Generalization of Islam:
Wilders and Islamophobia
Arnol Yasin Mol
8 February 2010
For the last 3 years a new phenomena has arisen on the anti-Islam/Islamophobia scene. My countryman Geert Wilders. His anti-Islam rhetoric became harsher and harsher over the last 5 years since the murder of director Theo van Gogh, who was killed by a madman who believed he acted in the name of Islam. The killer followed medieval writings of several severe dogmatic scholars, who lived in a time of war and chaos. The idea that a person offending Islam or the Prophet Muhammad should be killed, contradicts the Qur’an on many points:
28:55 (Additionally) whenever they hear vain talk of ridicule, they withdraw from it decently and say, “To us our deeds and to you yours; Peace be upon you, we do not seek to join the ignorant.”
25:63 The true servants of the Beneficent are those who walk upon the earth humbly, and when the ignorant ones address them, they say, “Peace!”
But although this has been stated by many Muslims in the Dutch media, the anti-Islam retoric has increased, and whatever Muslims say, people will keep connecting terrorism and violence to Islam. Wilders had created a short movie called “Fitna”, where he misquoted and even mistranslated the Qur’an, and backed these up with some extremist Imams who have never represented the majority of Muslims in the world.
Now Wilders is being trialled for discriminating against Muslims, the religion Islam, and foreigners. During the first hearing he made a statement that his remarks could not be taken as discrimination if they were the truth. And so he has conveniently switched the discussion and now Islam itself is on trial. This very interesting turn of events not only shows the arrogance, but also the blind ignorance of Wilders. the witnesses he has required to testify to prove Islam is a violent, fascist ideology, are several orientalist scholars, and several orthodox and extremist Imams and persons. Including the above mentioned killer of Theo van Gogh. So now, the court is really going to compare the Qur’an with Hiler’s Mein Kampf (one of the comparisons Wilders has made).
Wilders is destroying his own defense as:
- He talks about “THE Islam”. While there are hundreds of schools, sects and thoughts.
- He gets people there as witnesses who cannot give an objective opinion (probably Arabist Hans Jansen), the killer who is rejected by the majority of the Muslims (Mohammad B), or a minority sect representative (Salafi Imam Faouzy).
- He is to compare a TRANSLATION of the Qur’an with Mein Kampf, while a translation is always AN approach to the Qur’an, and not THE approach. And verses should also be understood in context, and words how they are used by the Quran. Often translations are simplistic in explaining words, and miss the background history of verses.
And do these witnesses really represent Islam? Of course not, but this doesn’t stop Wilders. If he had said there were interpretations within Islam that are fascistic and violent, then he could never be said to discriminate as that is the plain truth. But he doesn’t do this, he generalizes and makes the minority extremists the real followers of Islam. Wilders has thus become the expert on Islam, and we the Moslims are ignorant.The 99% of 1.5 Billion Muslims on earth are ignorant and that we believe Islam to be peaceful is an illusion. Of course there are interpretations which aren’t productive, realistic or rational, but this is to be expected when there are hundreds on hundreds of different ideas in Islam and 1400 years to distile them. There is no THE Islam, as we humans decide what Islam is. We read the Qur’an, we interprete the Qur’an, we apply the Qur’an, we have written the history of Islam. And so, we humans are responsible for how we express Islam.
I myself don’t agree with many medieval ideas present in Islamic thought, as these were not originally part of Islam, and the concept of Shari’a was never stagnant but very flexible (see interview with Sheikh Fadl). Sadly Muslims and scholars have been more busy with defending Islam then seeing what is really part of Islam or what parts could be reformed. But this will eventually change, as economies and governments in Muslim countries are getting better, and with more freedom and better economy, so also the intelligence grows with it.
Wilders is now also invited by 2 British parliamentarians to show “Fitna” in the British Parliament. He was earlier rejected to enter the UK, because he was deemed a hazard for the public order.
I don’t mind Wilders having this anti-Islamic rhetoric, but it is important Muslims themselves speak up more in the media, and that the voice of Islamic reform is heard. This is now partially possible through the Dutch Muslim Party (NMP), the political party which I’m part off, these brave Muslims are showing the true side of Muslims and that we can contribute to the democracy.
At the moment I’m also busy with gathering several Western non-muslim scholars/orientalists who are objective about Islam, and know and can explain the diversity of Islamic thought and especially the peacefulness of the majority.
I also challenge Wilders to put me into the witness stand! I myself have studied Islam closely for years now, and have read hundreds and hundreds of books and articles on Islam and the Qur’anic message and meanings, and work together with many famous Islam scholars and writers, this website is a testimony of my efforts. And my conclusion about Islam is: It is is diverse as any religion, and it has contributed and will contribute immensely to worldpeace and progress. May peace be on the world, and may Wilders see the difference between a person calling himself Muslim and who acts as a Muslim, a peacekeeping person.
10:25 God invites to the abode of Peace.
And not to the abode of war or violence….
Copyright ©2010 AY Mol