There was an interesting article in Australia’s ABC online Drumbeat column yesterday about the visit to Australia of the Islamophobic Dutch hatemonger Geert Wilders scheduled to tour Australia selling his message of hate. Both the article and the myriad of comments that followed the article are well worth a read as the comments demonstrate how fear and hatred in Australia is born out of ignorance. The comments also show how many racists attempt to avoid the ‘racist’ label by denying that Islamophobia is being racist ‘because Islam is a religion and not a race’. This stemmed from my original comment which went thus:
The main problem with allowing Wilders to come to this country to spew his hate speech is that some people actually believe what he says. He actively incites hatred. It is the only reason why he has been brought to Australia.
One has only to look at who in Australia supports his tour here; Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair, Fred Nile, et al, indeed all the right-wing Australian Islamophobes that support Wilders brand of hate-speech.
There's a difference between free speech and hate speech - and Wilders, together with his Australian cohorts, is that difference.
‘Tory Boy’, among others, wrote in response to my post:
I also suspect you make the common mistake of linking Islamophobia to racism when Islam has nothing at all to do with race.
In response to Tory Boy’s comment I wrote:
Racism isn't just about blood, biology or skin colour; it's also about religion and culture.
There was an avalanche of responses to my comment as the racists rushed to dispute me in order to avoid being labelled ‘racist’.
You don't get to change the definition of a word simply because the accepted definition does not suit your purposes, Damian. Racism is about race and only about race. An irrational fear or hatred of someone due to their religion or culture is xenophobic, but it is not racist.
And ‘Mike’ wrote:
Then you yourself are a racist Damian by your own definition, given that you oppose all sort of ideologies yourself. Seriously, you cannot simply redefine a loaded word such as "racism" just to suit your ideological agenda.
No it is not. Racism is about discriminating against people based on minor genetic differences in different subpopulations of humans. Racism is largely treated as abhorrent in developed countries (in a lot of developing countries it is actively encouraged for political reasons) because there is no way that people can change there race and more importantly because there is no scientific evidence that differences in race affect the quality of a person Religion and culture are often bundled in to the definition of racism because people want to give these attributes the same protection from criticism. This is unfortunate as religion and culture can be changed and when there is evidence showing that they unfairly impinge on the rights of others they should be changed.
All of these remarks are typical of racists who attempt to avoid being labelled ‘racist’. Yet these people are likely to be the first – and quite rightly – to accuse me or anyone else of being a racist if I said something that was offensive or insulting about, say, Ethiopian people who practice Judaism or the many Europeans who have converted, or are descended from converts to Judaism, all of who are Jewish by religion only.
If to discriminate against people who practice the religion of Judaism is racist, then those who discriminate against people who practice the religion of Islam are also racist. It’s as simple as that.
Intolerance of Islam or any other religion is racism no matter how one looks at it.