Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Post-Quranic Age

“Many Muslim reformers make the mistake that they do not really want to break the chain holding the Islamic system together. They try to paint the chain in their favourite colour, and call this a ‘Reform’. I believe that the untouchable nature of the Quran stands in our way, and we need to leave this behind. Without polemicising against it or destroying it, we must simply separate ourselves from this notion that this is the word of god, providing relevant instructions for daily life in the 21st century. Post-quranic discourse means that we need to look for other explanations and solutions for our lives today.”

Thilo Sarrazin has caused a major controversy in Germany by breaking the greatest taboo of political correctness and talking about the harm that Muslim immigration is doing to his country. He’s not the only one discussing this forbidden topic, but he has raised the temperature of the conversation and drawn public attention to other people who are saying similar things.

One of them is Hamed Abdel-Samad, a young Egyptian-German who criticizes Islamic culture and insists it must move beyond the death-grip imposed by its own holy book. The following interview with Mr. Abdel-Samad is from a news program on German television. Many thanks to the Gates of Vienna reader who sent the tip, to the Counterjihad Collective for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for subtitling it:


A full transcript is below the jump.

Transcript:

A Muslim critic of Islam

[Speaker:] Thilo Sarrazin is a man rattling all of Germany with his — pardon my French — drivel about a ‘Jewish’ gene and his provocative theses about Muslim immigrants and their supposedly inability to integrate. A man who will inflame the debate even more is the German-Egyptian political scientist and historian Hamed Abdel-Samad. Himself the son of an imam, he speaks from the point of view of an insider. His autobiography ‘Mein Abschied von Himmel’ (“My Departure from Heaven”, not translated into English) has already caused quite a stir. In it, the Muslim describes his emancipation from his religious parental home and his conviction that Islam is not compatible with a modern lifestyle. Now he adds more with his new book, and simply prophesies the collapse of the Islamic world. My colleague Thorsten Stecher met Hamed Abdel-Samad in Munich to discuss this explosive diagnosis.

Mr. Abdel-Samad, in your new book you prophesy the collapse of the Islamic world. How did you come to the conclusion that an entire world religion simply will disappear?

‘Disappear’ is not what I said. I said ‘collapse’, meaning that Islam offers no answers to the questions of modern life, Islam is past its zenith, and is in a process of decay, of downfall — this is what I mean.

You are speaking explicitly of the spiritual attitude of the Islamic world, and state that the mentality of many Muslims, possibly all Muslims, is not fit for life in a modern world.

In the Islamic world one lives in contradictions. People consume modernity, but are not open to thoughts of freedom, equality, questioning the holy, so the Islamic world gets stuck in resentment, consumption without productivity.

Why aren’t people in the Islamic world reacting productively or creatively to the challenges, but rather, as you claim, aggressively?

Eh — the Islamic world has not accepted that it lost its power in the world long ago. They still insists on their cultural grandeur, moral superiority, towards the West. Thus they maintain this illusion: Nothing good can come out of the West, for the people there are infidels. And therein lies the problem.

There was a time when the Islamic world was a world power and eventually everybody else had to obey its command. But this is long gone, admittedly, but the Islamic world cannot be bad in itself, because it brought about so much good.

True. It was between the 7th and the 11th centuries that the Islamic world was still self-confident, and open to the world. Many Muslims believe that it was Islam that had given them a high culture. I doubt this thesis, it was not Islam, rather the openness of the Muslims, the mixture of many peoples bringing something from their old high cultures. Persians, Aramaeans, Berbers, Jews and Christians, who ended up under Islamic rule They had worked together in fertile ways and created this culture, not only the Muslims. The proof of this is that the first important cities of knowledge in Islam were not Mecca or Medina, but rather Baghdad, Cairo and Córdoba. All originally non-Arabic cities.

Let’s talk about immigration: This is recognized as a problem in Switzerland, as well as in Germany, at least as concerns Muslims. Why, as you write in your book, can it be that Muslims, as you put it, indulge in a mentality of making demands?

Yes, it comes straight out of this moral superiority. They come here, they depend on this land, Germany or Switzerland, but inside they also despise the morality of these countries.

How does that show up in everyday life? Do you have some examples?

