Sunday, December 04, 2005

Getting to the heart of the matter

...and begging the question: Why aren't our leaders telling us the truth? Hugh Fitzgerald on "Islamophobia":
The word "Islamophobia" must be held up for inspection and its users constantly asked precisely how they would define that word. They should be put on the defensive for waving about what is clearly meant to be a scare-word that will silence criticism.

So let us ask them, which of the following criticisms of Islam is to be considered "Islamophobia":

1) Muhammad is a role-model for all time. Muhammad married Aisha when she was 6 and had sexual intercourse with her when she was 9. I find appalling that Muslims consider this act of Muhammad to be that of the man who is in every way a role-model, and hence to be emulated. In particular, I am appalled that virtually the first act of the Ayatollah Khomeini, a very orthodox and learned Shi'a theologian, was to lower the marriageable age of girls in Iran to 9 -- because, of course, it was Aisha's age when Muhammad had sexual relations with her.

2) I find appalling that Islam provides a kind of Total Regulation of the Universe, so that its adherents are constantly asking for advice as to whether or not, for example, they can have wear their hair in a certain way, grow their beards in a certain way, wish an Infidel a Merry Christmas (absolutely not!).

3) I find appalling the religiously-sanctioned doctrine of taqiyya -– a doctrine that has its sources in the Qur'an itself (3:28 and 16:106).

4) I find appalling many of the acts which Muhammad committed, including his massacre of the Banu Qurayza, his ordering the assassination of many of those he deemed his opponents, even an old man, a woman, or anyone whom, he thought, merely mocked him.

5) I find appalling the hatred expressed throughout the Qur'an, the hadith, and the sira for Infidels -- all Infidels.

6) I find nauseating the historic imposition of the jizya on Infidels, the requirement that they wear identifying garb on their clothes and dwellings, that they not be able to build or repair houses of worship without the permission of Muslim authorities, that they must ride donkeys sidesaddle and dismount in the presence of Muslims, that they have no legal recourse against Muslims for they are not equal at law -- and a hundred other things, designed to insure their permanent, as the canonical texts say, "humiliation." A practice from the past, you say? Or a practice that in many ways can still be detected, in the shabby treatment of non-Muslims all over the Muslim world, from the mistreatment of Copts, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Maronites, Armenians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, all the ay to the disguised jizyah of the Bumpitura system in Malaysia.

7) I find the mass murder of 60-70 million Hindus over 250 years of Mughal rule, and the destruction of tens of thousands of artifacts and Hindu (and Buddhist) temples, some of the them listed in two volumes edited by Sita Ram Goel and others, appalling.

8) I find the 1300-year history of the persecution of the Zoroastrians, some of it continuing to this day according the great scholar of Zoroastrianism, Mary Boyce, which has led to their reduction to a mere 150,000, something to deplore. There are piquant details in her works, including the deliberate torture and killing of the dogs (which are revered by Zoroastrians), even by small Muslim children who are taught to so behave.

9) I find the record of Muslim intellectual achievement lacking, and I attribute this lack to the failure to encourage free and skeptical inquiry, which is necessary for, among other things, the development of modern science. I find convincing the argument that there was some intellectual activity in non-Muslim lands for a few centuries after the initial conquest, as long as the Christians and Jews (in the Middle East) were still a significant and fructifying influence, and that when they ceased to be, such activity came to an abrupt end.

10) I deplore the prohibition on sculpture or on paintings of living things. I deplore the horrific vandalism and destruction of Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Buddhist sites, from the thousands of temples, right up to today, with the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, pre-Islamc archeological sites vandalized all over Iraq, and in Europe itself, churches and statues in public the object of attack and destruction.

11) I deplore that part of Muslim jurisprudence which renders all treaties between Infidels and Muslims worthless from the viewpoint of the Infidels, though worth a great deal from the viewpoint of the Muslims, for they are only signing a "hudna," a truce-treaty rather than a true peace-treaty -- and because they must go to war against the Infidel, or press their Jihad against the Infidel in other ways, on the model of the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya, no Infidel state or people can ever trust a treaty with Muslims.

12) I deplore the speech of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, so roundly applauded several years ago, in which he called for the "development" not of human potential, not of art and science, but essentially of weapons technology and the harnessing and encouraging of Muslim "brain power" for the sole purpose of defeating the Infidels, as a reading of that entire speech makes absolutely clear. Here -- would you like me to read it now for the audience?

13) I deplore the fact that Muslims are taught, and clearly many have taken to heart, the idea that they should offer their loyalty only to fellow Muslims, the umma al-islamiyya, and never to Infidels or to the Infidel nation-state to which they have uttered an oath of allegiance -- apparently such an oath must be an act of perjury, because such loyalty is impossible. Am I wrong? Show me exactly what I have misunderstood about Islam.

14) I deplore the ululations of pleasure over acts of terrorism, the delight shown by delighted and celebrating crowds in Cairo, Ramallah, Khartoum, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and of course all over Saudi Arabia, when news of the World Trade Center attacks was known -- and I can, if you wish, supply the reports from those capitals which show this to have taken place. I attribute statements of exultation about the "Infidels" deserving it to the fact that Islamic tenets view the world as a war between the Believers and the Infidels.

