Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, set to become a shadow partner of the next coalition government, goes on trial in Amsterdam on Monday for inciting hatred against Muslims. Wilders’ Freedom Party together with other parties forming the next coalition have agreed to ban the burqa. Yet this is surely the least controversial move since it has already been implemented by other European states, such as France. The peroxide blonde Wilders sees his own trial as an attack on freedom of speech in the Netherlands. His lawyer reported that Wilders thinks that “in the Netherlands, one must be able to say whatever one wants, barring incitement to violence.” Continue reading
I have no doubt that during the forthcoming “International Burn a Quran Day”, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the pages of many Qur’ans, probably in translation, will meet fire. Fanatics, such as Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, Florida, whom planned the event, will celebrate their quite pagan ritual of purification through fire of what they see as a demonic religion which is “causing billions of people to go to hell”. They will be unaware that, in reality, they ‘share’ aspects of Islam with millions of others. They, in a certain sense, are ‘crypto-Muslims’. Continue reading
The debate, despite enlightenment and modernization, remains the same as that which Dante advocated in the Divine Comedy: is Islam evil or a religion of peace? On one side of the argument, and siding with Dante, is Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and self-declared ‘Islamophobe’ in the real meaning of the word (fearing Islam as religion). Of course, for both Dante and Wilders (who is facing trial in his own country), Islam and the Qur’an are, in the very words of Wilders, ‘bad’ and ‘evil’. Wilders also used adjectives such as ‘retarded’, ‘fascist’ and ‘anti-democratic’ – thus dangerous and worthy of being banned. Different variations on a theme of ‘Islam is evil’ can also be found in the work of several authors, for example Robert Spencer, Bat Ye’or and Magdi Allam among many others. Continue reading
Opening prayer rooms, mosques, Muslim schools, or even kebab shops is becoming an issue of ‘values’, and I am not referring here to economic ones. The values are often referred to as ‘western values’ and they appear to come in various shapes and colors (Italian, Australian, American, British and so on). Yet all have at least one similarity – feeling threatened by so-called ‘Islamic values’. In other words, much of the current debate on ‘values’ in western countries is today shaped by the rediscovered presence and practices (they have been in the West for centuries) of Muslims living in what an increasing number of people perceive as a sort of secular Christendom. Each day we can discover one place or another claiming to be the last bastion against the ‘Islamization of the West’. Continue reading
Recently, two British scholars, Dr. June Edmunds and Prof. Anthony Glees have clashed over the popular topic of Islamic extremism within, in this case, British universities. This has been since 2006 a very ‘hot’ topic for the press and a long term ‘hot potato’ for deans at universities. Yet for some students and researchers, it has turned into a real nightmare. The two scholars, of course had opposing views. Dr June Edmunds, whom has conducted a University of Cambridge research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), has concluded, Continue reading
I am pleased to inform my friends and readers that my latest book Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism, is finally on the bookshelf of (more or less virtual) book shops.
Another book on Islamic fundamentalism?’ I can hear the question echoing among friends, colleagues and readers. Since 2001, more than 100 books and 5,600 articles have been published on Islamic fundamentalism. Broadening the research to agnate labels – such as Islamism (about 200 books and 243 articles), political Islam (345 books and 4,670 articles) and Islamic extremism (only 16 books and 1610 articles) – we can appreciate the amount of scholarly publication pressed into the past seven years.
So, why write another book? I have tried to explain the reasons in the Introduction, which you can read for free. The book provides a very different analysis of what has been labeled ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, and what I prefer to call ’emotional Islam’. Continue reading
Finally Mr Spencer has answered my questions, of course in Spencer’s style, despite his traditional protestation and much crocodile tears, sees a great degree of victimization, demonization of the ‘enemy’, and manipulation of others’ viewpoints. Yet this post is not about Spencer’s answers, which in any case you can read and draw your own conclusions about. It is not about his lack of humour, and his self-centric business related, attitude. It is more about the kind of people who seem to orbit around him.
Indeed, due to such a reality, it becomes impossible to have any serious (or even humorous) discussion with him. You can read the slandering comments by his supporters posted on his post about me (with some comments lacking humour and sounding more like a jihadist-style rant), and the hundreds that I have received on my blog: some unpublished because of the vulgarity within them, and others which have even included, more or less serious death-threats.
I am an anthropologist, and as such I am fascinated by the situation. I may have discovered a new cult: Spencerdanism. Continue reading