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Friday, November 25, 2005

Islam: starting the debate

With this post I suggested Ibn Warraq, among others, should be heard. His book, Why I Am Not a Muslim should be given much more attention than the works of former nun Karen Armstrong, among many others. Warraq knows of what he speaks. Some have alleged Armstrong is a secret convert to Islam.

In Chapter Eight, Arab Imperialism, Islamic Colonialism, Warraq dismisses the prevailing 'wisdom' as propaganda:
Open any modem introductory book on Islam and the chances are you will find that it begins by singing the praises of a people who conquered, in an incredibly short period, half the civilized world—of a people who established an empire that stretched from the banks of the Indus in the east to the shores of the Atlantic in the west. The volume will recount in positively glowing terms a time when Muslims ruled over a vast population of diverse peoples and cultures. One can hardly imagine a contemporary British historian being able to get away with similar eulogies on the British Empire, of a time when a large part of the world was colored red in English atlases to indicate the British Empire and possessions. While European colonialism and imperialism (both being general terms of abuse by now) are blamed for every ill on earth, and something of which all Europeans are made to feel ashamed, Arab imperialism is held up as something of which Muslims can be proud, something to be lauded and admired.

The Islamic exception seems to be a part of ordinary life.

Why is Israel besieged by critics for being a "Jewish State" despite the freedoms it gives its non-Jewish population while Saudi Arabia affords NO freedom to its non-Muslim population? The only exception is compounds which house foreign workers. It's not so much freedom as isolation.

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