It Really Is Islamgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Sun, Nov 4, 2001 It Really Is Islam
Perhaps the poverty, backwardness in the Muslim world are its fault
By Salman Rushdie THE NEW YORK TIMES
LONDON -- "This isn't about Islam." The world's leaders have been repeating this mantra for weeks, partly in the virtuous hope of deterring reprisal attacks on innocent Muslims living in the West, partly because if the United States is to maintain its coalition against terror it can't afford to suggest that Islam and terrorism are in any way related.
The trouble with this necessary disclaimer is that it isn't true. If this isn't about Islam, why the worldwide Muslim demonstrations in support of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida? Why did those 10,000 men armed with swords and axes mass on the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier, answering some mullah's call to jihad? Why are the war's first British casualties three Muslim men who died fighting on the Taliban side?
Why the routine anti-Semitism of the much-repeated Islamic slander that "the Jews" arranged the hits on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with the oddly self-deprecating explanation offered by the Taliban leadership, among others, that Muslims could not have the technological know-how or organizational sophistication to pull off such a feat?
Why all the talk about American military infidels desecrating the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia if some sort of definition of what is sacred is not at the heart of the present discontents?
Of course this is "about Islam." The question is, what exactly does that mean? After all, most religious belief isn't very theological. Most Muslims are not profound Quranic analysts. For a vast number of "believing" Muslim men, "Islam" stands, in a jumbled, half-examined way, not only for the fear of God - the fear more than the love, one suspects - but also for a cluster of customs, opinions and prejudices that include their dietary practices; the sequestration or near-sequestration of "their" women; the sermons delivered by their mullahs of choice; a loathing of modern society in general, riddled as it is with music, godlessness and sex; and a more particularized loathing (and fear) of the prospect that their own immediate surroundings could be taken over - "Westoxicated" - by the liberal Western-style way of life.
Highly motivated organizations of Muslim men (oh, for the voices of Muslim women to be heard!) have been engaged over the last 30 years or so in growing radical political movements out of this mulch of "belief." These Islamists - we must get used to this word, "Islamists," meaning those who are engaged upon such political projects, and learn to distinguish it from the more general and politically neutral "Muslim" - include the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the blood-soaked combatants of the Islamic Salvation Front and Armed Islamic Group in Algeria, the Shiite revolutionaries of Iran, and the Taliban.
Poverty is their great helper, and the fruit of their efforts is paranoia. This paranoid Islam, which blames outsiders, "infidels," for all the ills of Muslim societies, and whose proposed remedy is the closing of those societies to the rival project of modernity, is currently the fastest-growing version of Islam in the world.
This is not wholly to go along with Samuel Huntington's thesis about the clash of civilizations, for the simple reason that the Islamists' project is turned not only against the West and "the Jews," but also against their fellow Islamists.
Twenty years ago, when I was writing a novel about power struggles in a fictionalized Pakistan, it was already de rigueur in the Muslim world to blame all its troubles on the West and, in particular, the United States. Then as now, some of these criticisms were well-founded; no room here to rehearse the geopolitics of the Cold War and America's frequently damaging foreign policy "tilts," to use the Kissinger term, toward (or away from) this or that temporarily useful (or disapproved-of) nation-state, or America's role in the installation and deposition of sundry unsavory leaders and regimes.
But I wanted then to ask a question that is no less important now: Suppose we say that the ills of our societies are not primarily America's fault, that we are to blame for our own failings? How would we understand them then? Might we not, by accepting our own responsibility for our problems, begin to learn to solve them for ourselves?
Many Muslims, as well as secularist analysts with roots in the Muslim world, are beginning to ask such questions now. In recent weeks Muslim voices have everywhere been raised against the obscurantist hijacking of their religion.
An Iraqi writer quotes an earlier Iraqi satirist: "The disease that is in us, is from us." A British Muslim writes, "Islam has become its own enemy." A Lebanese friend, returning from Beirut, tells me that in the aftermath of the attacks on Sept. 11, public criticism of Islamism has become much more outspoken. Many commentators have spoken of the need for a Reformation in the Muslim world.
I'm reminded of the way noncommunist socialists used to distance themselves from the tyrannical socialism of the Soviets; nevertheless, the first stirrings of this counter-project are of great significance. If Islam is to be reconciled with modernity, these voices must be encouraged until they swell into a roar. Many of them speak of another Islam, their personal, private faith.
The restoration of religion to the sphere of the personal, its depoliticization, is the nettle that all Muslim societies must grasp in order to become modern. The only aspect of modernity interesting to the terrorists is technology, which they see as a weapon that can be turned on its makers.
If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based, and without which Muslim countries' freedom will remain a distant dream.
Salman Rushdie is the author, most recently, of Fury: A Novel.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2001
re: "Why the routine anti-Semitism of the much-repeated Islamic slander that "the Jews" arranged the hits..."
It never ceases to amaze me how anti-semite has become synonamous with anti-jewish. The semite language group of peoples is over 150 million people that extends across North Africa from Morroco to Egypt, and across the Arabian Peninsula. If you are anti-Egyptian, you are anti-semite... if you are anti-Arab, you are anti-semite.
In our crazy world, most anti-semites are semites themselves.
-- Mark Blaine (email@example.com), November 06, 2001.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27 2001 Bin Laden's trail Rushdie's air ban
BY JAMES DORAN
THE author Salman Rushdie believes that US authorities knew of an imminent terrorist strike when they banned him from taking internal flights in Canada and the US only a week before the attacks.
On September 3 the Federal Aviation Authority made an emergency ruling to prevent Mr Rushdie from flying unless airlines complied with strict and costly security measures. Mr Rushdie told The Times that the airlines would not upgrade their security.
The FAA told the author’s publisher that US intelligence had given warning of “something out there” but failed to give any further details.
The FAA confirmed that it stepped up security measures concerning Mr Rushdie but refused to give a reason.
-- mark (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2001.
Ok, now where did that story come from. Do you have the source?
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), November 06, 2001.