Islam Versus Islam Cum Reality:
The Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, CERN, may have hit the jackpot with its mighty accelerator fed by French nuclear power plants: an apparent new particle, and one NOT predicted by the Standard Model. It could be a Heavy Higgs, or a Graviton…
Notice that the Islamist State has not attacked CERN, yet. However it should, just as a matter of coherence: after all, CERN is trying to define reality better. True Believers know that all the reality there is, is found in the Qur’an. Thus CERN, by exploring, and inventing a different version of reality, is a center of some reality based idolatry obviously adverse to the Qur’an.
Let’s hope CERN has good security (a very small bomb could cause billions of Euros of damage to the Large Hadron Collider, and stop it for years).
As I have tried to explain, Islamism has long been a manipulation which has adversely affected the enfolding of civilization, and that especially in the regions most affected. That Africa and the Middle East have contributed enormously to civilization and can still do so is beyond dispute. Be it only in music: listen to the Touareg group Imahran (the on-going turmoil in Libya is partly about freeing the Touareg). http://www.prospect.zone/imahran-nouveau-venu-sur-la-scene-rock-touareg-partage-les-visuels-de-tahabort/
Meanwhile The Guardian, which censored, as the New York Times does, anything I said vaguely related to Islam, decided to equip itself with a bit of balls and brains. So it published:
Muslims can reinterpret their faith: it’s the best answer to Isis: “Religion must evolve and change – and Islam is no exception. Hardline literalists are undermining the soul of a loving, universal creed.” by Hassan Radwan. (Never mind that the punishment for apostasy is death, no doubt a lasting effect of universal love, as some Saudi youth are discovering anew.)
Not just that, but, after informing me kindly that I was under surveillance, and thinking about it for a little while, The Guardian allowed some comments of mine to be published (which constitute part of what follows). That was a first in months.
Reinterpreting Islam is a solution I have insisted upon, for decades. It is true that most of the people who claim to be the faithful of a given religion have not read the sacred texts they claim to be obeying, and live accordingly. This enables very bad men, or youth, to hijack a religion to their own evil ends, by exploiting the bad quotes they can find, and living accordingly.
A detailed knowledge of history reveals much in the case of the Qur’an. It is not just that the Qur’an was written by people. The Qur’an claims to be the message from God, as transmitted by the Messenger, Muhammad. However, history itself says that this is not so.
The closest people to Muhammad, his wife Aisha and his son in law, Ali, said that the Qur’an we have is not the Qur’an (Recitation) which Muhammad related. Aisha was as explicit as possible about this. She said that the people who knew Muhammad best knew obviously better what he said, than people who barely knew him. In particular she said that the Qur’an that was imposed by Uthman mistreated women (whereas Muhammad was very much for gender equality, and there is overwhelming historical evidence that this is completely true: Muhammad improved considerably the condition of women, and the effect was crucial in helping Islam forge a gigantic empire shortly before and after Muhammad’s unexpected death).
Aisha went to war about this, the atrocious sexism imposed by Uthman’s Qur’an. Unfortunately she lost the “Battle of the Camel” (named from the fact Aisha stood above the battlefield on a camel).
So what happened? The composition of a suitable Qur’an was ordered by the Fourth Caliph, the general Uthman.
Uthman set up a committee to write a Qur’an which suited him. Once that was done, he had all other versions of the Qur’an boiled, throughout the giant Muslim empire.
Thus history shows that the highest (religious) authorities, from the start, contested the validity of the existing Qur’an, that the Qur’an really represented faithfully what the Messenger related. It offers an explicit reason to modify it, by sticking closer to the more plausible version of what Muhammad said (follow Aisha!)
Christianism itself was heavily reinterpreted. The Christianism we tolerate now had all the naughty bits explicitly removed. Such as the Evangels’ Luke 27; 19 which is the predecessor of the Qur’an Sura 5, verse 9. Both verses enjoins to “slay” people who are considered to be “unbelievers“. Obviously, as Christ was ready to slay unbelievers, the Muslim version of God could not do anything else, just to keep up with the Jones (so the violence of the Qur’an partly originates from the violence of Christianism).
The problem with making the Qur’an we have compatible with civilization are very deep. The place of women (or inferior place thereof, what Aisha condemned) is in total contradiction with the United Nations Charter (in law, a woman is half a man, and a man can dissolve or enter marriage pretty much at will, his will; also “battlefield brides” are allowed, and that’s just condoning battlefield rape, as one can observe the Islamist State to practice).
Also the Qur’an is explicitly hostile to democracy (although it encourages charity and equality of all under God). It is actually explicitly friendly to dictators, as long as they are Muslim:
“O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and OBEY THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IN POWER.” (Qur’an’s fascist principle, Sura 4; verse 59). In other words, obey authority as a matter of religion. No wonder that, where the Qur’an rules, so do strongmen.
Saladin and his successors made the literal interpretation of the Qur’an subject to the death penalty. That started before 1200 CE.
In many places of the world, and sometimes very long ago, the fact that the Qur’an was incompatible with civilization was observed and the application of the Qur’an was modified in consequence by supplementary texts and practices. Such currents are often labelled “Sufism”.
In recent decades, the monarchies of the Middle East were able to smother Sufism under their petrodollars, and replace it by the literalism that was expressly made unlawful in Egypt in the Twelfth Century.
By the 1930s, Literalist Islam had nearly disappeared from much of the “Muslim World”. However, the ascent of petro-monarchies after World War Two changed everything. The reason for their financing of Literalism (aka Salafism) was obvious: thus the dictatorships of the Middle East made the world more hospitable, and friendly, to them.
Meanwhile most opinion leaders in the West were too unfamiliar with Islam to understand that, as Abou Diouf of Senegal (ex-president and a Muslim himself) observed, the Islam of West Black Africa was a completely different religion from the Islam of Saudi Arabia. Thus they extended the respect some versions of Sufism richly deserved, to their fanatical antagonist, Literalist Islam.
In other words, Islamophobia is justified in some versions of Islam, and not at all in others. Justice is starting to understand this. In France Jihadist threats and “ordinary Islamism” brought more arrests in three weeks after the Paris attacks than in the rest of the year. 25% of the arrests were of adolescents. 66% resulted in jail condemnations.
This is obviously unsustainable. The solution is to advertise widely what forms of Islamist practices are available, and legal. And also to make Literal Islam explicitly unlawful. As it is, Literal Islam is unlawful only when it explicitly violate democratic law. Thus a great percentage of youth is imprinted on the notion and practices of Literal Islam, while not aware that they contradict the law. And that other versions of Islam exist, which are perfectly compatible with the Human Right Charter.
Meanwhile at CERN, the first team (those can have thousands of PhDs on board) who found the putative new particle said there was one chance out of 93 that this was a fluke. You have to understand that the usual standard is one out 3.5 million. Indeed, so many experiments are made, lots of flukes happen. So why the excitement? Because an independent team, with an independent experiment also found a bump at the same place.
Particles are all about bumps these days. Yet a bump on the road, such as Christianism in the Fourth Century, can be all it takes to send civilization packing.
Why? Because savagery is just below the surface. Humanity’s fate all too often holds just with a hair. Why? Because the savage, better connected as she, or he, is, with his, or her, emotional system, thinks more powerfully, in a sense best connected to war. That’s why Christian fanatics, who were savages, “men in black”, found so easy to go through civilization like a red hot knife through butter.
I savage, thus I think. Or not.