Swiss Minarets, Armenian Genocide and Academic Islamophobia

by Jeffry Halverson

This morning I was forwarded an Op-Ed from the Chronicle of Higher Education written by Carlin Romano, a journalist and scholar of media theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Entitled “Of Minarets and Massacres,” the Op-Ed came across as an opportunistic diatribe against what Romano sees as the egregious hypocrisy of Muslims (and ‘self-hating’ Europeans and liberals) who have condemned the recent Swiss democratic vote (57% in favor) to ban the construction of minarets on mosques in the country.

AP Photo.

AP Photo.

The ban will now be added to the Swiss Constitution. Only four mosques in Switzerland even have minarets, and two more were being planned prior to the ban. So the vote was not a reaction to some serious minaret problem impacting Swiss society (such as the cacophony of prayer calls one might hear in Cairo or Ankara). Rather, the vote was a manifestation of a deep-seeded irrational fear and it screams of xenophobic prejudice and paranoid fantasies that the Moslem [sic] hordes are on the march.

But Romano “does not weep,” as he put it, for the Swiss ban because he is “too busy weeping for the Armenians, the first people in their corner of the world to officially adopt Christianity, almost eliminated from history due to regular massacres by the Muslim Turks.” That’s right. Romano makes the astounding rhetorical leap from the November 2009 Swiss vote banning minarets all the way to the horrors of the Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks one hundred years ago. There is no explicit connection between the two, save for the fact that the majority of Switzerland’s 400,000 Muslims are of Turkish and Albanian origin.

To be clear, I am not questioning the tragedy of the Armenian genocide.  But how does it justify Switzerland’s institutionalized discrimination against its Muslim citizens (and migrant workers) in the 21st century? Doesn’t Western Europe pride itself on the righteous ideals of the Enlightenment, human rights, and international law?

Romano’s answer: “So long as Muslims anywhere keep their place in the House of Islam everywhere, they bear some responsibility for the actions of their fellow believers.” He further states:

If you steep yourself in the atrocities of the Armenian genocide, not to mention the many intolerances exhibited by majority-Muslim societies toward Christians, Jews, women, gays, and other non-Muslims, one’s conclusion is not an absolutist moral judgment, but a decision on who owes a greater apology to whom, a decision on how to allocate one’s moral energy. The day that Turkey apologizes and pays reparations for theArmenian genocide, that Saudi Arabia permits the building of churches and synagogues, that the Arab world thinks the homeland principles it applies to the Arabs of Palestine also apply to the Armenians of Turkey—on that day, I will find time to commiserate with the generally kind and hard-working Muslims of Switzerland.

I found his insistence on referring to Istanbul as “Constantinople” particularly amusing.  His dismissal of Serbian “persecution” of Bosnian Muslims was also charming.

If Romano were sincerely interested in tackling this subject, and not exploiting it as an opportunity to air his general dislike of Islam and recount the atrocities of the Young Turks and Turkish nationalists against the Armenians (not to mention the aggressive campaign to ‘Turkicize’ the Kurds – but they’re Muslims so Romano ignores them), a far more fruitful and appropriate discussion would have focused on a subject such as Egypt’s institutionalized restrictions against Church construction (as well as repairs and routine maintenance) for its Coptic Christian citizens (approx. 15% of the population).

Those restrictions are, however, rooted in medieval law and enacted in a country where the Constitution states that Islamic law (shariah) is the principle source of legislation. Deplorable yes, but has Switzerland reverted to medieval law like Egypt? Or is Romano suggesting that we in the West should regress to the Dark Ages out of spite?

Romano does admittedly preface his remarks by noting the “widened spectrum of ‘context’” for intellectual debates in the era of online commentaries. But rather than rectifying what he calls the “anarchy of cybercommentary,” he fully indulges in it and perpetuates the same fruitless level of discourse by engaging in something akin to a childish airing of historical grievances. In the process, he succeeds in painting himself as an “Islamophobe” and discredits his own academic credentials (which are completely unrelated to Islamic studies, history, or related disciplines to start).

