Blind Hatred Ebbing in Dar al Islam?

By Prof Eugene Narrett

Many articles and books have been written, and many scholars of Arabic and Islamic history have spoken about the genocidal xenophobia seemingly hard-wired into the Koran and, as a result into all Islamic nations, particularly Arab ones. President George W. Bush prompted considerable research, rebuttals and scorn by reading a statement terming Islam “a religion of peace.” This seemed further confirmation that the internationalists within the State Department, NSC and abroad, in Whitehall and the EU were veiling a horror from their own peoples so that ensuing crises would hasten the world government they prefer.

This may be true; enabling jihad as an antithesis to the West’s thesis (constitutional democracy) may be leading to the synthesis of a World Order; and/or it may be achieving significant change within Islamic lands. Whether this leads to global fascism, corporate socialism or to grounds for genuine peace and human freedom remains in the balance and a challenge to all our faculties. But it seems clear that messages unheard for decades, even centuries are emerging from Muslim writers.

Within the past month (April 2007) MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute chronicled a series of columns and television transcripts that suggest new openings and openness such that Dar al Islam may shake off some of its genocidal fantasies of global conquest and even accept, as the Turks did some secular governance congruent with western developed systems of government, pragmatism and commerce, double-edged as they can be.

A Saudi writer published a pair of articles in Kuwait demanding that Arabs stop using the Palestinians [sic] as pawns and playing with dreams of return (to Israel) that will turn into nightmares. He denounced particularly the governments in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq for keeping the Palestinians [sic] in squalor in refugee camps for decades, using them for their internecine and anti-Israel feuds and wars and called upon them to integrate them into their nations as Israel had absorbed the Jews expelled from Arab lands after 1948.

Was this line a particularly clever ploy by the Arabists at State, something to leverage Israel back to the Auschwitz lines? Perhaps; but the surprises only began with that article.

Saudi television aired a debate between a male and female newscaster in which the woman angrily insisted upon her right to read the news without a face covering. “Are we [women] not subject to the same Koran” she demanded. “If you steal your hand is cut off; if I steal my hand is cut off. How can we not be [women] treated equally in reading the news.” A public confrontation of this sort had been unthinkable; once this horse is loosed from the barn experience shows it will not be returned. Simplified versions of western “egalitarianism” are potently seductive; what Shakespeare denoted as “lust with his fat rump and potato finger” will get the tickle started, especially on an intellectual plane. It happened here over the course of many centuries. Amplified by modern technology and media it may happen in decades in a more chaotic culture.

The surprises did not stop here. In a series beginning December 27, 2006, Egyptian columnists in the main, government regulated papers Al Ahram and Al Gomhouriyya called for a separation of religion and democratic politics. Taking a position like Dante’s, they called for religious leaders to confine their teachings and advice to spiritual matters. They were strongly rebutted by leaders of the Islamic Brotherhood who asserted that this call was simply power politics meant to suppress the IB and article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution that states that religious [i.e. Islamic] law will be the main basis for legislation (Memri #341, April 13, 2007). Adherents of the Islamic brotherhood are about a fourth of the Egyptian Parliament and perhaps it is the threat of regime change that is sparking the secularist polemics from the Mubarak regime.

There may be a thesis and antithesis situation here; Western interests often back more anti-western and flammable claimants to power as seen in Russia in 1919, Germany in the 1930s, and recently in Turkey, to the dismay of the already secular Turkish regime. But the ingredients for a new Islamic synthesis are in place as they are laboring to be born in Mesopotamia.

Into this new mix of pluralism and apparent tolerance Egyptian author Hisham Al-Turhi published an article sending Passover greetings to Arab Jews (4/08-09/07; Memri #1556). He noted that Egyptian modernizing owed much to Jewish Egyptians and lamented that the Jews of Egypt had been reduced from about 60,000 before WW II to a few hundred by the 1960s. He similarly noted, euphemistically the “emigration” of nearly all of Iraq’s 200,000 Jews between 1948 and 1970 and of the quarter million Jews of Morocco, with the few thousand remaining “living in terror of daggers and bombs.”

More pointedly, Al-Turhi noted that his Passover greetings had elicited vitriol and snarls from Arabia and suggested that this barbarism was ignorant and self-hating. “Many Arab Muslims are descended from Jews who were Jews a thousand years before Islam, even if they say of them [the Jews] ‘crucified Christ’ or ‘apes and pigs.’” For all the rounded edges of fact this was genuine and pointed criticism of Islamic genocidal hatred of Jews and Christians to whom the author also had sent Easter greetings. It’s very overdue, it’s not coming from the governments, it’s a decidedly minority position and it may be prompted by external interests seeking to ensnare Israel. Even if it is, it is noteworthy.

Most recently, Ghassan Harbal, the editor of the English language Al Hayat al Yadida wrote acerbically that the main need throughout the Arabic world now was for resources and engineers to be organized into a serious and vast “burial society” to prepare huge new cemeteries for Arabs since all their policies, dreams and attitudes produce is death (Memri #1558, 4/25/07).

The question is the choices and direction to which such critical voices and debate will lead. Close observers know that the Islamic world and the Arabic lands at its core are and have been riddled with factionalism of many kinds since the beginning. But the aspects of self-criticism and incorporation of western modes of thought and social organization testify that all human-based systems are mutable, that the models of the West and its brand of Globalism are powerful and one way or another, gaining traction in what often is considered an intractable area. But if war and endless attrition (the West has condemned Israel to its own ‘Vietnam’ since 1948, an upgrade from extinction but still chronic terror and blood) are to change will the synthesis more resemble the vision of Isaiah 11 of that described by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World a critique of his brother Julian’s beau ideal the “regionalized world system” of “conscripted consumption” and numbed out human ‘resources’?

Eugene Narrett’s new book, WW III: the War on the Jews (2007) is available at visit his site for other books, essays and lectures

April 25, 2007 | Comments Off on Blind Hatred Ebbing in Dar al Islam?

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