"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Monday, November 29, 2004

To Irshad Manji: GET REAL

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Under the Cover of Islam,
November 18, 2004, OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR, Under the Cover of Islam, by IRSHAD MANJI

Irshad Manji is a bright, articulate, and somewhat charismatic woman. But, she annoys me. Why? She tries to have everything both ways, in defiance of logic, by selectively playing dumb and trying Muslim "shell games" on us.

She tries to paint herself as being in a self-imposed probationary status with Islam. She is awaiting its reformation, or, she says, she will leave it. I will come back to this.

Here is one of her really selectively dumb statements from this otherwise flawed op-ed in the New York Times:

"...[Here is One of the] key differences between the debate over Islam in Western Europe and North America. In Western Europe, the entry point for this debate is the hijab - the headscarf that many Muslim women wear as a signal of modesty. By contrast, the entry point in North America is terrorism."

Europe may be just starting to get its comeuppance regarding the infestation of Muslims into its declining countries. Her comparing the wearing of the hijab to the events of 11 September 2001 and all of the unanswered murders and destruction during the Clinton administration years made me immediately suspicious of her motives.

But then her next statements really irritate: "Some might say that difference is understandable. After all, Sept. 11 happened on American soil. But March 11 happened on European ground, yet the hijab remains the starting point for Europeans. Meanwhile, it makes barely a ripple in North America."

Yes, "some" MIGHT SAY that difference is "understandable." 3-11 was too small to wake up comatose Europeans in large numbers. But, then what is 9-11 compared to the horrors of restricting the hijab?

She writes: "But now, I'm also not sure that liberal Muslims like me fit comfortably in a secular European crowd. I say this even after the murder of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker, who police officials say was shot and stabbed by a Muslim extremist." Yes, they do SAY that Van Gogh was murdered ritualistically by a Muslim, one from Morocco. The almost decapitated Van Gogh, lying on the street with two knives in his body, had a note under one knife of Muslim-Koranic gibberish extolling his murder as vindicating Islamic honor. Van Gogh's murder was NOT HEARSAY. What kind of bizarre mold is this woman trying to fit into?

She states: "But now, I'm also not sure that liberal Muslims like me fit comfortably in a secular European crowd." Do tell! First, what is a "liberal" Muslim? Is that like a "jumbo shrimp?" This brings me to her toying with Islam.

Here, she tries to squeeze into another paradox: "It's precisely that, from Amsterdam to Barcelona to Paris to Berlin, people incredulously ask me one type of question that I'm never asked in the United States and Canada: Why does an independent-minded woman care about God? Why do you need religion at all?"

If Europeans are asking that, they are--in effect--telling "Empress" Manji that she has no clothes. They see through her.

Some more of the Manji paradox: "Islam today has deep flaws, and I know saying so makes me a blasphemer in the eyes of countless Muslims." No kidding! Saying so actually qualifies her for being murdered, according to standard Islamic doctrine. Right behind this comes her payoff statement: "If they move beyond emotion, they'll come to appreciate that for the rationalists among us, religion can be a godsend."

Even though the foregoing came from the preceding paragraph, it did explain her version of "godsend": "Which brings me back to the question of why I, an independent-minded woman, bother with Islam. Religion supplies a set of values, including discipline, that serve as a counterweight to the materialism of life in the West. I could have become a runaway materialist, a robotic mall rat who resorts to retail therapy in pursuit of fulfillment. I didn't. That's because religion introduces competing claims. It injects a tension that compels me to think and allows me to avoid fundamentalisms of my own."

If you understand this, you are ready to read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Manji is blowing smoke and trying to ride two horses at once with each going in differing directions.

Manji is like an agnostic. Both have all the evidence they need for definitive action, but both fear taking the action. An agnostic knows there is no evidence in reality to support the existence of a God or gods. He or she hides behind some very obvious logical fallacy such as "You can't prove there isn't a God." Well, Aristotle dispensed with this fallacy FOREVER in the 4th century B.C.E.

Manji's similarity to agnostics comes from her trying to be a "liberal Muslim." There is no such thing, and no such thing is possible. Islam cannot reform and will not reform. Islam is what it is and what it has always been. Muslims are what they are and always have been. Reformation would destroy Islam forever-- not that that is a bad idea. Manji has all the evidence she needs to leave Islam forever, because Islam is evil from its roots to its every expression, and you don't have to be intelligent to learn this.

At root, Manji is a "moderate Muslim," one of the most untrustworthy of all human beings. Moderates pick and choose what they will and will not follow about Islam. In Islam's own terms, this constitutes hypocrisy and merits death. This next statement in her op-ed gives her away: "Religion supplies a set of values, including discipline, that serve as a counterweight to the materialism of life in the West."

A moderate Muslim is a Muslim. The rest is window dressing and facade. She wants the "materialism of life in the West," whereby she can be a prosperous gadfly. At root, she is 100% Muslim. Her reversion to orthodoxy is just a matter of stimulus, which could revert her at any time. If she can't give up Islam, knowing what she has learned and experienced, she is a profound hypocrite to the culture of Islam and to the West.

Muslim is Muslim, and being "moderate" or "liberal" is in terms of fundamental principles the same as "radical" or "extreme." Manji needs to drop the mask and stop playing the games.


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