He deliberately constructs a historical narrative of the Armenian genocide as a binary Muslim slaughter of Christians, and pastes copious dates and data into his Op-Ed to dress his polemic with a facade of academic authority.  But his framework is erroneous.  He (intentionally?) overlooks the fact that while a Muslim empire ruled the region for centuries, the genocide of ethnic Armenians coincided with a wave of ethnic nationalism sweeping Europe and the broader region at the turn of the century.  The Turks were busy creating a Turkish homeland for themselves (not an “Islamic state”) as the old Ottoman Empire crumbled before them.

The Arabs were busy too, fighting and seceding from the Ottoman Turks (siding with the Christian British) to create their own ethno-nationalist nation-states (or as Romano would put it “Muslim fighting Muslim”). The Orthodox Christian Czars of the Russian Empire, long a bitter foe of the Ottoman Turks, claimed authority over the Orthodox Christian minorities (or millets) in the Ottoman Empire following the decline of its military power and submission to several humiliating treaties. The Young Turks, who were Turkish nationalists (not Islamic activists), allied the Ottoman Empire with the (Christian) Germans, but the Armenians were the natural allies of the Russians.  Some Armenian units actively fought for the Russians.

Religion, in this complex picture, was just one source of division and conflicting interests, not the motivating force for a horrific genocide. Thus, as Romano writes: “That year, 1915, saw the awful crescendo of the genocide as the CUP government forcibly deported Armenians eastward [to Syria, Iraq, and Russian territory], tortured, massacred, and starved them on death marches, confiscated their property, killed almost all of the arrested 250 leaders, and resettled Muslim [i.e. Turkish!] refugees on Armenian land.”

Also, we might note that the current Islamist-oriented government in Turkey recently established diplomatic relations with Armenia and President Abdullah Gul is the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia.

But, to get back to the point, as Romano suggests, “Let’s talk again about voting against two new minarets in Switzerland.” I paraphrase Romano’s argument as follows:

If Muslims do bad things to religious minorities, women, gays, and others in their countries, we in the Western countries, like Switzerland, should betray our own principles of justice and equality and hypocritically lower ourselves to the same level of injustice and discrimination. Then after this game of tit-for-tat, and only then, will we give equal rights to the Moslems [sic] that reside in our borders as tolerated aliens.

How was this nonsense printed in an “academic” publication like the Chronicle? This is the last sort of narrative discourse we ought to be perpetuating. It does not serve Western or global interests in the least. In fact, Islamist extremists would undoubtedly look upon these developments with delight. The “wicked Crusader West” is oppressing more Muslims in their own borders – perfect! What a wonderful recruiting opportunity for embedded terrorist cells.

Switzerland, and the rest of Europe, should remain true to their ideals and universally apply them to all those who legally reside within their borders. Hypocrisy is not an image we want to (further) project to the Muslim world, even if many in the Muslim world are guilty of the same sin themselves.

16 Responses to “Swiss Minarets, Armenian Genocide and Academic Islamophobia”

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  1. Ansar al-Zindiqi says:

    While I can agree that Romano went a bit loopy and lost focus by commenting about the Armenian situation in that op-ed it is also a bit much to see someone hastily condemn the results of the Swiss referendum as “Islamophobic”. Consider what this person has to say about Islamophobia:

    “Islam is an ideology. Rejection of an ideology cannot be classified as phobia. To call the opponents of an ideology phobic is a fallacy. All ideologies have their critics and opponents but we do not hear Christians calling the critics of Christianity Christianophobe, communists calling their critics communitophobe or Hindus calling theirs hinduphobe. The term “Islamophobia” is both technically and logically incorrect and misleading.”

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/oped/sina60526.htm

    You may not like that and even while I have deep standing differences with the author of that quote and article the points he makes stands on it’s own. You may not have noticed but there are a lot of very aggressive imams preaching jihad in Europe and one doesn’t have to spend copius amounts of time wondering whether or not they are Salafis or whatnot to understand that the core texts of their ideology are also the core texts of Islam. Also, Europeans do have the right to self-determination and autonomy as much as any Third World country and asserting those rights certainly doesn’t automatically make them xenophobes. There has been way too much commentary from academics who engage in apologetics for Islam but then again an industry must be protected and it’s only inevitable that someone will rip into Romano and highlight his statements while ignoring the terrifying brilliance of the Islamic memeplex.

