Title: While America screeched? Credit: Craig Young Comment Saturday 19th August 2006 - 12:00pm1155945600 Article: 1385 Rights
Recently, I read a most regrettable anti-Muslim book that was written by an otherwise thoughtful gay man who should know better - US gay conservative Bruce Bawer. Why do I take issue with his book? Bawer argues that all Muslims constitute security threats to "the West." I'll summarise why I have misgivings about his generalisations, and why they're so dangerous. Firstly, I do not deny that fundamentalist Islamism, whether Sunni or Shiite, is virulently homophobic. However, Bawer goes on to create a demonised generic Muslim Terrorist (TM) and makes some dangerously naive statements. Not all Muslims are fundamentalist. As I have stated on a number of occassions, Muslims inhabit a range of political systems, manifest a range of philosophies, and have historical, ethnic and denominational differences to consider. For example, as I noted recently while reviewing a book about Indonesian LGBTs, Indonesian Islam appears to ignore its LGBT inhabitants. As Louis Crompton notes in his work on the subject, there have been oases of tolerance and civilisation in the Islamic past for lesbian and gay Muslims within some metropolitan Islamic centres. Secondly, the answer is not anti-immigrant racism. I cannot see why Bawer is so naive about the danger that neofascist anti-immigrant racist groups like the British National Party pose to lesbians, gay men and immigrant communities alike within Western Europe. However, they do. And not every opponent of Muslim immigration is an eccentric populist maverick like the late Pim Fortuyn. Some of them blow up gay pubs, as occurred in London. Thirdly, the United States, Britain and Australia are largely suffering from self-inflicted damage of their own when it comes to radical Islamist retribution. Perhaps if the United States had tried to be even-handed and tried to restrain Israel more often, if it hadn't blundered into Iraq and become bogged down in a worsening sectarian quagmire, if Thatcher and Howard hadn't pandered to opportunist anti-immigrant bigotry and racism against their respective migrant communities, perhaps radical Islamism in those countries wouldn't have arisen in the first place. On the other hand, look at the New Zealand and Canadian Muslim communities, whose conduct is far more civil and constructive, due to pluralism and multicultural diversity, and the marginal status of buffoons like Kyle Chapman and his former New Zealand National Front cronies. Oh look everyone, the US far right has found a new constituency to demonise, and waste its resources on a brand new cold war. Count me out, Bruce. Not Recommended: Bruce Bawer: While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within: New York: Doubleday: 2006. Recommended: Merryl Winn Davies and Ziauddin Sardar: The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam: London: Verso: 2003. Nigel Copse: Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and Its Quest for Legitimacy: New York: Palgrave: 2004. Louis Crompton: Homosexuality and Civilisation: Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: 2003. Craig Young - 19th August 2006    
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