13.5.06

Islam bashing continues

And in the most stereotyped way...
Christopher Hitchens verbatim:
You don’t have to be paranoid, racist or a bigot to take alarm,” he said. “There is a civil war within Islam. We are not in a war on terror. We cannot be at war with an expression.”

Of course, he’s not a prophet,” he said. “He’s an epileptic plagiarist.”
When did Hitchens become a Qoran and an Islam specialist ?

He said the Quran — Islam’s holiest book — was full of “evil fairly tales” that were “unimaginably recycled.”

It’s a boring plagiarism of the worst parts of Christianity and Judaism,” he added.

That's interesting. First the Qoran is plagiarised from Christianism and Judaism, then it is full of evil fairy tales. Does this imply anything for the other religions ? Hitchens never takes an argument to its logical end. He does not embarras himself with logic but he embarrasses people with his empty rethorics.

''Hitchens said he has personally expressed concern to British Prime Minister Tony Blair about Europe’s accommodation of radical Islam. He said that some Muslim leaders have said their growing population means they will eventually take control of Europe.''

There is one sure thing, if people are still listening to the much discredited Hitchens, it is because they like what they hear ! I think one should ask oneself a question: Why do I like what I hear from Hitchens even though his rethoric is problematic, unfounded if not racist ? Sometimes asking the good question is what is important in order to get the right answer.

Source: The Stanford daily, via Angry Arab

14 comments:

Gert said...

All three monotheisms ultimately base themselves on the Old Testament which is jam-packed with tales of violence, murder, rape and assorted evil.

The current depiction of God as a benign, loving deity is a very recent distortion: the Old God was a vicious and ruthless "Warrior King", probably inspired by real-life figures.

You don't need to be an expert theologian to understand this.

Hitchen is of course an ignorant Islamophobe and a manipulating b*st**d.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

- Dear Sophie,

What’s even more “fascinating” (for lack of another word…I might have said “consternating” though) is the fact that self-proclaimed “secularist thinkers” such as Hitchens and his neo-conservative cum ex-Marxist Pharisaic friends allied with rightwing Dixie Ayatollahs and other despicable characters from America’s fundamentalist religious right have the nerve to lecture Arabs and Muslims on topics such as women’s right and the “separation of mosque and state”!!

What Gert says of the Old Testament in general and the Pentateuch (a.k.a. “The Torah” in the language of Herr General Sharon) is 100% spot on!

Sophia said...

Victor, Gert,

I think some secularists are falling in what I might call secularist jihadism.

Personally, I am an atheist who respect people's religious beliefs and religions as long as they tend for the good. Not everybody can have his own idea of goodness and humanism and people are entitled to different beliefs.

I don't agree with religions when they touch on the political, military and scientific spheres but again this has nothing to do with individuals. And as you know every religion at some point has touched on the political, scientific and military aspects of our civilisations. Christianity, Islam and Judaism. As long as Israel is perceived in the middle east as an entitlment to Jews on the basis of the military and political power of Zionism and its ally the US and on the expanses of Muslim Arabs, the violent, military and jihadist aspect of Islam will not fade away.

This is why I am for a one state solution in Palestine/Israel.

The one state solution will cut the grass (as we say in french) under the feet of Muslim countries in the ME like Saudi Arabia and Iran and under fundamentalist Islam, promotes tolerance and secularism because secularism is the only venue on which a one state solution can be achieved in Palestine/Israel.

Cosmic Duck said...

Sophia.

That Hitchens doesn't sound like a person you´should pay attention to.

With regard to your one-state solution for Palestine: There's certainly some beauty to it: Giving all indidividuals equal citizen rights, a democratic decision making that treats citizens on an equal basis, etc. On the other hand: What do you do, when they disagree, as they certainly will! The prospect of an arab majority will scare the wits out of the Israelis. That may be an obstacle to a peaceful implementation of a one state solution.

Sophia said...

Cosmic,
First: I am for the one state solution as an ideal solution but I am not against any other solution which gives Palestinians:
1) A viable state on their land;
2) A Right to return;
3) A share in the historical, cultural and religious sites which have a meaning for their history as a nation.

The aftermath of the Oslo Process has proven the impossibility of the two states solution. I don't think Israel is ready to go back to this kind of process.

