Thursday, 23 May 2013

Islamism

Despite our sympathy with the vast and peaceful majority of British Muslims, we do need to talk about the problem of Islamism in our midst. 
There's a good article here from Alan Johnson in The Telegraph:
"........First, we are frightened to talk freely.Not, hitherto, because we fear that our throats will be slit, although since the Rushdie Affair that fear has produced much artistic self-censorship, as the artist Grayson Perry once had the courage to admit. No, intellectual self-censorship begins elsewhere, in the fear of losing one's place in the warmth of the tribe, huddled together by the fire. We fear that if we look too closely or think too clearly, or talk too much about the problem of Islamism, and the connections as well as the separations between it and Islam, then we will be sent into the cold – shunned by colleagues, not invited to this dinner party, or that conference. We may even face social death itself by being called "Islamophobic". The university today is a stultifyingly conformist institution, reminiscent of those old Soviet-era "cultural associations". The standard version, the line, is policed rigorously. And the only accredited language in which people are allowed to speak is full of well-rehearsed evasions and apologias and exculpatory frameworks.                              Second, we are ignorant of what to talk about.In our intellectual culture religion is a mystery. That's why the commentators mostly refuse to believe religion, any religion, can have anything to do with terrorism. So they either translate terrorists screaming "Allahu Akbar!" into something they can understand – economics, foreign policy, identity – or just change the subject altogether, writing instead (not as well) about the dangers of a racist backlash, the threat of the loss of civil liberties, and so on........                                                                                                                             The last reason for our reticence about talking about Islam and Islamism is the best one. We are frightened of giving comfort to those who would exploit the actions of radical Islamists to attack ordinary Muslims. We worry that if we link this terrorist murder to big words like Islam and Islamism then we will unleash reaction, encourage the EDL and BNP, and the victims will be ordinary Muslims. And that is a good impulse which should condition how we talk about Islam and Islamism. But it should no longer determine whether we talk about Islam and Islamism. It's all too late for that....."
And, to say the unsayable in our culture: throughout history it has not prevented it, but it is relatively easy to tell when Christians, by their language and their behaviour, betray their faith and their Lord, particularly when they claim to be acting in his name: Christ preached a message of reconciliation between God and man, he never took up the sword, never took a life and, willingly, was given over into the power of his enemies - giving his life as a ransom for many.... 

4 comments:

  1. The "vast and peaceful majority of British Muslims" will eventually be crushed by violent Islam just as we will. We are sleep walking to disaster, led by our politicians.

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  2. As one who has lived among Muslems (Bradford for 13 years) and is still in a heavily Asian populated area, I have learned, quite quickly, that the truth is not being told about Islam in Britain. David Cameron's remarks after the murder are nonsensical. History as well clearly shows (when we take off the tinted spectacles) that Islam has been a violent religion almost from the first. The Qran is full of incitement to violence against those who disagree with Islam. This is the area where there has been and still is much obfuscation. I admire many Muslims who live holy and productive lives, but it is they who are "betraying Islam" (at least in its Orthodox, conservative form). The violent ones are actually closer to the text. I did not begin my sojourn in Bradford with anything but optimism and joy and thanksgiving that I was in a place where I could interact with Muslims and others. I would say that my naivety lasted less than three years.

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  3. Father, many thanks. Would you then agree with Pope Benedict in his (masterly but almost universally misrepresented) Regensburg address when he implies, in passing, that the major problem for Islam is, in effect, a reluctance to face up to an intrinsic denial of rationality?
    "...The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry...."

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  4. I have not yet read that address (I have a book discussing it). I intend to study it carefully. Denial of reality is certainly part of the Muslim mindset so a denial of rationality fits. Islam has a similarity with Communism in that history is rewritten to serve the ideology, so Truth becomes "truth". The message has to be enforced by threats and control and this is why there is a refusal to even consider (in some quarters at least) a critical study of the Qran. Nothing approaching doubt can be tolerated. A critical view of the origin and history of Islam is discouraged. This is a kind of totalitarianism.

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