Posts tagged islam.
Islam returned to the fore as the arch-enemy of the West in the 1990s after having been temporarily overshadowed by communism during the Cold War. In Scandinavia, the rising tide of anti-Muslim fever arose concurrently with, firstly, the introduction of neoliberal policies that gradually undermined the Scandinavian model and, secondly, the anxieties produced when national independence gave way to the construction of Europe as a new political community. Of course, migration from countries in which Islam is an important discursive tradition had been going on for decades, but during the Cold War such immigrants were not referred to as Muslims but as Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Iranians, Yugoslavs, Albanians and so on. If they were lumped together, they were called ‘blackheads’ (svartskallar) or ‘blots’ (blattar), epithets they shared with nominally Catholic immigrants from Latin America and southern Europe. At the time, xenophobic opinion knew no religious borders.
Go read this.
So I’ve just received an email from a reader, asking whether I might have something to say about The Innocence of Muslims. “Is tolerance for satire really a concept that is not compatible with Islam?” he asks. “Is there something about all this indignation that ‘we,’ the West, don’t understand?”
When asked to explain Muslim rage, I have an answer, but I already know the response to my answer. A defender of “Western civilization” will tell me, “Yeah, but we aren’t violent. They’re the ones who kill people over religion.” If numbers matter, however, the mythology of “America” kills many, many more people today than any myth of “Islam.” To sustain a pseudo-secular military cult, we have produced a nation of cheerleaders for blood and murder. We speak of the cult’s heroic work as “sacrifice” and say that it’s all for a divine cause of “freedom.”
That’s what we send out there, at them. This is not simply a world in which one side has a sense of humor and the other does not, or one side is “modern” and “enlightened” while the other side needs to catch up. The modern, enlightened side is burning people alive. Innocence is simply the playground bully calling your mother a slut after already breaking your jaw, and then wondering why you can’t take a joke.
I am not trying to excuse violence. As an artist, I support everyone’s right to make shitty, cheap-looking art, and I do not believe that bloodshed is ever an acceptable way of responding to art. But in the big picture, this isn’t really about violent religion vs. nonviolent art; it’s violence vs. violence.
Last week, the day on which my column runs happened to fall on September 11. My column was not about September 11; I offered no recollections of the day, no meditation on where we’ve gone as a nation since then, no diagnosis, no hope for a better future, and no apology on behalf of “moderate” Muslims. Instead, I wrote about drugs. It seems that every year, the anniversary produces a number of Muslim bloggers and commentators publicly performing our love of peace, assuring everyone that we, too, shared in the suffering of that day. I am thankful for them and respect their efforts, because this is work that needs to be done. But I did not try.
The reason for my silence on 9/11 is that I am not only Muslim. I am also American. I am also white. I am male and heterosexual. However, I am not asked, as an American, to reflect on the yearly anniversary of our atomic bombs falling upon Japan, or our countless military interventions throughout the world. There is no date on the calendar for me, as a white person, to demonstrate that I have properly reflected on slavery and the generations of inequality and naked white sadism between the slave era and our own unjust present; we could potentially have such a day, but often turn it into shallow self-congratulation. As a white person, I am not asked to consider the wanton murders of young black men by white cops or white civilians, or the white terrorism of shootings in gurudwaras, as directly relevant to my identity. Nor do I have a designated anniversary for reflection, as a straight man, on the horrifying statistics of rape or the ways in which heterosexism makes this country unsafe for so many.
As a Muslim, however, people do expect me to show evidence of my soul-searching over a single event, and I am regularly instructed by popular media to imagine 9/11 as a cancer within my own self. Journalists ask me about Islam’s “crisis” as though it’s a private demon with whom I must personally wrestle every day; meanwhile, my whiteness remains untouched and unchallenged by the decade of hate crimes that have followed 9/11. Journalists don’t often ask whether “white tradition” can be reconciled to modern ideals of equality and pluralism, or whether the “straight male community” is capable of living peacefully in America. When it comes to my participation in America, my whiteness and maleness are far more likely than my Islam to wound others, and thus perhaps more urgently in need of “reform” or “enlightenment” or whatever you say that Islam needs. Again, this is only if numbers matter.
