Thursday, April 5, 2012

Denial and Confrontation

If your friend consistently complains that s/he is mistreated by others, but you observe that s/he brings this “mistreatment” upon themselves by verbally abusing others, what do you do? Do you confront? If you care about your friend, you can’t simply enable them to continue denying the real problem. If you do enable, the problem will merely continue!

This is the thinking of Muslim reformer and former Dutch Parliamentarian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Although Islam tolerates no criticism, she believes that Muslims need is to hear the uncomfortable truth:

·        Muslims were responsible for eleven, and possibly twelve, of the sixteen major international terrorist acts committed between 1983 and 2000;

·        Five of the seven states that support terrorists, and as such appear on the U.S. State Department’s list, are Muslim countries, and the majority of foreign organizations on that same list are Muslim organizations;

·        Muslims were involved in two-thirds of the thirty-two armed conflicts in the year 2000, while only one-fifth of the world population is Muslim. (11)

In The Caged Virgin, Ali also cites many other problems endemic to Islam – problems which Islam is unwilling to confront. She therefore reasons:

  • If nothing is wrong with Islam, why then are so many Muslims on the run?...Why do we Muslims move to the West, while at the same time condemning it?...Why is the position of women in Muslim countries so abominable? If we Muslims are so tolerant and peaceful, why is there so much ethnic, religious, political, and cultural strife and violence in Muslim countries? Why can’t or won’t we acknowledge the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves? Why are Muslims so full of feelings of anger and uneasiness, and why do we carry so much hostility and hate within us both toward ourselves and toward others? Why are we incapable of criticizing ourselves from within
Ali finds it ironic and unfortunate that while Muslims are fleeing the repressive silence in their home countries, they are finding the same silence in the West:

  • Yet European governments are seriously considering limiting the freedom of the press to discuss Islam; some newspaper editors were fired for printing the cartoons. The tragedy for many Muslims is that their inability to criticize the dogma of religion in their own countries will be continued in Europe. (xv)
What do Muslims need? The same things that all of us need – the freedom to see, to speak and to choose! Is Islam is the true religion, then Muslims shouldn’t shun the light of scrutiny! Ali therefore hopes that the West will stop enabling denial and will reaffirm it principles of freedom and fairness:

  • The West needs to help Muslims help themselves, and not support them in their illusion by avoiding the underlying questions…This change can only begin by subjecting the sources of Islam to thorough critical examination. (13-14)
How serious is the denial? Ali claims that almost all of their prayers ended with a pleas for the extermination of the Jews. She adds:

  • Many madrassas imbue their pupils with an irrational hatred of Jews…Jews are consistently portrayed as instigators of evil. (38)
Such teachings are a sure prescription for ongoing violence. Closer to home, she cites the words of her own mother:

  • When my sister and I were small, we would occasionally make remarks about nice people who were not Muslim, but my mother and grandmother would always say, “No, they are not good people. They know about the Koran and the Prophet and Allah, and yet they haven’t come to see that the only thing a person can be is Muslim. They are blind.” (x)
Blindness, however, is curable. It requires the open exchange of ideas and supporting evidences – the soil of the democratic experience - not threats of violence.

No comments:

Post a Comment