Muslims, Modernity and the West: the Great Deception (part 1)
by Jai on 8th October, 2009 at 10:30 am
“Islam is a wicked, vicious faith”.
“We will not rest until the flag of Allah and the flag of Islam is raised above 10 Downing Street”.
“SIOE does not accept the notion of ‘moderate Muslims’ ”.
“The real enemies of the British people are …the Crescent Horde – the endless wave of Islamics who are flocking to our shores to bring our island nations into the embrace of their barbaric desert religion.”
“We urgently need global chemotherapy against Islam to save civilisation”.
“When we say “innocent people” we mean “Muslims”. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, they have not accepted Islam. As far as we are concerned, that is a crime against God”.
“Their good book [the Quran] tells them that’s acceptable [raping white girls].….if you doubt it, go and buy a copy and you- will find verse after verse and you can take any woman you want as long as it’s not Muslim women….It’s part of their [Muslims’] plan for conquering countries, it’s how they do it…..Part of what they are doing comes from what they are taught is acceptable”.
“We should be positioning ourselves to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media”.
A selection of quotes by individuals from organisations such as the BNP, Al-Muhajiroun in its various incarnations, and SIOE.
In fact, the actions of those seeking to demonise Muslims en masse remind me of the following paragraph from The Last Mughal (also here) by William Dalrymple, p477:
For the British after 1857, the Indian Muslim became an almost subhuman creature, to be classified in unembarrassedly racist imperial literature alongside other despised and subject specimens, such as Irish Catholics or ‘the Wandering Jew’. The depth to which Indian Muslims had sunk in British eyes is visible in an 1868 production called The People of India, which contains photographs of the different castes and tribes of South Asia…..The image of ‘the Mohamedan’ is illustrated by a picture of an Aligarh labourer who is given the following caption: ‘His features are peculiarly Mohamedan…..[and] exemplify in a strong manner the obstinacy, sensuality, ignorance and bigotry of his class. It is hardly possible, perhaps, to conceive features more essentially repulsive.’
And here we are, 141 years later. History is repeating itself, as it so often does.
Allegedly, Muslims are — and always have been — a united, essentially homogeneous group bent on global conquest and domination by stealth or by force, all following a largely similar interpretation of Islam, all subservient to the literal dictates of the Quran, the Hadith, Shariah Law and the orthodox Islamic clergy, all described most accurately as Wahhabis, Salafi-Jihadis and orthodox Deobandis, a continuation of centuries of religiously-motivated warfare and aggressive expansion, implacably opposed to liberal modern values, incompatible with modern society, essentially sympathetic to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, a massive secret army of fanatical Islamist holy warriors-in-waiting to the last man, woman and child, ultimately hostile to non-Muslims, violent, austere, hyperconservative, puritanical, fundamentalist, insular, oppressive, misogynistic, tribal, territorial, the enemy within.
It’s a narrative which has become prevalent in many quarters in recent years, reinforced by racist organisations and extreme Islamist groups who wish to aggressively promote this stereotyped image of Muslims in order to further their respective agendas. Some sections of the media have also played a considerable role in fanning the flames.
The reality, as readers familiar with the individuals in the picture at the top of this article will know, is a little different. I’m sure that people who will be going to one of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s impending concerts in tribute to his late uncle, the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, will be aware of exactly what I am talking about.
Not to mention the fact that polls conducted here in Britain have demonstrated that the majority of British Muslims – 60% – actually do not support the introduction of Shariah Law in the UK (certainly not in its entirety, especially the more hardline aspects), including 41% who oppose the introduction of Shariah Law in any form whatsoever, along with the fact that 75% do not sympathise with the “feelings and motives” of the terrorists involved in 7/7, 99% feel they were wrong in carrying out the attacks, and over 90% declare a loyalty to Britain.
And the story, particularly where Indian and Iranian history is concerned, is far more complex than the claims of both racists and Islamist extremists.
The essence of Sufism
I’m not going to discuss the more esoteric concepts and terminologies involved in Sufism ; however, the social and religious impact of its liberal and humanitarian philosophy on large parts of the population in the northern half of the Indian subcontinent and (regardless of the efforts of the current orthodox theocratic regime) in neighbouring Iran/historical Persia has been considerable. Particularly when, in the case of India, the evolution and practice of Sufism was also influenced by centuries of Muslims and Hindus (and later Sikhs) coexisting in large numbers in the same regions, thus leading to an understanding of the need to find common ground and overcome sectarian divisions, along with adjustments in attitudes and behaviour and cultural syncretism on all sides; perhaps there is an important lesson there in relation to Muslims in the West too, including here in the UK.
