Words matter

Sharia law is a major part of political Islam.

By PharmaBloke

We need better words.

Short version
If I have to define myself, I?m a Sharia-phobe.

Long version (the ramblings of another ?drunk uncle??)

I?ve posted earlier in the week on Islamophobia and definitions that, to my mind, confuse rather than shed light. The definition accepted by the British Labour Party and All Party Parliamentary Group, that ?Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness” has, in my opinion, problems.

Firstly, it?s lazy.
The definition above actually makes sense if the first word is “Muslimophobia,” but that?s too hard to say. “Muslimophobia” more accurately reflects the words and meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Secondly it?s confusing. Islam is a religion, not a race.

It?s reductionist

“Islamophobia” becomes a very broad catch-all phrase, a shutdown throwaway line to stop questions or criticism of Islamic practices.

It confuses principle and people.

Can I criticise some expressions of Islamic practice (Brunei?s recent law change that includes stoning people to death and cutting off children’s arms and legs) whilst still being appalled at what happened to our fellow Kiwi?s in Christchurch? Spoiler: in today?s reactionary climate, I?d pick that as risky.

It inhibits critical analysis.

H1?s Twitter feed condemns the Brunei move, but her first post says ?Hard to comprehend what could be driving such a barbaric move which stands in stark opposition to fundamental human rights principles?. Probably the most succinct reply was ?whispers: It?s Islamic sharia law. You know, the religion of peace.?

I?m idealistic. I think facts matter and knowledge takes us forward. Stereotypes foster prejudice and build polarisation. We need more of the former and less of the latter.

Words matter…