The politicians and media figures of the West, shrewd as they might think themselves, go about with bigotry in their speeches and statements and are quite sure that nobody has that level of intellect to claim those statements as bigoted or biased. The recent interview of Fox News of the author Reza Aslan is clear proof to this ostensible frank bigotry. The interviewer was seen to be interrogating the author at far lengths on his religious background, and reached the point of accusing him of having “gone on several programs while never disclosing (he is) a Muslim.”
Mr. Aslan aside, take for instance, the dialogue of the New Atheist, Sam Harris who has said, “We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she can conceivably be a Muslim” while his analogue, Richard Dawkins, who is not only famous to pipe up quite penetrating questions like, ‘Who the hell these Muslims think they are?”
While we have three famous media/political figures, lets do little changes in those words as a test. Put “Jews” or “Blacks” in all those places where “Muslims” have been said in your head and see how that sounds. Most probably, it will be less comfortable, normal and appropriate or acceptable than it did when you had “Muslims” in all those statements. Why is that? If Dawkins, Harris or the interviewer would have said the names of the mentioned above minorities than Muslims, it would have been a good show to sit back and watch how these media figures would have managed to escape from several accusations of racism and biasness. It would have ended soon with a stain of “frank bigotry” on their part, were it to be other minorities than Muslims. Instead, astonishingly, they have continued their work of speaking hatred and spreading bigotry against one of the mere minorities without so much as any law speaking up-to them and their open statements.
That said, many of us might be thinking what changed the vast outlook for “Jews” and “Blacks” to avoid making offending sweeping statements over the years, when both groups were publicly known by the racists and anti-Semites as a mass of people akin to largely negative characteristics, undifferentiated in any way possible. Lets tell the reason to those who are unaware of it. The outlook for Jews and Blacks changed because they were gradually known to appear as different individuals, with different families, backgrounds and individuality. This essential personhood that is the right of every human defies the simple logic of categorizing a mass as general and dismissing his individuality and characteristics to his religion or ethical background. Before, this mass generalization was used to whip up hatred to the entire world against a minority group, and deny them the rights of a human. Fortunately for Jews and Blacks, sufficient horror made the society pause and reflect their attitude.
As the Jews, at one time, were claimed by famous authors and racist, for instance Voltaire described Jews as “ignorant” and “barbarous” and said all of them “were born with a raging fanaticism in their heart” which is no less bigoted than the statements of critics arguing the seemingly reasonable argument “Muslims are different that there is something unique about them and their religion that negates their essential humanity and homogenizes them all in one convenient mass.” Hence, the political figures and New Atheist philosophers are very identical to those hatemongers that were against Jews. In short, rather than being those bearers of enlightened standard liberalism according to their claim, they are seen to be mere modern suppliers of the same type of bigotry, even if they believe they have a new target in their mind. As crowded by arrogance, self-certainty and hatred/bias, they are seen to transform exactly what they declare to stand against.
Now to come to the title of this article, it is important for Muslims or those who claim for justice and human rights to do a simple litmus test and determine which statements are bigoted and which are not. Simple exchange the name of minorities, as putting in perhaps “Hindus” rather than the originally said “Muslims” and see if it becomes quite uneasy than it was felt a moment before. When we do not make small chat with broad terms such as “Jews” or the “Blacks” we likewise shouldn’t claim the name of “Muslims” in the same statements we avoid for other minorities.
Despite what today’s conversations and discussions may conclude to, Muslim Brotherhood are also individuals, and have the right to all essential humanities and deserve the same level of decency and respect as other groups in a society. The statements by anti-Semites made today would be seen with same embarrassment and shame as those of Jews are looked today. For a progressive society, such statements belong to the dustbin of history as they will inevitably reside there. Our duty today is to seek out bigoted statements and ostracize it, also making sure this hatemongers and racism against minority communities soon become an embarrassed past.
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