Suffice to say that, in the cases of most Sufi orders and traditions, the primary emphasis has been the concept of love of God rather than fear of God. Following on from that, it has translated into the concept of universal compassion towards one’s fellow human beings without prejudice regarding the latter’s religious affiliation or indeed background in general. William Dalrymple, in The Last Mughal, has described Sufism’s basic tenets very effectively, so I am going to quote directly from his book (pp79-81):
Zafar’s [Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor of India] poetry, however, existed on a much higher plain than this. Like much verse of the period, it was deeply imbued with the Sufi ideals of love, which were regarded as much the surest route to a God who was seen to be located not in the heavens, but deep within the human heart. For if the world of the heart lay at the centre of Sufism, it also formed the cornerstone of the principal literary form in late Mughal Delhi – the ghazal, which derived its name from the Arabic words ‘talking to a woman about love’. The love of the ghazal poet was ambiguous – it was rarely made entirely clear whether it was sacred or worldly love to which the poet referred.
These days, ghazals are generally known more for their romantic connotations. Jagjit Singh is one of the most popular singers of the genre in India, and an example of a wonderful song from one of his live concert performances can be seen here: here (title: “Sliding away from the face is the cover, very slowly”; English translation of lyrics).
This ambiguity was deliberate, for just as the longing of the soul for union with God was believed to be as compelling and as all-embracing as the longing of the lover for the beloved, both loves could be carried to the point of insanity or what Sufis called fana – self-annihilation and immersion in the beloved. In the eyes of the Sufi poets, this search for the God within liberated the seeker from the restrictions of narrowly orthodox Islam, encouraging the devotee to look beyond the letter of the law to its mystical essence. As [Mirza] Ghalib put it,
The object of my worship lies beyond perception’s reach;
For men who see, the Ka’ba is a compass, nothing more.
Look deeper, he tells the orthodox: it is you alone who cannot hear the music of His secrets. Like many of his Delhi contemporaries, Ghalib could write profoundly religious poetry, yet was sceptical about literalist readings of the Muslim scriptures.
…..In the same spirit in Ghalib’s poetry the orthodox Shaikh always represents narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy:
The Shaikh hovers by the tavern door,
But believe me, Ghalib,
I am sure I saw him slip in,
As I departed.
In his letters too Ghalib frequently contrasts the narrow legalism of the ‘ulama, ‘…..wallowing in the problems of menstruation and post-natal bleeding’, with real spirituality, for which you had to ‘study the works of the mystic and take into one’s heart the essential truth of God’s reality and his expression in all things’.
Like the rest of the [Mughal imperial] court circle, Ghalib was prepared to take this insight to its natural conclusion. If God lay within and could be reached less by ritual than by love, then he was as accessible to Hindus as to Muslims… The Hindu elite of Delhi went to the Sufi shrine of Nizamuddin [Auliya], could quote Hafiz and were fond of Persian poetry. Their children…..studied under maulvis and attended the more liberal madrasas, taking offerings of food for their teachers on Hindu festivals. For their part, Muslims followed the Emperor in showing honour to Hindu holy men [and the imperial court also participated in numerous non-Muslim religious festivals such as Diwali, Dussera and Holi]. Like Ghalib, Zafar had a deep disdain for narrow-minded Shaikhs.
A description of the leading liberal madrasa in Delhi (known as “Delhi College”) at the time by Colonel William Sleeman (who was instrumental in destroying the Thugee cult) is also eye-opening, especially when compared with the image of its modern counterparts in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan; quoted in p95 of Dalrymple’s book, the Colonel states that seven years at Delhi College resulted in the student subsequently having a level of classical education comparable to a graduate of Oxford in the fields concerned, not only involving traditional subjects such as grammar, logic and rhetoric (learnt at the time via Greek and Latin in British colleges, and via Persian and Arabic in their Indian equivalents) but also an ability to fluently discuss Socrates, Plato, Hippocrates, Avicenna and others.
