Friday, 2 April 2010

The Moderate Muslim, Jahanbegloo?

*) Jahanbegloo is a philosopher. I admire what Jahanbegloo has done vis-à-vis his stance on Iran, etc. However, the conversation between Jahanbegloo and Stangroom was not about the bravery of an individual Muslim, it was about Islam and the ‘clash of civilizations’.

*) If the ‘main goal of democracy is to reduce violence’, then that is precisely why so many non-Muslim democrats are fearful of Islam. The only violence Jahanbegloo seems to be referring to is the violence of non-Muslims against Muslims. And why should people tolerate what is mainly an intolerant religion in the first place?

What if a religion itself is intolerant, not just its believers? Isn’t that at least possible? Why should we simply assume that all cultures and religions are tolerant and that only some people within them are intolerant? It may be that a religion itself actually makes people intolerant – at least in certain cases.

*) Isn’t there something strange, though, about how easily it is to upset so many Muslims (as in the ‘Danish case’)? That may not (just) be because Islam ‘means so much’ to Muslims or that they have a ‘profound relation to their religion’, etc. Perhaps it says more about extreme Muslims and their extreme religion. Martin Amis said that ‘Islam is an eggshell’. That is why there is so much frothing and foaming. If your religion is an eggshell, then you can be pretty sure that believers are going to get pretty angry about any criticism.

*) We cannot ‘leave space for others’ simply because they are the ‘Other’. This fetishisation of the Other is simply wrong-headed. I have no wish to ‘leave space’ for a person who would not ‘leave space’ for me. If we believe in pluralist ‘free spaces’, then why should we also support people who do not believe in any free spaces (except those allowed by Islam)? What if someone believed in serial killing? Should I ‘listen and learn’ by asking him to explain his hobby? As for ‘the consequences of actions’. What about the many ‘consequences’ of giving in to the demands of pious Muslims every time they feel ‘insulted’ (that’s such a useful word).

*) It’s as if Jahanbegloo is trying is hardest to square many, many circles. Why? Perhaps he’s just a nice guy. Perhaps he is doing so in order to ‘make things better’ between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe. That’s fair enough. But what if he is actually saying all this in order to advance Islam and the Islamic religion? I don’t know. He is not as easy to read as, say, ‘Two-Faces’ Ramadan. Also, what if ‘making things better’ only means making things better for Muslims at the same time making things a lot worse for non-Muslims? It’s OK being proud of oneself for being tolerant and liberal when all along all one really wants is tolerance of one’s own religious group. That’s not very brave and nor is it unequivocally liberal or tolerant.

*) Perhaps the Danes already ‘understand about Islam’ and simply see it in a negative light. Is that simply an impossibility to Jahanbegloo? If he is a Muslim, then he will almost certainly believe that a negative attitude towards Islam must either be a result of ‘ignorance’ or a result of some kind of ‘evil’ nature. These two possibilities are the only ones most Muslims can accept. To think otherwise is to actually question or suspect one’s own religion and what it teaches.

*) ‘…not harming other people’? Really? What the f*** is that supposed to mean? Muslims, and, yes, other religions and groups, do believe in harming other people. You don’t get anyway from this fact simply by ignoring it or by going to loads of inter-faith meetings. There are certain people that I simply don’t want to ‘understand’ – serial killers, dictators, violent murderers, etc. Actually, I do understand Islamists and many other Muslims (if only to a degree). That’s why I am writing these words. Or does ‘understanding’, to Jahanbegloo, simply mean having a positive and even complimentary position on Islam and all Muslims?

*) We ‘live in an interconnected world’. Yes? Come on. This sounds like an advert for Orange.

*) Jahanbegloo, I do know about the Prophet. And what I know about him (which is not everything), I do not like. Or is it, as before, the simple assumption that if we non-Muslims really knew the Truth about the Prophet, we would see that he was a flawless man? Not only that, but if we knew the Truth about the Prophet we would, quite simply, become Muslims? As for these ‘always satirical’ accounts of the Prophet. I have never seen a single one in the mainstream national media. In fact, in most papers, especially the Guardian and even the Mirror, I have seen positive portrayals (though not many) of the Prophet. And that word ‘demonisation’. What a cliché! What about Muslims demonizing non-Muslims? What about the far-leftist supporters of Islam demonizing just about everyone who is not far left or a Muslim? In this passage Jahanbegloo is beginning to show us his other face (just like Tariq Ramadam). Also, what does he mean by ‘the East ’? The Platonic entity Islamists and far-leftists call ‘the Media’ doesn’t demonize the Japanese, the South Koreans, Indians, etc. (that much). It all depends on which countries we are talking about and which regimes. If we are talking about Iran or Saudi Arabia - then demonisation is a good thing. If we are talking about Japan or Thailand - then demonisation, at least unequivocal demonisation, is a bad thing. Jahanbegloo is beginning to sound like a writer for Socialist Worker, never mind for the Guardian.

Again, why does Jahanbegloo simply assume that being more liberal or sycophantic to Islam, and to hard-core Muslims, will reduce the numbers of people who are ‘hurt’ or who will get hurt. This seems to be Islamism masquerading as liberalism and tolerance because the only bad boys Jahanbegloo seems to mention are Western (or non-Muslim) bad boys – e.g., the Media, the Danes, and all those who don’t see the Prophet as a paradigm of virtue.

*) And now I have simply decided not to bother with the rest of what Jahanbegloo has to say because it is not only weak and fuzzy, it is also pure Islamism - even if spoken in a soft voice which, nonetheless, sometimes breaks into a rant. (A bit like mine really. But I have very good reasons to rant about Islam and Islamism

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