by Rebecca Bynum
Sarah Wildman quotes me accurately in her article, “A top White House aide was asked if Trump thought Islam was a religion. He refused to answer,” but I must take issue with how she sets it up. She wrties:
Questioning whether Islam is a religion is not, in and of itself, a new idea. Dr. Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Barnard College, told me that it was a dynamic that began in Europe and has a “centuries-long pedigree.”
“We are seeing a particularly American manifestation of it now,” he added.
He continued, “This administration is playing into all of these themes very clearly: They are trying to say that Muslims are not human and that they are not American.”
Liberals constantly fall for the propaganda that any critique of Islam as a belief system is the equivalent of demonizing Muslims as human beings. It is exactly the opposite.
The clarity of categories is vital for critical thinking. Muslims are not Islam. Russians and Chinese are not communism. Germans and Italians are not fascism. Why is this so difficult?
Take the comments of Jody Hice, a former talk-show host and current GOP Congress member from Georgia. In 2011, while still a private citizen, Hice said:
Most people think Islam is a religion, It’s not. It’s a totalitarian way of life with a religious component. But it’s much larger. It’s a geo-political system that has governmental, financial, military, legal and religious components. And it’s a totalitarian system that encompasses every aspect of life and it should not be protected (under U.S. law).
In a 2011 essay in the New English Review, a right leaning literary/political magazine, Rebecca Bynum penned an entire article under the headline “Why Islam is not a religion.” In it she writes, “If it is a religion it is not a religion only. Islam is a total system of life and contains within itself a particular social system, judicial system, and political system which includes geo-political aspirations — the conquest and administration of territory.” (She also wrote a book on the same subject.) Bynum’s bio lists her as a former assistant to “Dr. Walid Phares, Foreign Policy Advisor to Presidential Candidate Donald J, Trump, 2016.”
The fact that Inskeep feels the need to keep asking about Trump’s view of Islam is in and of itself a form of normalizing rhetoric that has only recently come into the mainstream.
Yes and the clear separation of Islam as a belief system from Muslims as human beings is the main thrust of this argument.