Well, fathers forbid their daughters to participate in swimming lessons, children are warned against adapting a “decadent” lifestyle. From this comes no cultural symbiosis, not even parallel societies, but asymmetric societies.

Thilo Sarrazin is causing furor these days with thoughts quite similar to yours. What differentiates you from a Thilo Sarrazin, who many currently have on their hit list, when they say that it is not at all acceptable, even racist, what he says?

This is not comparable. I’m dealing with the Islamic culture and its collapse. Thilo Sarrazin warns about the future of Germany. It could go on like this. I would say that 90% of what Thilo Sarrazin says is true, but people concentrate on those 10% where he is sort of missing the point, when the talks about genetics and intelligence.

Thilo Sarrazin says that Germany is getting more stupid, because an increasing number of stupid Muslims need to be integrated.

It doesn’t have all that much to do with stupidity or intelligence, it is about social reality... It is about young Muslims, many with no opportunity to get a good education, not being able to make themselves qualified, that they become a burden to the country, are not productive, and no society can cope with this. This is completely true.

But who is to blame then? The integration policy of Germany, or the stubbornness...?

It does take two to tango. They were dealing with the problem in an old-fashioned way, and here we are, and now of course they try to find scapegoats. Mr. Sarrazin might have been wrong in some of his statements, but he is not responsible for the integration mess that we have.

You are not only attacking, you also propose a solution. You say that really there is no other option than to switch to a post-quranic age. You need to explain this. What is a “post-quranic age”?

Many Muslim reformers make the mistake that they do not really want to break the chain holding the Islamic system together. They try to paint the chain in their favourite colour, and call this a “Reform”. I believe that the untouchable nature of the Quran stands in our way, and we need to leave this behind. Without polemicising against it or destroying it, we must simply separate ourselves from this notion that this is the word of god, providing relevant instructions for daily life in the 21st century. Post-quranic discourse means that we need to look for other explanations and solutions for our lives today.

You once said that you have converted from faith to knowledge. That sounds incredibly sensible — then what do you tell all those people who say “I want to believe, I need a god.”?

That’s quite fine. Completely fine. I am not calling people to atheism, merely asking that each keeps his faith in his own heart, rather than being a pain in the neck on the streets.

I would consider you a radical thinker, which you can consider either positive or negative. You had a very religious upbringing. Your father was an imam. How has that influenced you?

Well, I would not consider myself radical at the moment... I used to be a radical, but now I try to think in sober and rational ways. But I believe that in today’s Islamic world, introducing rational ideas is indeed radical. Perhaps the breaking of taboos has become a luxury in the West. In the Islamic world it is a necessity. This is why I decided for this approach.

Thank you for your time.

I thank you as well.

[Speaker:] These ideas carry a certain risk. There is a fatwa against Hamed Abdel-Samad, with a threat on his life.

10 comments:

joe six-pack said...

Want to start a war? Get enough of them talking like this and watch what happens. This is just what the doctor ordered, but I can't see enough of this occurring to prevent the war going nuclear. And then all bets are off.

Novaseeker said...

An interesting perspective, but thoroughly unrealistic. Asking Muslims to accept that the Qur'an is not the word of god and so on is basically destroying Islam, full stop. I can't see this realistically being "sellable" in much of the Islamic world. It's possible that some secularized Muslims in the West adopt this perspective (and I suspect quite a few of the more educated ones already have, as a practical matter, but haven't written fatwa-provoking books about it), but it's doubtful that this approach will have any great resonance, even within the broader Muslim community in the West, never mind the Islamic countries themselves.

Profitsbeard said...

The Yemen Koran fragments, and the Muslims' own historical record that an early Caliph ordered all "variant" Korans to be burned, and then ordained that only one version would survive, demonstrates the human-all-too-human fallibility of the book that Muslims have been duped and brainwashed into believing came in its current form directly from Allah via Gibreel to Mohammad.

To complicate things, Mohammad was illiterate, and couldn't write his "revelations" down, thus had to rely on others to memorize them and later recite the disjointed, non-agreeing bits to scribes.

So, Mohammad never knew what was in the "Koran".

The whole farrago of foolishness about the "divine" delivery and "infallible" form of the "perfect" Koran, once understood by more and more Muslims, will doom the current dogmatists.

