UK TELEGRAPH: JOURNALISTS SUFFER “AN INORDINATE FEAR OF CRITICIZING ISLAM”: But, but, but…it’s a religon of peace!”

Richard Landes: “The disconnect referred to in the article constitutes one of the most worrying developments in Western culture over the last decade: between a elite that controls much of the discussion in the public sphere (journalists, academics, talking heads, mainstream politicians) and who fear being called Islamophobes and racists more than they fear Islamist racists, and a population of people who, whenever they voice concern about the behavior of the Muslim neighbors, are told not to be Islamophobic racists.

Modernity has been a Nakba (psychological catastrophe) for Islam, and Islam in all its variegated currents has yet to successfully negotiate these demands of modernity. On the contrary, the loudest voices in contemporary Islam reject vehemently the kind of self-criticism modernity requires. Criticism constitutes an unbearable assault on the manhood of Muslims.

“Secularism demands more maturity, it requires that religions be civil, that they not use force (the state) to impose their beliefs on others. Religious communities have to give up their need to be visibly superior as a sign of being right/true. This involves high levels of both self-confidence and tolerance for public contradiction.

For Islam this is a particularly difficult challenge. For Islam’s formative period, it dominated. Dhimma laws spelled out the principles: infidels were “protected” from violence and death at the hands of Muslims as long as they accepted a visibly humiliating, inferiority. And among the key demands made on dhimmis, was that they not challenge, criticise, or in any way “insult” Islam or Muslims.

[Read more of Richard Landes’ “Liberal intellectuals are frightened of confronting Islam’s honour-shame culture” at the UK Telegraph]

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