By YOUSEF DRUMMOND
AN influential Islamic organization representing the Muslim world is drafting a “battle plan” to defend its religion from defamation by using the West’s most enduring and salient instrument: the rule of law. The rule of law is by far the only instrument through which modern Western nations gauge the stability of their financial markets and the stability of their democratic societies. And while Western nations present secular law as the only instrument for world peace and tranquility throughout the Muslim world, their Muslim populations continue to experience denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination.
Last Friday leaders of the world’s Muslim nations met in Dakar, Senegal to consider taking legal action against any nation or individual who wantonly defame Islam and its symbols without fear of punishment. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, stressed that Islamophobia can only be dealt with through a “robust political engagement”. The action comes after reviewing a detailed report that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions world-wide. Hemayet Uddin, lead author of the OIC report, stressed that legal action is needed since Islamophobia has exceeded what is considered a phobia; it is now at the level of hatred.
In September of 2005 a Danish newspaper published a cartoon caricature of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was then reprinted in newspapers in more than fifty other countries. In a similar vein, right-wing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders’ produced a ten-minute film criticizing the Qu’ran as a “fascist” book that incites violence. The Qu’ran is, he says, reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and he wants it banned in Holland through re-writing the nation’s constitution. Among other things, he wants all immigration to Holland from Muslims countries halted indefinitely and that those already in Holland must be given stipends to leave the country.
Are we to consider seriously a miscreant of a politician who recently “immersed” himself into a few suras and verses of the Qu’ran for a few weeks, only to ten-minute a film that irreducibly links the Qu’ran to terrorism, while at the same time asserting that he has no problem with Muslims?
The chief architects of today’s modern Western nations – chiefly its 17th and 18th century philosophers – acted in concert by learning from the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Their aim was to retain the Romans’ reverence for a strong republican form of government through legal jurisprudence while subverting the Catholic religion to individual subjectivity and to separate the republic from civil society through laws borrowed from Roman jurisprudence, thereby allowing European societies to be “democratic”, meaning that all members of their societies attain an abstract “equality” through the rule of law. The result is that all references to religion and culture minimized to the fullest extent possible.
It is important to note here that Europe’s 17th and 18th century philosophers surmised that subverting the Christian religion through the rule of secular law will prevent, ad nausea, other religions from gaining the upper-hand vis-à-vis secular law. We also note here that some of Europe’s liberal philosophers, most notably Rousseau and Kant, hailed Islam as an enlightened religion but at the same time disallowed any form of established religion to intersect with the affairs of natural political states. We now see its consequences: a separation of religion from republican government and a separation of republican government from democratic society.
The history of modern Europe is a sad reminder of how careful its philosophers sought to divorce the Creator’s constant influence over the Universe and, ultimately, the whole of mankind. In time many European religious philosophers adopted the perverse view that the Creator does not intervene with the affairs of human life and the natural laws of the Universe.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ perverse line of thinking reinforces the idea that Muslims should divorce their allegiances from Islam and, ultimately, the Qu’ran. This is nonsense. He says that he doesn’t hate Muslims; he hates their “book”.
Mr. Wilders seem to be unaware that a separation of Christianity from natural government allowed Western nations to benefit substantially from the worst trafficking of human souls for profit. In 1884 the major European powers convened the Congress of Berlin at which they agreed how Africa would be carved up between them. He also seems to be unaware that he is aping previous European authors who once lived in predominantly Christian lands and who claimed to have an intimate acquaintance with Islam. Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Osborn was a British Army officer stationed in India during Great Britain’s colonization efforts in India during the nineteenth century. Here is his take on Jihad:
“The one common duty laid upon the faithful is to be the agents of God’s vengeance on those who believe not. They are to be slaughtered until they pay tribute…When Mohammed interdicted the faithful to prey upon each other, he was compelled to find occupation for their swords elsewhere. Out of this necessity sprang the command to inherit heaven by fighting on the path of God. This is the doctrine which has rendered Islam so fascinating a faith to savage and barbarous races.” [The Arabs]
Major Osborne finds this justification in the ninth surah of the Qu’ran, however this surah makes no such proclamation. Nor does the Qu’ran enjoin upon its adherents to wage indiscriminate war upon Christians or Jews. There are, without a shadow of a doubt, bigots among all religions; but the Qu’ran admonishes its adherents to never move to the extreme; it preaches moderation.
Erroneous statements such as these continue to this day.
William Gladstone, British Liberal Party Statesman during the nineteenth century, wrote this in a pamphlet:
“It is not a question of Mohammedanism simply but of Mohammedanism compounded with the peculiar character of a race. They were, upon the whole, from the black day when they first entered Europe, the one great anti-human specimen of humanity. Wherever they went, a broad line of blood marked the tract behind them; and, as far as their dominion reached, civilization disappeared from view. They represented everywhere government by force, as opposed to government by law”.
All religious bigots, among them the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, hold tenaciously to the perverse view that Islam represents government by force, as opposed to government by law. Former Briish Prime Minister Winston Churchill accused Islam of offering its adherents a “fatalistic” view of life because “their God is Unmovable” and they are therefore resigned to a life of misery.
Listen closely to recent testimony in the U.S. Senate on the progress of the Iraq war and you find ignorance on simple assumptions about Islam and Muslims. Some in the U.S. Senate think, erroneously, that the prime differences between Sunnis and Shi’as is found in a division of races rather than a difference in religious belief! In fact, Matthew Arnold, English poet and cultural critic who lived in the nineteenth century, held this exact view.
This writer exhorts all Muslims to take seriously the extreme propaganda being peddled by religious bigots everywhere whose only aim is to foster further resentment on a global scale among Muslims and non-Muslims. Support the OIC’s efforts at halting Islamophobia in all its forms.
The writer is a recent revert to Islam and can be reached at: email@example.com