    • halverson says:

      Dear Ansar,

      You’ll note that the term “Islamophobe” was employed in my blog post only once, and the term was placed in quotations in order to acknowledge the contested, albeit readily understood, nature of the term. As for any issues you may have regarding the title of the blog, you may direct your comments or suggestions to my colleague the editor. But in essence, the term “Islamophobe” is useful. A phobia, as you know, is “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation” (Merriam-Webster). Taken in the same sense that “phobia” is used in terms such as homophobia or xenophobia, “Islamophobia” appropriately suggests an exaggerated and illogical fear of Islam and/or Muslims as a monolithic reified ‘thing’ with discernible negative characteristics across the whole.

      The view that Islam can be reified as an “ideology” is grossly inaccurate, even in a contemporary context where Islamism has become so pervasive. But since you seem to be getting your information from an Iranian apostate who believes it’s his mission to “expose” this “ideology” to the world, I can understand your confusion. Furthermore, given that the terms “Islamophobe,” homophobe, and others, developed in the West, it is unlikely that we would see the term “Christianophobe” develop since the dominant culture is Christian, and these terms typically designate minority groups within the dominant culture (which is native born, Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual, etc.).

      The successful development of such a term also depends on its utility and the absence of a better designation. For example, Communists typically refer to their critics as “Capitalists,” so the amusingly cumbersome term “Communistophobe” isn’t particularly useful and I understand why it isn’t used. It’s certainly possible that “Hinduphobe” could take root, but that all depends on whether or not the term resonates and has some useful application. So the curious definition you quoted by “this person” doesn’t really fly too well (unlike the lovely birds in the ‘faith freedom’ banner).

      You go on to state: “You may not have noticed but there are a lot of very aggressive imams preaching jihad in Europe and one doesn’t have to spend copius amounts of time wondering whether or not they are Salafis or whatnot to understand that the core texts of their ideology are also the core texts of Islam.” Indeed, I have noticed the presence of imams preaching jihad in Europe, and I am well acquainted with their troubling statements. However, the fact that those Imams invoke the core texts of Islam, namely the Qur’an or books of Hadith, does not nullify the fact that figures such as Abdul-Ghaffar Khan or Wahiduddin Khan, along with hundreds of millions of other peace-loving, God-fearing Muslims have also invoked those texts in their daily lives and the messages they preach. Religion is not a reified ‘thing’ that exists independently of human beings, nor are the texts associated with it. Religion is always the product of interpretive agents who bring their own subjective experiences, personalities, and interests to those texts and traditions. One need only glance through the 1400 years of global Islamic history to see the enormous diversity of Islamic thought and traditions. Attempts to monolithically characterize the religion of Islam as an “ideology,” such as Pat Robertson’s recent statement on his Christian Broadcasting Network program, are flawed on many fronts, not least of which is their notion of what the term “religion” means.

      You also commented that “Europeans do have the right to self-determination and autonomy as much as any Third World country.” I agree with this statement. However, you will notice that this is a Strategic Comm journal, and the fact that the Swiss contradicted their own social ideals by approving the minaret ban communicates an image of hypocritical democratically-sanctioned discrimination against Muslim citizens and migrants that only bolsters the anti-Western rhetoric of extremists calling for violence. In this respect, the ban is a far greater a source of danger to the Swiss (and West) than it is a protection against Muslim extremists (which was the alleged reason behind the ban in the first place).

      Lastly, you stated: “There has been way too much commentary from academics who engage in apologetics for Islam but then again an industry must be protected and it’s only inevitable that someone will rip into Romano and highlight his statements while ignoring the terrifying brilliance of the Islamic memeplex.” I assume this is a personal attack on me as the author of this blog entry, which is rather remarkable given that you have no knowledge of my work or that of the CSC. This comment is unfounded and should be retracted.

