Noted British novelist Ian McEwan has attacked those who criticised Martin Amis for his remarks on Islam:
“”A dear friend had been called a racist,” he said. “As soon as a writer expresses an opinion against Islamism, immediately someone on the left leaps to his feet and claims that because the majority of Muslims are dark-skinned, he who criticises it is racist.
“This is logically absurd and morally unacceptable. Martin is not a racist. And I myself despise Islamism, because it wants to create a society that I detest, based on religious belief, on a text, on lack of freedom for women, intolerance towards homosexuality and so on â€“ we know it well.”
McEwan â€“ author of On Chesil Beach and the acclaimed Atonement and Enduring Love â€“ has spoken on the issue of Islamism before, telling The New York Times last December: “All religions make very big claims about the world, and it should be possible in an open society to dispute them. It should be possible to say, ‘I find some ideas in Islam questionable’ without being called a racist.”"
Ian McEwan is right to say that all religions should be freely criticised, but that wasn’t what Martin Amis was doing. What Amis said was:
“Thereâ€™s a definite urge â€“ donâ€™t you have it? â€“ to say, â€˜The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.â€™ What sort of suffÂÂerÂÂÂing? Not letting them travel. Deportation â€“ further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like theyâ€™re from the Middle East or from Pakistanâ€¦ Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs â€“ well, theyâ€™ve got to stop their children killing people. Itâ€™s a huge dereliction on their part. I suppose they justify it on the grounds that they have suffered from state terrorism in the past, but I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s wholly irrational. Itâ€™s their own past theyâ€™re pissed off about; their great decline. Itâ€™s also masculinity, isnâ€™t it?
Ian McEwan is trying to conflate what Martin Amis said with legitimate criticism of an ideology, which is just wrong. Martin Amis called for all Muslims in this country to be targeted, especially ones that look a bit foreign, and collectively punish them. How that can be confused with a critique of the Qur’an’s position on women or homosexuality I don’t know.
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