Irrationalism—particularly in the guise of emotionalism and relativism—has become the greatest defender and chief apologist for Islam in the West.
Or so Jeff Goldblum is learning.
Last Friday, April 24, 2020, the 67-year-old actor was a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race. One of the contestants, Jackie Cox, a "drag queen" of Iranian background, appeared in a star-spangled hijab: "This outfit," Cox said, "really represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country."
Apparently seeing the irony and/or contradiction in all this, Goldblum inquired: "Is there something in this religion [Islam] that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I'm just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe"—this last bit came as he looked around and realized that no one was about to agree with him—"being stupid."
What followed might have been expected—not least considering that the venue where Goldblum's utterance was made is the epitome of irrationalism, emotionalism, and relativism.
It began with a teary-eyed Jackie Cox: "When the Muslim ban happened," he said haltingly and chokingly while sobbing, "it really destroyed a lot of my faith in this country, and really hurt my family. And that's so wrong to me."
So instead of using the opportunity afforded by Goldblum to shed light on the abysmal treatment that women and homosexuals such as himself experience under Islam, Cox twisted the matter to bash America and Trump.
Incidentally, and for the record, the so-called "Muslim ban" is a reference to travel restrictions placed on nations known to sponsor terrorism and pose a security threat to the U.S. Although not all are Muslim—North Korea for example—most are Muslim-majority nations. This and other unflattering facts—the persecution of Christian minorities, for example, occurs primarily in Muslim nations—are less a reflection of "Islamophobia" and more a reflection of why fear of Islam exists in the first place.
Social media has been abuzz with condemnations of Goldblum.
Regardless, social media has been abuzz with condemnations of Goldblum. His question has been described by various tweets as "Islamophobic"; as "so deeply uncomfortable to watch"; and as having "many levels of awfulness" to it. In short, "Goldblum's wildly unnecessary comment about homophobia and sexism in Islam," explained another tweeter, was the "WORST."
Others have used this opportunity to harp on how Islamophobic Americans are in general. Journalist and writer Wajahat Ali suggested that if someone from "liberal Hollywood," who is "holding back & trying to be sensitive," can ask such a question, obviously "what folks say about us Muslims behind our backs" is far worse.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, rational people who have the slightest experience or acquaintance of the Muslim world—in theory, practice, or both—know that Muslim men may marry up to four women and copulate with as many infidel sex slaves as can be acquired (Koran 4:3); the Koran further encourages them to see their wives as "plowing fields" that may be beat into submission (2:223; 4:34). As for homosexuals, they are to be—and have been in keeping with Islamic teachings (e.g., Koran 7:84)—"smashed" to death.
Of course, anyone making such observations—that is, anyone able to transcend the initial barrage of irrationalism and emotionalism—must next contend with relativism: "Would Goldblum" as another tweeter demanded, "have asked a Christian queen that same question that he asked Jackie?"
Aside from the fact that terms like "Christian queen" or "Muslim queen" are beyond oxymoronic, note the assumption: although the teachings of Christianity and Islam are often diametrically opposed to one another—particularly concerning women—this has no significance for the "relativizers." For them, Goldblum's question is just as valid for Christianity as it is for Islam—so why single out Islam for questioning (Oh Islamophobe)?
Speaking of questions, it's important to keep in mind that all Goldblum did was just that—raise a question. Imagine the reaction—the wailing and gnashing of teeth—had his question actually been an assertion.
Which brings us to the real story here: because there is no way to sustain a rational defense of Islam, tears, fake outrage, and lots and lots of hypocrisy—or, to quote Goldblum but in reverse, "being stupid"—is all that remains.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum.