The progressive website Salon isn't exactly known for allying itself with freedom fighters against jihad like Robert Spencer, Bosch Fawstin, and Pamela Geller. But Jeffrey Tayler's piece there today, entitled "The left has Islam all wrong: Bill Maher, Pamela Geller and the reality progressives must face," takes a surprisingly courageous, clear-eyed stand. "Pamela Geller is right about one thing," he begins. "Last week’s Islamist assault on the 'Draw Muhammad' cartoon contest she hosted in Texas proves the jihad against freedom of expression has opened a front in the United States."
Backing up a bit in reference to last fall's Real Time with Bill Maher episode, in which actor/director Ben Affleck blew up at Maher and atheist writer Sam Harris over what he misperceived to be an attack on all Muslims, Tayler writes:
The semantically unsound rubbish concept of “Islamophobia” disorients well-meaning people and incites them to spout illogicalities with a preacher’s righteousness. One must, though, call out New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for backing up Affleck on the same show, and, later, in an editorial. Kristof, after all, should know better. He trades in words and ideas, and his acceptance of the fraudulent term “Islamophobia” contributes to the generalized befuddlement on the left about the faith in question and whether negative talk about it constitutes some sort of racism, or proxy for it. It patently does not. Unlike skin color, faith is not inherited and is susceptible to change. As with any other ideology, it should be subject to unfettered discussion, which may include satire, ridicule and even derision. The First Amendment protects both our right to practice the religion of our choosing (or no religion at all) as well as our right to speak freely, even offensively, about it.
After a more predictable assault on monotheism in general, Tayler goes on to view Islam specifically through unblinkered eyes, and he urges fellow progressives to do the same. He highlights
the stark doctrinal and practical realities of which no honest progressive could approve, and which form the bases of the religion. Regardless of what the peaceful majority of Muslims are doing, as ISIS’s beguiling ideology spreads, we are likely to face an ever more relentless, determined Islamist assault. We can delude ourselves no longer: violence is an emergent property deriving from Islam’s inherently intolerant precepts and dogma.
Tayler closes by declaring that "We must stop traducing reason by branding people 'Islamophobes'" and that "This is not a battle we have chosen; the battle has chosen us. It’s time to fight back, and hard."
Good for him - and for Salon. Read it all here.