The NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof Becomes an Islamophobe

kristofIn the New York Times last week, columnist Nicholas Kristof officially became an Islamophobe. More precisely, he finally adopted somewhat the same stance toward Islam as the Cassandras whom Kristof and his ilk relentlessly demonize as Islamophobes – all the while trying to distance himself from them.

“In country after country,” a concerned Kristof begins, “Islamic fundamentalists are measuring their own religious devotion by the degree to which they suppress or assault those they see as heretics, creating a human rights catastrophe as people are punished or murdered for their religious beliefs.” No, really? Surely it is no surprise to him that writers such as those of us at FrontPage have been expressing our concern about Islamic fundamentalists for many years. We’ve noted repeatedly that the most numerous victims of Muslims are other Muslims, many of whom are ostracized (at best) or killed (at worst) precisely because they aren’t sufficiently hardcore believers.

But Kristof dismisses such writers as “Islam-haters in America and the West,” who “denounce Islam as a malignant religion of violence, while politically correct liberals are reluctant to say anything for fear of feeding bigotry.” It’s not bigotry or hate to point out that orthodox Muslims themselves demonstrate its malignance and violence every day around the world. Moreover, “politically correct liberals” aren’t silent only because they don’t want to feed bigotry; the most radical are silent because they see Islam as an ally in their multiculturalist siege of the West.

“Yet there is a real issue here of religious tolerance,” Kristof continues, “affecting millions of people, and we should be able to discuss it.” No kidding. As I mentioned above, the freedom fighters that the left dismisses as Islam-haters have been trying to discuss the Islam problem for decades, but have been relentlessly attacked and delegitimized for it. Now however, Kristof decides we need to have an open discussion, as if it’s his idea.

He was apparently prompted to address this topic by the murder of a Muslim friend at the hands of his friend’s co-religionists. “Such extremists,” he posits, “do far more damage to the global reputation of Islam than all the world’s Islamophobes put together.” This is his grudging way of admitting that orthodox Muslims themselves are the ones responsible for Islam’s dismal reputation. Now if only he would connect the dots and acknowledge that perhaps the world’s “Islamophobes” have legitimate concerns.

But Kristof hedges his newfound realistic perspective on Islam with an historical aside: “The paradox is that Islam historically was relatively tolerant… Anti-Semitism runs deep in some Muslim countries today, but, for most of history, Muslims were more tolerant of Jews than Christians were.” He cites the Holocaust and “the killing of Muslims by Christians at Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina” as evidence for this. First, anti-Semitism has always run deep in Muslim lands, not just today, because Jew-hatred is endemic to Islam itself. Secondly, Islam has not been “tolerant” for most of its history, and whatever its historical sins, Christianity has evolved and Islam has not; the pressing issue is that Islam remains violently intolerant today.

Kristof asserts that “some of the bravest champions of religious freedom today are Muslim” – for example, Iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who successfully defended a Christian pastor from charges of apostasy, but suffered for it by being jailed himself. This is genuinely commendable. Unfortunately, this example does not demonstrate that Islam itself champions religious freedom.

He goes on to note that Saudi Arabia and Iran “are twins in religious repression. Saudis ban churches; it insults Islam to suggest it is so frail it cannot withstand an occasional church.” Actually, the fundamentalists know full well that Islam cannot withstand an occasional church, which is why apostasy is punished by death and Christians are brutally persecuted. They are keenly aware that the freedom of conscience to choose one’s religion would mean a vast exodus from, and possibly the end of, Islam.

“I hesitated to write this column,” Kristof concedes, “because religious repression is an awkward topic when it thrives in Muslim countries. Muslims from Gaza to Syria, Western Sahara to Myanmar, are already enduring plenty without also being scolded for intolerance.” The only reason it’s “awkward” for Kristof and other leftists is their defensive sympathy for Islam; if Christians around the world were massacring Muslims, putting mosques to the torch, and executing apostates, you can bet Kristof and his fellows would have no trouble “scolding” them.

Kristof is also uncomfortable addressing worldwide Muslim atrocities because he believes that “we in the West live in glass houses, and I don’t want to empower our own chauvinists or fuel Islamophobia.” Excuse me? The West has no moral high ground on the issue of religious intolerance? That is frankly a crock. A January 2014 Pew Research study which Kristof himself describes as “a sad index of rising intolerance” notes that the world’s only region essentially untouched by religious repression is the Americas, and that the worst regions for it, as in previous years, are the Middle East and North Africa. Kristof himself concedes that “some of the worst abuse actually takes place in Muslim-dominated countries.” Indeed, and things are getting worse there and in Western countries with burgeoning Muslim minority populations.

“Some heroic Muslims,” Kristof closes, “like my [murdered] friend Rashid in Pakistan, have sacrificed their lives to protect religious freedom. Let’s follow their lead and speak up as well, for silence would be a perversion of politeness.” What gall. Again, those he derides as “Islam-haters” are the ones who have been and still are leading the way in speaking up against the rising tide of Islamic supremacism, only to be met with vicious smears from progressives such as Kristof. Apparently it’s not bigotry if the left does it.

