2017-03-27

Muslim Profiling and Immigration

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by Neil Godfrey

I like Maryam Namazie. I like her work. I like her ideas. I used to like George Galloway, especially for his blunt testimony to US senators ignorantly accusing him profiting from Iraqi oil sales, but in recent years he has alienated me with his support for Islamist ideology. He seems to side with political Islamist regimes and political movements because they are anti-imperialist or anti-American. That strikes me as comparable to supporting Hitler because of his declaration of war on the United States.

Just to be clear: Islamism is not Islam. I have spoken above of Islamist ideology which is a political ideology that denies the legitimacy of Western democracy and Enlightenment values. I consider Islamism as much a threat as politically active Christian fundamentalists and White Supremacist groups. Islamists have dangerous political ideas that need to be combatted as much as any other fundamentalist or extremist Western religious or political ideology. Most Islamists are no more violent than are most people who oppose abortion. Only a minority of pro-lifers blow up abortion clinics and similarly only a minority of Islamists support terrorism.

Most Muslims who are fleeing war-torn regions and oppressive Muslim regimes are fleeing the horrors perpetrated by Islamist ideology. Maryam Namazie — back to her — speaks of what she sees as a “tsunami of atheism” washing through Muslim regions today. I have heard elsewhere that atheism is on the rise in those places. Maryam Namazie herself was taken by her parents from Iran when they could see oppressive Islamists taking over the revolution against the brutal shah in 1979.

Last night I read the transcript of a Skype discussion between Sam Harris and Maryam Namazie and it helped clarify some issues for me. The following is taken from the ideas Maryam expressed there.

So what’s wrong with profiling Muslims? Everything. Most Muslims are Muslims for no reason other than that they were born to Muslim parents. That’s the only reason. Many persons in those countries may in fact be privately atheist or agnostic but by law they are officially identified as Muslims on identity cards or passports. Look at photographs of ordinary shoppers and students in Iran or Afghanistan thirty years ago and you will swear you are looking at modern Western cities. All of that freedom and secularism has been lost in Muslim regions because of the historically recent rise of Islamist regimes. That’s a horrific story that can be told another day.

Profiling people because of their Muslim religion is misguided and dangerous. It is misguided because it ignores individuals and sees only collective identities. It brands people as potentially dangerous on the basis of their being born to Muslim parents and ignores the reality of why individuals are fleeing those countries and what many of them unable to flee are suffering there.

It is dangerous (this is my addition) because it helps alienate collectives of people and makes their assimilation into Western society more difficult than it need be. Alienated groups are vulnerable to anti-social behaviour, crime, terrorism.

What is wrong with special provisions to put a halt to Muslim immigration? Don’t we need to protect our Western culture from being swamped by benighted aliens?

Human rights are human rights. They were set down at the end of World War 2 and apply to every human, no matter their race, religion, gender. Even idiots have human rights. We know the old adage (was it Voltaire?) that we can disagree with everything another says but will defend to the death their right to say it. That’s how human rights work.

So when people, masses of them, come to our gates, we put them through the usual processes of checking identities and risks. Criminals are identified and not allowed in. People have a right to seek a secure life and are not excluded on grounds of race, religion or gender.

A few of those coming in will have political ideas we deplore. If they have acted criminally for their political views they are treated accordingly. But we do not exclude people who believe homosexuality is a perversion and abortion is murder unless they have actually murdered for their beliefs.

Islamist ideas need to be challenged and confronted along with any other extremist political idea that is contrary to Enlightenment and democratic values.

That’s what Maryam is doing and I would like to find ways to support her efforts and/or do something comparable here in Australia.

 

 

8 Comments

  • Steven Carr
    2017-03-27 13:00:35 UTC - 13:00 | Permalink

    Excellent article.

  • 2017-03-28 05:12:45 UTC - 05:12 | Permalink

    (was it Voltaire?)

    Apparently not. http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/06/01/defend-say/

  • Alif
    2017-03-28 20:56:40 UTC - 20:56 | Permalink

    why brackit ‘abortion’ in this – I’m an atheist, and believ killing babies IS murdur. And passij thru the vajinal canal (or ceserean) duz not majikly cunfur ‘pursunhud’.

    Intristingly, muslims allow abortion befor the 40th day when the baby is insoul’d (as du other beliefs).

    The problum is that there isn’t suffisunt distinction between ‘islam’ and todays ‘muslims’. Most muslims r ublivius as t islam’s terrur content. It’s olso unfortunat that we call out islamofobia not muslimofobia. Islam needs t be criticised.