Yes, there’s something that we, the self-identified “West,” don’t understand: ourselves. We see the violence that we want to see. We ignore our legacy of hatred and destruction, always wondering how they can even look themselves in the mirror.
Michael Muhammad Knight is the author of eight books, including Journey to the End of Islam, an account of his pilgrimage to Mecca.
Queer Muslim Masterpost
This post pretty much came about because I was asked if I had resources for Muslims who were discovering or newly coming to terms with their sexuality. I didn’t, and the poor advice I had to offer was … poor. So, I pulled up a few of the blogs I followed that are targeted towards queer Muslims, and put together this little post for you!
Queer Muslim Blogs:
- sllwIf you’d like to be added to or taken off this list, please send me an ask.
Queer Muslim 101:
- A quick gender/sexuality 101
- PDF:Homosexuality In Islam, by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle (Intro + 1st Chap) Buy your own copy!
- PDF:Muslim LGBT Inclusion Project, by Intersections International
- “I’m confused about my sexuality.”
- “I need proof from Qur’an and Sunnah that I’m not Haraam.”
- “What about the Qur’an and Hadith that chastise LGBT*Q Muslims?”
- “But I was taught Islam was the most heterosexist religion.” [tw: continuously moving background at the link]
- “Should I come out?” (spoiler alert: that’s up to you!)
- “Is there a place for LGBT*Q Muslims?”
- “Will LGBT*Q Muslims go to hell?” (spoiler alert: I’m not God, how would I know?)
- “There aren’t any gay Imams or Sheikhs, so you’re just making things up!”
- Ayahs that talk about Prophet Lut.
- Homosexuality in Predominately Muslim Countries
- Same-sex marriage
- Queer Muslim Cinema: Azizah, Illuminations, Coming Out Muslim, A Jihad For Love, I Exist.
A good thing to remember is to avoid the self-hatred phase, if you can. Focus on loving yourself, and realising that Allah made you just the way you are, and that you are loved. If this phase is unavoidable, here are some helpful sites:
- Feeling suicidal?
- Suicide prevention
- Supporting someone who self-harms
- Suicide and Crisis Hotlines
- Online Crisis Network (for those with anxiety which prevents them from talking on the phone)
Lastly, here is a link if you are NOT a queer Muslim, but want to be a good ALLY!
“In large part, the shooters and arsonists who are behind many, if not most of these events in America, are white men. In large part, these men have either come of age in the shadow of September 11. They have watched the media, heard Department of Homeland Security officials, and followed as mostly white male (and some female) politicians have given the anxious go ahead to wage an enormous war against Muslims abroad (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan) or at home (in the form of the War on Terror). Several of them have served in a military that follows the orders of two U.S. Presidential administrations by training their men to shoot, invade, drop rockets from helicopters, and drones controlled remotely from Syracuse, NY and other air force bases in the United States. These white men have learned their lessons well, whether in the military or from hours of media news: the frustrations of a scared (white) America can be dealt with waging a war using guns, bombs, chemicals, and drones. They have learned that it is ok to kill those who you believe to be behind threats to your comfort. They have internalized the message that those you fear can be addressed without words, without dialogue, but with violence, with power, with coercion. They have learned that some religions are automatically evil and that those who adhere to those religions must be destroyed. And these white men reflect an ideology of violence that has permeated America in the name of the War on Terror. Sadly, that ideology, perpetuated by our white men and women in power, carried out by American soldiers, and endorsed by a lapdog media, isn’t fading away. It’s becoming bigger, stronger, and more murderous. These men are not mad or crazy. They are the well-trained students of American foreign and domestic policies. They have learned well the United States’ message: that violence and mayhem are the answer. We need to change the scripts, and confront the fallout of a decade of the War on Terror—and other excuses for state-led violence quickly”
White privilege is being OK with profiling Muslims for potential being “terrorists” while forgetting almost all acts of domestic terrorism were done by white guys.
still being done by white people
So why didn’t we profile all white males that go through NSA after Joseph Stack drove his plane into the IRS building?
Why aren’t we patting down white men extra since Timothy McVeigh blew up that building?
— My friend just emailed me. My heart has broken into a thousand pieces. Every single word of this hits so, so hard in the core. (via mehreenkasana)