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Message to Richard Dawkins: ‘Islam is not a race’ is a cop out

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theguardian: by Nesrine Malik.

Of late, a new variation of the old chestnut “I’m not racist but …” has emerged. It goes: “I’ve got nothing against Muslims, it’s Islam I hate”. Otherwise known as the “Islam is not a race” argument.

After I wrote about Richard Dawkins’s snide attack on the supposed dearth of Muslim scientific and cultural achievement, some critics hit back along these lines. It is acceptable to criticise and belittle Islam because it is a religion, not an ethnic grouping – and therefore fair game.

Technically, they are right – Islam is not a race. But too often, those who deploy the argument, are borrowing from the Bill Clinton school of sophistry: “I did not have racist relations with that religion”.

Dawkins himself dedicated a large part of his riposte to a dissection of whether race is a biological or social construct. The argument over Islam and race was a “simple semantic disagreement”, he said, before proceeding to define race according to the dictionary.

So what does the dictionary say? Racism, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. But what does this mean in practice?

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Posted by on September 20, 2013. Filed under Europe,Islam,Islamism,Islamophobia,Racism,Religion,stereotyping,UK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

7 Responses to Message to Richard Dawkins: ‘Islam is not a race’ is a cop out

  1. abdul

    September 20, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Shows how much he knows about Islam or races.

  2. Trojan

    September 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Finally someone has conjured up pluck to tell it like it is?

    ” Racism, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. But what does this mean in practice?”

    If you go by this explanation, and then chastise Dawkins, then by this same logic, there is rampant “racism” going on in every singly Muslim country against it’s religious minorities.
    Islamic countries openly discriminate against Christians and Jews, and hold a grudge based on these Koranic Surahs:

    [3.110] “You are THE BEST of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men…”

    [98.6] “Surely those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book and the polytheists shall be in the fire of hell, abiding therein; they are the WORST OF MEN…”

    The true test of character is when you use the same yardstick to judge yourselves as you would dare to judge others.

  3. Ghulam Sarwar

    September 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    The verses of the Quran quoted by Trojan:
    [3.110] “You are THE BEST of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men…”

    [98.6] “Surely those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book and the polytheists shall be in the fire of hell, abiding therein; they are the WORST OF MEN…”

    The above are sort of information to the Muslims from Allah. There is nothing wrong with them. If Muslims are the best of creation then they have to prove it to be like that.

    Similarly, the verse 98:6 is also true. The word disbelieve in Arabic must be Kafir. kafir is not a simple disbeliever. He/she is a combatant, belligerent, hostile disbeliever, ready to attack the peaceful people. the peaceful people may be the Jews in the time of King Pharaoh or the followers of Jesus or the Muslims.

    That is surely true for the harsh disbelievers. Allah is telling that they will burn in hell. Nobody has seen hell yet. So we leave it to that because there have been some examples of that in the BibleNT, i.e. gnashing of teeth etc.
    If these words are harsh then what to say !

  4. Ghulam Sarwar

    September 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I was interrupted while preparing my above post. I complete it now.
    It is alright to tell a nation that they are the best of people. The Quran told the Jews in the same manner that they were selected amongt the best of people.

    It may not be good to refer to BibleNT now and again but I read in BibleNT, Jesus (a.s.) calling his opponents a spoiled nation, a corrupt people. Some people were asking him for a sign. Jesus a.s. said that a corrupt people are asking for a sign and no sign will be shown to them except the sign of Jonas.

    He even called his opponents snakes and vipers. All such words can be seen in the holy BibleNT.

    I am trying to suggest to Trojan that all of us should avoid finding fault with the sacred scriptures and best meaning should be taken unless it cannot be avoided.

  5. Mike Wyatt

    September 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    An atheist was seated next to an elderly lady on a British Airline flight from London to Turkey when he turned to her and said,

    “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

    The elderly lady, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger,
    “What would you want to talk about?”

    ” Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly looking for a reaction.

    “OK,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets,
    while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

    The atheist, visibly surprised by the Grandmother’s question, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”

    To which the elderly lady replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death, when you don’t know the differences about shit?”

    And then she went back to reading her book.

  6. Castro

    July 10, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Mike Wyatt that was funny! Cheers! Because all religions are sh.., why waste your time about the differences. Very good analogy, bravo.

  7. Burgundy Shirley

    October 19, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Mike Wyatt; About your “funny” little joke. My first reaction was “said no atheist ever” because we do not initiate conversations about religion, we do however participate in them when religious people starts talking bullshit.

    And about the picture of Richard Dawkins, he as read the Quran plenty of times and he can break down any argument a religious person could possibly throw at him.

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