In fact, in that era, Delhi as a whole and the local Muslims in particular were renowned for intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness and the associated explosion in scientific and academic learning. The events of the Uprising of 1857 (known as the “Indian Mutiny” here in Britain) not only resulted in the termination of Mughal rule and the formal imposition of direct imperial government from London, but some disillusioned Muslim survivors of the conflict subsequently reacted to those seismic events by rejecting anything associated with late Mughal aristocratic culture, creating a fundamentalist Wahhabi-style madrasa at Deoband, and completely eradicating all traces of progressive Islamic, syncretic, European and Hindu influences from the curriculum. Almost a century and a half later, the result was the Taliban, a safe haven for Al-Qaeda, and eventually 9/11.
Yet those who claim that Muslims are by nature intolerant because of the actions of some groups are wrong. This makes no more sense than claiming that the Inquisition should be used as an example to support the “eradication” of Christianity itself and the demonisation of Christians en masse; or the Confederates who believed Christianity and the contents of the Bible itself gave them the God-given right to own slaves and were prepared to wage war against their fellow Americans in order to defend that alleged “right” during the American Civil War; or indeed the considerable increase in various extreme right-wing plots in the United States involving an aim to murder President Barack Obama and which are currently being investigated by the American security services.
Not just in terms of individual Muslims’ own personal interpretations of Islam, but because of the fact that there are actually dozens of formal sects within the religion itself, just as there are groups with differences of opinion amongst most of the major world religions, and indeed just as there are (and historically, always have been) a considerable number of denominations within Christianity itself. The Wahhabis, Deobandis, Salafis, Naqshbandis, and various organisations allied to them which claim to represent “the true image of Muslims” are not the sum total of the global Muslim population as a whole, certainly not where the Indian subcontinent is concerned (or some of its neighbouring regions, for that matter).
And it is also worth bearing in mind that, during the course of the past 12 months alone, there have been massive protests in Iran (which include participation by huge numbers of women) against the regime and interpretation of Islam itself involving the anti-semitic, Holocaust-denying President Ahmedinejad and the mullahs who support him. Not to mention huge protest rallies in Lahore in Pakistan against the Taliban; in fact, there have even been outbreaks of violence in Karachi targeting those that the local population blames for the “attempted Talibanisation of Pakistan”. And in India, there were similar “not in our name” protests by Muslims after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, to the extent that the Indian Muslim Council not only angrily condemned the terrorists and the notion of there being any widespread support for them amongst Indian Muslims, but they were so disgusted with them that they did not even want the terrorists to be buried on Indian soil. Yet more examples of tangible proof that Muslims are not a monolithic, homogenous group with an identical attitude to Islam, and certainly not “allies with other Muslims first and foremost and united against everyone else, even when the allies are terrorists and fanatical extremists”.
The Mingling of Two Oceans
It can be said that music or poetry can be a superb way to understand the spirit of a people. Both of these art forms have been integral to the practice of Sufism in India and Iran; indeed, as with Sikhism, music is a core aspect of Sufism both as an expression of religious and humanitarian beliefs and as a way to convey the uplifting message to listeners via the sheer emotional impact of the music. In South Asia, the dominant form of this music is known as qawwali.
As you can imagine, the characteristics detailed above have not necessarily endeared Sufis to the more orthodox, puritanical elements of the Islamic clergy and those who prefer the latter’s rule-obsessed interpretation of Islam, either historically or in contemporary times; the Taliban absolutely hate Sufis, for example, and the ideas of Wahhabis/Salafis are in many ways diametrically opposed to the principles fundamental to most versions of Sufism. Nevertheless, the influence of Sufism on huge numbers of Muslims (and, in India, also non-Muslims) both amongst the masses and the aristocracy has been instrumental in shaping the history of that part of the world.
In the subcontinent, Punjab and Sindh are amongst several regions which have been particularly heavily affected by centuries of cultural and religions syncretism on multiple sides. The following articles by several Pakistani authors about the reality of Islam in those regions are truly outstanding. I recommend in the strongest possible terms that you read them.