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  • Radegunda

    Funny that Kristof thinks he knows what “insults Islam” — and it turns out to be exactly what Muslims take pride in: their vigorous warfare against “unbelief.”

  • johnlac

    I would bet most atheist liberals would love it for a group of “Christians” to go around killing heretics again and committing the odd pogrom. That would feed into their fantasy of the dangers of religion. Well, in truth some religions are pretty dangerous. And it’s true way in the past Christianity was less than exemplary about treating people with a Christian spirit. But I love it when I hear friends or lib media types talk about religions being responsible for starting wars and killing people, and then I remind them that the tremendous slaughters of the 20th century were basically the fault of atheist communists or fascists.

    But the facts are today it’s Islam that oppresses and kills heretics and infidels. It also did those things in the past, but they weren’t alone in their slaughters and oppression of individuals. But today leftists can’t stand it that it’s not Christians but Muslims doing 99% of the terrorism and suppressing the rights of women and people not of its faith. Sorry libs, Muslims would like to oppress or kill you too as well as the occasional Jew or infidel You can at least take solace in the fact that they don’t discriminate much in killing particular kinds of infidels.

  • Warren Raymond

    The qualification to scribble for the NYT is hardwired cognitive dissonance; hatred for America, capitalism, free enterprise, Christianity, Judaism and an indefatigable ability to praise the Obamessiah, regardless of how much damage he causes. These libturds are mental flatliners and incurable ideologues.

    • Frau Katze

      Kristof is not the worst, either.

    • Americana

      Does the NYTimes have a business section? Does the NYTimes denigrate any and all businessmen and business models? Not as far as I can tell. The journalists there analyze the news about business function. Their job is to figure out WHY certain business models are DANGEROUS for the vast majority of people who are not the 1% who can’t have their life savings go up in smoke because they don’t have other money stashed away… Nothing wrong w/pointing out the failures of monetary gamesmanship especially if it will help control the volatility in the financial markets. There’s also nothing wrong w/pointing out the various sorts of pollution that businesses create and sometimes are unwilling to tackle as THEIR byproduct without government insistence. Nothing wrong w/that either, would ANY of us care to live in China w/its LAX environmental laws? Have we all forgotten our Love Canals and our rivers that could be lit on fire? I’m from Boston and I’ve seen an appreciable increase in water quality over the years. You can now swim in some portions of the river closer to Boston.

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      • winstons

        But the NYT was motivated by hate.

      • JIMJFOX

        You write just like a muslim- when the topic is too hot, you change it, deflect, dissemble, ANYTHING to hide the pus of Islam.

        It’s NOT WORKING…

    • winstons

      Yes…didn’t the NYT cover for Stalin in the 1930’s?

  • Jason P

    Islamic viciousness has finally reach levels that even the left can’t completely ignore it. Look at Syria, Iraq, Algeria, the Brotherhood in Egypt (and Gaza), Nigeria, and we can go on and on.

    I don’t mind if he singles out fundamentalist Islam and champions the few isolated individuals who fight the true believers. It’s clear how rare they are. He talks as if there are two halves. One “reformer” counts against a million jihadi. Leftist math leaves much to be desired.

    Sadly, this awakening won’t last. It won’t be long before we hear that jihadi aren’t “real” Muslims. That this isn’t a bona fide variant of Islam but just a distortion of the noble religion. I give Kristof about a month before he retreats from the “fundamentalism” trope. A month at best … anyone want the under?

    • Frau Katze

      I predict he will not bring up the topic again.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Mark makes the very important point that there must be many millions of ‘muslims’ who would happily leave the religion if only they could. We should help them in any way we can.

  • ratonis

    Another dumb liberal. These guys come late to the game, point out what everybody else who is not clueless already knows, then puts it forth as if it is some luminous original insight.

  • Pepe Turcon

    The NYT is nothing but a broke failed communist used toilet paper, stop wasting your time on such garbage please!

  • pindrop

    Great article.

  • Joe The Gentile

    Extremely dangerous Elephant in room, doing lots of damage. BUT Elephant does not fit Liberal’s theories. Therefore Liberals deny existence of Elephant. Conservatives point out Elephant and its dangerousness; Liberals demonize conservatives for Elantophobic bigotry.

    Damage and destruction of Elephant becoming more undeniable. So undeniable that scattered liberals such as Kristof tentatively perceive Elephant. Kristof begins to gingerly point out that we have to look at the dangerousness of this Elephant. BUT, BUT we must not become like these people whom we call Elantophobic bigots!

    And why did the liberals call them Elantophobic bigots? Because the Elephant-seers had the vision, courage and moral clarity to see the dangerousness of the Elephant before the liberals did. Much easier for Kristof and such liberals to continue to falsely accuse other people of bigotry than to admit that were dangerous fools, enablers of the destructive Elephant.

  • El Cid

    Well–this is a move in the right direction finally.

