It’s time to banish the term “Islamophobia,” said Pascal Bruckner. Coined by Iranian fundamentalists in the 1970s, the word “aims to make Islam an untouchable subject.” Criticize the religion and you’ll be branded a racist. “But a faith is not a race,” it’s a school of thought—and debating its merits should not be a thought crime. We have the right under our democratic system “to judge a religion as false and reactionary and dislike it.”
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In fact, we have every reason to be “wary” of Islam—as we once were of Catholicism because of its “aggressive proselytizing, its claim to hold the only truth, and its penchant for sacrificial protest.” Having suffered under “centuries of clerical domination,” we know that a secular society needs a robust defense. Granting special rights to any religious community—by allowing religious garb in schools or public offices, for example—would “take us directly back to the ancien régime.” That’s exactly what fundamentalist Muslims want, with their cries of “Islamophobia.”
Let’s not forget that of all the monotheistic religions, “it is Christianity that is currently the most persecuted.” Christians can’t worship openly in many Muslim countries; in Iraq they’re even being killed for their faith. Yet nobody complains of “Christianophobia.”
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