15) On that score, I deplore that mad division of the world between Dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb, and the requirement that there be uncompromising hostility between the two until the final triumph of the former, and the permanent subjugation and incorporation into it of the latter.

16) I deplore the sexual inequality and mistreatment of women, which I can show has a clear basis in the canonical Islamic texts, and is not simply, pace Ebadi and other quasi-"reformers," a "cultural" matter.

17) I deplore the fact that Infidels feel, with justice, unsafe in almost every Muslim country, but that Muslims treat the Infidel countries and their inhabitants with disdain, arrogance, and endless demands for them to bend, to change, to what Muslims want -- whether it be to remove crucifixes, or change the laws of laicity in France, or to demand that "hate speech" laws be extended in England so as to prevent any serious and sober criticism of Islam.

18) I deplore the emphasis on the collective, and the hatred for the autonomy of the individual. In particular, I believe that someone born into Islam has a perfect right to leave Islam if he or she chooses -- and that there should be no punishment, much less the murderous punishment so often inflicted.

19) I find the record of Muslim political despotism to be almost complete -- with the exception of those Muslim countries and regimes that have, as Ataturk did, carried out a series of measures to limit and constrain Islam.

20) I deplore the fact that while Muslims claim it is a "universalist" religion, it has been a vehicle for Arab imperialism, causing those conquered and islamized in some cases to forget, or become indifferent or even hostile to, their own pre-Islamic histories. The requirement that the Qur'an be read in Arabic (one of the first things Ataturk did was commission a Turkish Qur'an and tafsir, or commentary), and the belief by many Muslims that the ideal form of society can be derived from the Sunna of 7th century Arabia, and that their own societies are worth little, is an imperialism that goes to culture and to history, and is the worst and most complete kind.

21) I deplore the attacks on ex-Muslims who often must live in fear. I deplore the attacks on Theo van Gogh and others, and the absence of serious debate about the nature of Islam and of its reform -- except as a means to further beguile and distract Infidels who are becoming more wary.

22) I deplore the emptiness of the "Tu Quoque" arguments directed at Christians and Jews, based on a disingenuous quotation of passages -- for example, from Leviticus -- that are completely ignored and have not been invoked for two thousand years, and I deplore the rewriting of history so that a Muslim professor can tell an American university audience that "the Ku Klux Klan used to crucify (!) African-Americans, everyone standing around during the crucifixion singing Christian hymns (!)."

23) I deplore the phony appeals of the "we all share one Abrahamic faith" and "we are the three monotheisms" when, to my mind, a Christian or a Jew has far less to fear from, and in the end far more that is truly essential in common with, any practicing polytheistic Hindu.

24) I deplore the fact that Islam is based on the idea of world-conquest, not of accommodation, and that its adherents do not believe in Western pluralism except insofar as this can be used as an instrument, temporarily most useful, to protect the position of Islam until its adherents have firmly established themselves.

25) I deplore the view, in Islam, that it is not a saving of an individual soul that is involved when one conducts Da'wa or the Call to Islam, but rather, something that appears to be much more like signing someone up for the Army of Islam. He need not have read all the fine print; he need not know Islamic tenets; he need not even have read or know what is in sira and hadith or much of the Qur'an; he need only recite a single sentence. That does not show a deep concern for the nature of the conversion (sorry, "reversion").

26) I deplore the sentiment that "Islam is to dominate and not to be dominated." I deplore the sentiment "War is deception" as uttered by Muhammad. I deplore what has happened over 1350 years in vast swaths of territory formerly filled with Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, much of which is now today almost monotonously Islamic. I do not think Islam welcomes any diversity if it means the possibility of full equality for non-Muslims.

27) I deplore the fact that slavery is permitted in Islam, that it is discussed in the Qur'an, and that it was suppressed in 19th century Arabia only through the influence of British naval power in the Gulf; that it was formally done away with in Saudi Arabia only in 1962; that it still exists in Mali, and the Sudan, and even Mauritania; that it may exist in the Arabian interior. Certainly the treatment of the Thai, Filipino, Indian and other female house workers in Arab households amounts to slavery, and it is no accident that there has never been a Muslim William Wilberforce.

I could go on, and am prepared to adduce history, and quotations from the canonical texts. And so are hundreds of thousands of Infidels who have looked into Islam, or in their own countries had a close look at the Muslim populations which have made their own Infidel existences far more unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous than they would otherwise be.

If this is "Islamophobia" -- show me exactly why it is irrational (i.e. not based on facts or observable behavior, or a study of history). Show me why it is an "irrational" dislike or even hatred of Islam. If you cannot show that, then perhaps the word should not be invoked. But if you do invoke it, be prepared to have copious quotations from Qur'an and hadith and sira constantly presented to audiences so that they may judge for themselves, without the "guidance" of apologists for Islam, both Muslim and non-Muslim.