Playing the "Islamophobia" Card
In an essay for National Review Online, Fred Gedrich points out the tendency of Muslim governments to complain about "Islamophobia" instead of addressing the real problems facing the Islamic world:
Foreign ministers from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) recently held a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, where they declared, “Islamophobia is the world’s gravest terrorist threat.” The term connotes an irrational fear or prejudice toward Muslims and the Islamic religion.
While a legitimate concern for many Muslims, Islamophobia pales in comparison to the long-standing problems within OIC member countries. Thirty-eight years after the organization’s founding, a large number of Muslims suffer still from oppression, poverty, illiteracy, genocide, and locally bred terrorism. The principals most responsible for perpetuating these conditions are an assortment of authoritarian rulers and Islamic extremists.
This was the same conference where OIC ministers decried alleged intolerance of Islam in the West, yet ignored the Taliban's threats against a small Christian community just a couple hundred miles away.
There is some bigotry and intolerance directed against Muslims in Europe and the United States. However, it pales in comparison to the intolerance shown to Christians, Jews, Hindus, other faiths, and even reformist or heterodox Muslims in much of the Islamic world. Recent developments in heretofore tolerant Malaysia and Indonesia, are just examples of a broader and alarming trend. Saudi Arabia, notorious for its religious intolerance, forbids public practice of any religion other than Islam. In Iraq, Al Qaeda is openly persecuting and terrorizing Christians. In Egypt, the Coptic Christian community is subjected to violence and discrimination. In fact, the rise of radical Islamism has imperiled Christians throughout the Middle East.
As Mr. Gedrich notes, "Islamophobia" is the least of the Islamic world's problems. Rather it is the latter's lack of freedom, especially intellectual freedom, that is of much greater concern. Muslims are far more threatened by intolerance within Muslim nations and communities, especially that of the Islamists, than they are by non-Muslims.