As discussed in more detail in those articles, major Muslim figures who were particularly influential in India included the following:
• Fariduddin Ganjshakar of the Chishti Order (the most popular and influential Sufi order in South Asia), known more commonly as Baba Farid (late 12th – late 13th century), who is regarded as one of the pivotal founders of Punjabi Sufism, and whose poetry was later incorporated into the Sikh scriptures;
• Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177 – 1274) of the Surhawardiyaa Order, the most famous historical Sufi from Sindh and a friend of Baba Farid, who was renowned for his message of religious tolerance between Muslims and Hindus and who is still venerated by members of both groups (some extremely famous songs dedicated to him in the qawwali form are Lal Meri Patand Dam Mast Qalandar, both sung in this case by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan);
• Nizamuddin Auliya (1238 – 1325) of the Chishti Order, who emphasised the unity of mankind and shunned distinctions based on religion, economic or social status, and preached the need to help and support the needy, poor and downtrodden (recent picturisations of qawwalis in his honour were Khwaja Mere Khwaja in the Indian film Jodhaa-Akbar — the song was produced by AR Rahman, who is better known in the West for the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire and himself a Muslim who is strongly influenced by Sufism — and Ru-ba-Ru from the film Maqbool. The latter includes an English translation of the lyrics);
• Mian Mir (1550 – 1635) of the Qadiri Order, who laid the foundation stone of what is now called the Golden Temple in Amritsar (the holiest shrine of the Sikhs), and bluntly refused to give his blessing or approval to Emperor Jahangir when the latter visited him before embarking on further military campaigns to expand his empire’s territory (in fact, Mian Mir explicitly condemned what he regarded as Jahangir’s greed and stated the emperor was actually more poverty-stricken than a visiting beggar). Mian Mir was also the spiritual instructor of the liberal and open-minded Mughal prince Dara Shukoh, Emperor Shah Jahan’s chosen heir and a strong patron of fine arts, music and dancing, who was sufficiently motivated to promote unity and mutual understanding between Muslims and Hindus by (for example) translating the Upanishads (amongst the major ancient Hindu scriptures) into Persian so that they could be read by Muslim scholars. Dara Shukoh also wrote a treatise called The Mingling of Two Oceans, highlighting what he believed to be the common core essence of Sufistic Islam and Hinduism.
And, of course, Bulleh Shah (1680 – 1757), one of the most famous historical Indian Sufis of all, and an individual whose example and message has been extremely influential on the Fateh Ali Khan family. (A highly unconventional rendition of one of his poems about the existential questions of human existence and identity, by the Pakistani rock group Junoon, can be heard here). During his own lifetime he vociferously opposed the religious bigotry and fanaticism of the reigning emperor Aurangzeb (who had seized the throne by overthrowing his father Shah Jahan and murdering his own brothers, including Dara Shukoh) and the orthodox Islamic clergy that supported him, to the extent that eventually Bulleh Shah personally took up arms against them by joining the army of Guru Gobind Singh, the last spiritual leader of the Sikhs (as did numerous other Muslims, including generals defecting from the Mughal armies). An example of his writings is the following:
Tired of reciting the Vedas and the Quran
Kneeling and prostrating with my forehead down
God neither in Mathura, nor in Mecca resides
Only those who can see the light can find Him.
Bulleh Shah’s poetry – in a form known as a kafi – often includes the usage of extremely romantic allegories; in his case, the story of Heer and Ranjha, India’s most well-known equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. It also has wider religious and social implications, because in this particular Sufi tradition their romantic relationship is regarded as being divinely blessed regardless of the fact that it was opposed by the local clergy and violated numerous aspects of conservative Shariah.
Another fact worth bearing in mind is that in many parts of India, traditionally Sufi orders have often had non-Muslim adherents as well as Muslims, because the emphasis has been on common humanitarian ideals, not necessarily a narrow focus on a single religion. Non-Muslims were, and indeed still are, not required to convert to Islam in these cases. In fact, several of the most well-known Indians formally or informally affiliated with Sufism are not Muslim; for example, the Wadali Brothers, who literally live quite a basic Sufi lifestyle despite being extremely successful — this is a wonderfully uplifting song by them, accompanied by one of the brother’s sons, Lakhwinder: — English translation and explanation here). Another example is the popular singer Kailash Kher, whose work includes this moving and heartfelt rendition of a song by the 14th century Indian mystic Kabir. (English translation of lyrics and explanation here). And Hans Raj Hans is another popular Indian Punjabi singer known for his Sufi-influenced music, as can be seen (and heard) here in a rare duet with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan himself (it takes about two minutes to get going, so stick with it).
Conversely, many renowned Sufis have also had no objections to non-Muslim religious references in their songs, as demonstrated (for example) by this album of Sikh hymns sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (the website includes samples).
