Thursday, February 07, 2008

(rant on islamophobia)

I love blogs. Everybody's got one. I know the person who read mine the most is me!

So I'm saving my latest rant from the comments of Joe.My.God. cause it took me a while to write and for once I feel reasonably articulate.

Apologies if--for shock--anybody has actually followed a link from JMG expecting to read something new here. Gasp!


(the subject was an anglican predicting sharia in england)

OK. I'll be the one.

I am so fucking sick of this islamo-phobia. I enjoy JMG, but if you get your knowledge of islam or world-events from this ZOMG!!1! React-to-this-immediately medium, you're doing yourself a disservice.

I live in Brooklyn, in a very mixed but mostly latin neighborhood. About ten blocks away is a super-super orthodox jewish neighborhood. The men wear slippers, long beards, weird hats, long coats. The women wear the jewish equivalent of the burka: wigs, long skirts. The kids are well-behaved. The shops close early on Friday and stay closed on Saturday. There are strings high up on poles around the blocks to mark off the eruv. There are jewish schools and jewish doctors and jewish everything else....and jewish social custom ruling the way the entire community acts. And you know what? These people are happy. They're not hurting anybody. They're not threatening anybody.

Now their beliefs are not my beliefs. You can argue that an ultra-orthodox man who wakes up and realizes he's gay faces awkward choices of removing himself from his community or enduring the closet or disapproval. And eventually I believe enough ultra-orthodox gay jews will get around to building a community where no one is forced to make that choice. But the problem is NOT that jews want to live in a world of cultural comfort. There are ultra-orthodox jews who would like to dictate NY city law, like Noach Dear and his opposition to gay marriage, and that's wrong. But screwing things up for the rest of us is NOT what MOST jews in this very self-contained community spend their time doing.

This is all that's fucking happening in England with the muslims except it's new. Nobody's talking about cutting the hands off thieves in muslim Liverpool, or stoning pakistani gay boys to death in London. Joe, give me a break. You're really baiting controversy here.

You wanna go out and learn something about islam, do so (I recommend a book by a guy named Reza Aslan I'm pretty sure is a gay muslim called "No god but God".) It's not my religion. I understand many of you don't like any religion, and I can't argue with that. Although I do have a religion, I understand religion has mostly treated us like trash. I'm not apologizing for that.

But this hysteria is just ridiculous. Islam is just the new "other" in the next neighborhood over. Let's welcome them and convince them some of western secularism is good, without threatening their religion.

And let's stop this stupid fucking ignorant racist ridiculousness. The world is changing. Help make it better.

1 comment:

  1. It just isn't true that Islam is just the new other. In the UK, for example, polling data shows that only about 5% of Muslims consider that homosexuality is acceptable; that compares with 65% of the general population.

    Don't trust the Aslan book. It's good, but typical of liberal defences of Islam.

    Do you have any opinion on the executions of gay people in Iran?

    Or the fact that when a delegation of Iranian leaders came to the UK late in 2007 - for a peace conference! - its leader said it would be appropriate for gay people to be tortured and executed if they were engaging in gay sex?

    Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Nigeria all have the death penalty for homosexuality. See a pattern there?