Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Trick Question.

Who you gonna believe? Do you believe the rantings of a hate-mongering Rightwing religious racist? or the musings of a university professor? In "The power of understanding," Asim Esen, a professor of genetics and molecular biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, writes:

I was brought up in a Muslim household and community. Islam is absolutely not what Bowen thinks it is. The Quran teaches peace, justice, fairness and friendship to those who accept and believe it, as do the Torah and the Bible. The Quran says killing others and oneself is sin; only Allah gives life and ends life, not mortal beings.

Historically, insulting and slandering other religions, especially Islam, has been a ritual for certain Christians and their followers. Rarely will you find a true Muslim disrespecting other religions, especially Judaism and Christianity, which are religions based upon holy books (Tevrat and Incil or the Torah and the Bible, respectively). In fact, there is a saying, "A Muslim is a Jew and a Christian." This is so because Muslims accept Moses (Musa) and Jesus (Isa) as prophets who preceded Mohammed, the last prophet. The only fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity is Muslims do not believe in the Holy Trinity. Muslims believe Jesus was a mortal messenger of God chosen for a special mission. Musa, Isa, Yusuf (Joseph) and Meryem (Mary) are all common Muslim names. Does anyone know a Christian or Jew named Mohammed?

I've heard many ordinary Christians, popular Christian talk-show hosts and Christian clergyman call Islam "a wicked religion" and the Prophet Mohammed "a child molester." The worst name-calling you will hear from a Muslim is probably "kaffir," meaning infidel or nonbeliever. I have never heard from a Muslim, even from the most religious ones, a derogatory or disrespectful word in reference to Jesus, Moses, the Bible and the Torah.

[....]

After all, Muslims are not responsible for starting the Crusades; enslaving Africans; exterminating Native Americans and their culture; starting World Wars I and II, and killing millions of Jews; invading countries based upon lies and fabricated evidence for their oil; dropping cluster bombs on helpless civilians; and committing the Abu Ghraib atrocities and the massacres in My Lai, Cambodia and Bosnia.

And more, all of it sweet reason and pure light unto the masses.



An extreme right Dutch member of parliament called for banning the Koran in the Netherlands. Geert Wilders, head of the Freedom Party, on Wednesday called the Islam holy book “fascist” and compared it to Adolf Hitler's infamously anti-Jewish book “Mein Kampf.” Wilders wrote in the newspaper De Volkskrant that the Koran urges Muslims "to oppress, persecute or kill Christians, Jews, dissidents and non-believers, to beat and rape women, and to establish an Islamic state by force." The lawmaker's statement was condemned by the Dutch government, which said Wilders had hurt community relations in the Netherlands and was an insult to the majority of Muslims who eschew violence.

What are we to make of it all?


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, do you think this professor of genetics knows anything about religion and history? Why even pretend that the average scientist knows anything about such matters? Just because he is a "professor"? Taqiyya is one thing but I think this guy is not just trying to fool the infidels but must also be fooling himself. If he knew anything and he were practising Taqiyya surely he would be less obviously full of b.s. I mean, if you actually knew anything about the history of slavery in Africa, or about Christianity (which has nothing like Sharia, the backbone of Islam), or you knew anything about the mass hatred of Jews in so much of the Islamic world today, if you knew anything about Islam around the world and were not quick to assume your own family experience was representative, surely it would be personally embarrassing to you as a learned person to engage in such obvious b.s. You would want to make your taqiyya more subtle. Or can a knowledgeable Muslim be so totally shameless? Maybe but I doubt it. Personal vanity is surely a universal human quality.

So I think you've found a fool. People have to learn for themselves. But many don't. Inevitably there will always be suckers for this kind of thing; don't let it raise your blood pressure. Then they win. Let's just keep thinking of ways to put people to the reality test.

tp

Anonymous said...

The other thing is, if you are a Muslim, can you be seriously learned today about matters religious and historical and not lose your faith along the way? Is the questioning necessary to understanding, say, Christianity, antithetical to Islamic consciousness? There are all kinds of supposedly smart people in the West, like Chris Hitchens, who write embarrassingly ignorant books about Christianity and religion. Some intellectual resting points, like Darwinianism as the answer to all things cultural, just mitigate against a full and proper understanding of more highly differentiated products of human consciousness.

dag said...

If I'd had any idea this would garner thoughtful and insightful commentary I would have put it up twice. Thank you for responding, anon.

The first piece is clearly an unwitting parody of the usual Islamic apologetic one cringes at, this rubbish coming from Roanoake, Virginia, to my recollection a rather pricey suburb of substance. And there this very rubbish goes over well with the residents, being just the kind of thing they wish to read in their local paper, I do assume.

I put it u to bring to our attention the kind of taqiyya, bad as it truly is, that will bring sympathetic whispers of congratulations from those who recognise him as a neighbour to the writer as he swings up and down the aisles of his local supermarket, government employee poseurs of White Guilt who want to be seen and known as hip and sensitive to the issues of the day. and truly, it is terrible rubbish, hackneyed even for a Muslim in America indulging in some grandstanding moralism in a local paper. But it sells in America, something our usual thesis here doesn't.

I find Geert Wilders to be perfectly reasonable, but even a Jewish press can rail about him as a rightwing religious bigot. Where does that leave us in this battle for the hearts and minds of the sane?

Well, today it leaves us assured that we have some bright and sensitive readers and commentators, a sheer relief to me, and I'm sure to my fellow contributors to this blog. I titled this "A Trick Question" believing that we'd get a usual sludge of responses from those who don't find anything tricky about it. Yes, anon is just one person, but that's a far cry more than I can hope for on a usual day to show up here. Where one speaks a dozen stand in silence nodding. (I hope and believe.)

I've awoken in the middle of the night to find these comments above. I'll sleep better through the rest of the night.

dag said...

If I'd had any idea this would garner thoughtful and insightful commentary I would have put it up twice. Thank you for responding, anon.

The first piece is clearly an unwitting parody of the usual Islamic apologetic one cringes at, this rubbish coming from Roanoake, Virginia, to my recollection a rather pricey suburb of substance. And there this very rubbish goes over well with the residents, being just the kind of thing they wish to read in their local paper, I do assume.

I put it u to bring to our attention the kind of taqiyya, bad as it truly is, that will bring sympathetic whispers of congratulations from those who recognise him as a neighbour to the writer as he swings up and down the aisles of his local supermarket, government employee poseurs of White Guilt who want to be seen and known as hip and sensitive to the issues of the day. and truly, it is terrible rubbish, hackneyed even for a Muslim in America indulging in some grandstanding moralism in a local paper. But it sells in America, something our usual thesis here doesn't.

I find Geert Wilders to be perfectly reasonable, but even a Jewish press can rail about him as a rightwing religious bigot. Where does that leave us in this battle for the hearts and minds of the sane?

Well, today it leaves us assured that we have some bright and sensitive readers and commentators, a sheer relief to me, and I'm sure to my fellow contributors to this blog. I titled this "A Trick Question" believing that we'd get a usual sludge of responses from those who don't find anything tricky about it. Yes, anon is just one person, but that's a far cry more than I can hope for on a usual day to show up here. Where one speaks a dozen stand in silence nodding. (I hope and believe.)

I've awoken in the middle of the night to find these comments above. I'll sleep better through the rest of the night.