Many years ago I spoke about peoples’ fear of snakes, especially venomous snakes. I said I didn’t fear them, but I sure as heck respected the power they held in their fangs. It was my attempt to make a young colleague understand he might not have to die if he was bitten by a snake; it was all academic, because we were discussing the bite of certain snakes and his belief a rattler bite heralded an almost instantaneous interview with Saint Peter and an acceptance of wings in place of body armor.
I wanted him to understand the snake doesn’t always “envenomate” or deliver the venom in the first bite. Sometimes the snake hits as a warning and then retracts to ready himself for the next strike. Sure, if you stay in the area and keep ticking him off you’ll probably get that next strike that’ll shove that venom deeply into your tissue and make your existence for the near future a living hell, but there’s a good chance you’ll survive. You’ll be changed for the experience, but you can survive.
So, the reason I bring all of this up is because I have a problem with people gut slamming others with the term suffix: “phobe” indicating they have a fear of something. You know like: arachnophobe (fear of spiders); “technophobe” (fear of technology); “cacophobe” (fear of ugliness) and a host of others too numerous to bother with in this effort. I’d draw exception to the irrationality of phobias except for the fact I have one which bothers the bejeesus out of me: “phobophobia” the fear of being struck immobile by an irrational fear of being afraid. I know it sounds dumb but it exists. I fear being so scared I do nothing, thus assuring my demise. I fight that phobia with increased knowledge, logic and an iron-clad will to survive. (Kinda practical; don’t you think?)
I was once called an Islamophobe. It’s a particularly aggravating term used by fundamentalist Islamist whack-jobs looking to make any criticism of them, their actions and the fundamentally self-serving nature of their prophet’s orrho-historically transmitted scripture and teachings. Some of his tenets are not only anti-social, there are laws numbering into the thousands internationally defining the illegality and moral reprehensibility of some of the acceptable acts he sets forth for his misogynistic and chauvinistic followers. Most enlightened cultures proscribe wife-beating, honor killing, child sexual abuse, slavery and other heinous acts and make such acts punishable by imprisonment. Not so Islam; if Sharia Law says it’s acceptable, it’s okay by Mohammed.
So let’s get back to the snake analogy. It would be irrational to fear all snakes. Some are harmless to humans and any animals bigger than they. Others are insectivores living off of the other creepy-crawlies we have no real use for either. So it only makes sense to learn what we can about those snakes that may hurt us. In this way we can avoid the problems associated with “envenomation” or getting poisoned by snakebite.
Some Islamists are what they are, people of faith wishing to be left alone to do their thing. That’s cool. The only problem is the fact the base tenets of their scripture are pretty violent. (So are some of the Bible stories in the Old and New Testament so don’t think we’re being selective in our criticism.) Our human history is something we should face and deal with). But in many religions there has been discussion, divergence of thought and possibly some sense of enlightenment where it comes to interpreting what was left behind as religious doctrine and how we’ll accept what we’ve read and will assimilate into our lives.
Fundamentalist Islam doesn’t allow for that. The word of Mohammed is the law and it’s to be accepted and practiced literally as it’s spoken and as its written. That’s where we need to be aware of what’s said, taught and meant as it pertains to our relationship with Islam. This is where we must be educated, logical and have the iron-clad will to resist intimidation by people believing their concept of god allows them to conquer, enslave and terrorize any and all they find to be infidels or “non-believers.”
So, I suggest you learn as much as you can from the teachings of Mohammed. Some of the stuff he preached could cause unhinged individuals to think they can hurt you and yours just like some fundamentalist Christians because you don’t follow the teachings they adhere to. Be careful. There are lots of nutcases out there. But don’t fear them. That’s what they want. They want you to freeze and not do anything so they can walk all over you, your family and your rights so they can have this world their way.
And as far as calling me an Islamophobe; it isn’t so. I believe in the scripture that says: “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and they staff (along with my Colt 1911A1 in.45 caliber and six extra magazines) , they comfort me. (That’s the 23rd Psalm according to Sarge.)
So as you can see I’m not afraid of Islam just because somebody says I am.
Thanks for listening.