  2. yeezevee says:

    “But Romano ‘does not weep,’ as he put it, for the Swiss ban because he is ‘too busy weeping for the Armenians, the first people in their corner of the world to officially adopt Christianity, almost eliminated from history due to regular massacres by the Muslim Turks.’ That’s right.”

    dear Mr. Jeffry Halverson., A good friend referred your blog and I am so glad to read you., People like you with Ph.D. and Post Doctoral /bookish work must had a lot of experience in reading and Understand Islam But not sure you lived in Islamic Land with Islamic life.

    It is very unfortunate you are comparing GENOCIDES with a silly voting against Islamic minarets in Switzerland..

    You are right about Phobia, But Please realize what western folk who are affected Islamic Muslims will get the phobia due to the actions of Muslims they see every day.. Please watch these videos on the roads of France

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNIKz9b8 … _embedded#

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L05Jy0Xw … _embedded#

    even you to get a Phobia if it happens in Arizona next to your home any please join FFI to educate the folks on Islam.People like you are very much needed in web sites like FFI

    read more from FFI
    http://forum.faithfreedom.org/forum/vie … hp?t=15311

    you will have plenty to read and write More books in Homophobia.. or Islamophobia

    Thank you for your time..

    yeezevee

    • halverson says:

      Dear Yeezevee,

      I think you’ve misunderstood my writing. I get the sense that English may not be your primary language. I am not comparing the Armenian genocide to the Swiss vote. In fact, I’m criticizing Carlin Romano for doing that, even within in the context of the wild “cybercommentary” that he stipulated at the onset of his op-ed.

      Second, in response to your question, yes I have lived in a Muslim country.

      Thank you for your comment.

  3. Dede says:

    I love your excuses for Muslims denying their Christian citizens the right to have churches These Christians in the middle east and other Muslim countries are not immigrants they are natives living their before Islam existed. and yet Muslims discriminate against them at will and people like you have never written a word in outrage, but you have no problem lecturing us in the west on how we must be better and live up to our western ideals. I find you to be a hypocrite of the worse kind, Muslims have more rights in the west then westerns. Muslims live in the west and many don’t want to be part of the west they prefer to conquer the west for the house of Islam, and please save us with crusades. it was in response to Muslim aggression and the conquest of Jerusalem, imagine if Christians invaded Mecca. well 1000 years ago Christians saw it that way, it was their holy city.
    you could mention the Muslim crusades 100’s of years earlier by Muslims in Spain and all over Europe long before the European crusades.. but of course leftist likes you don’t remember those Muslim aggressions, I’m sure its easier for people like you to forget. it doesn’t fit with you high and mighty ideals of the western liberal mind.I’m proud of the Swiss, I wish the rest of Europe would wake up
    Before it’s to late for all Europe forever. .

    • halverson says:

      Dear Dede,

      Your comment doesn’t really warrant a response. However, I would like to clarify a few things.

      First, I’m not sure how you interpreted my comments about Egypt’s restrictions on the Copts and their Churches as “excuses.” In fact, I was condemning this institutionalized discrimination and I inserted it into the discussion over Romano’s op-ed because I think it is directly relevant (more so than the Armenian genocide). Referring to a law as “medieval” is not a positive thing.

      Second, I never mentioned the Crusades. Nevertheless, your account of the Crusades is highly flawed. The motivations for the Crusades were many and copious amounts of scholarship have been produced by scholars who specialize in this area. I would just like to address your suggestion that the Crusades were a response to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. You do realize that Arab Muslims conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantines in the mid-seventh century, right? The First Crusade was launched in the eleventh century – roughly four hundred years later.

      The Crusaders also attacked Eastern Christians during their campaigns, including a massive attack on the Orthodox Byzantine capital of Constantinople resulting in enormous plunder and loss of life. As I said, the Byzantines were also attacked and defeated by the Arabs in the seventh century.

      The conquest of Spain was also far more complex than you suggest, and the Arab-Berber forces who defeated the Visigoths (who ruled Spain at the time) were assisted by Spain’s indigenous Jewish communities who formed the garrisons left behind in the conquered cities as the Muslim advanced northward. The simplistic binary caricatures of the Moslem [sic] hordes on the march that you express in your comments are tenuous and tiresome.

