Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

Location: London, United Kingdom

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More On Anthony Browne

Found this 'gem' of a piece by Anthony Browne who wrote the political correctness book called 'The Triumph of the East'. A story on how Islam is planning to take over the world.

Some hilarious quotes, albeit worrisome that some of it seems to be conventional centre-right thinking.

On Yousaf Qaradawi,
'He is probably the closest thing in Islam to the Pope, but I haven’t recently heard the Pope call for the overthrow of all other faiths.'

I disagree on many issues with Qaradawi, but anyone remotely familiar with Islam would know that Qaradawi is no where near being Islam's 'Pope'. Of course not a single mention in the piece of men such as Tariq Ramadan who is very popular amongst British Muslims of all persuasions.

On Conversion
'Butt the difference is that Christendom has by and large stopped conquering and converting, and indeed in Europe simply stopped believing. Even President Bush’s most trenchant critics don’t believe he conquered Afghanistan and Iraq to spread the word of Jesus.'

I suppose if you sat people down for an extended discussion on the end of the World they would profess some uncomfortable opinions. The fact is though that this does not enter the everyday existence of most people, just like Rapture whilst popular amongst some Christian Evangelicals does not figure in the daily life of the average Christian or the return of the Messiah isn't of everyday concern to the ordinary Jewish person.

On the Crusades
'The Pope keeps apologising for the Crusades (even though they were just attempts to get back former Christian lands) while his opposite numbers call for the overthrow of Christendom.'

I personally think that many Muslims place an excessive focus on the Crusades. However to deny the savagery that occurred and to apologise for it as 'just attempts to get back former Christian lands' is absurd.

On Building Churches
'In Saudi Arabia the government bans all churches, while in Europe governments pay to build Islamic cultural centres.'

If Mr Browne wants to equate European Governments with Saudi Arabia that's his wish, I think most Muslims have a more positive view of Europe than that.

On another Holocaust? I think this is more misguided than sinister but still.
'In the last century some Christians justified the persecution and mass murder of Jews by claiming that Jews wanted to take over the world. But these fascist fantasies were based on deliberate lies, such as the notorious fake book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Now, many in the Muslim world are open about their desire for Islam to conquer the West. '

As I've said before such comments are essentially self-fulfilling prophecies. People making them are not defending 'reason' and 'truth', but simply trying to place their own often bigoted ideas on a pedestal. As Faisal Devji says, a lot of new Muslim extremism in Europe is essentially 'ethical' and therefore not sticking firm to liberal values and battling extremism with extremism only undermines the claim that liberal democracy is a superior form of political organisation which has a place for everybody except the violent.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a very interesting discussion I had with my neo-con relatives once upon a time - on the crusades in Spain. They insisted exactly that Spain was always a Christian land, they had been forced converted to Islam and these wars were hence wars of liberation.

Me, always being the one interested in 'identity' - had a problem. Imagine a 19 year old Spaniard Muslim being told that he should convert 'back' to Christianity. He was born into Islam, his dad is Muslim, his grandfather is muslim, his state is muslim. How would this 19 year old ever be convinced that he is in fact a 'Christian' and that the required conversion is liberation not apostasy.

Of course, they didn't exactly have an answer beyond Spain = Europe = Christian.

11:54 am, January 04, 2006  
Anonymous bananabrain said...

just so you know - religious jews are supposed to be concerned every day with bringing the messianic age; we pray for it during the three daily prayers in morning, afternoon and evening. the idea is that if we all lived correctly and fulfilled our religious obligations as we ought, the messiah would come tomorrow, as it were.

it's just that jesus has nothing to do with the above process!



4:51 pm, January 04, 2006  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

bananabrain thanks for the information. out of interest do you think it negatively affects the behavious of jewish people in their attitude towards non-jews. also have you seen the film live and become by any chance? i'm interested in getting a jewish perspective on it.

8:46 pm, January 04, 2006  
Blogger Edward Ott said...

an excellent article thank you for sharing it. oh an as a muslim i am embarresed but must ask, who is Yousaf Qaradawi?

8:22 pm, January 05, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

What do you do when the President of Iran confirms everyone's fears... holocaust denial, "islam will take over the world", death to the zionists (jews), etc..

Regarding jewish mythology, it is true there are increadible simularities in the monothiestic religions. But Jews are notoriasly secular, (atleast in Canada).

Most Jews cannot read Hebrew, studies the Torah (let alone talmud), and take mythology with a giant grain of salt.

Regarding the Messiah, I went to private jewish school for 8 years and it almost never came up... Jews rarely discuss the after-life (technically, we cannot agree if heaven exists in the Torah)

Either way, except for settlers in the west bank, 95% of jews really couldn't care less... our only law is that we MUST marry jewish (sorry mom)

3:00 am, January 06, 2006  
Anonymous bananabrain said...

do i think it impacts negatively or positively? to be honest, i think it merely confirms whatever belief you happened to have anyway.

if you believe that the messiah will bring a golden age for jews and that everyone will apologise, suck up to us and follow many of the laws because they'll finally realise we're basically right and cool and pretty and clever, then that's what it is to ya and good luck while you wait for that to happen.

on the other hand, if you believe (as i do) that the messianic age will be one of complete peace (the words for "peace" and "completeness" have the same root) and harmony between all humanity and we will become a more enlightened species etc etc, a bit like star trek or what have you, then it's completely compatible with that too.

in contrast to jordan, i think the vast majority of jews, whether observant or not, would probably identify with the second vision and if that's a messianic position, than so be it. i think a jew that doesn't care to contribute to the future of all humanity is a pretty pointless one. the same goes for the sort of people that think that "you must marry someone jewish" is in anyway justifiable in isolation. such a position is nothing but an ethnically segregated country club - what's the point of it?

i don't think we've survived against all odds for 3000+ years just to be able to identify ourselves as an ethnic minority with our own golf clubs and cultural centres. judaism is about something greater.



10:20 am, January 06, 2006  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

Just a quick response to Edward right now. Qaradawi is a scholar who is popular amongst the self-appointed Muslim 'leaders'. He gained prominence after being welcomed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

You can read more about him on wikipedia

1:08 pm, January 10, 2006  

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