A Cold Shower of Oriental Fetishism

Why I don’t do book signings anymore

A great liberal betrayal is afoot… I call them regressive leftists; they are in fact reverse racists. They have a poverty of expectation for minority groups, believing them to be homogenous and inherently opposed to human rights values. They are culturally reductive in how they see Eastern —and in my case, Islamic—culture, and they are culturally deterministic in attempting to freeze their ideal of it in order to satisfy their oriental fetish.

Maajid Nawaz in conversation with Sam Harris, Islam and the Future of Tolerance, Harvard University Press, 2015

Brittons in the Glebe is closed for good. But, that is not why I don’t do books signings there anymore, or anywhere else.

The other day I was asked why.

“Was it because I feared the reaction of Muslims who might come to my book signings?” she enquired.

“No I said, it was not the reaction of Muslims, which was always polite and informed but that of non-Muslims who had bought into the extremists’ narrative that the Koran and Islamic scriptures and culture in general were beyond the understanding of non-Muslims and told me so, in no uncertain terms to my face, during these signings.”

My typical reply, that they are not beyond the reach of anyone who can read, only brings further denunciations, including accusations of racism.

No Muslim I have met has ever called me a racists. Non-Muslims, on the other hand, who can’t be bothered to read any of my books, let alone the back cover have done so on more occasions than I care to remember.

Not only do I no longer do book signings, but I try to avoid discussions about Islam, the Prophet and the Koran with most non-Muslims preferring the informed discussions I have with those who are familiar with the Book and its transmitter.

Motion 103 seeks to silence non-accredited diviners of the Will of humanity’s alleged invisible friend and those who claim to speak on his behalf. If it is successful, enduring the invectives of my uninformed critics will the least of my worries.

Liberal Muslims

It's not only non-Muslims writing about Islam that Nawaz's non-Muslims with an oriental fetish would silence, but "liberal" Muslims as well.

While they rightly question every aspect of their own Western culture in the name of progress, they censure liberal Muslims who attempt to do so within Islam, and they choose to side instead with every regressive reactionary in the name of “cultural authenticity” and anticolonialism.

Bernard Payeur, July 15, 2017