Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Bitter Pill of Islamic Violence

Mark Durie is an Australian author and Anglican priest who swims against the current in his church by speaking out against the violence in Islam. In his public talks he points out that such violence is inherent in Islam, and is in fact mandated by the Koran and the hadith.

The following op-ed by Fr. Durie from today’s (actually tomorrow’s) Sydney Morning Herald addresses this issue forthrightly — or at least as forthrightly as is possible in the MSM:

Muslim violence a fact, not prejudice
by Mark Durie

Those who denounce critics of Islam should allow that, like all global faiths, Islam has its detractors and a religion will be judged on what its followers say and do.

There is a debate going on about Islam. The question being asked is: Does Islam itself — not just poverty or social exclusion — provide ideological fuel for extremism and violence?

It is all too tempting to promote one-dimensional explanations of religious violence. Monash University doctoral candidate Rachel Woodlock said on this page on Wednesday that social exclusion was the root of Islamic radicalism.

On one hand, there are those who, like Woodlock, demand that critics of Islam be stigmatised as ignorant, right-wing racists. On the other hand, Islam’s problems cannot be simplistically reduced to social or economic factors.

Violence in the name of Islam is well-attested in nations in which Muslims are dominant, and it is non-Muslim minorities that suffer the exclusion. It does not do to argue that religion has no relevance to such events.

In Muslim-majority Pakistan on December 3, Pakistani imam Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, in his Friday sermon, offered a $6000 bounty to anyone who would murder Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has also been accused of ‘‘blaspheming Allah’’. Pakistani minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab governor Salman Taseer were subsequently assassinated because of their opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

These laws are supported by Pakistan’s Islamic elites. The killer of Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri, was praised by religious leaders from mainstream schools of Pakistani Islam, and when he was being led to court on January 6, 400 Muslim lawyers showered him with rose petals, offering him their legal services free of charge.

There has also been a rush of recent assaults on Copts and their places of worship in Egypt, sparked by a wild tirade by a leading Egyptian cleric.

Closer to Australia, there have been well-publicised attacks on Ahmadiyah Muslims in Indonesia, including brutal murders. These were undoubtedly influenced by a theological belief that Ahmadiyah adherents are apostates from true Islam. Although prominent Indonesian leaders were quick to express abhorrence for the attacks, many Indonesian Muslims have called for Ahmadiyahs to be outlawed.

These events demonstrate the ugly effects of stigmatising minorities, and it would be deplorable to simple-mindedly extrapolate the religious views of Pakistani, Egyptian or Indonesian Muslims and apply them to Australia.

However, it is irrational to insist that any and everyone who seeks to expose the religious roots of such hatred must themselves be decried as haters.

All over the world, every religious belief is disliked by someone or other. Christianity has its prominent detractors, too, from Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins. A Google search for ‘‘Evils of Christianity’’ yields tens of thousands of hits.

Australians can be thankful for a culture of tolerance, which has been carefully nurtured over decades. Tolerance is strengthened when people are able to debate ideological issues freely — especially those which impact profoundly on human rights — without being shouted down.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle, in his findings on the case of the Islamic Council of Victoria v Catch the Fire, pointed out that criticism — or even hatred — of a religion should not be conflated with the hatred of people who hold those beliefs. It is one thing to promote tolerance, quite another to mandate it.

Perhaps the most powerful evidence against Woodlock’s thesis — that it is exclusion, and not religion, that drives some Muslims to terrorism — is the fact that across the globe the most diverse religious minorities do not resort to violence, even when persecuted.

There are no Falun Gong terrorists in China, despite all the bitter persecution. The same can be said for persecuted Christians in many nations.

Even in Australia, many ethnic and religious groups have been subjected to disadvantage and exclusion, but none have produced the level of terrorist convictions of our own home-grown Islamic radicals.

It is a bitter pill for the vast majority of Australian Muslims to swallow that their faith has been linked, globally and locally, to religious violence.

Unfortunately, this link cannot be dismissed as the product of media prejudice or ‘‘Islamophobic’’ propaganda. It is in part an issue of some Muslims behaving very badly, and their often strident claim is that they do this in the name of religion.

Taking such claims seriously and debating them publicly must not be equated with stigmatising law-abiding and peaceable Australian Muslims.

Hat tip: DB3.


Anonymous said...

I can't resist quoting Rachel Woodlock's reply in the comments on The Age's site:

"Actually I was discussing the phenomenon of social exclusion in the context of Australia. It is precisely because you have to shift the discussion to countries that aren't democratic, pluralist welfare societies that proves my point. And we need only look to Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Syria etc. to see that it is free democratic societies that is what Muslims want.
Rachel Woodlock | Melbourne Australia - March 25, 2011, 9:09AM"

And why aren't those countries democratic or pluralist? And even if they become 'democratic', will they be pluralist? As I understand it, Syria is only as pluralist as it is in matters of religion because it's a dictatorship. This girl knows nothing.

Blogger said...

Good one. She is probably scared she's going to fail her doctorate.

laine said...

"doctoral candidate Rachel Woodlock said on this page on Wednesday that social exclusion was the root of Islamic radicalism".

It apparently never occurs to this soon to be graduate of higher indoctrination that Islam (no radicalism required) demands social exclusion of its adherents from any non-Muslim society they occupy, all the better to grow another nidus of Allah worship for eventual coalescence with other such beach heads and take over the host society when numbers warrant. Meanwhile, the internally directed shunning of the larger society by Muslims is used to beat the host society about the head with unearned guilt. It's win win all the way for Muslims with such foolish dhimmis both running and graduating from what passes as our academia, leftist propaganda factories one and all.

Hesperado said...

We are currently, have been for years, and will be for the foreseeable future, in a phase of the War of Ideas where this kind of unremarkably cogent explanation by Durie has to be repeated in a variety of ways over and over and over again to exert the only influence it can, given the climate of resistance put up by the dominant and mainstream PC MC: a slow stillicide.

Thank Allah, Muslims will be unable to help themselves over the ensuing years and decades, and will thus provide ever-renewing hills, amounting to mountains, of data that support our concerns.

In that regard, however, many thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands -- even millions -- around the world and within the West will be abused, oppressed, tortured and murdered by Muslims before those who, as Hugh Fitzgerald put it, "lack the mental pencil to connect the dots" (like Rachel Woodlock), will see what they should have seen years before.

Anonymous said...

Mark Durie's book The Third Choice is the single best book I have read about Islam. If you're going to give someone a book to wake them up to what a threat Islam is, give them that.

Mark Durie himself also has the potential to be one of the most effective counterjihadists out there. Unfortunately, he's based in the relative backwater of Australia. No offence intended to Australians, but he would be far more useful to the Counterjihad movement if he was in Europe or the US.

The reason why Durie is so good is that he is a self-evidently humane and compassionate (he is an Anglican minister) man, and the usual suspects who normally cry "hater" or "islamophobe" find this disarming.

His explanations of the state of dhimmitude in his book really aid to an understanding of the world today. They help you see that events in places like Pakistan or Egypt, which often seem like random expressions of mob rage, are in fact grounded in the centuries-old ethics of the dhimma pact.

Hesperado said...

A reader at Jihad Watch provided this crucial detail about Rachel Woodlock, whom she quotes as writing:

"This is where I have to disclose my interest. I've been a Muslim for more than a decade, and have never known anyone who was forced to veil. I started wearing the hijab (the head scarf) as soon as I converted, but didn't try veiling my face until 2002 while I was studying Arabic in Yemen."