At the request of several Muslim institutions, the government intends to strengthen the definition of “Islamophobia” so that in future it will read: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness.”
No it isn’t, and it could never be that. Here we have a fine example of what Wittgenstein described in his book Philosophical Investigations as, “The bewitchment of our intelligence by the misuse of language.”
For “phobia” is derived from the Greek word phobos which is used by psychiatrists to mean “an irrational fear.” I have done a bit of research and discovered a list of more than a thousand such irrational fears. We’ve all heard of “agoraphobia” – from the Greek for “a field” – and claustrophobia. Rather more unusual are “alliumophobia” – fear of garlic – and “bibliophobia” – the all-too-common fear of books.
These fears are irrational because a field is never going to do you any harm – excepting the accidental indignity you suffer when you put your foot into some cow-clap. And garlic won’t hurt you, beyond ensuring you might never get kissed.
So what about “Islamophobia”? There can be no such thing. For there is nothing irrational about fearing those whose stated intention is to destroy you. Their intention is no idle threat. Think back to the murderous attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon on 9/11 or to the Muslim thugs who perpetrated slaughter on the London Underground on 7/7. You don’t even need such a long-term memory: articles about the destruction of Notre Dame are still appearing in our newspapers.
And it’s not just a handful of what are evasively described as “extremists.” Every day on four continents people are murdered in the name of Islam in their declared attempt to destroy civilisation – particularly Christian civilisation.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) understands this – even if our government is in denial. To the government’s proposal to toughen its policy on so called “Islamophobia,” Mr Hewiit responded, “This will undermine many efforts of counter-terrorism.”
Of course it will!
Remember Humpty Dumpty’s saying in Alice Through the Looking Glass:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
There is another saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”
This one can and does: “Islamophobia.”
I beg the government: Please don’t let us die at the hands of this suicidal definition.