2013/01/26

Islamophobia is just another ideological BS which distracts us from useful thinking

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Islamophobia crept to Germany only slowly. Too many notional Muslims in this country whom you never happen to see praying or doing anything extreme. Instead, they tend to sell you Döner Kebap snacks tailored to German preferences (now even with frites in a box), repair your mobile phone or deliver some postal packages.

Still, there was Islamophobia in the fringes of society. Surprisingly, the semi-organised far right was at first fine with the handful of Muslim extremists in Germany, for they were at least united in their aversion of some others. The Islamophobia showed elsewehre, for example in the comments at the online version of the newspaper Die Welt. Comments at this newspaper are a kind of the society's sewer system anyway. A few dedicated websites popped up as well, but I didn't pay much attention.

Islamophobia and the associated dumbness and intellectual laziness are creeping into the mainstream, though. 

Two examples are definitely stupid and hateful articles in the newspaper Die Welt; one as editorial and the other as an official newspaper comment.


(Islamism is in a world war against the West)*

(A world war)*

The firebrand is both times a Mr. Herzinger, but the responsibility for this rests on chief editor Peters and publisher Schmid.

Mr Herzinger appears to revive patterns from the Cold War, asserting that 'Islamists' in Mali are part of a global war and not quite isolated or maybe motivated by something other than religious ideology.

This is why I call Islamophobes intellectually lazy; they would have spotted early on that their ideology is crap if they hadn't been too lazy to check its correctness.

A soldier called Cheikna Traore, who is stationed at the garrison and said he hid in the town when it was overrun, showed us the wreckage of his home.
He said it had been deliberately targeted by some of his former colleagues who had swapped sides and joined the militants.
"Yes, I know their names. Lt Col Usman, and there was Cpl Abu," he said. "All these were here before, working with us. But they deserted a year ago."
Maj Traore said the men had apparently gone to join the forces of the MNLA, a Tuareg separatist group which launched a rebellion last year in northern Mali.
"But when they came back here, we found they were with the jihadists, and they wanted to take revenge on us. They want easy money. They think the jihadists have money - that's all. It's not about Islam," he said.
Another soldier, Roland Coulibaly, confirmed that account, claiming that many of the rebels were former army soldiers and declaring: "We will track them down now and kill them all."
It is a stark reminder of the fact that, while Mali may be grappling with international threats, the roots of much of the current turmoil here are home-grown, and highly complex.
by Andrew Harding, BBC's Africa correspondent

Jihadism is an ideology. Ideologies are simplistic answer sets for a complex world. Even stupid people can adopt an ideology and this way get the feeling of understanding the world. The drawback is that due to being simplistic, ideologies are almost always wrong on everything. It's like watching a black/white photo with many shades of grey and then settling on calling it either "black" or "white", disregarding its complexity.
This wrongness leads to horrible governance if ideologues rise to power. Speaking about rising to power; what ideology really does is to serve as a tool to harness the masses in support of a clique which intends to rise to power. Once in power, they're the new elite and no better than their predecessor. In fact, they're often much worse if the power struggle was violent and further corrupting the civility of the new elite and the rest of society.

Jihadism is a mere ideological cover with which some greedy asses were motivated into joining to overthrow the power structure in Mali. It's essentially no different than communism, anti-commuism and other ideologies.
The conflict is global, but it's one between ideology and pragmatism. This means Die Welt and Mr. Herzinger are rather on the troublemaker side, the side of the ideologues**.

Can we now go on and focus on improving what we have instead of getting all exhilarated about some imaginary world war? This political upstart business model of adopting an ideology has been known for 160 years already and had plenty forerunners.



S Ortmann

*: In case you get the paywall popup; don't worry. They're so dumb their paywall is useless.
When you see the popup simply click on the URL, press Enter, click on the "X" on the top right of the popup, next hit the "Back" button of your browser. Article revealed. Google translation should work fine, too.
Ridiculous.

**: Die Welt is clearly ideologically biased, as is its entire publishing house. I didn't go into the details about this here, though. It's well-known to all politically interested Germans.

edit: Related article from FP: "Mali is not a Stan"
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