Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Reasons for optimism

Regular readers will know that ma bete noire plus grande is Arab-Muslim hypocrisy on colonialism and genocide. I have long lamented that the few Arab or Muslim public voices (a shortlist that pretty much comprises Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Irshad Manji and, if you read between the lines, Farid Esack, all South Asian i.e. non-Arab) who acknowledge this legacy are based outside the Islamic world. So I was quite pleased to discover this site (hat tip: normblog). I would especially like to call attention to this editorial.

People in this part of the world feel that they are victims of others, and throughout history they all remember their part as preys, while their part as predators tend to be sunk into oblivion. No wonder then that the quern of hate is still grinding all of us without sparing anyone, even the infant.

People tend to worship their gallant heroes without contemplating the awful truth that heroes took such a position only after having shed the blood of others. The Tatars visit Tamerlane’s grave as pilgrims; a behaviour that will certainly infuriate us (his victims), but aren’t we doing the same with our great leaders who have massacred men, orphaned children and ravished women? Aren’t we still celebrating independence days, and wailing at the same time in anguish for those old days of glory when other peoples drove us out of the territories we had seized all of a sudden in an oversight of history and away from the eye of justice?

Are we the only victorious conquerors while others are criminal invaders!

We are ashamed of our dark ages forbidding even their mention in our history books, but we take pride of our formidable empires that rose only on the skulls of other nations.

We start screaming whenever slightly offended by others, always praying to God to exterminate them all not leaving even one; yet it is permissible if we exterminate others.
The poor preys pierce the sky crying for justice and equality, but all is put in shadow when roles is swapped and they have the upper hand.

We are entitled, but others are not!
Lee Smith, "Sudan's Osama", Slate, 2004 August 5.
"I think many Westerners saw the Islamists as indigenous, self-determining voices, the true voice of the south," says [Abdullahi Ahmed] an-Na'im, a liberal Muslim thinker who teaches at Emory Law School. "They understood Islamism as a way of countering Western hegemony, but they overlooked the fact that these movements suppressed their own populations."

An-Na'im, who advocates a reinterpretation of Islam in accordance with human rights, was a disciple of Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, the Sudanese Muslim religious leader and political activist hanged in Khartoum for apostasy in 1985. Taha understood that the biggest problem facing Islam was its historical treatment of women and non-Muslims[.]
[emphasis mine]
Zafar Nomani, "Excommunication From the Mosque?", beliefnet.
We hear about "honor killings" when a father murders his daughter for having had sex before marriage or even being raped. I have long wondered how many fathers have shot their sons for dishonor? Many men do all kind of nonsense, but they remain clean, as men in society look the other way. Women are exploited or oppressed in the both the West and the East, while we as men preach justice and equality. I am struck by the double standard with which we live.
Many of the mosque leaders want to continue native traditions followed in the U.S., disrespecting the human rights of women. They need to be more open and tolerant not only towards women, but also to those who aren’t Muslim and those who don’t follow their particular ideology.
LAZY UPDATE (via Amardeep Singh)
S Irfan Habib, "Viability of Islamic Science: Some Insights from 19th Century India", Economic and Political Weekly, 2004 June 5.
Most of the Islamists repeatedly talk about modern science’s debt to Islamic civilisation but they seldom say a word about the Arab’s scientific debt to the pre-Islamic ancient civilisations from the so-called – ‘jahiliya’ phase.