Music influenced by Sufism has also been prominent in Indian films, such as this lively performance of a romantic number by a female contestant on one of India’s equivalents of Pop Idol, or the gentle song “Maula Mere Maula (Lord, My Lord)” from the film Anwar, or this fantastic and very modern take on the genre from the impending action-thriller Blue (the main chorus means “My beloved God” and the soundtrack is produced by AR Rahman).
Interested readers can go through the various URL links supplied so far and find information in much further detail there (this website is also excellent); however, I think the best way to understand the message and beliefs of many of the historical Indian and Persian Muslims concerned is by reading English translations of their writings and letting the words speak for themselves.
This will be provided in the second half of this article tomorrow.
26 Comments below
Anas — on 8th October, 2009 at 11:50 am
What about Amir Khusrau and his profound influence on Northern Indian classical music?
Mangles — on 8th October, 2009 at 11:51 am
Wow thanks for sharing such a detailed research. I wasn’t aware that Bulleh Shah Ji had also taken up arms and joined Guru Gobind Singh Ji against the tyranny of Aurangzeb.
Love the way you’ve mixed the extremists’ views in the intro without distinction; says it all really they have the same hate fuelled ideology but no real philosophy of loving God through service of His creation.
Kismet Hardy — on 8th October, 2009 at 12:26 pm
An inspiring read, sir
Sofia — on 8th October, 2009 at 12:39 pm
I loved this post…I didn’t quite get why you put the poster of the concert at first..but it was completely fitting!!! I went to the concert and was inspired..it’s the type of thing that brings ppl together…
Paul — on 8th October, 2009 at 1:04 pm
Why don’t you send the BNP and Geert Wilders a copy of this? Surely, on reading it, they will recant their previous views, and join with their Muslim fellow citizens, to live henceforth in peace and harmony.
douglas clark — on 8th October, 2009 at 1:11 pm
What is your point? Or alternatively, what is the point of you? This piece is eloquent when you are not.
Shatterface — on 8th October, 2009 at 1:38 pm
Bookmarked for future reference.
Sunny — on 8th October, 2009 at 1:54 pm
Excellent post, if a bit long. Both you and Rumbold have to get to grips with that
Also, I have to keep stating this but I doubt many of the 40% of people quoted as wanting sharia law wanted to go the whole hog or even had a homogenous idea of what they wanted. Many could simply be stating they wanted sharia law in the form of halal meat and religious marriage ceremonies / divorce.
We need to stop repeating that meme.
Ismaeel — on 8th October, 2009 at 2:02 pm
Eh yeah the Naqshbandis are a sect of Muslims not a Sufi order…. kind of sums up the general accuracy of this article…very little.
Guess what Rahat Fateh Ali Khan also performed for a charity fundraiser for a Sunni Islamic college in the midlands which is aligned to the Naqshbandi tariqah, runs Shairah arbitration courts in the UK, fronts a Shariah compliant Insurance company and led protests against the Danish cartoons a few years back.
Please please stop all these pathetic attempts at good muslims, bad muslims nonsense by making silly arbitrary divisions. The reality is alot more complicated than that.
Paul — on 8th October, 2009 at 2:31 pm
The piece is neither eloquent nor useful.
All the historical material listed is totally irrelevant to attitudes to Muslims in Europe, and to the attitudes of Muslims themselves. What have Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Nizamuddin Auliya, Mian Mir and Bulleh Shah, got to do with how people in Britain or France think about Muslims? It is pointless and stupid to present this as in some way an alternative for the anti-Islam movement. No-one who is hostile to Islam will change their attitudes, by being presented with cultural traditions which they never heard of.
And remember this is the blog which repeatedly accuses Muslim minorities of collective guilt for honour killings.
Jai — on 8th October, 2009 at 2:39 pm
Thanks to everyone who has responded positively (there plenty of music clips in the article as well, so do check those out from home). There is a lot more in the second half tomorrow, so hopefully that should also be of interest.