As for the coexistence of israelis and Palestinians in one state, it will be like any other state: religious extremists on both sides and a great majority of people yearning to live together and all must abide by the rules of the law while being equal citizens. If South Africa has been able to achieve a reconciliation, If Rwanda has been able to achieve a reconciliation after the horrors of the civil war, then it must be possiblwe in Israel/Palestine. Of couse, it takes political courage to implement such a solution. As for Arab countries, Israel must resolve the territorial dipsutes and Arab countries will be happy to end this state of war and move on to resolve the acute and urgent problems of their populations and of their development as nations.

Gert said...

Sophia:

The one state solution with equal rights for all Israeli and Palestinian citizens which you favour would be called what?

Clearly the name Israel and the religio-zionist symbol of its flag would be unacceptable to you? Right now this may seem a mere detail but it's not: National identities lie at the heart of the whole question and its solution...

Sophia said...

Gert,

I will return to you later on this one. Thanks

cosmic duck said...

Sophia.

There seems to be a very real difficulty for the one-state solution in the national identity, as stressed by Gert. Which flag and other symbols are they going to adopt?

In a sense you are nearly born with a national identity, and the two populations have got into a vicious circle of labeling each other. This game of mutual stereotyping leads to nothing good. You take a part of a person and lets that part represent the totality.

National identities are historical constructs. And they may be deconstructed, but that is not the process under way in Palestine at the moment. You can, however, find other places in the world where deconstruction of national identities has been successful, and new identities have been built up. Take for instance the border region of the Rhineland and Alsace between Germany and France. There used to be a lot of national conflicts and mutual stereotyping in this area. It is virtually gone now. It is as if populations on both sides have come to terms with each other that national borders and nationalities no longer mean so much as before. Even national symbols are being downplayed. Instead a lot of people start using EU symbols.

National identity doesn't need to be destiny for the indidviduals involved. But how do you start such a process in the holy land of Palestine? I have no easy answer to that one.

Sophia said...

Cosmic,
The identity problem is an interesting one. As I said to Gert, I will get back to you soon on this problem. I am enjoying my mother's day today and I am teaching tomorrow. The answer will come tomorrow Monday late. Sorry...

Sophia said...

Gert, Cosmic,

You raised one good objection dor the one state solution: the national identity problem. But I think the problem is often misstated.

I would like to start by exposing the definitions (not my own but widely aknowledged definitions) of both words.

Identity is a result of a process by which one compares oneself to another and concludes to similarities and resemblances. This may be achieved by belonging to any homogenous group being ethnic, religious or something else...

A nation is a group of people whose members are related by affinites and values based on one or more of these: religion, ethnicity, language, religion, historical and cultural traditions, and aspiring to maintain their cohesion.

There are two levels to identities, local and universal. Clearly, the religion is a universal level and not a local one. You can find jews everywhere in the world and the world,s largest mulsim communities are not in the ME. Language is in the same category. For national identities we are then left with history and culture.

There is rarely a mention about the land in the definition of a nation.

I live in Canada, a multicultuiral society built on three radically different historical and cultural identities (indigenous, english and french) to which immigration added so many identities in the last fifty years that the demographica of the country have been rdically transformed. Very often, canadians will define themselves by being unlike their neighbours of the south, the Americans, and this is the number one national definition. That does not mean that canadians don't have a strong identity at the individual level.

Moreover, identities are built in communities before being built by the nation.
Many problems arise every day in a mulitcultural society and they are taken up and treated at the levels of the legilative and judiciary. There are very little if no similarities at all between a Canadian from Alberta and a Canadian from Quebec. They don't even speak the same language. Quebecers have been trying to separate for a long time but the influx of immigrants in great numbers changed the demographics of the country and people felt that the identity problem of Quebecers around the french language and their history was becoming outdated. Quebec conducted two referenda on the separation issue and the answer of the population was 'no' twice.

