From the Editor

Race, Racism (and Islam)

TROP's Case against Race

 

 

"Race only matters to liberals and racists."
Greg Gutfeld

"Islam is an ideology.  It's not a race."
Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR spokesperson

"Whoever resembles a people, he is of them"
Muhammad, Prophet of Islam

"We've seen this before.  There's a master
 race. Now there's a master faith."

Benjamin Netanyahu


This is a short article in two parts.  The first part argues against the legitimacy of racialism.  The second points out that Muslims are not a race, as is often claimed, but if they were then it would make Islam the world's most dangerous race-based supremacist ideology.

Race and Racism

Race is the arbitrary classification of individuals according to physical traits that presumably have a genetic basis.  How many races there are and what characteristics are used to determine racial identity is entirely subjective, since there is no such thing as a "race gene" or a series of genes that define race in the absolute sense.  Race is therefore a social construct and not a physical science, even though it is based on genetics.  It is no more meaningful to say that a person is of a certain race than it is to say that they were born in Indiana rather than Illinois.

Categorizing people by race is also non-sensible and irrelevant.  Consider the entirely feasible example of a girl born to a white European and a native African marriage.  Given the different races involved, which one would she be considered?  More importantly, how could it possibly matter?  Would being either “black” or “white” or something in between make her any different of a person?

Race also serves as the foundation for racism, which tries to emphasize distinctions between racial categories – arbitrary as they may be.  Racism is the “science” of drawing broad conclusions from comparative studies, which are then assumed to apply to all members of a particular group who happen to share a genetic profile over which they have no control.

Racism is deeply flawed because it is fundamentally irrational. Human beings are not groups, they are individuals.

There is not one scientific or cultural fact that can be determined about an individual based on their race.  One cannot know what music another person enjoys, how they vote, how high they can jump, nor any meaningful thing about them simply by knowing their race.

In fact, all racial stereotypes dissolve at the individual level.  No matter how fast one runs, how quick one thinks, or how moral one’s character, there can almost always be members of any other race found who better excel at each of these – or any other imaginable measure.  There is simply no such thing as a meaningful racial stereotype.  People are generally whoever they choose to be.

This makes perfect sense to intelligent people.  Since racial identity is arbitrary, it cannot be deterministic.  Without determinism, there can be no science.  Therefore, neither racism nor the study of race has anything factual to offer.

In addition to being a false science, racism is morally wrong because it is the foundation for racial discrimination, in which different rules and standards are applied to individuals based on their presumed identity.  In the past, people suffered tremendously (and unfairly, of course) because of this.

Thus, the artificial system of race serves no positive purpose.  Lending legitimacy to the flawed theory of racial distinction leads, almost inevitably, to racism and the justification of racial discrimination.  This, along with the inherent absurdity of even classifying people by race, should be enough to merit junking racial identification altogether.

 

Islam and “Racism”

Those openly critical of Islam are sometimes dubiously slurred as racists, regardless of what their true views on race may be.

In fact, Islam is not a race.  Islam has nothing at all to do with genetics, nor is it an innate characteristic.  It is an ideology – a voluntarily-held set of beliefs about individual behavior and the rules of society. People choose their beliefs; they do not choose their race

Therefore Muslims are not a race of people.  In fact, there are Muslims of all races.  A person does not change their race by adopting or leaving Islam.

Hence, criticizing Islam is not racism.  There is no such thing as "anti-Muslim racism" any more than there is "anti-Christian racism," "anti-Methodist racism," or "anti-Capitalist racism." 

So why would anyone claim differently?

It is because the battle over Islam is being fought in the West, the only arena in which this religion can still be critically debated.  It is also here that repugnance toward racism is strong and nearly universal.  From politics to high-risk mortgages and illegal immigration, fear of the race card is one of the strongest influences on public policy.

At the same time, it is nearly impossible to defend Islam on its own merits - which is why Muslim societies usually rely on threat of violence to suppress intellectual critique of Islam and the freedom of other religion to fairly compete.  According to its own texts, Islam was founded in terror, and its political and social code is deeply incompatible with Western liberal values. 

Advocates of Islam cope by clinging to the race card.  If they can paint any criticism of their religion as "racism" then the massive evidence against Islam can be dismissed without having to contend with it.

Having to sling the worst of all slurs to compensate for deficiency of fact and logic is bad enough, but in this case it is terrible ironic in that what is being defended in such cheap fashion is an ideology that is overtly supremacist in nature.  In fact, those Muslims who do want to rely on the race card are not thinking very far ahead.

On the surface it would seem that if Islam really were a race, or Muslims a race of people, then any criticism of the common tie which unites them - in this case the religion of Islam – could be dismissed out of hand as racism, thus effectively protecting the religion from tough examination.  But everything is not as it seems.

If Muslims are a race because of Islam, then it means that Islam is a racial ideology.  Therefore, what this ideology has to say about its own and other “races” becomes very important.

In fact, the Qur’an posits an enormous qualitative distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims that is hard to miss.  Believers are loved by God, whereas infidels are hated to the extent that they are tortured for eternity (3:32, 4:56) merely for not believing.  Muslims are told not to take unbelievers as friends (3:28) and to shun them (3:118).  Those outside the circle are called “helpers of evil” (25:55), “wicked” (4:160), “fond of lies” (5:42) and compared to the worst of animals (8:55, 7:176, 7:179).  Muslims are told to be merciful to each other, but ruthless to those outside of the faith (48:29).  Violence is also sanctioned against those who are obstinate against Islamic rule (8:12-13, 9:5).

If Islam is a race, then Christianity and Judaism are races as well, meaning that if the Quran speaks of them as inferior, then it is a racist book.  In truth, the Quran does more than that.  In a stunning burst of religious bigotry, Muslims are ordered to fight Jews and Christians "until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (9:29).  There is no basis in the text for bringing Jew and Christians under the heel of Islamic rule except by virtue of their religion. 

No other religion filters perception through group identity to the extent that Islam does.  Around the world Christians, Jews and other individuals are routinely brutalized merely because they are a member of a non-Muslim group, not because they have done anything to personally deserve having their lives taken, their children maimed or their property torched.  Meanwhile, other Muslims are generally indifferent to this violence and reserve their true outrage for circumstances involving Muslim victims of non-Muslim acts, however unintentional or relatively slight.

So, if Muslims are a race, Islam would not only be a racist ideology, but arguably the most hateful and destructive in history.  It is bad enough that hundreds of millions of people have been killed in the last fourteen centuries by divinely sanctioned Jihad and slavery, but to retroactively supplant the stated motive of religious supremacy with that of racial superiority is hardly a step in the right direction for a religion seeking the acceptance of an increasingly skeptical audience.

 

Conclusion

Race is an arbitrary label that has no legitimacy.  Therefore anything based on race, including racism and racial discrimination is unsound at best and immoral and inhumane at worst.

Human beings are individuals and should only be judged as such.  

Islam is not a race.  Muslims are not a race.  Islam is an ideology that should be open to critical examination.  Muslims, however, are individuals who should be protected from harm or harassment in the same way and for the same reasons as anyone else.

GR
Editor, TROP

Read more:
Our Statement on Muslims and Islam
Is the Qur'an Hate Speech?

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