Oz has already criticized his principal opponent, Kathy Barnette, for “Islamophobia,” a made-up word designed to inhibit criticism of jihad violence and Sharia oppression, and one that is in common usage among Leftists but rarer among patriots. On Saturday, however, Oz went even farther, charging that Barnette should actually be banned from running for the Senate, and presumably for anything else, because she doesn’t have a sufficiently positive view of Islam.
Oz’s demand raises some interesting questions. On the Left, criticizing Christianity is generally seen as “courageous,” even “heroic,” as can be seen in the enduring popularity of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens, and the like. Criticizing Islam, on the other hand, is “hateful,” “bigoted,” and “racist” as far as Leftists are concerned. If Dawkins or Harris or some other critic of Christianity were to end up running for a Senate seat somewhere in the U.S., would Oz call for this candidate to be disqualified? Almost certainly not.
For criticizing Islam, however, Barnette has aroused Oz’s enduring ire. Apparently back in 2015 she tweeted “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam,” although she now claims that she “would never have said that.” That’s unfortunate, as she offered no explanation of how the remark appeared on her Twitter feed if she didn’t say it, and it demonstrates that she is allowing Oz to put her on the defensive and that she is unsure how to respond. She would be better off just owning the remark and defending it, as there is certainly ample justification in Islam for thinking this.