  4. Dede says:

    Dear Jeffery, Thank you for replying to my post. I believe You mentioned Egypt’s oppression of the Copt’s and churches only now in context with defending Islam and the right of Muslims in the west, other wise you would have never brought it up. I don’t believe you care about the oppression of Christian’s and other none religious minorities in Muslim countries.

    Have you written about the oppression of Christians in Muslim countries? ? If you have can you please show me where? It would give you more creditability that you’re a fair man, and not being PC only in favor
    of Muslims. As for the crusades I might have confused another persons post with yours, none the less.

    You go on and attack my version of the crusades?

    1 ) Jeffery say’s” ( I would just like to address your suggestion that the Crusades were a response to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. You do realize that Arab Muslims conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantines in the mid-seventh century, right?

    So it was the Muslims who were the first crusaders and invaders? Right?

    2 ) The First Crusade was launched in the eleventh century – roughly four hundred years later.
    The Crusaders also attacked Eastern Christians during their campaigns, including a massive attack on the Orthodox Byzantine capital of Constantinople resulting in enormous plunder and loss of life. As I said, the Byzantines were also attacked and defeated by the Arabs in the seventh century.)

    Christian’s fought to take back their Holy city when they were stronger, so what we have here is that the true victim’s were the Orthodox Byzantine Christians at the hands of Muslims and later Christians from the west, I STILL DON’T SEE WHERE MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN INNOCENT.

    3)The conquest of Spain was also far more complex than you suggest, and the Arab-Berber forces who defeated the Visigoths (who ruled Spain at the time) were assisted by Spain’s indigenous Jewish communities who formed the garrisons left behind in the conquered cities as the Muslim advanced northward. The simplistic binary caricatures of the Moslem [sic] hordes on the march that you express in your comments are tenuous and tiresome.

    I’m sure to you my ( sic) hordes of Muslims on the march is “tiresome”, so are your excuse’s Defending Muslim’s and their crusades against western and eastern Christian lands starting from the time of Mohammed their prophet. until the 20 century, yet some Muslim apologists in the west seem to start history with the Christian crusades, instead where it really began.with the Muslim crusaders with Mohammed.

    I’m Albanian and my country was invaded by ottoman Muslims and occupied for 500 years’s after decades of war. Muslims play the victim card evens when they are the aggressor, I support the Swiss totally.

    Until Muslims give equal rights to all none Muslims, They shouldn’t complain. and liberals should start defending the true victim’s and thats the none Muslims living in Muslim countries, I don’t have high hope’s for that.

  5. Ansar al-Zindiqi says:

    I have indeed noticed that the term “Islamophobia” was used only once and once is all it takes (in spite of your acknowledgement that it is a contested term) for most people to not take it seriously. It is plainly ad-hominem and meant to imply that those who oppose Islam are in essence- ignorant of Islam and it’s origins, central texts and how it’s doctrines are taught and lived by. By lumping xenophobes and homophobes in with critics of Islam with that term one can easily see a person who hates any thought of homosexuality (especially within themselves) or has an exaggerated stance towards immigrants and other races outside of themselves as being at the same level as someone who actively criticizes Islam. That is a deliberate distortion and especially nowadays when we are getting close to ten years since the September 11th attacks. How long will the canard last? It’s already worn thin in many places.

    You make this statement: “Islamophobia” appropriately suggests an exaggerated and illogical fear of Islam and/or Muslims as a monolithic reified ‘thing’ with discernible negative characteristics across the whole. The view that Islam can be reified as an “ideology” is grossly inaccurate, even in a contemporary context where Islamism has become so pervasive.”

    There’s nothing appropriate about it’s usage unless it’s intent is to disparage the views (and there are many) of people who criticize Islam. Please explain to me how describing Islam as an ideology is “grossy inaccurate”. Reification is hardly the term to describe this appellation when one strips away the layers of plagiarism and cultural borrowing that went into establishing Islam. Particularly after the death of it’s founder. Whether you or I like it or not more and more people are becoming very well educated about how so many Muslims live and behave. Especially in respect to non-Muslims.