The article was already fairly long so I did not include information on Amir Khusrau (amongst others), although originally I did intend to; the list of people mentioned in the article is not meant to be exhaustive. You are of course absolutely correct about his considerable contribution to northern Indian classical music.
the Naqshbandis are a sect of Muslims not a Sufi order
Ismaeel — on 8th October, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Jai I was being sarcastic…
Ismaeel — on 8th October, 2009 at 3:06 pm
Some other notable Sufis:
Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani Ahmed Sirhindi (RAA) who denounced Akbar and his religion din-e-ilahi (Naqshbandi Sufi Order)
Imam Shamil the Lion of Daghestan (RAA)- leader of the Chechen and Daghestani resistance to Russian Imperialism
(Naqshbandi Sufi Order)
The Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio (RAA) the founder of an Khalifate in Northeren Nigeria (Qadiri Sufi Order)
Mughal Emperor Aurganzeb(Qadiri Sufi Order)
Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi (Qadiri Sufi Order)
Sidi Omar Mukhtar the Lion of the Desert, leader of Libyan resistance to Italian imperialsim.
Ibn Taymiyyah- commonly seen as the grandfather of wahhabism was also a member of the Qadiri Sufi order and even wrote a commentary on one of Ghaus Pak’s books.
Every Ottoman Khalifa
The Majority of Islamic Sultans, Military Leaders, Jurists, Judges and scholars for the last 1000 years throughout the Islamic world…
And just for good measure Ayatollah Khomeini, was a strong exponant of the Shi’a version of Sufism- Irfan.
Oh and guess what most Deobandis claim to be linked to Naqshbandi or Chisthi tariqas… imagine that….
Like I said before things are not as clear cut as Brealwi/Sufi are mystical spiritual liberal people and are therefore good, Wahabbi/Deobandi are political and legalistic and are therefore bad.
and bear in mind I am a Brealwi-Sufi myself
Jai — on 8th October, 2009 at 3:07 pm
Jai I was being sarcastic…
I know, Ismaeel — I was just clarifying that for the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the people/groups mentioned in the article, and who may therefore take your tongue-in-cheek comments literally.
Jai — on 8th October, 2009 at 3:21 pm
Mughal Emperor Aurganzeb(Qadiri Sufi Order)
Aurangzeb was very heavily influenced by the ideas of Ahmed Sirhindi, of the Naqshbandis.
and bear in mind I am a Brealwi-Sufi myself
The correct spelling is “Barelvi”.
Jai — on 8th October, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Incidentally, a general public notice, based on numerous precedents involving this topic:
If “Munir” attempts to participate on this thread using his usual username or any aliases, he should bear in mind that not only is he permanently banned from this website (which will result in his comments being deleted), but by attempting to circumvent the ban he will be breaking the law and may therefore be liable to criminal prosecution.
Ismaeel — on 8th October, 2009 at 3:27 pm
Go see Aurganzeb’s sword see what is inscribed on it-
“Ya Shaykh Abd Al Qadir Al Jilani”
As for correct spellings of south asian names romanized, please do not claim uniformity- you won’t even find that in brealwi/barelvi writings…
How about addressing some of the actual issues…
Paul — on 8th October, 2009 at 3:40 pm
If polls demonstrate that, for instance 90% of British Muslims declare a loyalty to Britain, then what is the problem? Why spend so much time on that ‘narrative’ about Muslims, if the statistics contradict it?
The underlying logic that Jai (and many others) present is that simple factual errors underlie hostility to Islam / Muslims / immigrants. So all you have to do, according to this logic, is state the facts, and everyone will cease to believe in the errors. So they would simply state: “Muslims are not all fanatical Islamist holy warriors”, and then no-one will believe they are.
They would simply state: “Muslims are not inherently hostile to non-Muslims” – and no-one will believe that Muslims are hostile.
They would simply state: “Muslims are not insular, oppressive, or misogynistic” – and no-one will believe that they are.
If it is so simple then why hasn’t the problem gone away? Why has Geert Wilders, for instance, not changed his beliefs? Every one of his claims has been refuted by now. Why is his party still the largest in the opinion polls, if the media have supplied enough counter-examples relevant to all his attitudes? Why haven’t the voters simply seen the light, after the facts were presented? Why did they ever question multi-culturalism anyway, when the government and the media had told them for 20 years, that it was a good thing?
Jai — on 8th October, 2009 at 6:51 pm
A brief update to my post #16:
We are currently investigating if “Ismaeel” is Munir. If his identity is confirmed as such, his comments on this thread will be deleted as per the normal procedure regarding banned commenters.
