Are we entitled to antagonize Islam? A question by Anon, a professor of philosophy at the University of Aulnay-Sopoa, France, Professor Said Benmofoc replied to those who claim that people have the right to anti-Islam as well as the right to anti-atheism.
Benmofoc began his article in the French newspaper Liberation, certainly that the concept of Islamophobia or Islamophobia in itself is controversial in itself. Some believe that it condemns discrimination and racist rhetoric against Muslims, while others oppose its use and see it as just a way to restrict criticism of Islam.
Benmofoc seems to respond in particular to what French philosopher Henri Peña Roy said at a symposium of the "Father of France" that "Islamophobia is a right", which in his understanding means "simply reject Islam, and therefore the right to criticize this religion," and thus categorically distinguishes Between racism against Muslims and the phenomenon of Islamophobia.
Islamophobia, according to Peña Roy, is legitimate because it is directed against a religion, and racism is rejected and condemned because it is directed against certain people.
The word "Islamophobia" consists of the words "Islam" and "phobia" and the meaning of phobia. Benmofok highlights that the word "phobia" does not mean just "rejection", but carries a sense of fear or apprehension of an object perceived as a threat.
Benmoyuk adds that thinker Peña Roy wanted to limit himself to criticizing ideas while protecting people, but he did not notice that phobia did not distinguish between the two.
To clarify what he wants to demonstrate, Benmofok asks: "In the political sphere, what does it mean to be afraid of communism without fear of communists? In religion, can one be afraid of Islam without fear of Muslims?"
In fact, when people fear the other, they do not distinguish between people and their thoughts, practices or beliefs, according to Benmofoc. Thus, there is a real danger of classifying Islamophobia as a kind of enlightened criticism of religion as the French philosopher did.
Any serious criticism of religion should be subject to the realm of reason, science and understanding, as summed up by Spinoza's famous phrase, "Don't mock, denounce, not hate, but understand."
In the end, Benmofoc warned that legitimizing phobia in this way and putting it directly in the critique of religion is a kind of encouragement of identity retreat.