The major problem plainly is that Sam Harris is an Islamophobe. And that’s OK by me, as I am an Islamophobe. Islam broadly scares me, and Muslim cultures scare me (the mainstream Muslim position is that someone like me should be given time to repent, but otherwise be put to death as a traitor to the religion of my ancestors). I think Harris brings up real issues with the singular resistance to Western modernity which Islam as a civilization seems to present in our day. For example, the OIC actually promoted an alternative set of human rights, consonant with the views of Muslims the world over.
The problem from my perspective, and likely Harris’, is that Muslims have become part of the unofficial protected classes which are subject to an expectation of sensitivity. Many liberals now conflate Islamophobia with racism, which is an accusation that many people take seriously, and which Sam Harris naturally takes personally. Though many Islamophobes may have racist motives, the reality is that the Muslim religion is a retrograde system of thought on the whole, and liberalizing tendencies may not be aided by a hands off laissez faire attitude. From what I can tell Sam Harris treats Muslims with the same brutal skepticism and distaste which his erstwhile fellow travelers exhibit toward conservative Christians.
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