A parallel to what you’re saying is that it’s racist against white people to be against Christianity…..and Christianity isn’t even an ideology.

Globally, most Christians aren’t even white, so it would really depend on the country and political context of the anti-Christian movement in question. If a bunch of white Quakers moved somewhere in Asia and were routinely getting attacked for being terrorists and Christian extremists, you might be onto something.

Another parallel to what you’re suggesting, that being against capitalism is racist against white people. That being against Conservationism is racist.

That’s ridiculous.

Capitalism is quite overtly an instrument of white supremacy. It doesn’t have to be in theory, but it is in practice. It’s not really a stretch to call capitalism racist, given the way it has been implemented at the expense of people of color via colonialism and slavery.

Islam is separate from the Arab race.

Indeed, and most Muslims aren’t Arab. Yet, Islamophobia foments hatred of Arabs (and people mistaken for Arabs and, frankly, a lot of Americans would not be able to differentiate between an Arab or Persian). This was precisely my point with how Christian refugees from Syria are being thrown under the bus. They are Arabs and, were it not for Islamophobia, they would not be discriminated against with regard to refugee and immigration status.

No, ignorance and racism gets Sikhs harassed and killed because toothless hillbillies don’t know the difference between a sikh and a muslim. And even if they knew the difference it does not justify violence against a muslim. Nothing justifies violence against another person in western society unless they are actively oppressing or seeking violence against you. So there is no justification for violence against a muslim just because they are a muslim.

Evidently it does justify violence against Sikhs, because violence against Sikhs saw a sharp rise that has paralleled the rise of Islamophobia in America. You can blame hillbillies, but these attacks occur in places like New York City. For instance, from that link:

According to a 2012 joint report coordinated by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), 73 percent of New Yorkers of South Asian origin have been questioned by law enforcement officers about their national origin; 66 percent have been questioned about their religious affiliation; and 85 percent have been questioned about their immigration status.

If we’re really talking about ideologies, why aren’t white guys getting in turbans in yoga studios getting questioned? Why aren’t Muslims from Indonesia getting stopped on the street and questioned? According to your logic, the entire NYPD is a bunch of hillbillies if 85% of South Asians are getting questioned about their immigration status, because Muslims do not account for 85% of South Asians. Maybe they are a bunch of hillbillies, or maybe it’s that racism extends far beyond hillbillies and into the lives and minds of every American.

None of this addresses my previous point. If it were just hillbillies being hillbillies, we would have seen widespread attacks against and harassment of Sikhs prior to 9/11, but we didn’t. No Sikh temples were getting shot up for being mosques.

However, being being critical of an ideology like islam is not the same as seeking out violence against other races because Islam isn’t a race.

Hating Arabs is racist. Hating Islam is not.

Consider the case of the person who is opposed to the ideology of abolisionism. This person believes in slavery as an appropriate institution. Had this person lived in the United States in the pre-Civil War era, would you say he is a racist? This person believes in slavery in general, not just the enslavement of black people, and is, therefore, critical of abolitionism.

Quite clearly, slavery in the United States was a racist institution, and, even though this particular anti-abolitionist thought people of all races should be enslaved, by being opposed to abolitionism, he was simultaneously backing systemic racism.

This is the conundrum one finds when being opposed to Islam. It is one thing to be critical of a religion or refuse to participate in it, but it is quite another to foment fear and hatred against adherents, harass brown-skinned people in turbans or hijabs, routinely use words like “barbaric” or “violent” to describe Islam as a whole, and to gloss over any nuance such as inclusive mosques.

I am an atheist and a Satanist, so I am clearly not a Muslim. By choosing not to adhere to Islam, it stands to reason I am critical of it as a way of life. I do not think it is the right way of life for me. At the same time, I respect the choice other people make to be Muslim, provided it really is a choice.

And, I think, this is where the real problem lies. Religion is politics. What we think of as different strains of a religion is really just politics making use of that religion in different ways. In many parts of the Middle-East, people are restricted in the choices they can make about their religion, and a great many other things. This has nothing to do with Islam or being Arab but, rather, has to do with the political conditions of those states.

If an inclusive mosque that promotes feminism and LGBT rights run by an Arab can arise in Paris, it suggests that political differences between Paris and Riyadh could be at play, and it would be foolish to think that those differences boil down to “because Islam is bad,” since we are talking about a mosque that can coexist with so-called Western liberal values. In fact, there is an entire, lengthy history behind why Riyadh and Paris are the way they are today, and while both are bathed in much religious turmoil, both also involve divergent relationships with global economics and colonialism.

I am an advocate for the separation of church and state. I believe that, as a Satanist, I would run into a great many problems if the United States were a full-on evangelical Christian theocracy (much as I would in Iran or Saudi Arabia, for instance). I am fortunate that the United States has a robust enough government structure to slow and at least partially resist the incessant attempts at incursion perpetrated by the Christian right in America. Religious minorities and people of secular origin in the Middle-East are not so lucky.

I think it is counterproductive, racist, and actually rather lazy to engage in fear- or hate-mongering against Islam or Muslims. It’s particularly odious to participate in a systemic torching of Islam that winds up getting Sikhs attacked and harassed. It is more productive to find ways to empower people to make their own choices with regard to spirituality and faith. This does not arise from sealing borders, dropping bombs, and discriminating against people in turbans. It comes from exposure to new ideas and knowledge. It is why I am a Satanist, because the Serpent really was the hero of the story in Genesis 2–3. The Serpent was the original liberator who stood up against theocratic authoritarianism.

Just the facts: Writer. Gamer. Feminist. Educated in Astrophysics. Professional Gambler. Student of Language. Satanist. Anarchist.

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