Thursday, July 05, 2007

Some wierd thinking on Islam and terrorism ...

If the recent spate of terror investigations in the UK and Australia prove one thing, it's that it doesn't take alot of intelligence to become an expert of what drives terrorists.

In today's Australian, Canadian Muslim controversialist Irshad Manji tells us about why the murderer of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh shoves a knife in his victim: "The blade is an implement associated with 7th-century tribal conflict. Wielding it as a sword becomes a tribute to the founding moment of Islam."

Interesting theory. However, as Ian Buruma points out, the real reason Mohammed Bouyeri used a knife was to ensure his letter threatening then Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali wasn't lost. Further, the founding moment of Islam in 610AD took place not on the battlefield but in a cave.

Also writing in The Oz, psychiatric registrar Dr Tanveer Ahmed describes himself as "a commentator on Muslim affairs and home-grown terrorism" before admitting he is "not a theological expert". Fair enough.

But then Ahmed says that, to understand what drives much radical Islamist terror, one must understand that "theology is central and not peripheral to the problem". He then concludes that "the foundation for [terrorists'] acts lies very much in the set of ideas called Islam."

Quite a claim for someone lacking expertise in Islamic theology. One of the attitudes Ahmed claims characterises Muslims is "to see white girls as cheap and easy and to see the ideal of femininity as its antithesis". I'd love to see Ahmed repeat this statement in the presence of the not-exactly-African Mufti of Bosnia. Indeed, during the 1990's Bosnian war, I doubt it was Muslims who saw certain white women as "cheap".

Ahmed continues: "At its core, Islam is deeply sceptical of the idea of a secular state". Er, which Islam? The one practised in Turkey? And which secularism?

Ahmed perhaps forgets that a large number of Aussie Muslims fled to Australia precisely to live in a secular state and to escape theocratic regimes in places like Iran and Afghanistan.

Ahmed then lists "Islamic theology and all its uncomfortable truths". These include "its obsession with and revulsion at sex". How on earth can a religion which regards sex between spouses as an act of worship and which forbids celebacy even to its religious class be regarded as showing revulsion to human sexuality? And is insistence on sex within marriage something limited to Islam?

(To be continued ...)

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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2 comments:

dawood said...

awesome post - keep them coming!

null said...

Good one Irfan. I've been reading Tanveer's articles for a number of years, and they've been getting increasingly bizarro.

Compare the aggressive attitudes expressed in this article to what he penned here on znet a couple of years ago:

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4958