And shall allow Muslims to leave their faith without sanctified death threats, and to reform the Koran without a "scholar's" fatwa call for their "holy" murder.

The truth about the Koran's shoddy, slimy and sordid origins (some verses, as one of Mohammad's wives noted, were written on bark and got eaten by a goat, and thus lost forever, which makes it hardly a "perfect" work) will undo the 1000 year long poisonous paralysis upon the Muslim mind.

Zenster said...

Incredible. Outstanding. Brilliant. Insert your own choice of superlative >here<.

Hamed Abdel-Samad is on the money in a way that almost defies adequate description.

‘Disappear’ is not what I said. I said ‘collapse’, meaning that Islam offers no answers to the questions of modern life, Islam is past its zenith, and is in a process of decay, of downfall — this is what I mean.

Abdel-Samad makes a game-winning catch by disallowing the interviewer any opportunity to distort his message. He then goes sideways on the guy and expands upon his "collapse" theory with such definitive gems as "past its zenith", "process of decay" and "downfall".

In the Islamic world one lives in contradictions … are not open to thoughts of freedom, equality, questioning the holy … consumption without productivity.

Another body blow delivered in what is only his second reply. Abdel-Samad is firing on all cylinders. The ability to countenance near-terminal cognitive dissonance is both Islam's hallmark and death knell.

From this comes … asymmetric societies.

Ka-blammo! Another direct hit. Not just asymmetric societies but Islam's favorite modus operandi the asymmetrical warfare of terrorism.

I would say that 90% of what Thilo Sarrazin says is true…

Can this man do no wrong? Actually, the answer is yes, in that he skirts the more controversial issues of genetics and intelligence but if that is what it takes to keep the rest of his powder dry, then so be it.

Mr. Sarrazin might have been wrong in some of his statements, but he is not responsible for the integration mess that we have.

A reasonable attempt to salvage his backpedalling about Sarrazin.

I am … asking that each keeps his faith in his own heart, rather than being a pain in the neck on the streets.

A tall order but still spot on. Even if my Frink-O-Matic™ irony meter did explode when he said "pain in the neck".

But I believe that in today’s Islamic world, introducing rational ideas is indeed radical.

Boy howdy, where is this guy taking us? Islam and rationality in the same sentence? What's next, slidewalks, hover bikes … patriotic Democrats?

There is a fatwa against Hamed Abdel-Samad, with a threat on his life.

Shuckey darn. Any bets on how nobody saw that one coming?

[crickets]

Zenster said...

joe six-pack: Want to start a war? Get enough of them talking like this and watch what happens. This is just what the doctor ordered, but I can't see enough of this occurring to prevent the war going nuclear.

"[S]tart a war"? That's a gimme. After all, Islam is already at war with all of us, it's only the West that refuses to admit it.

While it would be nice if enough Muslims began to talk like Hamed Abdel-Samad, that is too much of a long shot for it to play a major role in the run-up of this looming conflict.

What does matter is enough Westerners understanding and adopting Abdel-Samad's position on Islam's foreordained "collapse". Hell, even Mohammad himself predicted it so what makes this such a difficult notion to wrap our Western minds around?

Muslims can, do and most likely will demonstrate every type of unwillingness to comprehend the otherwise clear message that Abdel-Samad is sending. They've been doing it for centuries and don't expect that to change anytime soon.

It is the West that needs to undergo a fundamental revision of how it perceives Islam. Primary in this is revising Islam's status as a "religion" and re-branding as the political ideology that it really is.

Of secondary but nearly equal importance is making sure enough people, Muslim or otherwise, understand that Islam is unsustainable. As Abdel-Samad notes:

… Islam offers no answers to the questions of modern life, Islam is past its zenith, and is in a process of decay, of downfall…

[Muslims] consume modernity, but are not open to thoughts of freedom, equality, questioning the holy, so the Islamic world gets stuck in resentment, consumption without productivity…

Islam's fundamental incompatibility with enlightened Western culture needs to be emphasized, both among reform-minded Muslims and especially among survival-oriented Westerners.

As to preventing this entire conflict from "going nuclear", one of the few avenues is these same reform-minded Muslims policing their own ranks or Western militaries growing a brain and decapitating the political, academic, financial and clerical jihadist elite.

