Saturday, August 8, 2009

Clenardus and the way out of Islam

When I write that we don’t have much to fear from the Islamic aggressor, one reaction I often get is that I am overly and unduly optimistic, making light of a massive threat. In fact, my position is that if we are alert, we are capable of outwitting the Islamic designs.

When I write that we don’t have much to fear from the Islamic aggressor, one reaction I often get is that I am overly and unduly optimistic, making light of a massive threat. Recently someone paraphrased my position as: “Europeans can go to sleep peacefully tonight.” This is an allusion to what, according to legend, the Dutch Prime Minister Hendrik Colijn said in a radio speech on the eve of the German invasion in May 1940, in a ludicrous world record of false reassurance. In reality he said it years earlier, though on a related occasion, viz. the German remilitarization of the Rhineland. Moreover, he said it after announcing a partial mobilization of the army, thus presenting the common people’s peaceful sleep as the reward for the vanguard’s vigilance. At any rate, I am not at all saying that Europeans should go to sleep. On the contrary, my position is that we should be alert and outwit the Islamic aggressor.

In this endeavour, we may take inspiration from some of our ancestors, who faced the same problem. Not that they were successful in their counterstrategy, we should learn from their limited results as much as from their correct premises. They had at least got the basics right: the solution for the Islam problem is to liberate the Muslims from the mental prison-house of Islam.

The first Orientalists were Christians trying to re-establish contact with the various Christian churches in the Muslim world, and to lay the intellectual foundations for the conversion of the Muslim heretics. (In Catholic theology, Muslims are not so much pagans, who have never known Christ, but heretics, who have known Christ but embraced a false doctrine about him, viz. that He was a mere prophet and was superseded as such by Mohammed.) The most famous example should be Raimundus Lullus, the polymath from Catalonia who went to North Africa to preach, but died as a consequence of the stoning he received. He is not known to have wrought any lasting conversions.

An example from closer home was Nicolaas Beken Cleynaerts, better known as Nicolaus Clenardus (1495-1542). He grew up in Diest, a town in the eastern corner of Brabant, now called “Diestambul” by its fast-growing Turkish community. He spent most of his working life teaching Greek and Hebrew in Leuven University. After studying Quran Arabic on his own, he went to Spain and Portugal to learn spoken Arabic, all while teaching his usual courses. He crossed to Morocco, initially only to get to know the place, but took ill soon. Shortly after his return to Spain, he died and was buried in the Alhambra in Granada. So, mission not accomplished at all. A statue in Diest commemorates him: “Verbo non gladio gentes Arabas convertere ad Christianam fidem nisus est”, “He made the effort to convert the Arabs to the Christian faith with the word, not the sword.”

Preaching on a town square in Tunis or Fez proved to be less than effective as a method to free the Muslims from Islam. Elsewhere, even military conquest rarely proved successful. The Russians left the defeated Tatars and Chechens to their Islam, and the French, British and Dutch colonial policies only strengthened the position of Islam in their respective domains. So in that respect, the past doesn’t offer us much guidance. It is our own job to find better ways of reaching out to the prisoners of Islam. If this lack of alternatives for self-reliance is a reason for pessimism, then please consider that we may not be all that important.

Can’t you feel the impact of knowledge and its novel ways of direct availability in colleges and private homes throughout the Muslim world? The phenomenon of ex-Muslims speaking out openly and informing their stay-behind relatives is slowly but surely changing the ideological landscape of the Muslim world. The attempts by Muslims to present their religion as tolerant and pro-woman are admittedly untruthful but do nonetheless show an impact of non-Islamic values and sensibilities that is bound to increase and hollow out the attachment to Islam.

This wind was already blowing in the colonial age, when a full option for modernization could have been the end of Islam. Through calculations of short-term interest and a lack of ideological focus, the colonial administrators instead chose the way of compromise with the Islamic establishment, thus giving it an unnecessary new lease of life. In the postcolonial age, de-islamization can no longer be imposed from above even if we had wanted to, but it is now growing from inside. It is up to us to find inconspicuous but effective ways of strengthening this tendency. This is an appeal to European alertness and resourcefulness.


Jagmohan Singh Khurmi said...

Okay, we have "ex-muslims" with us like Ali Sina, Taslima and M A Khan but how many are they. Too less. You can count them on your fingers - Almost neligible. Too few to have any considerable effect on what you call ideological landscape of Islam. And the reforms in Islam ( I don't think the act of "reforming" Islam will help us in long term ). May be those who have "islam is a peaceful religion" as their mantra are going to come out to be our toughest rivals, for it is due to them that Ali Sina's job of finding something to criticise in Islam growing arduous day by day

urbanadder22 said...

Do the ones who claim Islam to be "a religion of peace" really believe this lie or are they using dissimulation to deceive us (non- Moslems)?

Many who call themselves Moslems may be ignorant of the real Islam--one of violence, torture, unimaginably cruel punishments, clitorectomies, humiliations and derisions heaped upon the non-Moslems living under their domination.

However, even if unable to comprehend the Arabic of the koran, ahadith, etc., what they hear from the Moslem clerics in the mosques should be sufficient to disabuse them of aping the mantra "Islam is the 'religion' of peace."

Noting the daily actions of the followers of the charlatan Mohammed should be sufficient to show the world what these benighted people are.

They follow the garbled teachings of a deranged sex-maniac blindly, and assume it to be the spiritual guide to something called Allah.

This Allah is nothing but an idol declared to be invisible by the maniac of Makkah (in imitation of the divinity of the Jews) and unknowable by mere humans without the guidance and intercession by this false "prophet."

Hence, Moslems who believe the drivel that is called Islam are as guilty of the excesses of this cult as the actual perpetrators.

Only those who have rejected the so-called "teachings" of Islam as lies and deceptions designed to enslave can be considered free in thought and deed and no longer an immiment or potential threat to the rest of humanity (non-Moslems).

Gururaj B N said...

In the context of this article, I have a question for Dr.Koenraad Elst. Indonasia though a Muslim country, has strong Hindu imprint about it. Bhasha Indonasia is full of sanskritic terminology. Indonasian muslims sport names which can be easily traced to sanskrit equivalents.

The question is how did this country, which was predominently Hindu and Buddhist till about 12th Century become dominently Islamic. Was there blood bath as is usual with the spread of Islam. Even after islamic conquest of Indonasia for now, over five or six centuries, how come the pagan symbols not only survive, but thrive in India.

It is only recently that we have seen terrorist acts inspired by al-queda taking foot hold in this interesting country. Barring this recent aberration, what has given the peculiar characteristic to this country? How did Indonasia become Islamic, and what is the cause for retaining pagan symbols?