I think the identity problem is a fake problem. You don't need a nation to maintain your identity, you just need rules and rights and you can maintain your identity through your community or you can emancipate from this community to reach for common values created within the multicultural state. After arriving in canada with more than two identities (actually three), I feel today that I belong to this country which gave me a fourth identity based this time on multiculturalism and core common values. Multiculutralism gave me the occasion to realize a real synthesis between all my local identities and to reach for the other and for the better in each human being. From primary to high school my children evolved in classes whre not less than fourteen nationalities were represented each year (and this is not your ordinary public school where people have no other choice to go to, I am talking here of a private school where actually parents choose to send their children to). Of course there are problems but having the ame rights, people are not frustrated and not anxious and not fearful of living toghether.

Now there may be problems of resources and power sharing in a multicultural entity but these are matters that could be resolved and can be resolved even in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Now if you are speaking of the identity of the nation itself and not its people, do you think that an abstract entity deserves that real people die every day for it ? I personally don't think so. A nation should not reflect the aspirations of a homogenous group, even if they are a majority. It should reflect and live up to the aspirations of all its citizens and it is not the citizens who should reflect the aspirations of a nation and live and die for it.

In my opinion a nation that defines its identity according to a religion like Israel is a fallacy and so is every other nation alike because religion can never and should never be an identity issue. I think a one state solution can be built based on the preservation of cultural identities including the freedom of religion and mutual respect for these identities. I don't rally care what the flag should be or what the name of such an entity can be as long as it respects its citizens and give them equal rights.

Cosmic duck said...

"religion can never and should never be an identity issue. I think a one state solution can be built based on the preservation of cultural identities including the freedom of religion and mutual respect for these identities".

I agree, as a matter of principle. But the fact is that religion and national identity do matter. And you have to find realistic ways to make them matter less.

The Canadian concept of statehood is built around a common acceptance of citizenship overruling religious and other cultural cleavages. And the general economic well-being makes people accept his/her neighbour.

The situation in Palestine is different. There is no mutual acceptance of a common citizenship.

Sophia said...

Cosmic,

"religion can never and should never be an identity issue. I think a one state solution can be built based on the preservation of cultural identities including the freedom of religion and mutual respect for these identities".

I meant of course that ''religion can never and should never be a national identity issue''

''The Canadian concept of statehood is built around a common acceptance of citizenship overruling religious and other cultural cleavages. And the general economic well-being makes people accept his/her neighbour.'' There can be general acceptance between Israeli and Plaestinian of common values overrulig religions.

As for the well being as a factor in this acceptance:
I think if the two people achieve peace, prosperity and development can be attained because they don't have to spend on the military. Actually, only Israel is spending on the military, the Palestinians being barely able to spend on a piece of bread right now.
It is an unnatural thing to live in a perpetual state of war !

Cosmic Duck said...

I found this at the Kabobfest blog. It pretty well expresses how meaningless the violent confrontations are:

"Before Zionism, Palestine's three main religious groups lived in relative peace (Jews were a very small percentage of the population). Zionism shattered that, and the effects continue to this day.

The most important reason to commemorate this is because the conflict today springs directly from these facts. Without the unilateral declaration of statehood, the massive ethnic cleansing, and the taking of land and property, there would be no such conflict in Israel-Palestine today. Yet, too many in the United States consider the conflict religious in nature, over ancient issues, or simply about hate".

Sophia said...

Cosmic,

You are right. Religions can live toghether when there are not national aspirations for one religion over another. Everywhere in the ME religions lived and thrived toghether. The region was the most secular in the world in the sixties (there was the Baath in Syria and Irak, Nasser in Egypt, secularism was on the rise in Lebanon. Palestinian liberation groups were all socialists and communists).
The dream of a state based on religion, Israel shattered all this. israel even encourgaed Islamists in the region and meddled in the lebanese civil war in favor of Christians over Muslisms to exacerbate religious tensions. I lived in Lebanon before the civil war and about six years during the civil war and I can tell you that tensions arised between religious groups because of their political affiliations and because lebanese christians, with the help of israel, thought they can achieve a Christian (Maronite) state. There was talk about partition of Lebanon netween Christians and Muslims. Can you imagine partitioning a country of 200 kms by 80 kms (roughly 10000km2 ?). This was the dream Israel brought to fanatic religious in the region and I think a state based on religion is an aberration in our modern world. But they keep wanting it badly and they are ready to inflame the region and the world for 100 years to come for this purpose.

 
Since March 29th 2006