    Yes, there are peaceful Muslims such as Ahmadiyyas and Ismailis (who do not see apostacy as worthy of the death penalty) and it’s no wonder that they have a presence in the West (they are free to practice their heretical ways here) and a large audience of westerners eager to learn more about them. But are they respected in Muslim societies? Not hardly. As for Sufis? The various orders with their tariqas and murads are generally despised in the Middle East but since they had such a longstanding presence in the US (especially within countercultural milieus) they were able to cultivate an image of being “Islamic” when being described as “Islamically influenced” is more in order. Where else except in the West can one get away with selling Hafez and Rumi poetry as “Islamic”?

    But has anyone ever noticed that while these heretical groups may denounce the violence of jihadis that they will not denounce the violent passages of the Q’uran much less the lethal recommendations of the prophet in the various hadiths? It’s well known that the many sirats (biographies) of their Prophet are fabrications and tailor-made to appeal to audiences who need an image of a wise and sagely founder to feel good about themselves. Indeed, the atmospherics one encounters in a mosque are a cluster of borrowed religious practices starting with the prayer beads being a Buddhist practice that came into use by Muslims after several conquests. The Sufis of India were the best at this and it is so evident when seeing how they have purloined Hindu rituals that are ostensibly haram (prohibited). OK . . . it may not be evident to Westerners but people in India see through this transparent window dressing so easily and are reminded daily by their Muslim neighbours that they are despised and najjis (unclean). In fact, that happens here in the West quite often but is usually unnoticed since few people understand Arabic much less the derogatory terms that are meant for non-Muslims.

    You state that: “However, the fact that those Imams invoke the core texts of Islam, namely the Qur’an or books of Hadith, does not nullify the fact that figures such as Abdul-Ghaffar Khan or Wahiduddin Khan, along with hundreds of millions of other peace-loving, God-fearing Muslims have also invoked those texts in their daily lives and the messages they preach.”

    The world needs to know that such figures (as you have named) have been very selective in their readings of these texts and indeed make prolific use of abrogated verses from the Q’uran for their own audiences. It must also be seen that such figures have not challenged any of the violent passages within the Q’uran itself. Sure Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a great man with a deep affinity for Gandhian philosophy but he was never honored by Pakistan when he died while India went into a four day period of mourning. Which is rather telling. As for Wahiduddin Khan? He hardly followed the Islam of the Prophet Muhammad and his writings are a fine example of “Islamic blowback”. This occurs when Muslims believe the distortions within Islamic propaganda that are actually intended for Western audiences. Have you ever read his essay “Rights of Women in Islam”? Here’s an excerpt:

    “Islam allows for equal opportunities to both the sexes in the pursuit of knowledge. Here is nothing of the reaction or hatred that the modern society preaches. There is no derision, no underestimation anywhere.”

    This of course goes against the reality that women face in Islam societies and especially under Shariah. However, many Muslims in the West and their sympathizers are convinced by such arguments that this is the true Islam but not those who truly understand the staus of women under Islam and what jihad is. Here is a youtube video featuring Wahiduddin Khan with one commentator justifiably asking for the hadith that Khan claims to be quoting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovkUiWXi5p8

    After all this I must ask you: What makes you think that I would have any issues with the title of this blog? I have not made any reference to that at all and it remains a non-issue much like your reference to “the lovely birds in the ‘faith freedom’ banner” remains a non-issue. I have no qualms with Pat Robertson saying that Islam is an ideology. He has every right to say it but anything he says has to be taken with a grain since has made silly comments on other things in the past and also because I am neither a Christian nor a neo-con. In fact, the very fact that many of these kind of people are the some of the most vocal critics of Islam shouldn’t deter us from the fact that much of what they have to say about Islam is basically true until they start condemning it as “Satanic”, their founder and followers as “demonically possessed” besides other imprecations. That’s when most of the audience changes the channel and any further effort to further explain how the Islamic memplex operates falls on deaf ears. At least I come from a secular a strong anarchist influence. Yes. Leftist critics of Islam do exist even if we all get called Eustonites. Which, by the way, is as convenient as labellng violent Muslims Salafis or Wahhabis when they could easily be Sufis.

