PAUL AUSTIN MURPHY ON POLITICS
PAUL AUSTIN MURPHY ON POLITICS
The subjects covered in this blog include Slavoj Žižek, IQ tests, Chomsky, Tony Blair, Baudrillard, global warming, sociobiology, Islam, Islamism, Marx, Foucault, National/International Socialism, economics, the Frankfurt School, philosophy, anti-racism, etc... I've had articles published in The Conservative Online, American Thinker, Philosophy Now, Intellectual Conservative, Human Events, Faith Freedom, Brenner Brief (Broadside News), New English Review, etc... (Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy can be found here
Monday, 12 April 2010
Tariq Ramadan the Relativist
i) Tariq Ramadan Goes All Relativist
ii) Tariq Ramadan Embraces Only Certain Examples of Diversity
Ramadan Goes Relativist and Embraces Certain Cases of Diversity
Ramadan states his own version of relativism. He has drunk deep of post-modern theory, post-structuralist philosophy and whatnot, just as Anjem Choudary of Islam4UK and Hizb ut-Tahrir use the languages of human rights, international law and even political correctness.
Ramadan’s idea is that what is seen as moderate (as in ‘moderate Muslim/Islam’) is a relative matter. We can only decide what is moderate by taking into consideration ‘our histories, cultures and reference points’(2010). The point is that these things ‘are not identical’ from culture to culture. No. All we can do to discover what is taken as moderate in a particular culture and then study it ‘from within each system of reference’. In consequence, ‘[i]t cannot be imposed from outside’ (2010). Thus stoning cannot be either immoderate or moderate within some cultural and historical void, as it were. The same must be true of so much more. That will include crucifixion, Jew hating and killing, incest, mass sacrifice and whatnot. We must study mass sacrifice or Jew killing according to a ‘system of reference’. We must study the cultures, histories and reference points who those who carry out sacrifices or kill Jews. Only then will we know the truth – if only the truth for that ‘system of reference’.
Even if Ramadan’s relativist thesis is correct, it still shouldn’t or couldn’t be according to his own religion – Islam. As everyone knows, Islam deals with absolute and eternal truths. The Koran is the literal word of Allah – true for all times and places. Thus, how does Ramadan’s relativism fit into his Islamic scheme? It doesn’t! He has been partly, or largely, educated in universities and institutions in Europe and elsewhere in which many people espouse and defend various theories of relativism, from post-modern relativism to Thomas Kuhn’s relativism of science. Ramadan has quickly realised that he can use European and American relativist theses and trends in order to defend Islam and Muslims within European culture. Thus he uses relativist arguments in order to defend and further a religion, Islam, of absolute and eternal truths, just as Anjem Choudary uses parliamentary democracy, PC vocab and international law to protect himself and Islam generally. Very clever. Very deceitful. Very much like the Trojan Horse of Greek myth.
Respecting and Embracing Diversity?
And that is why we should ‘respect’ and ‘embrace diversity’. That is why we should respect and embrace Islam and Muslims.
Is it taken as a given that all examples of ‘diversity’ should be respected? This is simply not the case. The buzz word ‘diversity’ just becomes a trite and fluffy term which is used by select groups and politicians to get what they want from the rest of society. No one respects all diversity. For a start, Ramadan and his fellow Muslims certainly do not respect all examples of diversity. Do they respect the English Defence League or the Witches’ Coven of Hull? Do they truly and genuinely respect Hindus and, yes, Christians? What about militant atheists or just plain ‘liberal’ atheists? It can easily be seen that ‘diversity’ is just a leftist or liberal-leftist piece of jargon which is sometimes used to defend the indefensible and which, in the end, is very selective when it comes to specifying particular politically-correct examples of diversity – all at the expense of politically-incorrect cases. When Ramadan says the religious ‘symbols represent human life in all its diversity’ (2009), and that therefore they must be ‘respected’, most of us simply ignore such vague statements and the buzz word that is ‘diversity’. You can imagine council ‘training courses’ in Birmingham in which helpless and hapless people are fed the propaganda of diversity and forced to use that actual word at least five times each day.
The same goes for Ramadan’s ‘respect the sensitivities of others’. All others? Even Nazis? Even members of the British National Party? Should I respect the ‘sensitivities’ of those who are sensitive about all their beliefs and attitudes? What if some Muslims are too sensitive about too much, which is often the case? What if Muslims are sensitive to any criticism whatsoever of Islam, the Koran or Mohammed? Should we just shut up and leave Islam untouched by criticism? Would that be a good thing to Ramadan? Are Ramadan and his fellow Muslims sensitive to the beliefs and desires of ‘Zionists’ and the beliefs and desires of Jews and Israelis? Or does sensitive just mean this? –
Be sensitive to Muslims, or when talking about Islam, the Koran and Mohamed. Respect Muslims, Islam, Mohammad and the Koran.
This is the respect and the sensitivity which Ramadan is really talking about. Indeed when anyone talks about ‘diversity’ and ‘respect’ they have particular communities in mind. They do not respect all diversity – far from it!
Ramadan also ‘encourages discretion and good taste’ (2009). A while ago Ramadan tried to ban a performance of a play by Voltaire in which Mohammed was criticised. However, he claimed that it was not really a ban at all. What he wanted from the authorities and the people who put the play on was simply ‘discretion and good taste’. That didn’t matter. It still meant that Ramadan wanted to ban the performance of the play. Why didn’t he respect the playwright and the audience? Why wasn’t he sensitive to the wishes and desires of those who wanted to see the play? Again, that would have been the wrong kind of diversity and the wrong kind of respect.
Perhaps that play would have encouraged ‘hate-speech’ against Muslims or even against Mohammed himself. Ramadan thinks that freedom of thought is all fine and dandy. But what if in
‘the guise of defending freedom of thought, some intellectuals, journalists and politicians are actually legitimising the racialist hate-speech?’ (2009).
Is every - or any - criticism of Islam, Muslims, the Koran or Muhammad an example of hate-speech or an ‘encouragement of hate’? Ramadan certainly thought so about that play by Voltaire. Presently he thinks the same about Gert Wilder’s Fitna. What about the Satanic Verses or the Danish cartoons of Mohammed? Were they examples of hate-speech too? What about saying that ‘sharia law is full of abominations’. Hate-speech? ‘Polygamy is deeply prejudiced against women.’ Hate-speech? ‘Mohamed was a killer and a warrior.’ Hate-speech?
Now put the boot on the other foot. Is the ‘Hamas charter’ full of hate-speech? What about parts of the Koran itself? The Koran is full of hate-speech towards Jews, Christians, infidels and all sorts of other groups and peoples.
As with the words or concepts ‘diversity’ and ‘respect’, Ramadan again selectively chooses who is guilty of propagating hate-speech. As before, all we are really left with is:
Any or every criticism of Islam, Muslims, the Koran or Mohammed is an example of hate-speech.
Tariq Ramadan, ‘Good Muslims, Bad Muslims’, 2010, Tariq Ramadan: Official Website, http://www.tariqramadan.com/spip.php?article11022
Tariq Ramadan, ‘Let’s not be afraid of religious symbols’, 2009, Tariq Ramadan: Official Website, http://www.tariqramadan.com/spip.php?article10965