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I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)
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Monday, January 24, 2005
If Christian fundamentalism did not exist... it would be necessary to invent an entirely new cliché to avoid having Islam stand out.
At the present time what Abdel Rahman al-Rashid said is true:
"It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims."It was not always the case that Islam was particularly violent. We are frequently reminded of the relative tolerance of Spain under the Moors, but repetition does not make it any less true. One day the fever of Islamofascism will burn itself out, and honest Muslim commentary such as Mr Rashid's article is the best hope of bringing that day forward. But for now, like he said. Hello, elephant, I see you.
Madeline Bunting in the Guardian can see the elephant, too. Her Guardian article is entitled "Elephants in the room." But she isn't going to mention any particular elephant by name. Allusion will be made to the existence of the category of pachyderms, but that is all:
Some fears that reared their heads in the discussion seem bizarre, such as the fear of Islam as a proselytising, expansionary faith; Catholicism has comparable ambition, but no one is demonising the rosary-reciting faithful - there's as much evidence of a stampede of converts to the confessional box as there is to the mosque. But some fears are well-founded: fundamentalism has emerged as an aberrant, aggressive phenomenon in all the world's religions.Emphasis added by me. Bunting continues:
Recognise faith identity and does one end up arbitrating between extremist interpretations of those faiths - the evangelical Christian and the Sikh mobs between them constraining free speech?As if Salman Rushdie had never existed. (He won't exist much longer if the renewed call for his death issued by the Iranian Supreme Ayatollah the other day is heeded.)
The only effect of this pussyfooting around is to generate sarcasm. In all the world's religions, sure, but not equally. A certain uneveness in the problem of religious violence is why earnest Guardianistas find it necessary to organise conferences on Islam, Race and British identity. If the Guardian really wanted to generate goodwill towards Muslims it could talk about the bravery of Iraqi election workers and voters. And here's where I turn my sarcasm button off: it did.