Sunday, April 6, 2008

"Islamization Is Already Upon Us"

Present article by interpreter and author Nahed Selim was first published in Dutch newspaper "Trouw" on 5th April 2008. We hereby post a free translation. Hat tip: Muslims Against Sharia
On 30th March Dutch Islamic Broadcasting (NIO) aired responses from Egypt to (Geert Wilders' video) "Fitna". A Protestant minister weighed in. Besides the usual rants about respect and insults he also appeared to be incensed over the title of the film. He wondered if the director knew what fitna actually means. Judging from what the director said in the Parool newspaper on 9th February it is clear that Geert Wilders is indeed aware of its significance. "Every Muslim knows the Arabic word fitna," says the Freedom Party (PVV) leader (Wilders). "It concerns situations in which a Muslim's belief is put to the test: uncovered women, alcohol, infidels, resistance against the authority of Islam. I use the term in the reverse sense: to me the corruption of Islam means fitna." Wilders has been taken by the idea. "I wanted a word from the Koran."

cont'd >> For several reasons this title is a good choice. Fitna is a fascinating word. On an individual level it means 'seduction' and 'testing of the faith.' Remarkably also seduction by women is understood as fitna. Moreover, the concept is associated with disorder, civil war and chaos. In the classical Islamic history there have been three major occurrences of fitna.

Between the years 656 and 661, after the assassination on the third caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, a power struggle ensued, during which Muslims fought each other for the first time. The second fitna took place between 683 and 685. This also concerned a political fight; for the control of the Islamic realm between the Ummayad and the Abbassyd dynasties. The third fitna refers to a fight between army leaders and authorities during the latter period of the Islamic domination of Cordoba, Spain.

Under Muslim scholars the fear of fitna with its associations, from chaos and civil war, to seduction and tribulation, is enormous. It is almost comparable to the phantom of World War II for Europeans.

The Egyptian minister, although a Protestant Christian, finished his declaration in the NIO program with a spontaneous prayer to God to protect our countries and societies against all types of fitna and against the instigators of it.

It is doubtful if Wilders was as aware of this historical dimension of the film's title as Gilles Kepel. The French political scientist and expert of radical Islam was the first to use the term in the title of the book "Fitna: war in the heart of the Islam" (translated title "The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West" (note product details and editorial reviews, 2005). In this captivating book he discusses the interaction between jihad and fitna. Everyone is aware by now what jihad is. Fitna to Muslims is just as important a term, but it hardly known to non-Muslims. Wilders changed that. Thanks to him millions of people all over the world are now acquainted with the fascinating term.

The Freedom Party leader wanted the film to be a final warning to the Netherlands against Islamization. Why a final warning? I hope many are yet to follow. But every country that adopted total Islamization has deteriorated. The more Islamization, the more disorder, material and cultural poverty, conflicts between populations, bloodshed and other misery. Look at Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia. Present society is the best option for everyone.

Discussing Islamisation is a taboo in the Netherlands. I think many Dutch do not understand the term entirely.

Islamisation is not limited to the increase of the Muslim population alone, or the military conquest of the country by Muslims, or the foundation of an Islamic state. Islamisation is a process whereby (the Muslim) religion gradually dominates all aspects of life.

Turkey is an Islamic country, the majority of the population is Muslim, yet the country is not entirely Islamic. There's a substantial group of seculars who think and live differently. It is a group which still refuses to conform to the Muslim majority. And it is a group with power, because it is represented in the army and in the elite. The question is how long these seculars will be able to maintain their dominance.

A few months ago some 140,000 people protested against the proposed lifting of the prohibition of the veil in universities. They feared social pressure in favour of a general adoption of the veil, whereas prohibition provides many women and their families with an excuse not to wear it. They can say that it is not legal. They feared also that lifting the prohibition constitutes an important link in the process of Islamisation.

The seculars in Turkey have a better understanding of the meaning of Islamisation than the Dutch Government. However slowly it unfolds itself, Islamisation is also the process of a gradual change in the way of thinking. Islamisation of thought means an end to all creativity, original thinking and creative power, because creation and creative power are divine properties that are Allah's exclusive prerogative. He tolerates no competition of human beings. Islamisation is the process whereby Islamic values on the long run dominate all other value systems.

This process has been going on in the West for quite some time. It is demonstrated almost daily in a series of incidents.

