Steven A. Isaacson

The Islamophobia effect

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press, America’s lifeblood, are tenets to life that I hold very near and dear to my heart. We must allow everyone to have the equality of opportunity to say to what they want to say, and the freedom to align themselves to whatever movements they wish.

This being said, it is most beneficial to humanity as a whole to recognize and criticize bad, cancerous ideas. This concept is pretty much understood across the board, except when we talk about Islam. It has become taboo to talk about what is happening in radical Islam, labeling this as Islamophobic. It is paramount that we are able to debate destructive ideas.

Yes, there are quite peaceful, moderate humans who follow the religion and the direct word of Allah; I will not deny this. However there is also a moderately-sized population in the Muslim community that is susceptible to, if not already following, the poisonous tenets of radicalized Islam. But just like any religion, there is this radical sect. Comparable to any football team, there are radical fans that take their allegiance too far, radical followers of religion must be held accountable for their actions and their destructive ideas. We must recognize these actions and strongly condemn them. Why should Islam be any different?

In actuality, to guard cancerous sects of Islam from condemnation and conviction is to do all Muslims, especially moderate Muslims, a disservice in taking back the religion. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and native of Somalia, says that we must see radical Islam for what it really is, and expose it. She notes, “And we need to engage with them and we need to argue with them. I want, through [the AHA Foundation], to achieve that awareness and then also protect the right of the women who come to us.”

Furthermore, we, humanity, must understand that seemingly separately incidents of radical Islamist outbursts, are actually tightly-connected events under the same string of cancerous, extremist ideology. Boko Haram, the Australian café attacker, Hamas, and countless other terrorist attackers across the globe, are all connected.

We, humanity, must realize this.

Published by ISIS themselves in their own magazine, they say, “All terrorist attacks should clearly be attributable to ‘patrons’ of Islamic State so they cannot be described by media as ‘random killings.’” Back in October, the Islamic State said that “It is very important that attacks take place in every country that has entered into the alliance against the Islamic State, especially the US, UK, France, Australia and Germany.” This, along with other cues, we must take seriously in our efforts to eradicate this malignant tumor on the world.

Sam Harris, the author with whom Bill Maher debated actor Ben Affleck on this very topic, says that we should be able to freely criticize ideas. I see no problem with this. As Harris pens, calling Islam out as “the mother lode of bad ideas” should be acceptable. Why are people so upset about this? If we, as Maher stresses are able to criticize Catholicism, why aren’t we allowed to criticize Islam? One openly expressing that they do not agree with a certain religion does not empower the return flinging of ad-hominem phrases.

We are criticizing the ideas, here, not the people. It is the ideas and their actions that are open to criticism, and they must be open for business, not silenced by The Islamophobia Effect.

We, humanity, must realize this.

About the Author
Steven Isaacson is a sophomore at Clark University, studying Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies. A student fellow with The David Project, Steven firmly believes that the most efficient way to achieve success as an advocate is through active listening and mutual respect. A Pro-Israel advocate on his Clark campus in central MA, Steven faces new challenges everyday in bringing two or more seemingly dissimilar groups together for discourse.
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