Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meera Nanda against Hinduism and its friends: (5) The case of Koenraad Elst

The connection between Breivik’s manifesto and Voice of India doesn’t amount to much. The main “connection” between Voice of India and Breivik appears to be a non-Indian non-Hindu individual, viz. the undersigned, Dr. Koenraad Elst: “The manifesto makes two references to a Belgian writer, Koenraad Elst. The first time Elst is mentioned is as the authority behind the highly contested claim that Muslims enslaved Hindus and drove them to their death in the Hindu Kush mountain ranges, now in Afghanistan. (This reference appears in an article by Srinandan Vyas, which is reproduced in the manifesto.) The second reference to Elst appears in his ‘recommendations to the West’ on how to make the life of Muslim minorities in Europe so difficult that they will either give up Islam or leave. Elst is quoted here to suggest that though Islam is in decline, it can still take over Europe before it collapses. (Here Elst is quoted in an article by Fjordman, the anonymous Norwegian blogger well known for his anti-Islamic views and greatly admired by Breivik).”

If you read that closely, you will find that Breivik himself never quotes me at all, he has merely included a pile of existing articles by others, and of those, two do quote me. I must acknowledge Nanda’s scholarly propriety here: to magnify the “connection”, less scrupulous pamphleteers (Le Soir, Belgische Unie/Union des Belges) have counted five mentions of my name, counting the three footnotes accompanying those two mentions as separate instances, whereas Nanda accurately counts one mention in the text and its references in footnote as a single mention.

Regardless of who quotes them, I stand by the statements which Vyas and Fjordman have discussed in their articles. That Muslims enslaved Hindus and drove them to their death in the Hindu Kush is a solidly documented historical fact, never refuted, and only a “highly contested claim” in the Nehruvian-secularist world of fact-free political polemic. Note that Dr. Nanda explicitates what Vyas has quoted from me, knowing that in India, the prevailing orthodoxy is to deny, demonize and ridicule my view; but that she passes silently over Fjordman’s quotation. It happens not to fit her narrative.

I will not deny that I see Islam as a problem, and that Breivik did likewise. That is why Breivik quotes Nandan Yyas who in turn quotes me as citing the facts on the Islamic enslavement of Hindus. But unlike Breivik, I have long outgrown the alarmist view of Islam in Europe: whether Europe will be overrun by Islam, as announced by many Islamic worthies, depends on the Europeans themselves. That is why Fjordman could quote me in the very paper quoted itself by Breivik, in an adversative sense. I think that Islam just doesn’t have the brains, that we can outwit them if we apply our minds to it, and that this is already happening. The best testimony is the growing presence of ex-Muslims in our midst, the greatest spokesmen of the case against Islam.

According to Meera Nanda: “Now that Breivik’s manifesto has revealed the names of anti-Islamic authors, bloggers, websites and groups that shaped his thinking, the great washing off of hands has begun. Just about everyone named by Breivik has issued stern statements distancing him/herself from his violent deeds. Elst himself posted a statement stating that ‘The Brussels Journal never ever carried calls to counter Islam by means of bombs and shoot-outs… It only carried criticism of Islam, but that is a perfectly legitimate exercise.’”

However, my statement about the Breivik affair (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4783, “If only he had read the Brussels Journal”) goes largely unanswered by Meera Nanda. Rather than refuting it and thus drawing her readers’ attention to it, she prefers to insinuate in general terms that “the great washing off of hands has begun”. Haha, Meera Nanda is unable to refute a rare effort to look Breivik in the eye. But most Islam critics mentioned in Breivik’s manifesto did indeed wash their hands off of his influence. Indeed, most of us had never heard of him; I certainly hadn’t. In the totalitarian world of her dreams, an accusation would have been enough to indict and imprison all affected. But in the real world, Islam critics like Robert Spencer or Andrew Bostom did reply. Well, what did she expect?

She, like most Breivik exploiters, belongs to a class of people dumbfounded by our criticism of Islam, which was based on authentic sources: statements by Mohammed himself, orthodox Islamic jurisprudence, and modern-day claims by Islamic leaders. They were simply unable to reply to Islam-critical charges, and they received Breivik’s intervention to distract attention and give a terrorist alternative to Islam criticism, as a godsend.

After all the unasked analysis given by Meera Nanda to the momentous topic of the motives of Koenraad Elst, it is my turn to analyze her motive. And it is so simple. Meera Nanda is a bad loser. She’s a loser, who by her silence has conceded defeat in the Islam debate. And she’s bad in losing, for she fails to graciously bow out of the struggle. Instead, she makes a last-ditch attempt behind Breivik’s broad shoulders.

What is worse, is that through me she seeks to attack two Hindu scholars who are not responsible for my conduct. Here we have a Templeton scholar in the paid service of the Christian lobby, who tries to implicate the long-dead scholars Ram Swarup (1920-1998) and Sita Ram Goel (1921-2003), veterans of the Gandhian non-violent struggle, in the Breivik affair, when in fact Swarup and Goel were anti-Christians and she herself works for Breivik’s Christianity. From as long as they became aware of the Islam problem, they have advocated that which was the first Hindu solution, propagated since decades before anyone spoke of Hindu nationalism or Hindutva, viz. shuddhi, the reconversion of the Muslims to the religion of their ancestors. They never thought that killing Muslims was the solution to the Islam problem, let alone killing non-Muslims. They stood against Communism where and when it took courage, but they never dreamed of killing ruling-party youngsters as the solution, the way Breivik did.

With her false accusation, dragging me and especially dragging Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel into the Breivik affair, Meera Nanda has dishonoured herself. I will have a hard time seeing anything but a debtor in her. But I have my Christian upbringing: I don’t believe anymore but I still have certain automatisms, and one of these is to forgive a wrong admitted. Leave it alone for now whether scholarly speaking, Christianity borrowed this trait from Buddhism or not; the point is that I made it my own. All she has to do is to admit she was wrong, and no word shall be uttered about her false Breivik associations anymore.


isasank said...

Excellent work as usual, Dr. Elst.

It would be great to know your opinions on M.R. Pirbhai's "Demons in Hindutva writing a theology for Hindu nationalism" and Jose Kuruvachira's "Hindu nationalists of modern India: a critical study of the intellectual genealogy of Hindutva."

Pirbhai and Kuruvachira have not only scathingly slandered Shri Sita Ram Goel and Shri Ram Swarup but also yourself, much in the same way Meera Nanda has done.

A book that I'm sure your readers would want to know your opinions on is "Communalism: Illustrated Primer" by Ram Puniyani, who has written several books rehashing the same Nehruvian secularist drivel, and even has a Youtube channel dedicated to the purpose.

Koenraad Elst said...

Send them on. We can work out the details. My e-address is koenraadelst@hotmail.com .

Naras said...

Stimulating series, Dr. Elst.

Since you are an accomplished logician and debunker of secularism, have you thought about how to train others in the craft? Can there be an Elst school of thought? The poor intellect of the normal anti-secularist is striking.

The English visual media show these up whenever they have TV debates. Accomplished debaters on the secularist side "defeat" straw-men on the opposing side. There was a debate on beef-eating conducted by Sagarika Ghose and she kept running quotes from D.N.Jha.

There are no convincing rebuttals of these half-truths. The English speaking general public continues to feed on established colonialist versions of facts.

Any thoughts on how to change this skewed and gamed system?