    Hilary supported Israel (!) on Jon Stewart. The Egyptian press is full of consternation regarding Hamas.

    What’s next? Let’s hope we get the discussion out in public!

  • SoCalMike

    Sasha Cohen in Borat masterfully portrayed the Jew hatred that runs deep in many Islamic countries so well that even the Jew haters loved him.
    I believe one of the Boston Marathon bombers expressed liking him on Facebook.

    Who could ever forget “The Running of the Jew” and the hysterical scene of the harrowing night time “escape” from the home of the bed and breakfast run by the elder Jewish man and woman after they “shape shifted” into cock roaches??

    Good to see Kristoff finally starting to catch on. He’s pretty deep in the PC.

  • Ray Tort

    It appears Kristof still refuses to do the research that reveals that the Koran requires adherents kill or subjugate all non-Muslims. He is a typical leftist. He has not progressed beyond the anti-West indoctrination he succumbed to in the university.

  • jewdog

    I agree with Kristof to the extent that there have been fluctuations in the degree of tolerance in Islamic history. For example, in the twelfth century, when Maimonides was a physician to Saladin, there was far more tolerance than today. Although Jews and Christians were dhimmis and there were fanatics aplenty, there was nonetheless much greater inter-communal intellectual collaboration at that time than now; society was more balanced. But as Mark points out, Christianity has progressed since then, while Islam has regressed.
    The situation with Islam today, however, has become so fraught, even dangerous, that Kristof’s ginger approach is laughably timid.

  • Nabukuduriuzhur

    “He cites the Holocaust and “the killing of Muslims by Christians at Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina” as evidence for this.”

    Bit of a problem. They finally found the third mass grave of less than 200 people in 2011. The “genocide” of muslims never occurred.

    It would be hard to not notice the media went from “hundreds of thousands” of victims to “thousands” to the current several hundred.

    While it’s not right for civilians to be killed (unless they violate the rules of war by being illegal combatants, spies, and sabateurs), the entire basis for the NATO invasion of Bosnia turned out to be a lie.

    Essentially, NATO killed a lot of Serbs for nothing. No one ever says “Clinton lied, people died” do they?

    The Left still thinks that there was a massive genocide but we ended up waging unrighteous war against an ally.

    Compare the Left’s reaction to that, vs. the more than 400,000 killed by Saddam found in mass graves to date. Total silence on the latter.

    Slovodon Milosevic ended up dying after five years waiting for trial. No habeas corpus at the Hague. If there had been enough evidence to convict him of war crimes, it would not have taken five years, that much is certain. That criminal action by the International Criminal Court should give people reason to wonder if they should exist at all in their current form.

    • garyj

      excellent comment

    • Americana

      The tally is somewhere around over 8,000 from Srebenica slain and 25,000-30,000 women, chidden and elderly raped, tortured, and eventually displaced in the Srebenica area. I’d say that qualifies as genocide and ethnic cleansing.

      Why should anyone ever feel they must address any and all mass killings and genocides whenever they mention an instance of genocide? It’s quite a different thing to speak about when you’ve got an entrenched dictator like Saddam Hussein killing off rivals slowly and steadily over a long period of time vs a war declared by some entity in order to achieve an ethnically-cleansed Serbian state.

  • Hank Rearden

    Islam is not a religion in the sense that word is used today, meaning a code of spiritual beliefs. It is a political theory in the same sense that National Socialism was and Communism was/is. We should no more embrace the idea of “practicing” Islam in America than we would embrace the idea of “practicing” National Socialism.

    Kristof cannot confront the facts. That is why the NYT has become a joke. It refuses to report facts that don’t fit the Progressive narrative and the Progressive narrative is all lies.

  • georgejochnowitz

    ISIS has just driven the last Iraqi Christians from Mosul.

    Will Kristof react? Somehow, I doubt it. Will the Presbyterian Church react? Probably not. If they did, it might make Israel look less bad.

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  • tagalog

    I wonder what Mr. Kristof’s opinion is about today’s report that Christians in Mosul, Iraq, have been told that they must leave, convert to Islam or accept dhimmitude, or die.

    Christians, it is reported, have had a community in Mosul for the past 1700 years.

  • Guano Genesis

    Kristof is stupid, and deliberately ignorant. He has lived long enough to be aware of the truth about muslims, as if 9/11 was not a wake up call for even the brain dead.
    Any liberal who doubts whether islam is inherently violent, need only burn a copy of the Koran in a muslim neighborhood. If he burns an American flag it will be called art or freedom of expression, if he burns a Bible it will be called museum quality art, but burning a Koran will get him killed almost anywhere in the world. Why exactly is that Mr. Kristof? Does the Koran uniquely contain some kind of toxin, which when inhaled too deeply results in death?

  • Gee

    Israel is also a bastion of religious tolerance and freedom. No Muslim country has any religious freedom whatsoever

  • 8ball

    Freedom of religion does not and should not entail freedom from criticism of religious beliefs and practices. This is particularly so if a religion is anti freedom.