Helen Razer posted a piece on her Facebook page in which she criticised some Islamophobes as “racist”. They corrected her: Islam is not a race.
She wrote them an apology. When I had finished reading it, I wished I had written it myself. It is an incredibly good piece of writing.
To save some people the effort of writing to set me straight, let me make it clear: I deplore Islamic extremism; I deplore extremism of any kind, supposedly in support of any ideology; I deplore terrorist attacks, especially ones which kill innocent civilians; I deplore people who speak or act as if all Muslims were extremists.
With Helen Razer’s permission, here is her apology. I recommend you read it out loud to someone dear to you:
THIS IS AN APOLOGY. In a post earlier today that linked to an article written by me I incorrectly identified those who disdain Islam as “racist”. I am sorry about this. As you so deftly and cleverly remind me, “Islam is not a race”. You are, therefore, not a racist.
I didn’t mean to call you a racist.
I meant to call you – how can I put this? – history’s worst reflex.
I meant to call you the frail and fearful idiot who learned nothing of the lessons of 1933.
I meant to call you the descendent of Nazism.
I meant, much more kindly, to say that your belief that a little cultural difference is responsible for all the shit in your life is a product of an under-informed mind and an ugly spirit.
I meant to say that I recognise those of you suddenly saying “Well, what about the way they treat gays?” as the same scum who used to beat me up at high school for being a –w what was it you called me? – an “ugly dyke not worth raping”.
I meant to say that you should remember Dachau, Belsen and all the other places in which human lives were sacrificed on the altar built on the foundation of your puny, disgusting hate.
I meant to say that I know your stench: it has offended my nostrils for a lifetime.
I meant to say that if you think Islam is intrinsically evil and you’ve somehow missed that the real “evil” in the world is belched from its financial centres, fuck you very much and you just keep on agreeing with Brave Intellectuals like Sonia Kruger and Andrew Bolt.
I meant to say that you do not need to love people. You do not even need to approve. You just need to fucking accept difference as an inevitable fact of life: but you never will, because you are made by off-cuts of history’s worst mistakes.
I meant to say you have nothing to say to me that I cannot read in the nation’s worst newspapers.
I meant to say you are a receptacle for the ideological shit of powerful others.
I meant to say you sicken me.
But I didn’t mean to call you a racist.
Helen Razer writes for The Daily Review