Sep 172012

The violence claimed to be a response to a dodgy film about Muhammad, and political comments accompanying the violence, reveal a mountain of incomprehension:

  • While many of us speak in post-Enlightenment language, others speak in pre-Enlightenment language.
  • While many of us favour a post-Enlightenment world, others favour a pre-Enlightenment world.
  • While many of us think the word “Enlightened” is a compliment, others think it is an insult.

Among the political comments:

Even during the protests, some stone throwers stressed that the clash was not Muslim against Christian. Instead, they suggested that the traditionalism of people of both faiths in the region conflicted with Western individualism and secularism.

This is not some sort of regional clash. This is a “Clash of Eras” – the 1st millennium CE (Islam) versus the 3rd millennium CE (“the West”). Islam has not undergone its own “Enlightenment”, and in general appears unable to do so.

Islamic states are experiencing modernity being thrust upon them as a package: the global communication capability they want brings with it communications they don’t want. This isn’t their only conflict with modernity: those states have in the past been called a “science desert”. There is sometimes suspicion that “Western-style” evidence-based reasoning is incompatible with their conviction that they are custodians of the final and eternal word of Allah. And one group claiming responsibility for some of the violence stated that democracy is incompatible with Islam, because only Allah can make laws.

Ahmed Shobaky, 42, a jeweler:
“When you hurt someone, you are just hurting one person. But when you insult a faith like that, you are insulting a whole nation that feels the pain.”

Mr. Mohamed, a religious scholar:
“Our prophet is more dear to us than our family and our nation.”

As with the previous quote above, this relegation of the individual is incompatible with Universal Human Rights, which is certainly a post-Enlightenment concept. Islam, identified by the Koran and Hadith, is incompatible with Universal Human Rights and incompatible with the 21st Century. It is clear and unambiguous that Islamic versions of “Human Rights” are really Shariah (Islamic Law) dressed up to resemble Human Rights.

Mohamed Sabry, 29, a sculptor and art teacher at a downtown cafe, said he saw a darker picture:
“To see the Islamic world in this condition of underdevelopment, this is a bigger insult to the prophet.”


Earlier posts

I’ve just had a shock: Tony Blair said something I agree with! (Here: scroll down):

I just see a region that is in the process of huge transition. There is essentially a struggle between the forces of modernisation, who want an open society, a properly functioning economy, who recognise the 21st century is the 21st century, and then those of reaction based on a perverted view of religion, that want to pull the whole thing backwards.

When you lift the lid off the repression what comes out are a whole lot of religious, ethnic, tribal influences that themselves have to be countered and moulded into something that is compatible with the modern world….

In the end we need both the leadership within those countries and within Islam to stand up and say ‘look, there is a proper modern way of reconciling religious faith, democracy in society, and we need ourselves from the outside to engage with this process of change in a way that’s constructive’.

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