Ayaan Hirsi Ali (As Beautiful a Woman as Ever Drew Breath)
Watch her here: Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is very very bright – and brave. But I think she is wrong about Islam.
She contrasts Islamic thinking with ‘Western’ thinking. Islam, she says, is all about the hereafter whereas Western thinking is all about the here and now.
Well, I don’t know about Western thinking; we have produced as many crap thinkers as geniuses. I think Ms Ali is insufficiently well informed about Catholicism, which is the form of Western thinking I most admire. It is informed by Judaism and the great Greeks. From Judaism we get the concept of Creation – God saw that His Creation was good. The Greeks taught us the rules of thinking – Logic. Catholics must love the world. It is God’s Creation. At the same time, Catholics cannot believe that the world represents all of God’s intention.
The Islamic concept of the hereafter, according to Ms Ali, is totalitarian. She is right. Obey our rules (the Shari’ah) and enjoy the sort of earthly bliss (in Heaven) that the most sybaritic human could possibly imagine. Otherwise your fate will be an other-worldly Siberia or Buchenwald.
She is wrong about Islam, in my view, because she conceives of it as being spiritual and otherworldly. My quarrel with Islam is not so much that it is totalitarian; but that it is totalitarian in exactly the same sense as Nazism and Communism. Mohammed devised a perfect society (on earth) and successfully scared his followers into embracing it by threatening them with God’s wrath. This was an effective combination. Embrace Shari’ah or go to Hell; but Shari’ah is not (except incidentally) spirituality. It’s OK to enslave infidel women by defeating their menfolk in battle. Don’t eat pork and don’t drink wine – you’ll get all the wine you can drink in Paradise.
Islamofacism is a word coined by those of my persuasion. History tells us that of Hitler’s most enthusiastic non-German supporters among the keenest were Middle Eastern Muslims. They regretted that the Third Reich failed to complete The Final Solution and resolved to achieve it themselves. Some have hoped that all the Jews in the world would congregate in Israel – to make it easier to destroy them all.
Hitler did a politician’s best to incorporate religiosity into Nazism – Gott mit Uns etc. He was an amateur compared with Mohammed. Mohammed started by convincing himself that he was receiving God’s word. Then he convinced himself that God had revealed to him the plan. As a politician and warlord he set about bullying his fellow Arabs that they would be damned if they failed to embrace the plan. He and his followers then proceeded to conquer the Levant.
Too few of Islam’s detractors perceive that Islam is not so much a religion as a blueprint for the perfect human society. I think that Ms Ali falls into this trap. When she rejected Islam, she should have rejected the very idea that Islam is a religion. Hinduism is a religion; and I reject it – though I admit that it has worthwhile insights. Likewise Buddhism. Likewise the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. I can respect these guys. I can no more respect Islam than I can respect National Socialism or International Socialism.
This debate between two theists (I am a theist) and two atheists (I am not an atheist) is very instructive. I am on the atheist side here. The two Muslims (theists) are what I would wish all Muslims to be – but they are complacent; they would have us believe that most Muslims are like them. They are not.