"Portuguese intellectual shortcomings soon became a byword: thus Diogo do Couto, referring in 1603 to "the meanness and lack of curiosity of this our Portuguese nation"; and Francis Parry, the English envoy at Lisbon in 1670, observing that "the people are so little curious that no man knows more than what is merely necessary for him"; and the eighteenth-century English visitor Mary Brearley who remarked that "the bulk of the people were disinclined to independence of thought and, in all but a few instances, too much averse from intellectual activity to question what they had learned.
Portugal had become a backward, weak country" (The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, p. 135-136)
His attack on Martin Amis suggests he probably does.
He quotes Amis as saying "the impulse towards rational inquiry, is by now very weak in the rank and file of the Muslim male” quote. That's a generalisation but I don't think it is a racist one. It could be true or untrue but requires no particular hostility to Muslims. It is very similar to innumerable quotes that could be pulled from Landes' book. For example, "Portuguese intellectual shortcomings soon became a byword".
Sunny says that Amis' most offensive utterings were the following:
"The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order. What sort of suffering? Not let them travel. Deportation - further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan … Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children."
Sunny never links to the original interview from which these comments spring so I've had to do a bit of searching to get it. As a commenter on his Liberal Conspiracy post points out the actual quote starts with:
"There’s a definite urge – don’t you have it? – to say,"
These aren't Amis' recommendations, they're a guilty admission of thoughts that he regards as unacceptable. He is describing dark thoughts that civilised people control but that are not indicative of racism or any other quality worthy of condemnation. It is those who do not see them as problematic that we have to worry about.
Amis' crime, if he has committed one, is to be a literary figure without the depth of self-control expected of someone engaged in an intensely political debate. Sunny's only response to the commenter who pointed out the distortion was, essentially 'but Imams get taken out of context too'. That Sunny can be so brazen about his character assassination is disgusting.
Perhaps Imams also suffer Amis' fate sometimes, although often when Imams claim to have been taken out of context that turns out not to be the case, but I don't know of anyone who has actually defended the practice of taking people out of context.
The statement about demographics is also taken out of context. Sunny presents it as an appeal to nativist fears of being 'overrun'. Again, here's the introduction Bennett and Sunny miss out - from the same interview linked above:
"He and The Hitch were in Las Vegas the previous week, and shared their grim premonition that this could be the beginning of the end for Israel."
His concern about Muslim demographics isn't a generalised concern about "them" and "us" but a specific concern about the Western world's ability to defend Israel. He's concerned that demographic change will make that impossible. The preceding paragraph further sets that in context as part of a broader worry that the British set Israel up in an impossible position. Deep fears that the Muslim world are out to 'get' Israel can be attacked as unjustified but are not racist.
Racist is an unfortunate description to throw around. Just like anti-semitic and insane it is one that sticks to people and defies rebuttal. After all, it is an attack not on someone's arguments or even their interests. It is an attack on the inner workings of their mind, it alleges that their very soul is defective. There is no real way to open yourself up, to prove yourself a non-racist. The best anyone can really do is the "well, I've got lots of friends of other races" but that isn't allowed to stand. Friendly personal conduct, apparently, is no barrier to being deeply unpleasant in some larger way.
Accusing people of racism is a bankrupt and small-minded style of argument. It is a witch-hunting discourse that will favour those who don't express themselves, who shut up and then manoevre into positions of power after a career of quiet blandness. It is, in the deepest sense, anti-intellectual. It closes our minds.