The chauvinistic mindset of totalitarian or nationalistic ideologies

As expected, there was some resistance to my blog post "Freedom of religion insults me", which is about how speech cannot be censored because it can be insulting or because there are bigots, just like religion cannot be suppressed because some religions cause bigotry. One person who argued against what I wrote is Sai.

THE CHAUVINISTIC MINDSET OF TOTALITARIAN OR NATIONALISTIC IDEOLOGIES: Here is Sai's comment on my blog post "Freedom of religion insults me".

Sai wrote that I'm "missing the point" and that "satire is meant to pull down the high and mighty, not those who are already marginalized and oppressed [...]" He is, of course, saying that Muslims and Islam should be above criticism for the simple fact that there are bigots. Here's my answer to him.

Muslim immigrants in Europe and America are marginalized, demonized, and oppressed, which we must do something about, of course. But Islam on the world scene cannot be considered marginalized: there are, as many people like to point out, 1.6 billion people who subscribe to the Islamic religion, a religion that is homophobic, misogynistic, demonizing of apostates, and untrusting of atheists (just like Christianity, except Christianity has been secularized); Islam is dominant in large parts of the world and forms the core of institutionalized oppression of minority groups and women in those places.

The bigotry against Muslims does not excuse the bigotry that exists in or is so easily justified by Islam (and other religions/totalitarian worldviews and ideologies). There's definitely a lot of ignorant, irrational fear of Islam, or more accurately Muslims, mostly from ultra-right-wing nationalists. And "the west" plays its role in creating extremists, pushing them there by creating an enemy for them to hate, but blind faith in a totalitarian worldview plays its role, as well.

The fact that there are bigoted idiots shouldn't prohibit what may be valid criticisms (up for debate what is or isn't valid, of course, but if we aren't allowed to even discuss it, then we will never know what is valid). One can be critical of more than one thing; you don't have to choose between condoning everything done in the name of western capitalism or everything done in the name of Islam/Islamism.

Satire is meant to bring about change by using comedy, exaggerations, and ridicule, whatever the issue. Furthermore, Islam as a worldview is VERY high and mighty, with 1.6 billion subscribers, so it fits Sai's definition of what can be satirized.

Many people make the mistake of thinking criticism of Islam is only about Muslims who have immigrated to the west or about Muslims as people and individuals. But we live in a global society and injustices should not be tolerated, whether they take place in "the west" or the Middle East and whether they are caused by materialistic worldviews like communism and capitalism or religious ones like Christianity and Islam. The fact remains that Islam is a worldview with doctrine, claims about the world, and rules by which to live, which means it is not above criticism.

Even if one disagrees with all of this, the issue still remains that merely drawing Muhammad is enough to deeply offend many Muslims and make them want to censor it; it's the same if one were to burn a copy of the Quran. The chauvinistic mindset of totalitarian or nationalistic ideologies causes people to overreact to things like the burning of a book or flag, and then they want whoever did it to be punished or at least silenced.

This is a clear infringement on freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the idea of secularism itself, as Islam and other religions should not dictate what rules people must follow as part of the larger community with many different beliefs. Respectfully, I must disagree with the statement that I'm missing the point. And respectfully, I must disagree that ideologies must be respected.

I am a liberal; I am for free speech; I am Charlie Hebdo. Je suis Charlie!