For example when a Muslim drugstore assistant refuses to sell birth control pills or condoms, when a Muslim doctor refuses to treat AIDS patients or perform abortions, when medicine students refuse part of the curriculum because it is not in line with their beliefs, when Muslim taxi drivers refuse to carry blind passengers if accompanied by guide-dogs - unclean animals according to the Muslim belief, when it becomes impossible to criticize Islam or Muslims without being threatened, when the Juvenile Protection Service needs to call in imams because it is otherwise impossible to work with Moroccan families, when municipal civil servants refuse to shake hands with women, when women teachers and government civil servants during work represent Islam, wearing the veil - whereas they ought to be representing the state, when Fortis Bank pull the plug on a promotion which gives children a piggy bank because the piggy is offensive to Muslims, when museums hide photographs and paintings for fear of Muslim reactions, when posters of traditional nudes can no longer decorate underground railway stations - the list is endless.

These incidents have all occurred over the last few years, in the West including in the Netherlands. And they are signs of the advancing process of Islamisation.

Can a political party warn against that? Of course it can. It even has a duty to warn against these dangers.

My critique of the film "Fitna" is that Wilders does not sufficiently highlight the aspect of the encroaching mental and institutional process of Islamisation, while it is a bigger threat to democratic, secular society than terrorism.

Just one sentence in the film refers to institutional Islamisation. Wilders has a voice say: "The mosque will become a component of the Dutch governmental system."

I am afraid this is already the case. The fact that Juvenile Protection Services cannot work without the assistance of imams is testimony to that. The state is delegating part of its tasks to the mosque. This also proves that such Muslim families have no loyalty to the government or its civil servants, but only to their spiritual leaders.

It is a pity that Wilders did not pay more attention to these aspects. Otherwise he might have observed that it is not just Muslims who are at fault. Often institutional Islamisation is made possible by native Dutch, who have taken to self-Islamisation as the notion of the separation of church and state escapes them.

The most violent part of "Fitna" is of course the first, in which we see images of terrorist attacks collated with sermons and Koranic texts. Wilders aimed at showing the link between terrorism and its theological justification - a relation that is categorically being denied by all commentators, Muslims and non Muslims alike. Yet, the bulk of the sermons delivered by those terrible imams can almost literally be reduced back to Koranic texts and the declarations of the Prophet Mohammed. All Muslims whom I have spoken reject them, and describe them as radical and extremist interpretations. But the point is that these are not interpretations. They are verbatim quotations from authentic Islamic sources.

What is extremism?

Take the Ramadan as an example. The normal principle of faith is that lent lasts for a month. That is what it says in the Koran. It may be termed radical or extreme if a person fasts for a whole year. Or take prayers. According to Islam prayers take place five times a day. A religious movement that expects believers to continue prayers the entire night may be correctly defined as extremist or radical. It deviates too far from the source. A simple principle, I'd say.

Now imagine it was the other way around. I know Muslims who reject certain medicines, because they contain alcohol which the Koran forbids. Are they radical? Or is the Koran radical? The Koran also contains instructions for believers to kill unbelievers. Most Muslims think that's carrying it too far. They refuse to follow these instructions. It would seems to me they are more judicious than the holy texts. But imagine there are people, who for some reason think the instructions should be adhered to, and act accordingly. Is he an extremist or is Scripture extreme?

I sometimes say to other Muslims that there's no need to follow the Koran in everything, for example with regard to the veil. I can be assured of reactions that, on the contrary such instructions must be obeyed, exactly because they are Holy Scripture.

The English say, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

People gladly believe that the texts revealed by God contain unique levels of wisdom and beauty. They believe they have the right to apply the written word literally, even if it deviates from (Western) norms. The film "Fitna" confronts them with cruel texts which are devoid of wisdom, beauty or ethics. For an honest believer the film can be a confrontation leading to fitna, a crisis of the faith. Most shy away from such a confrontation, blame the interpretation, or the clergy narrating the texts, or the director of the film.

Of course every person is responsible for his own actions. No text, Holy or worldly, can be a licence kill. Accordingly, no film or cartoon can legitimise riots or assaults. How many people will have the courage to endure such a confrontation?

In another article, I wrote there are moderate Muslims, but that there is no moderate Islam.

But this might still happen. In the meanwhile I've met Muslims Against Sharia; founded a year ago in the United States. It is an Islamic organisation for the reformation of Islam. It has thousands of sympathizers all over the world. Its motto is: admit errors, accept responsibility, move on.

Its aims are raising awareness among Muslims of the dangers of some Islamic religious texts. And is - and that is unique - against Sharia law. On their Internet site is a list of Koranic texts which the movement labels as morally problematic. They even define some texts as ethically unacceptable. Muslims Against Sharia want to publish a sanitised version of the Koran. Not literally ripping up the Koran, but making a rational judgment which texts are worth keeping.

Wilders gets what he's asking for.
Nahed Selim's latest book "Allah houdt niet van vrouwen" (Allah does not like women) was published last year (Houtekiet Publishing - ISBN 9052409587)

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