Archive for October 17th, 2007

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My 1½ Years At LGF, Part I: Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

October 17, 2007

It’s no secret that LGF takes heat from both the media and bloggers alike for their constant diatribe about all things Islamic.  Since I didn’t come into the site knowing what it was all about, I’ll admit that I was pretty surprised by it. Initially, I figured that it was irrational fear borne in the ashes of the September 11th attacks.  I wasn’t really offended by all the Muslim bashing that went on in the comments section (I’m not offended easily), and I certainly didn’t go into the site with the intention of “defending” Islam, so while I was there I rarely offered up an opinion on those threads.  I do know (now) that it was, for the most part, the reason why many referred to LGF as a “hate site” (a label that Charles and the rest of the lizards predictably took issue with), and the usual comeback offered up in the comments section went something like “Well, if that means hating those who want to convert you to Islam, kill you, force you into slavery, chop off your head, etc., then, yea, this is a hate site”.

The most glaring problem with this argument is the fact that there are a fair amount of threads about Arabs and Muslims that have nothing to do with terrorism, a worldwide caliphate, or even “sudden jihadi syndrome”.  One thread I recall, Pigophobia in the UAE, clearly had no other point other than amusing the lizard minions with a story about Muslim’s aversion to swine.  The aforementioned comeback loses quite a bit of credibility when you see this kind of thing.  (the defense is also slightly hampered by the fact that LGF has it’s own dictionary of terms, many of them disparaging and originating on the site)

To his credit, you’d be very hard pressed to find anything that Charles himself posts in any given thread that someone might view as blatantly bigoted.  But on the other hand, there are plenty of regular commentors who don’t parse their words nearly as carefully, and the same could be said about many on the list of featured “anti-idiotarians” in the blogroll.  Intentionally or not, the result of all this is a place that attracts the type of people who are looking for affirmation of their own anti-Muslim prejudices, and the comments often reflect that.

This brings me back to the “Pigophobia” thread, where after quite a few comments that had to be deleted, Charles responded:

A note: I am absolutely fed up with posts that advocate rounding up all Muslims and/or illegal aliens and putting them in camps, or that use bigoted language. I do not agree with this kind of crap, it drags the site down, and those comments are not welcome here.

I’m not going to take the heat for it any more — I’m simply going to start blocking people who do it.

Should the appearance of bigoted comments in a thread with “Pigophobia” in the title be that surprising?  I mean, come on.

When confronted, the LGFers would have you believe that the overall mission is to spread the word about the dangers of radical Islam in an effort to make a contribution to the greater “War on Terror”.  They’ll tell you that those who belittle the threat are choosing to be willfully ignorant, have their head in the sand, or fall for the false virtue of political correctness.  For what it’s worth, I think that they really do believe that their efforts are noble, and in the interest of “saving the world“.  To me, however, the site tends to read more like a scavenger hunt for tales of Muslims doing bad things than a place that makes a legitimate effort to combat Islamic terrorism.  It’s not like they’re pouring over pro-al Qaeda websites with translators looking to uncover details on plots and strategy, after all.  Instead, the posts appear to be an attempt to build the argument that Islam itelf is the underlying problem (and the real enemy).  And as well-intentioned as they might consider themselves to be, there is a real counterproductivity with this.  The notion (however vaguely interpreted) that the West is at war with Islam is propaganda that al Qaeda has been spreading.  Even George Bush recognizes that this is a road that we don’t want to take:

“My country desires peace,” Bush told world leaders in the cavernous main hall at the U.N. “Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam.”

In conclusion, I sit back and wonder sometimes if the rantings of the “anti-idiotarians” really are just contributing to the problem, and not part of the solution.

Tomorrow’s topic:

Israel/Palestine Conflict and Antisemitism

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