Nathan Lean has written an article in Salon, published last week, in which he weighs in against the perceived islamophobia of the ‘new atheists’. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchins, though particularly Dawkins, are the crusading subjects of his criticism.
In the article Lean argues that 9/11 honed the previously diffuse, more muted arguments of Dawkins et al into a specifically Islam-orientated attack; the advent of the 140-characters-or-fewer generation of social media has propelled them further into the limelight, affording them ever-greater audiences.
You can read the Salon article (‘Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens: New Atheists flirt with Islamophobia‘) by clicking here.
Lean’s argument was picked up on, along with a similar piece by Murtaza Hussain in Al Jazeera, by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian earlier this week. Greenwald broadly agrees with both Hussain and Lean, and goes on to discuss a personal back-and-forth with Sam Harris (mentioned above) and his followers. You can check out the Guardian article here, for an interesting second perspective.
How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims
Nathan Lean. Foreword by John L. Esposito
Disturbing account of the rising tide of Islamophobia sweeping through the United States and Europe.
“This concise, accessible and illuminating book meets one of the most urgent needs of our time. Lean has provided a compelling counter-narrative that reveals the vested interests and highly organized networks of those who preach the virulent Islamophobia that is not only endangering world peace but is also corroding the tolerance and egalitarian ethos that should characterize Western society. This book should be required reading.” – Karen Armstrong
“Islamophobia is not only about ignorance and fear. Some people purposefully nurture it and use it as a political strategy. Nathan Lean’s The Islamophobia Industry shows what is happening behind the scenes. It is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the rationale and objectives behind those who foster this new racism against Muslims.” – Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University and author of The Quest for Meaning