Religion 27 January 2011 Responding to Rod Liddle . . . Sigh I don't know whether to ignore or engage with this self-proclaimed champion of Islamophobia. Print HTML Remember Rod "Islamophobia? Count me in" Liddle? He produces the same upmarket, Richard Littlejohn-esque, "It's all political correctness gone mad" column in the Spectator week in, week out. So I'm never sure whether it's best just to ignore his attention-grabbing attempts at garden-variety bigotry or engage and debate and rebut. His column this week, on page 19, claims that "the ideology of Islam" lends itself to: . . . a) homophobia, b) the subjugation of women, c) anti-Semitism, d) viciousness towards so-called apostates, e) authoriatianism and f) a somewhat medieval approach towards crime and punishment. He adds: And then there's the barbarism of female circumcision, forced marriages and the notion that those who are not Muslims are not quite human -- that their lives are worthless. I have a few questions for the editors of the Spectator: 1) Do you have fact checkers? Do you not think it'd be worth providing some evidence from the Quran or elsewhere for such serious and inflammatory accusations against the 1,400-year-old faith of 1.2 billion people across the globe? Find me a single verse of the Quran that justifies or allows "forced marriages" or "female circumcision", or which portrays non-Muslims as "not quite human". I dare you. 2) Would you publish a similar screed on page 19 if the author was a Mr N Griffin of the British National Party? I mean, let's be honest -- Griffin and his ilk would probably not disagree with a single word that I've quoted above. In such columns, Liddle often claims, as he does here, that he draws "a distinction between Islam and Muslims" -- ie Muslims as people = good; Islam as ideology = bad. I tend to take the reverse view -- Islam is a religion of morals and justice and peace; it is Muslims who fail to adhere to its tenets, pervert its principles and hijack the faith for self-serving, politicised and/or criminal purposes. As George Bernard Shaw is said to have remarked, "Islam is the best religion but Muslims are the worst followers." I'd add: judge Islam on its own principles and not the barbaric and backward practises (female circumcision, suicide bombings, anti-Semitism) of a minority of its followers. On a side note, God bless Peter Oborne, on page 16. › Web Only: the best of the blogs Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12. Subscribe More Related articles Why doesn’t Google autocomplete “Conservatives are...”? Sky’s gazumping is killing popular drama imports – TV with no viewers isn’t TV at all Could the challenge from ITV be just what the BBC needs?