Jeffrey Goldberg i the Atlantic har intervjuet den franske statsministeren Manuel Valls som både er mer nyansert og rasjonell enn presidenten i synet på islam. Valls kom med den sterke uttalelsen at hvis 100.000 jøder forlater Frankrike vil ikke lenger Frankrike være Frankrike. Goldberg har gått igjennom notaten og også funnet interessante uttalelser om islamofobi:

“It is very important to make clear to people that Islam has nothing to do with ISIS,” Valls told me. “There is a prejudice in society about this, but on the other hand, I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology. The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is used to silence people. ”

Er glasset halvfullt eller halvtomt? At islam ikke har «noe» å gjøre med IS, virker helt på jordet. Men avvisning av islamofobi som hersketeknikk er et fremskritt.

Valls skal ha blitt overbevist om dette i samtaler med forfatterne Pacal Bruckner og Salman Rushdie.

It appears as if Valls came to his view on the illegitimacy of ‘Islamophobia’ after being influenced by a number of people, including and especially the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner and the writer (and fatwa target) Salman Rushdie. Rushdie, along with a group of mainly Muslim writers, attacked the use of the term ‘Islamophobia’ several years ago in an open letter: “We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia’, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.”

Bruckner argued that use of the word ‘Islamophobia’ was designed to deflect attention away from the goals of Islamists: “[I]t denies the reality of an Islamic offensive in Europe all the better to justify it; it attacks secularism by equating it with fundamentalism. Above all, however, it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire.”

Goldberg forsøker seg på en definisjon av islamofobi han kan akseptere og siterer en forfatter som sier det utsagn som «is intended» eller er «likely to have the effect of promoting fear and hatred against broad catagories of people based on their identity.» Hvor ett kriterium skal være om utsagnet kan gjør det vanskelig for gruppen å fungere i samfunnet. Og hvordan skal man måle noe slikt? Det er vanskelig å fostå at en intelligent journalist som Goldberg kan stå inne for noe så dumt. Avstanden mellom det liberale USA og Europa er blitt stor.

Hussein Ibish, writing in The National, offered a definition of Islamophobia that makes sense to me, and I would imagine, makes sense to Valls.

The key to a practicable definition of Islamophobia that can help identify truly objectionable speech, must be that it refers to living human beings and their fundamental rights. It cannot be about protecting people from being offended, or having their feelings hurt. Still less can it be about protecting abstract ideas, religious dogmas, or cultural norms from being questioned, critiqued or even lampooned.

The proper metric to identify genuinely bigoted speech is whether or not the expression in question is intended or likely to have the effect of promoting fear and hatred against broad categories of people based on their identity. Would such speech make it more difficult for communities to function effectively in their own society? In other words, does the speech attack the legitimate rights and interests of identity-based communities? Does it prevent them being seen as, and treated as equal by, and with regard to, other communities?