Readers are therefore requested to refrain from responding to his comments on this thread until the matter is resolved, as any replies to him many also be deleted.
Ismaeel — on 8th October, 2009 at 6:54 pm
Lol Jai it’s me Ismaeel as in Ismaeel-Haneef Hijazi ex MAC spokesman remember me…, I don’t blog anymore and that’s why i’m not linking to either of the blogs I used to blog on.
Rumbold — on 8th October, 2009 at 7:11 pm
Ismaeel is not Munir.
Excellent post. Some thorough research. We need more work like this.
Amrit — on 8th October, 2009 at 7:23 pm
Jai – Excellent work, o verbose sir, this was a thoroughly heart-warming read before I set off to ’school’!
Douglas at 6 – Paul is a failed parody of the far-left, the sort of person that Nick Cohen dreams about. Think of him as a bad joke that resounds through the thread like a particularly acrid fart.
Sunny – Lay off! These longer posts are a rarity, and we children CAN handle that from time to time, you know.
persephone — on 8th October, 2009 at 7:50 pm
Good angle on this post.
But I just have to know what did Munir do?
Rumbold — on 8th October, 2009 at 7:53 pm
He was persistantly abusive to a wide range of people, and ignored numerous warnings.
Laban Tall — on 8th October, 2009 at 8:07 pm
“For the British after 1857, the Indian Muslim became an almost subhuman creature, to be classified in unembarrassedly racist imperial literature alongside other despised and subject specimens”
Dalrymple is an idiot self-hating white liberal – as well as a fine travel writer.
Take a look at the portrait of Walid Dad, the educated and almost-lapsed young Shiite in Kipling’s On The City Wall. Whatever he be, he’s a long way from ‘almost subhuman’.
Ismaeel — on 8th October, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Jai, you linked to Wikipedia as your reference to Bulleh Shah and yet it almost completely contradicts what you are claiming for him:
“A large amount of what is known about Bulleh Shah comes through legends, and is subjective; to the point that there isn’t even agreement among historians concerning his precise date and place of birth. Some “facts” about his life have been pieced together from his own writings. Other “facts” seem to have been passed down through oral traditions.
Bulleh Shah practiced the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry established by poets like Shah Hussain (1538 – 1599), Sultan Bahu (1629 – 1691), and Shah Sharaf (1640 – 1724).
Bulleh Shah lived in the same period as the famous Sindhi Sufi poet , Shah Abdul Latif Bhatai (1689 – 1752). His lifespan also overlapped with the legendary Punjabi poet Waris Shah (1722 – 1798), of Heer Ranjha fame, and the famous Sindhi Sufi poet Abdul Wahad (1739 – 1829), better known by his pen-name, Sachal Sarmast (“truth seeking leader of the intoxicated ones”). Amongst Urdu poets, Bulleh Shah lived 400 miles away from Mir Taqi Mir (1723 – 1810) of Agra.
 Poetry Style
The verse form Bulleh Shah primarily employed is called the Kafi, a style of Punjabi, Sindhi and Siraiki poetry used not only by the Sufis of Sindh and Punjab, but also by Sikh gurus.
Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy strongly criticizes Islamic religious orthodoxy of his day.
 A Beacon of Peace
Bulleh Shah’s time was marked with communal strife between Muslims and Sikhs. But in that age Baba Bulleh Shah was a beacon of hope and peace for the citizens of Punjab. While Bulleh Shah was in Pandoke, Muslims killed a young Sikh man who was riding through their village in retaliation for murder of some Muslims by Sikhs. Baba Bulleh Shah denounced the murder of an innocent Sikh and was censured by the mullas and muftis of Pandoke. Bulleh Shah maintained that violence was not the answer to violence.Bulleh Shah also hailed Guru Tegh Bahadur as a ghazi (Islamic term for a religious warrior) and incurred the wrath of the fanatic muslims at the time.
Banda Singh Bairagi was a contemporary of Bulleh Shah. In retaliation for the murder of Guru Gobind Singh’s two sons by Aurangzeb, he sought revenge by killing common Muslims. Baba Bulleh Shah tried to convince Banda Singh Bairagi to renounce his campaign of revenge. Bulleh Shah told him that the same sword which fell upon Guru Gobind Singh’s sons and innocent Sikhs also fell upon innocent Muslims. Hence killing innocent Muslim was not the answer to Aurangzeb’s reign of oppression.”
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