The ‘Voldemort Effect’ Claims Rufus Hound As Its Victim
As information continues to pour in and the body count increases, I’m gripped with an utter sense of grief, frustration and impotence over the horrific terror attacks that have occurred in France. Seemingly, the information we do have appears to point towards Islamist extremism. Quelle surprise.
In an attempt to offset my feeling of hopelessness, I couldn’t help but take to Twitter to poke my fellow ‘liberals’ about their disgusting apologist rhetoric in service of the ideology that shall not be named – lest we hurt some feelings.
This brings me to UK comedian and former Liberal Democrat campaigner Rufus Hound. Rufus has 1.12 million Twitter followers and has been engaging in a regressive bout of ‘nothing to do with Islam’ on his Twitter feed. To compound matters, he decided to retweet this from our favourite plagiarist hack:
I felt duty bound to share the following information with him:
Of course you can’t hold it against Rufus for not being familiar with Werleman – few people are, and I suspect more people have read my review of his book than his actual book. But nevertheless, I disagreed with part of his response:
This safe and easy sentiment takes centre stage every single time an Islamist atrocity is committed. Somehow, as the limp bodies of the mostly non-Muslim dead are still warm, a narrative is spun to paint Muslims as the real victims in this scenario. We’re constantly being warned of this mythical ‘backlash’ that never quite arrives, happily.
The next response however was truly perplexing:
I indicate my confusion:
It appears Hound took my use of the word ‘Islamist’ to mean ‘all Muslims’ which goes some way to indicate his grasp on the topics at hand. When this error was pointed out to him, he attempted some bizarre backtrack:
I don’t know what’s more concerning, the fact that he is so vocal on this issue without understanding the term ‘Islamist’, or the fact that he assumed the most reasonable use of it referred to ‘all Muslims’.
My calls for clarification were not responded to:
It is certainly true that Rufus is hurting this conversation with his obfuscation and misunderstanding of simple yet essential terms, but it’s not really something I can blame him for. Rufus appears to be a casualty of the ‘Voldemort Effect’ that permeates our politics and mainstream media. This term was coined by anti-extremist and Muslim Maajid Nawaz in response to Barack Obama’s inability to name the ideology:
The danger of not naming this ideology is twofold. Firstly, within the Muslim context, those liberal Muslims, reformist Muslims, feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, dissenting voices, minority sects, the Ismailis, the Shia — all these different minorities within the minority of the Muslim community — are immediately betrayed
How are they betrayed? Because you deprive them of the lexicon, the language to employ against those who are attempting to silence their progressive efforts within their own communities. You surrender the debate to the extremists…
The second danger is in the non-Muslim context. What happens if you don’t name the Islamist ideology and distinguish it from Islam?
President Obama in his speech said there’s an ideology we must challenge, and he didn’t name it.
So, think about it, you’re sending out the message to the vast majority of Americans: there’s an ideology you must challenge, but you don’t tell them what it’s called. What are they going to assume? The average American is going to think, ‘Yeah, I’ve got to challenge an ideology — it’s called Islam.’
You’re only going to increase anti-Muslim hatred, increase the hysteria, like ‘he who must not be named’ — the Voldemort effect, I call it — by not naming the ideology. Because the average guy out there is going to assume the President is talking about the religion itself.
By not admitting this certainly has something to do with Islam, and not naming what that something is (Islamism), you leave the arena of ideas wide open for people to make assumptions about Muslims as a whole. We can name and shame the ideology and actions of Islamists whilst defending the rights of our moderate Muslim brothers and sisters. The kind of ‘nothing to do with Islam’ nonsense that Hound is amplifying is failing Muslims who are the chief victims of Islamism, and those Muslims that would benefit from the distinction being popularised.
This is what the ‘Voldemort Effect’ achieves. It causes good people with sincere intentions like Rufus Hound to provide cover for theocratic fascism, and ultimately, hurts those he believes he is defending.