Wednesday, March 01, 2006
urther to yesterday's quote, from Mark Steyn's piece on the sleepy West's need to wake up to reality, here's the text of a manifesto for resisting the new totalitarianism. Note: not resisting Islam, which is a religion, but resisting Islamism, which is a totalitarian political ideology. I'm glad to see a prominent Canadian Muslim's name, Irshad Manji, attached to this, and hope to see more Muslims differentiating themselves from the Islamists. Here's the text:
Together facing the new totalitarianismBiographical notes on the 12 can be read at the linked article.
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
It seems an appropriate place to cite Christopher Hitchens here, with a quote I came across a few days ago. Hitch always seems to put the case in the most straightforward terms. I'd love to see him in open debate with the most articulate proponent the Islamist cause could muster. Galloway of course, was far from that, and doesn't count for much.
"There isn't an inch to give, nothing to negotiate and no concessions to offer. Those of us who believe in enlightenment and free speech also have unalterable principles which we will not give up. We have to listen all the time to piratical-looking mullahs calling our Jewish friends pigs and demanding the censorship of The Satanic Verses and we find this fantastically insulting, but we don't behave like babies. They are making a puerile spectacle of themselves.Islamists are nothing more than extreme theocratic fascists who do not speak for, or represent, the world's Muslim Ummah. We need to always bear that in mind, and to remind all knee-jerkers (including some who left trackbacks to the above post) that the resistance, and this Manifesto, is not against Islam the religion but against Islamism the political ideology. And a reminder to Muslims who may be reading, and for whom "secularism" is taught to be a dirty word: "My religion for me, your religion for you," is the essence of secularism. No compulsion in religion, and it's all right there in the Qur'an.
We should say, how dare you behave in this way? They can put themselves under laws and taboos if they wish, but it is nothing to do with me or anybody else. They are completely out of order."
- Christopher Hitchens, The Sunday Times