Barring that, you can literally bet the farm that countless millions of Muslims will perish in a holocaust that Islam's jihadist juggernaut is hurtling directly towards. It is an implicit outcome of being obsessed with death and there is little that can be done to de-link current forms of Islamic indoctrination from this fatal obsession.

Novaseeker: An interesting perspective, but thoroughly unrealistic. Asking Muslims to accept that the Qur'an is not the word of god and so on is basically destroying Islam, full stop. I can't see this realistically being "sellable" in much of the Islamic world.

I revive the nearly impossible nature of this issue to reinforce my central point.

To Hell with Muslims comprehending Hamed Abdel-Samad's vision of a "Post-Quranic Age".

IT IS THE WEST THAT MUST ENVISION A "POST-QURANIC AGE" WHERE SHARIA LAW HAS NO CHANCE OF SURVIVAL.

Once this fundamental hurdle has been overcome, the West's chances of survival begin to skyrocket. Abdel-Samad's vision of a "Post-Quranic Age" is vital to this recalibration of Western thought.

Van Grungy said...

The only way to end islam is to prove definitively that it isn't perfect...

remove mecca from existence... No hajj, no perfection... islam ends

Anonymous said...

The interviewer says: "There was a time, Islam was a world power..."

As I understand it, "islam was a world power ONLY becasue it stood on the shoulders of a previous civilization, using the artifacts and knowledge of the conquered. As well as, the persons, the skills and knowledge of these. Once the children of the conquerered were co-opted into islam, the culture of the conquerors started de-volving.

So, in order to continue, the islamics had to go on to viciously grab another blossoming civilization.

laine said...

Well let's see now. The choice presented to Muslims will be to curtail the role of Islam in their public lives and try to catch up to the developed world. Without unearned oil wealth for the most part that would entail decades of hard work, something for which Arabic/Muslim culture is not noted (and shouldn't the European Eurabists have figured that out before inviting a sluggard culture in the millions into Welfare states?). OR Muslims can cling to their primitive belief system that makes THEM ordained rulers on earth, despite their dung heap countries and centuries-long lack of accomplishment in any field. Their ill educated sexually repressed young men also get to play real life video games, blowing non-Muslims up, so much more fun for a culture of excitable drama queens than slogging to a 9 to 5 job every day...Case in point Palestine. It seems from the outside that Muslim women would have less reason to cling to the old ways, but indoctrination into the Cult is stronger than the glue used on the Space Shuttle. Higher education bounces off it as does Western enlightenment and rational debate. The only thing that Muslims respect outside of their own ideology is force - the strong horse. They will not change unless forced to change, starting with being turfed and barred from countries and modern wonders they could not possibly build themselves and confined to their own loserdom.

Zenster said...

laine: … a culture of excitable drama queens…

Now that's going to leave a mark.

syntec said...

At times Mr Samad's responses sound like attempts to lull Germany and the West in general into a state of complacency and apathy.

Regarding his opinion that Islam is dying, present day events involving Islamic aggression, acts of savagery and jihad threats worldwide as well as the West's appeasement and capitulation to such tactics, would tend to refute such a notion. Added to this onslaught, is the Islamic world's oil wealth, in particular, Saudi Arabia enabling and fuelling global jihad.

Yes, there is a handful of Muslim reformers like Mr Samad beavering away in their attempts to defang Islam, but the truth is their efforts won't succeed due to the nature of the beast.

A conciliatory approach, most especially by the Infidel/Kafir, is viewed secretly as abject weakness and outright cowardice hence the intensification by Muslims for perpetual concessions, that is, until their demographic presence on Infidel territory is sufficient for the commencement of physical jihad.

Furthermore, it's not possible to separate 'moderate' Muslims from the fanatics as the former will never take to the streets en masse to denounce the religious defamer elements residing within all of their communities.

Equally, their alleged 'moderate' leaders are more likely to recoil from turning in the rapists and murderers dwelling amongst them, preferring instead to lay the blame at the feet of the non-believer for not further pandering to their cultural and religious sensitivities whilst they, the Muslims, utilize the art of Al Takiyya and Kitman at the same time.

Ultimately, the only language Muslims understand is to be subjected to eternal vigilance and decisive action incorporating mosque-building bans and mass deportation from the lands of non-Muslims.