Maajid Nawaz — a
ex-Muslim non-devout Muslim and ex-jihadist recruiter — is incredulous.
Their list, complete with profile photographs and career details, includes 920 organizations and individuals in 22 countries, all of whom it deems to be “anti-Muslim.” Don’t get me wrong, this list includes many people that I personally do hold to be unpalatable anti-Muslim bigots, people I would only meet at the other end of a debating table, if even that. But then … that’s just my opinion. I’m not going compile all the people I don’t like by name in one place, using subjective criteria that I invented but no-one is privy to, label them, and then publish my hatred, so that everyone else can share in throwing darts, or more seriously bullets and daggers, in their direction.
… conflates genuine … anti-Muslim bigots, with academic, journalistic and intellectual critics of Islam — including beleaguered ex-Muslim voices — and further, it throws reform-Muslim activists into the mix for good measure. In a plot twist befitting of a Monty Python sketch, one of those … was a headscarf-wearing, devout Muslim American woman called Raquel Saraswati. Raquel’s crime, for which her life was deemed to be worthy of putting at risk, was that she campaigns against honor-based violence.
Concerned Muslims exposed that absurdity, and Hope Not Hate took Saraswati’s name off the list, casting doubt on the rigor and thoughtfulness with which it was compiled in the first place. Other Muslims remain:
[T]he authors kept others such as an Egyptian Muslim Koran exegete, and reform campaigner Tawfik Hamid, as well as right-leaning American Muslim Zuhdi Jasser.
Nawaz correctly points out that
Hope Not Hate cannot escape the fact that there are people in their list who are also listed by some of the world’s most determined terrorists, who want them dead for the very same reason — daring to criticize Islam. …
By being included on the same list as genuine anti-Muslim bigots, any Muslim, and any other intellectual for that matter, who wishes to hold a serious and genuine conversation about Islam and its place in today’s age, is smeared by association, and is intimidated from expressing themselves from fear of being labelled a racist or bigot.
Criticizing and debating a religion is not the same as discriminating against its followers. As Nawaz says,
The former is an academic right … but the latter is bigotry. No idea is above scrutiny, just as no person should be beneath dignity.
That message has to be repeated, and repeated forcefully, until the “progressive” defenders of Islam can no longer effectively play their dangerous guilt-by-association game.