Sunday, May 11, 2008

'Fitna' of Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders: Hate lies in the eyes of the beholder!

In just six different verses of the Qur’an, Geert Wilders – the infamous Dutch Parliamentarian who had once said that the Qur’an must be banned – sums up the world’s fastest growing religion: Islam is essentially an intolerant and violent religion. This approach itself is a fanatical example of Fitna. In Arabic, the word Fitna means tumult or oppression. The selective approach reflects a sordid act of oppression. Cinematic oppression based on bias, hatred and a half-hearted understanding of a Christian fundamentalist who does not know the comprehensive meaning of the word ‘freedom.’

I can quote six, sixteen and even sixty verses from the Old and New Testament which openly advocate violence. Does that make Judaism and Christianity violent religions? I can quote the same number of violent verses from Bhagavad Gita in which Krishna tells Arjuna to wage war (Dharma Yuddha) on his own brothers and relatives. Does that make Hinduism a violent religion? The answer is a firm no.

Text and context of the violent verses must be kept in mind. I am not an Islamic scholar, but it is true that plenty of verses of the Qur’an were revealed in the midst of a battlefield when Prophet recited them in a state of trance. Also, one would be shocked and not surprised to find out that the Qur’an contains naskh (abrogating) and mansukh (abrogated) verses. Qur’an says, “When We substitute one revelation for another – and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages) – they say, ‘Thou art but a forger’: but most of them understand not.” (16: 101)

Be aware of the learned man’s false knowledge! Don’t be surprised if you come across scholarly essays which argue that Qur’an is full of contradictions! Even a scholar like Fareed Zakaria’s stature has suffered from this syndrome.

Conjecture is a dangerous approach when speaking of the Qur’an. Conjecture follows lines, which reflect the lust of men’s own hearts.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the ace commentator of Qur’an, describes them as “men with a manifest turn of mind” and whose knowledge will be “limited to the narrow circle in which their thoughts move.”

Qur’an must not be interpreted on the basis of some verses it must be interpreted in its totality. To quote professor Abdur Rahman I Doi would be apt:

Supposing someone takes the Qur’an in his hand at random, then begins to read it by grouping together all the chapters dealing with the same topic or rearranging them subject-wise or according to order of their revelation, and then begins to interpret it according to this newly designed system and looks for some hidden meanings within the text. Then this would be wholly inconsistent with the spirit of the Book, because the Qur’an in fact reflects the totality of vision, and with perfect comprehensiveness, it presents an integrated picture of life. While treating the study of the Qur’an like the study of any other book, many superfluous scholars have gone wrong.”

The 17 minute documentary opens with the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad in whose turban a live-bomb is attached. Verses from the Qur’an are pitted against the various terrorist activities and bombings worldwide as if every suicide bomber and martyr wants a virile virgin in the Paradise. Social and economic issues – the root causes of most of the violent activities all across the globe – have been carefully overlooked as if Islam is the opium whose sole quality is to stimulate violence.

What troubles Wilders is Islam’s growing “spell” on Netherlands and Europe. No doubt, Islam is on the rise. In fact it has been resurgent in Europe and America. The hate speech of Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006 reflects official Christendom’s discomfort with the growing Islam. Pope’s rant (“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”) does not find any takers in today’s globalised world where Islam’s rate of growth is simply based on one word: Peace!

Which Islamic army went to China, America, Indonesia, Japan and many more countries where Islam has spread by other means? Suffice it to note that Islam spread to China because of business ethics. Muslim traders taught Chinese what business honesty means.

Wilders’ wildest fantasy is to “defeat” Islam the way Nazism and Communism were defeated in 1945 and 1989 respectively. Islam is different from ‘isms’ and ‘ideologies.’ Isms and ideologies can be defeated but Islam can never be defeated. Am I sounding like a fatal fundamentalist? No. The reason is simple: Islam is not a religion but a way of life. Can you defeat a way of life?

Wilders understanding the word ‘freedom’ is flawed. He only believes in the bodily forms of liberation. No wonder he is concerned that there is no ban on burqa in Netherlands! We are living in a strange world where bikini is ‘civilised’ and burqa is ‘barbaric!’ What we do is ‘freedom’. What others do is ‘fanaticism!’

Wilders can’t digest the flourishing Halal-investment industry in Netherlands. What would happen if Muslims suddenly withdraw their savings and investments from various financial institutions of Netherlands? The country would receive an economic jolt. Should we call it an economic boycott or an economic Jihad?

Wilders carefully avoids portraying his own faith. The history of Christianity is bloodier as well as more spiteful than the history of Islam. Any historian blessed with common sense would agree. One only needs to read M.J. Akbar’s The Shade of Swords. In a chapter called Circle of Hell, the author conclusively proves that the hate culture of Christendom was more venomous than that of Islam. To deny Jesus is to deny Islam. “Islam can survive with Jesus as a Prophet; Christianity cannot if Muhammad, and not Christ, is the last Messenger,” Akbar writes.

Qur’an is not a book of hatred but a book of humanity. Qur’an calls Christians and Jews as Ahle-Kitaab, People of the Book, a respectable title indeed. It does not call them ‘pigs’ as the documentary purports.

The documentary ends when the live-bomb attached to the Prophet Muhammad’s turban explodes. By portraying Prophet Muhammad in offensive cartoons, the ‘enlightened West’ is using its best weapon: ridicule.

A messenger of hate bares the strategy of ridicule:

“The ridicule-armed warrior need not fix a physical sight on the target. Ridicule will find its own way to the targeted individual…To the enemy, ridicule can be worse than death. At least many enemies find death to be a supernatural martyrdom. Ridicule is much worse: destruction without martyrdom: A fate worse than death.”

Islam is not a religion of ridicule; it is a religion of reason. “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord,” says the Qur’an, “with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…(16: 125)

Sane voices do good things in strange ways. Not many would know that Dutch Jewish TV producer, Harry De Winter has criticised Fitna, which he calls as “anti-Semitic.” Harry has come out with a bold advertisement on the front page of the newspaper Volkskrant. The ad reads:

What is your message?

“We Jews know better than anyone else what this sort of discrimination can lead to. Wilders claims that the Muslims must be dealt with and that the Koran is a fascist book. That’s how the persecution of Jews once started, by generalization. Therefore, it is time for a sharper criticism from the Jewish community. If you say the same thing about the Jews or Israel, you are considered an anti-Semite and ostracized. It is good that this feeling of justice is so strong, but, for me, there is no difference between the yarmulke and the headscarf.

If Wilders had said the same thing about Jews (and the Old Testament) as he does about Muslims (and the Koran), he would have been ostracized a long time ago and accused of anti-Semitism.”

Rabble-rousers like Wilders will not flourish in today’s multi-cultural society. They would go down in the dustbin of history as nobodies.

Hyper-reactions, Akbar writes sensibly, tend to suggest nervousness. “Islam is not a weak doctrine; it is built on rock, not sand. Reason is a more effective weapon than anger.”


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Well written article Mubasshir...Keep up the gud work

zen said...

There is nothing new in Fitna. All the violent verses had already been popularised by Jihadi groups. Of course, then there have not been any condemnations from Muslims. There are no riots or protests when Jihadis use these verses for killing innocent people like it happened in Jaipur. There lies the hypocrisy of Muslims. You like free speech when it helps you, but not when you are confronted(I know you won't publish this - that is another hypocrisy. You want to use "infidel media" to carry out your messages, but is reluctant to engage in a debate. But still I am writing this to let you know that your posts will be discarded by rationalists with the contempt it deserves).