Marina Mahathir thinks the send-lecturers idea is a bad one (so do I, but for different reasons) and gives a sensible suggestion for an alternative strategy. And she has a one-sided view of Conservative personalities like Rush and Beck (not cited below), but I can’t blame her lack of exposure – the liberal media’s tentacles are far reaching.
Excerpted from The Star 13 Oct 2010:
An idea least likely to work
MUSINGS By MARINA MAHATHIR
The truth is our people here have no idea what Islamophobia is and how it manifests itself. Islamophobes – just like Christianophobes, Hinduphobes and Buddhistphobes – are not amenable to reason and facts but would rather delve into scurrilous beliefs.
I met someone once who asked me why Muslims liked to cut off people’s heads. That’s the sort of stuff Islamophobes like to say. No point in quoting the Quran there.
In fact, I’m not sure there is any point in trying to counter such prejudice and hate. But if we really want to, we need to unpack some of those beliefs about us and show them how untrue they are.
For instance, one of the many points held against Muslims is that we oppress our women. So the way to counter that is not to send male lecturers who will undoubtedly get defensive about this issue but to send bright young and articulate women who are doing things people don’t normally associate with Islam.
Send female fighter pilots, artists, mountain climbers, activists and the like and get them spots with the most popular talkshow hosts. There is no need to talk about religion at all; just talk about the amazing things they do. The point will be made.
Another charge often made against Muslim countries is that we are undemocratic. Here I don’t think we should even dream of trying to defend every single Muslim country in the world, least of all those which don’t have elections, jail dissidents and ban the Internet.
The truth is: Who are we to speak for the entire Muslim world? We may say we are peaceful people but then some people from another Muslim country might blow up a few of their country folk, and our credibility along with them.
We may say we have regular elections and then someone would point at those countries ruled by ridiculously wealthy royal families. We may show off our educated women and someone would bring up the torched girls’ schools in Afghanistan.
So let’s forget this silly idea and instead deal with our own extremist problems at home. God knows we have enough of them and are doing precious little to counter their many phobias. Lecturers wouldn’t be any good here either.
Hmm, she seems to contradict herself a bit on the second paragraph I cite above – apparently the person who thought Muslims like to cut off people’s heads is an Islamophobe who is not amenable to reason and facts, but then in the third-to-last paragraph cited above, she gives an example of why some people might think Islam is compatible with violence.
And of course, this:
(PARTIALLY CENSORED GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING)
Click images for links.
So if the above happens all around the world, on a daily basis in fact, is the person Marina Mahathir mentioned really unreasonable to assume that such a thing is the norm? Quoting the Quran on what Muslims are supposed to like or dislike would be pointless, because quoting the daily news would show what self-proclaimed Muslims like to do in actual fact.
Remember: who really gives a bad name to Islam – Islamophobes, or self-proclaimed Muslims?
Marina Mahathir hints at it with her closing paragraphs, but still believes critics of Islam are necessarily irrational. Odd irony.