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En octubre de 2020 se publicó una carta abierta firmada por numerosos académicos de Europa occidental. “Más de 200 universitarios instan a los países europeos a tomar medidas inmediatas para repatriar a sus ciudadanos que se encuentran actualmente en los campamentos de reclusión del noreste de Siria”. La carta abierta aborda “El problema de la… Read more
La catedrática de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Luz Gómez escribió un artículo criticando ciertas definiciones del Diccionario de la Lengua Española (edición de 2014). Algunas de sus críticas están justificadas, otras no. Aquí no ceñiremos a dos términos de importancia fundamental: “yihad” y “charia”. Yihad Criticando la definición que da la Real Academia de… Read more
Why words matter
Why words matter: mainstreaming anti-Muslim discourse, by H.A. Hellyer, Open Democracy, 27 October 2019
Mr. Hellyer complains that right-wing extremists who shoot up mosques parrot things they read in the media. He infers that the things they read in the media are what drives them to shoot up mosques. The “rhetoric makes the discourse of the terrorist that much more possible”. He specifically mentions two racist terrorists: Anders Breivik, who perped a massacre in Norway in 2011, and Brenton Tarrant, who murdered about 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
“Phrases similar to those used by both the suspect in the Christchurch massacre and Anders Breivik are found in the writings and speeches of US President Donald Trump (‘I think Islam hates us’) and his former political advisor Steve Bannon (Islam is ‘the most radical’ religion in the world). They echo the words of popular talk show hosts like Bill Maher (the Muslim world ‘has too much in common with ISIS’) as well as noted writers like Melanie Phillips of The London Times (‘Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate’) and Rod Liddle of The Spectator (Islam is an ‘illiberal, vindictive and frankly fascistic creed’).”
“The point is this: while all of those writers and personalities aren’t the equivalent of the terrorist who carried out the outrageous attack in New Zealand on March 15, their rhetoric makes the discourse of the terrorist that much more possible.
“Unfortunately, the caustic language used to describe Muslims of the West is not that rare [They didn’t say “Muslims of the west”. They said “Islam”.] . In fact, it’s been mainstreamed in ways that we have been ignoring. Take for example the Australian senator Fraser Anning, who, in the immediate aftermath, said that the attacks highlighted the ‘growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence’ in Australian and New Zealand communities. If that is not blaming the victim, I am not sure what is.”
Hellyer makes no attempt to disprove any of those statements. His only argument is that they can be used to justify violence against the people criticized. If I say neoliberalism is a harmful ideology, that might cause violence against neolibs. If I say fascism is a harmful ideology, that might cause violence against fascists. If I say rape is an odious crime, that might cause violence against rapists. But none of those statements are false. Neoliberalism and fascism are indeed harmful ideologies, and rape is indeed an odious crime. If denouncing those ideologies and that crime might lead to violence against their perps, some other solution must be found other than telling critics to shut up.
A different approach is possible. Instead of denouncing those who criticize them, Muslims might try to change in order to make those criticisms inapplicable. For example renounce certain bloodthirsty passages in the Qur’an. But in May 2018 Al Azhar in Cairo, the most revered seat of Sunni Islamic learning, rejected such demands out of hand.
In May 2018,
“the French newspaper Le Monde published a letter signed by some 300 French public figures across the party lines including former president Nicolas Sarkozy. In it, they “ask that the verses of the Qur’an calling for the killing and punishment of Jews, Christians and unbelievers be obsoleted [i.e. pronounced obsolete] by theological authorities.” … Titled “Manifesto against the new anti-Semitism,” the signed letter focuses especially on the rise of Muslim violence against France’s Jewish minority: “French Jews are 25 times more likely to be attacked than their fellow Muslims. 10% of the Jewish citizens of Ile-de-France — that is to say about 50,000 people—were recently forced to move because they were no longer safe in some cities and because their children do not could attend the school of the Republic more. This is a low-noise ethnic cleansing…”
From a Muslim perspective, because the Koran is Allah’s word, it cannot be tampered with or altered in any way (if Sarkozy et al. made these claims in certain Muslim countries they would either be incarcerated on blasphemy charges or killed outright).”
… Al Azhar, “located in Cairo and attached to the government of Egypt … is the Muslim world’s most prestigious “university” (that is, madrasa) and regularly hosts—and engages in “dialogue” with—the likes of Barrack Obama and Pope Francis.
