
Look at this tweet that was sent out by Matt Zarb-Cousin, the former media advisor to Jeremy Corbyn, and which was retweeted by left wing columnist/activist Owen Jones to his 615,000 followers:
It’s only words, but just look at the toxic intent. It’s a wretched slur. Rather than engaging with Douglas Murray’s expansive analysis of how Islam is changing Europe for the worse, and demonstrating the purported flaws in his argument, it’s simply intended to demonise Murray.
The strategy here is, being unable to counter the argument, delegitimise the source instead. Attack the speaker, hurl mud. These tactics are nothing new, and are as repugnant as ever, but the only thing they achieve in this case is to indicate that there’s an undeniable truth in Murray’s ideas. He’s on to something, so his hapless attackers become pernicious.
By it’s very nature the process of attempting to discredit him would, if successful, ruin Murray’s reputation. And Zarb-Cousin and Jones are entirely comfortable with that. We should be thankful that such an outcome is beyond their limited capabilities, and that they instead come off looking like peculiarly Stalinesque children. What’s starkly revealed though, is the callousness, spite, and lack of a moral compass which Zarb-Cousin and Jones display in pursuit of their aims. Unfortunately, this dysfunctional malice has become characteristic of the modern, regressive left.
Making what they did even worse, is that although they themselves don’t use violence, they are unknowingly allied with more savage forces. Zarb-Cousin, Jones, and others in and around the regressive left are useful idiots. They send out tweets and pen columns discrediting critics of Islam, generating slurs, hurling false accusations of bigotry, and all the while provide cover for something deeply sinister.
Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered in the street for making a short movie about the treatment of women in Islamic societies. Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was his collaborator at the time, lives under constant threat of death because of her condemnation of Islamic practices. The staff of Charlie Hebdo were massacred in Paris for drawing cartoons of Muhammad. Anyone who offers robust criticism of Islam from a big enough public platform becomes a target for lethal jihadi violence. And liberal commentators who ignorantly police this criticism, mislabeling it as Islamophobia, are doing a favour to the jihadis.
Zarb-Cousins, Jones, and others like them make the target a little bigger, a little brighter. They would never explicitly endorse violence, but they put out a message to their audience that those who don’t kowtow to Islamic sensitivities are doing something wrong. They legitimise the idea that we must tread carefully around Islam, when in fact, if we believe in liberal, secular democracy, we have no obligation to do anything of the sort. Regressive leftists are the know-nothing propaganda wing of Islamic fundamentalism. Perversely, the more loudly they proclaim to oppose fascism, the more they assist in advancing the causes of a particularly insidious strain of theological tyranny.
These arrogant, self-righteous blasphemy police use pointed words such as racist, Islamophobe, and hate. Jihadis use real weapons: knives, guns, and explosives. But take a step back and as the longer trajectory is revealed their mutual bond becomes apparent: they are both working toward the same ends. They both further the cause of radical Islam. The difference between them is that one side is aware of the grand scheme, and the other isn’t. And if, just hypothetically, the jihadi end game were ever achieved, there’s one side which would waste no time at all in disposing most brutally of the other.
Sam White is a writer for Country Squire Magazine and has written for The Spectator & Metropolis. Other Sam White articles can be found by using the search box below (just type in Sam White) and also by looking here.