    Muslims hav a quixotic sense of whot islam is. for muhammad the acme’v human civilisation is his time..thereaftr it declines. Hence his life is normativ. For a muslim the closer to imitating muhammad means the better the muslim so that’s why you get epigonal/atavistic praxes. The conflict between modurnism and islam. Islam is the command t sacrfice wun’s life a la abraham rit larj.

    • R Pence
      2017-03-29 07:25:00 UTC - 07:25 | Permalink

      Who are you – Josh Billings?

      I find all the hand-wringing about whether Islam is Islamism, whether terrorists are Islamists, whether Islam is a salami, etc. – all every tiresome. The argumentation always seems driven by neurosis and a great deal of willful blindness.

      The first and most obvious question that is always overlooked is: why does anybody do anything? It’s overlooked because it’s unanswerable. But only those who have first confronted this question squarely seem to have cognitive room for the complexity of the possible answers.

      Take the Florida night-club shooter. He appeared to be a frustrated gay man who went nuts and shot a lot of people because of a personal dynamic between him and others in the local milieu. But when he called 911, he pledged his loyalty to ISIS. This is nonsensical, but it is par for the course for human beings.

      When you look at other cases where the act of ‘terrorism’ is also an act of suicide, you tend to find a lot of strange, highly personal facts involved. You have to, because now you’re dealing with someone’s death. The peculiarities of each person tend to become visible given that death is a highly personal thing.

      I often wonder how much anyone is driven by ‘ideology’. That is, how much a discrete set of doctrinal propositions translate into behaviors. More often, other things are involved like mimicry. People do what they see. Then they fill in the reasons why with language they also mimic.

      Two passing points on the way out: first, that Western civilization and its ‘values’ are better, that they are under threat, etc. Nietzsche would have a field-day with this, and it’s laughable that anybody would think this. All the credit people want to take for Western values – bah. If today’s Western countries are sedate, safe places to live, it’s a function of economics. These countries have gotten rich, and the forms of social control that protect the wealth (especially for the rich) are what make them so. Witness what would happen if the power went out in these places for a couple weeks – people would turn into animals almost at once. Western civilization is laughable. Only a hundred years ago many were still illiterate and shitting in outhouses. And today, we’re still executing people with medieval-style wood-and-metal chairs. Don’t even get me started on waterboarding or the surveillance state or the kind and benevolent practices of modern psychiatry, etc.

      The other point: this Sam Harris character is creepy. Why he’s such an internet celebrity baffles me. Militant atheism is a transparently perverse idea – and this hasn’t been lost on a lot of people. But when you seem to actively advocate bombing people, and when your views conveniently coincide with those of American imperialists, and internet denizens still breathlessly take you as an intellectual authority….again, more of the same. People never fail to disappoint in that they never do anything but disappoint.

  • Varg
    2017-03-31 13:15:08 UTC - 13:15 | Permalink

    Profiling doesn’t entail all members of a group are the same, nor it’s intended to place any blames on collectives. The reasons why anyone belongs to a group are irrelevant, and to say profiling ignores individuals makes no sense whatsoever.
    These criticisms are based on emotional connotations of words and lack of understanding what profiling is and what it’s for.

    Only valid point would be that it may alienate collectives, that’s why profiling is better done than talked about.
    Anyway, this controversy is quite ridiculous. Profiling is a valid technique, it was and will be done by agencies if they are to be doing their job trying to prevent attacks.

    The transcript, it’s embarrassing. She’s clearly a talker, not a thinker.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2017-04-02 01:51:00 UTC - 01:51 | Permalink

      Profiling of certain racial or religious collectives surely places those groups under suspicion of inhuman behaviour. That’s why they are collectively set apart and rigorously filtered to sort out only those individuals who can demonstrate without any doubts their harmlessness. The rest remain necessarily under suspicion.

      That sort of profiling is entirely appropriate for political groups who espouse hatred and violence against others, as do members and associates of Al Qaeda or Islamic State.

  • davidbrainerd2
    2017-04-19 02:49:05 UTC - 02:49 | Permalink

    You sure love Muslim (who are all terrorists or secretly support them since that’s what Islsm and thr Korsn tesches) so are you really sn atheist or just a Mudlim practicing taqqeyah?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2017-04-19 09:54:37 UTC - 09:54 | Permalink

      To whom are you directing your comment? If it is to me then you your ignorant bigotry stymies your most basic reading comprehension skills. Do you usually close your mind to any information that challenges the reasons you use to justify your loathing of others?

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