    The fact that you would invoke the names of Wahiduddin Khan and Abdul Ghaffar Khan simply informs me that you have yet to understand that the lives and writings of these two men are not held in high esteem by most Muslims and for good reasons. Their attempts to portray Islam as peaceful were outright heresies bordering on apostacy. There is a long line of Islamic jurists and scholars who have re-iterated and reinforced the teachings of Muhammad for centuries and these two men did not follow the Sunnah. They may have been great men but they were bad Muslims by Islamic standards but the public relations image they conveyed to the West is very useful and since they never really criticized Islam an they were never charged nor tried with anything but widely recognized for committing bida’a. By ignoring that you are indeed ignoring the terrifying brilliance of the Islamic memeplex and if you take it personally then there is nothing I can do help you. Instead it is incumbent upon you to ask yourself this: Can I accept that this worldview I have encountered to be true and if it holds up to rational enquiry can I perhaps synthesize this new information with my already existing stock of knowledge?

    I cannot retract my statement about “ignoring the terrifying brilliance of the Islamic memplex”. It would be ludicrous to do that in light of the fact that at you have made mention of Wahiduddin Khan and Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

  6. eyeresist says:

    As a side note: I’d like to take issue with your taking issue with Islam being called an “ideology”. Your argument was: “Religion is not a reified ‘thing’ that exists independently of human beings, nor are the texts associated with it. Religion is always the product of interpretive agents who bring their own subjective experiences, personalities, and interests to those texts and traditions.” But this is also true of ideology. The major difference between the two is that religion claims a divine mandate, while ideology has an earthly source. (In fact, these sources of moral authority are often mixed in practice.) The justification, application and effect of religious dogma and political ideology are otherwise indistinguishable.

  7. Albert Farangh says:

    Like it or not, the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is proceedeing as predicted. It was not started by the Swiss. Eventually everyone will have to take sides. Many already have. The winners will assign responsibility and punishment. Take names and keep the powder dry. Good luck.

  8. Tony. says:

    Sura 9:29-31 (fight against Jews and Christians until they are subdued,

    “Fight those who believe not in God nor the last day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the people of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    Sura 5:54 (Don’t befriend Jews or Christians)

    “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guideth not a people unjust.”

    Sura 5:36-38 (death or torture to those who oppose Mohammed )

    “The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land.

  9. Egregious says:

    As long as we’re cherry-picking religious texts, how about these?

    “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are all more powerful than you. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them, and don’t let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters. They will lead your young people away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will destroy you.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-4)

    “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the LORD. “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction”. (Jeremiah 50:21-22)

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

  10. David says:

    Save us from 3000 Year old Jewish texts that has no meaning to anyone or even Jew’s today, its history that’s long gone. We worry about Muslim’s who believe in Islam as the final word of Allah. and all the hate and violence and oppression that books call for against None Muslims.

    In Muslims countries the Qur’an and Mohammed’s sunna are the law, what the Qur’an say’s still matters to Muslims and none Muslims alike, people are being murdered around the world because of the Qur’an and Mohammed example.

  11. Quandry says:

    Right, David. We mustn’t let reality interfere with our prejudices. Words about violence in a 3000 year old text accepted as the word of God by billions people are completely different from words about violence in a 1500 year old text accepted as the word of God by billions of of other people. And the first group never murders anyone in the name of their text. Just ask Baruch Goldstein.

  12. David says:

    Right, QuandrY. The OT, is just that old, and Jews have no laws or trying to put laws from their OT on the people of the world likes Muslims do in every Muslim country. Muslims make laws based on what the Qur’an says, so its very important for people to know what’s in the Qur’an.

    under Islamic sharia law, none Muslims are discriminated against by law.including Muslims, lose their freedom, they cannot leave Islam.women are forced to marry only Muslim men only or face death.

    all based on the Quran, and Mohammed’s sunna.
    The list goes on and on. peace.

  13. Tom Caswell says:

    Thank you for an interesting and well-written response to the Chronicle article.