This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight and A Scotsman Abroad discuss the big topics. We talk about: Organ donation, Noah’s Ark employment discrimination, Islamist murder in Bangladesh, forced circumcision, the Pope, Cenk Uygur & denial of the Armenian Genocide and Mona Eltahawy’s breakdown. And A Scotsman Abroad blames something on religion.
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My patience is wearing thin with those who assume to tell people which causes they can’t support or have an opinion on due to their location, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.
It seems a form of identity politics where it’s more important to be seen ‘fighting the good fight’ than it is to actually win the war. It’s going to take more than every woman on this planet to achieve gender equality for instance. Excluding men is counterproductive because if men are the problem they need to be part of the solution too.
There will be many valuable voices in any movement, some with relevant, direct experiences and some without – but it’s going to take more than one particular clique, or a singular political persuasion to make progress on the big issues of our day. This is why sensible allies are vital.
Regardless of whether they have a personal link to the issue, sensible allies can also serve to support, promote and amplify good ideas and challenge the bad ones. And that’s a vital component of influencing changes to attitudes and behaviour. There’s nothing about this view in my mind that prevents one from listening to people directly affected also.
Free speech has been a huge topic of contention in recent weeks, the same weeks which saw the deaths of 75 people and violent rage across several countries in reaction to a horrendously made YouTube video entitled “Innocence of Muslims”.
Debate has been rampant ever since regarding what constitutes the limits of free speech, and what rights we have, if any to offend “sacred” ideas and beliefs. New calls have been made to the UN for a Blasphemy Law and the ever-present cries of “Islamophobia!” are as tediously frequent as baby photos on a Facebook news feed.
Amid all this apologist rhetoric, one point seems frustratingly absent, or marginalised:
It is wrong to murder/react violently simply for being offended.
A failure to stand up for this point, and this point alone, is a failure to respond as a responsible human adult.
It is true that bigoted far right groups capitalise on Islamic unrest in order to advance their racist agenda and we should afford them no more than our dissent. This, however should not distract us from the genuine concerns we have with the unique and reactionary nature of Islam.