Many Muslims recognize the weaknesses in Islam... But they will not join me in atheism because they still believe there must be a God. This is not easy for an atheist like me to admit, but it appears that the painstaking construction of a personal ethic is not enough for many people ...
I explained to Father Bodar [a Dutch priest living in Rome] why I had asked him to meet me. 'I'm not a Christian and I'm not here to ask you to help me convert and become one," I told him. "But I think the Christian Churches should begin dawa (proselytizing) exactly as Islam does. You need to compete, because you can be a powerful tool to reverse Islamization. You should start with Muslim neighborhoods in Rome. Europe is sleepwalking into disaster - cultural, ideological, and political disaster - because the authorities of the church have neglected the immigrant ghettos.
The churches could go into Muslim communities, provide services just as the radical Muslims do: build new Catholic schools, hospitals and community centers, just like the ones that were such a civilizing force under colonialism in Africa. Don't just leave this in the hands of governments - take an active role. The churches have the resources, the authority, and the motivation to convert Muslim immigrants to a more modern way of life and more modern beliefs. Teach hygiene, discipline, a work ethic, and also what you believe in. The West is losing the propaganda war. But you can compete with Islam outside Europe and vigorously assimilate Muslims within it.'
Father Bodar positively beamed with happiness.
So Catholicism is like a half-way house on the way to atheism. Christianity is a sheltered workshop for Muslims not yet ready to embrace the athiest faith.
Many in the so-called Christian Right will probably be too imbecilic to see just how insulting and patronising such an attitude is to their faith. Presumably Hirsi Magaan is counting on that to keep them on side. But I doubt many genuine Christians would be happy to see their faith treated as some kind of temporary arrangement.
I also wonder why Ms Magaan doesn't choose other faiths for Muslims. Why, for instance, does she not want Muslims to become Jews? Surely Jewish doctrine is far more close to Islam than Christianity. Rabbis play a similar role to Imams. There is a sacred law and an emphasis on maintaining scripture in its original language. Dietary laws are similar. And Muslims don't have to forcibly wrap their heads around a trinity.
What about Buddhism? Or Javanese spirituality? Or Mormonism?
Hirsi Ali appears to have seriously lost the plot. And I have no doubt that many Muslim atheists (as in atheists with a Muslim cultural heritage) will agree with my assessment.
Words © 2010 Irfan Yusuf
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