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Monday, May 21, 2018

On Betrayal by the Left – Talking with Ex-Muslim Sarah Haider

On Betrayal by the Left – Talking with Ex-Muslim Sarah Haider

"The mainstream media, she says, seem not to care about their plight. She adduces an example: the June 2016 incident in which EXMNA called the local Wegman’s bakery and ordered a cake emblazoned with “Happy Three-Year Anniversary, Ex-Muslims!” The management refused to take their order, worried that such “inflammatory” verbiage might offend its Muslim employees. The Freedom from Religion foundation eventually intervened – businesses cannot deny services based on a customer’s faith or lack thereof – and Wegman’s relented. The rightwing press and blogosphere publicized the affair, but few other news outlets did. It goes without saying that similar incidents not long ago generated great public sympathy when the victims were gays...

Some on the left treat her to mind-bending lectures about how Western imperialism is to blame for terrorist atrocities nowadays committed in Islam’s name, though the faith (with its attendant violence, misogyny, and warmongering) originated almost a thousand years before the imperialist era began. “This is dehumanizing,” Haider tells me. “It’s as if Eastern peoples have no agency, we’re just acted upon. But I can tell you about Islamic cruelty and how they treated women and homosexuals long before the West was even in the picture. [For those leftists] it’s as if history started in colonized countries when the West came.”

The discussions in the aftermath of the 2015-2016 New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, gave her a chance to experience the hypocrisy of the left when it comes to Islam. She saw that older feminists strongly denounced the crimes, saying “’there’s no excuse, these assaults are rooted in religious patriarchy and we cannot allow them to happen.’ They have this idea that no culture can supersede women’s rights, but younger feminists look at things from a very strange perspective, a narcissistic perspective,” and believe it’s — “bigotry to even acknowledge that there are problems in certain cultures, unless of course you’re talking about Western culture, in which case I can acknowledge whatever I want. What could be a more effective roadblock to addressing the problems? I don’t know what world I’m living in when I can’t even acknowledge that there’s a problem and that it’s at a much more extreme level [in Islamic countries] than anything we have in the West, when saying that in itself is [considered] a form of racism, a form of bigotry.”...

“They paint us as a self-hating, traitorous group of people,” she responds. “They believe religion’s inherent to Muslims, so they think insulting religion is like ridiculing their skin color. They’re racializing religion and conflating people with their religion. This idea will come back to hurt Muslims, since you can end up saying ‘this religion has issues that don’t mix well with modernity, so these [Muslims] need to go!’ And they think women’s rights and civil liberties always belong to Western culture. They subordinate women’s rights to cultural rights. They’re saying non-Western women have no need of human dignity. Now that’s true racism.”...

“The left sees standing with Muslims as a means of resisting Trump;” convesely, then, those who oppose Islam can be perceived as supporting Trump. “After Trump won, I was hoping the left might engage in some introspection” about how its refusal to hold an honest discussion about Islam had damaged the movement. (As I recently pointed out in Quillette, Hillary Clinton’s failure on the campaign trail to speak frankly about Islam and terrorism most likely put Trump in the White House). “But if anything they’ve dug in. So we see Linda Sarsour [heralded] as a warrior for women’s rights.” (This is an insult to reason and progressivism, even if Bernie Sanders would disagree. Sarsour calls herself a “racial justice & civil rights activist,” but supports Shariah law, declared herself “not Charlie” after the cartoonists’ slaughter at the hands of Islamists in 2015, and, in a 2011 tweet, said she wished she could “take away” Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s vagina.) Calling Sarsour a defender of women’s rights “is absurd on the face of it,” says Haider, “but it’s becoming more and more the norm. People will call us racist for criticizing a religion. They have no idea of what it actually means to be liberal.”

Haider concludes that “If the left doesn’t take up this issue” – that is, start speaking honestly about Islam and its demerits – “they’re letting the right take it, and people end up looking to Donald Trump to protect them from terror... It’s only going to get worse if the left refuses to even engage with these ideas""
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