… Responding to the French letter, the deputy chief of Al Azhar, Dr. ‘Abbas Shuman, said that “The call from 300 French persons to freeze verses in the Noble Koran, which they claim urges the killing of non-Muslims, is unjustifiable and unacceptable.” And if that wasn’t clear enough, he exclaimed, “No to freezing one letter from the Koran—and those calling for it can go to hell!”
… “For we have no verses,” insisted Shuman, “that command the killing of others, unless they commit one of the crimes that do earn the death penalty, such as murder, or raising weapons against us. Nor are we responsible for those [e.g., ISIS] who do not correctly understand the verses, who take them at face value without referring to the tafasir [exegeses] of the ulema.”
… Perhaps he had forgotten about Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden [i.e., embrace sharia law], and who do not embrace the religion of truth [Islam], until they pay the jizya [extortion money] with willing submissiveness and feel themselves utterly subdued.” All authoritative exegeses see this verse as enshrining Islam’s “messianic” mission of subjugating infidels by force.
… It is only now, when Muslims are
militarily/economically weaker than and vulnerable to the Western world that
claims that such verses don’t really mean what they plainly say have become
popular among Muslims, especially those involved in “dialogue” with the West.
I have in my possession an authoritative Arabic manual titled Al-Tarbiya al-Jihadiya fi Daw’ al-Kitab wa al-Sunna (“The Jihadi Upbringing in Light of the Koran and Sunna”), written by Dr. Abd al-Aziz bin Nasir al-Jalil. After providing several proofs, he concludes that “jihad is when Muslims wage war on infidels, after having called on them to embrace Islam or at least pay tribute
and live in submission, and then they refuse.” In other words, Koran 9:29, as it is.
Hellyer’s standpoint is the same as Al Azhar’s: Muslims are fine as they are and need not change. Instead, the critics must shut up, regardless of whether they are right or wrong.
Hellyer cites the massacres in Norway and New Zealand in 2011 and 2018. By 2011 there had been an unbroken string of Islamic terrorist attacks all over the world that had already lasted 30 years and still shows no signs of stopping. That was accompanied by an unprecedented wave of Muslim migration to western countries that demographically transformed countries like Belgium, France and Sweden. Likewise there had already been an unbroken series of critiques of Islam by numerous writers. None of those critiques led to any change in Muslim behavior, or even any honest discussion of the critiques. Instead, all criticism was brushed off as malicious bigotry.
Consequently massacres of Muslims are a phenomenon that arose only after many protests against Muslim excesses had been ignored, dismissed or answered by glibly dissociating Islam from any violent behavior.
Hellyer says that words matter. Do these words matter?
Allah, grant victory to Islam and the Muslims…”
“We must prepare ourselves in accordance with the religion of Allah and the Law of Allah. We must educate our children on the love of Jihad for the sake of Allah and the love of fighting for the sake of Allah.
July 6, 2001, Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Madhi, Sheik ‘Ijlin Mosque in Gaza
That is exactly what Rod Liddle means when he says “Islam is an ‘illiberal, vindictive and frankly fascistic creed’”.
Neither Hellyer nor any other apologist for Islamic extremism has ever addressed such extremist twaddle. These words evidently don’t matter.
Massacres are bad, of course. So is white nationalism. But they both occur only in countries where the Muslim population has grown explosively, Islamist organizations have arisen that are financed by and take orders from Muslim countries that suit the interests of the latter and hate preachers financed from abroad incite mosque congregations against Jews and the west. All of this against a background of worldwide Islamic radicalism that does not hesitate to proclaim its hatred for the west, and a parallel wave of Islamic terrorism. Hellyer ignores all this.
What is especially worrying about Hellyer is that he holds important positions in the British bureaucracy in charge of combating Islamic extremism. How can he perform his duties properly of he implicitly denies the existence of Islamic extremism or considers it irrelevant to how the public views Muslims?
His ambivalent attitude is compounded by his deceptive rhetorical maneuver of designating all the criticisms he cites as criticism directed at “Muslims of the west”. All of them expressly refer to Islam, not to Muslims, let alone “Muslims of the west”.
This insidious mendacity reveals on whose side Hellyer really is. Hellyer is obviously an apologist of radical Islam.
Hellyer denounces the words of Australian senator Fraser Anning, who said that the attacks highlighted the ‘growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence’ in Australia and New Zealand.
terrorism in Australia
for the past 40 years has been Islamic terrorism,
although Muslims make up only about 2% of the population. Is that insufficient
reason to fear Muslims?
 “Go to Hell!” Egypt Responds to French Call to Revise Koran, by Raymond Ibrahim, May 10, 2018
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