J.K. Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter series, has fallen victim to the cancel culture. Laurie Charles, a British writer who equals Rowling neither in accomplishment nor in renown, has accused Rowling of “transphobia” for a book she wrote under a pseudonym in 2014, The Silkworm. The UK’s appalling Daily Mail, noticing that the “transphobic” passage involves a burqa, claims that Rowling “has been accused of playing into both Islamophobic and transphobic prejudices.”
Here is the offending passage. If you can’t spot the “transphobia” and “Islamophobia,” you just aren’t woke enough:
A young woman wearing a hijab was watching them talk from an opposite seat. She had large, sweet, liquidbrown eyes.
‘Assuming somebody really did enter the house on the fourth, I’ve got to say a burqa’s a bloody good way of getting in and out without being recognised. Can you think of another way of totally concealing your face and body that wouldn’t make people challenge you?’
‘And they were carrying a halal takeaway?’
‘Allegedly. Was his last meal halal? Is that why the killer removed the guts?’
‘And this woman—’
‘Could’ve been a man…’ ‘—was seen leaving the house an hour later?’
This enraged Laurie Charles, who took to Twitter to call attention to this passage, about which she fumed: “JK Rowling made her f**ked up attacks against trans people and threatened to sue anyone who called her transphobic because she’d already sent her manuscript off to the publisher and wanted to preempt the inevitable criticism of this.”
And just to make sure everyone knew the depth of her moral indignation, Charles added: “It’s like she’s sipping human blood and viscera from a skull through a curly straw with one hand and typing with the other.”
Charles may have been on the lookout for new evidence of Rowling’s “transphobia,” for she has been in hot water for it before, when she dared to note that using the term “people who menstruate” instead of “women” is absurd. And even that wasn’t the end of Rowling’s villainy, according to the Daily Mail: “The row worsened after her new book Troubled Blood was released on Tuesday, which tells the tale of a man who dresses as a woman to kill his victims – a trope in literature that’s been criticised by activists for perpetuating negative stereotypes about transgender people.”
So now, in the Left’s moral universe, making the common-sense observation that “a burqa’s a bloody good way of getting in and out without being recognized” is somehow prejudicial to men who dress in women’s clothing, and men who like to think they’re really women, and that will just not do. And the burqa! You know what that means. “Not just transphobic but Islamophobic too… I regret ever spending money on Harry Potter,” commented one former Rowling fan on Charles’ tweet.
Another added: “So apparently Rowling is just racist as well. What a surprise, transphobes tend to be obsessive bigots, huh.” And a third: “Ewwwww how does she manage to be racist and transphobic in one paragraph?”
Of course Rowling must be racist, because Rowling is bad, and everything bad is racism, and so there you are. Islam is not a race and women of all races wear burqas and niqabs, but no matter: in Britain and the U.S. today, you’re a racist for imagining someone committing a crime while wearing a burqa. Because that never, ever happens, right?
Well, let’s see. Back in February, a burqa-clad man in New York City stole nearly $1 million in jewelry. In October 2018, France’s most-wanted fugitive evaded police by wearing a burqa. And in Cameroon in July 2015, burqa-wearing Muslims murdered at least twelve people in jihad-martyrdom suicide attacks.
There are many, many other such incidents. In January 2014, the Syrian army arrested a jihadist who was trying to evade capture by dressing as a woman. Four French soldiers in Afghanistan were killed in June 2012 by jihad suicide bombers who were wearing burqas. Two months before that, a man who was accused of participating in the July 7, 2005 jihad bombings in London was caught fleeing in a burqa. In June 2011, a Taliban burqa-brigade attempted a prison break in northwestern Pakistan.
In April 2010 in Pakistan, jihadists dressed in burqas murdered 41 people in double jihad suicide bombings. The year before that, jihad suicide bombers in burqas killed six in Afghanistan.
All that and much more indicates that when J.K. Rowling imagined a criminal escaping by wearing a burqa, she wasn’t engaging in gratuitous “Islamophobia,” much less “transphobia,” but was simply reflecting reality. It is reality, however, that the Left is making war against. They’ll cancel everyone, no matter how famous, no matter how beloved, in order to push us all into accepting their fantasies about the world. Orwell neatly encapsulated this impulse in 1984 when he had Winston Smith’s torturer force him to say, and believe, that two plus two equals five. Now we’re being forced to affirm that again, on pain of being labeled “transphobic,” “Islamophobic,” and “racist.”
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Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.