Why focus on Islam and Islamic excesses

Why focus on IslamLast week, I received an email from a cousin living in the UK who read a couple of my blog posts. Her email had two major points:

  1. Surprise at my (supposed) “antipathy” towards Muslims / Islam.
  2. Excesses in Islam exist – but so do excesses in Christianity, Hinduism…. I have also received some feedback (in the comments section) urging me to not lose sight of the fact that Islamic dogma is not uniquely pernicious.

Hence, I feel the need to clarify why I focus on Islam and the excesses committed under the banner of Islam.  As I started writing this, I realized that this post is a bit long but shortening  it would entail being broad, blunt and therefore unpersuasive. So I have decided to split this theme into four posts bearing four reasons.

First things first: I DO NOT nurse any “antipathy” towards any group of people. Yes I criticize ideas that I feel deserve criticism and I do that unabashedly and unreservedly. I would not have had to explain myself if I was criticizing ideas in politics or sports or any other field of human endeavor. However, the moment unalloyed critique is brought within the hallowed environs of religion (especially Islam) quills are raised and fangs are bared. We are so unaccustomed to seeing religion (especially Islam) being put in the dock that we suddenly develop tender sensitivities. So, if you feel taken aback by my arguments, it is a reflection upon you and not me.

By all means reject my positions if you find them inadequate or unpersuasive. But if the only response you can summon is distress at Islam being subject to accountability, then please take your grievance to someone who cares.

Some comments I have received are just dogmatically jingoistic about the glory of Islam and others are impassioned pleas to exempt Islam from the rigors of robust inquiry – rather like a decrepit despot whose lawyers claim that he is too old to stand trial. Islam may be old but it is still vicious and virulent and hence poses a grave danger to civilization in general. This brings me to the next point about why I focus on Islam when other religions also carry their share of rancid dogma.

21st century means pursuing 8th century ends

Islamic fundamentalism is particularly toxic because it arrives in our midst riding two torpedoes at once. On the one hand it is fueled by a dark-ages doctrine that sanctifies indiscriminate and self-righteous violence. On the other hand, it is equipped with a dazzling array of modern technology (including weaponry) with which to conduct its Jihad. This combination constitutes a lethal mix of ends and means.koran_in_lefthand2

The Koran provides the theological and ideological framework within which bigotry, brutality and bloodshed is not just sanctified but demanded from the faithful. Millions upon millions of muslims operate on the assumption that the Koran is the immutable commandment of Allah and the fulfillment of those dictates are incumbent upon the devout – failing which, an eternal torment awaits (courtesy of a kind and benevolent God). This faith in celestial duty  is what enables an otherwise sane person to become a suicide bomber. Now don’t drone on about poverty and privations….. I have previously debunked that claim.

These Koranic edicts pertain to politics, society, commerce, law and justice. In other words Islam demands pre-eminence in all spheres of human endeavor. But what it brings to the table are the noxious prejudices of a bygone era. Islam seeks dominance and not merely accommodation of its toxic doctrine. The word Islam means “submission”. Peace comes after submission, surrender and subservience. Maybe.

While Islamists remain faithfully tethered to a dark-age dogma, they are tactically agile enough to employ modern technology in their service. Technologies like the internet, satellite-based communication, GPS and rocketry are employed in the service of Jihad. The recent attacks by Pakistani Islamists in Mumbai revealed the bedazzling spread of techno-services that were strung together for the sport of spilling Kafir blood.

It is this marriage between an uncompromisingly venomous ideology and techno-sophistication that portends an ominous picture. The world of Islam is uniquely toxic in this context and hence I focus on it.

Most commentary in the west seems to ignore the strong doctrinal underpinnings of Islamic intolerance. Commentary about Islamic excesses are framed in secular constructs like “territorial disputes” or “social alienation” or “economic hardship”.  The truth is far too stark for our sensibilities. Islamic militancy is the manifestation of a belief in divinely mandated blood-lust! This truth needs to find expression and hence I do that on my blog.

Stay tuned for next one (Islam: Backward and opposed to modernity).


8 Responses

  1. Great Post Rohit !

    I doubt if there is a religion as ‘toxic’ and as egregiously intolerant as Islam in our present day and age. The problem with Islam, as I mentioned earlier, is that there is no place for moderation or compromise.. Either you are “for” islam or “against”. And the muslims who are moderates, who do not agree with the literal interpretation of the Koran and Hadiths, are threatened at gun point by the mullahs to keep their mouths shut.

    Unless dissent is allowed by a religion, unless free and open discussion about religious dogmas in particular or religion in general is encouraged from within and unless a non-threatening atmosphere is created by religious practitioners of that religion there is little chance of any evolution of that particular body of thought. Islam in that sense is the poster boy for intolerance, bigotry, atrocities in the name of religion.

    Our only hope can be derived from a look at other religions and their history. We can sincerely hope that just as the other major religions have undergone catharsis from within, maybe someday Islam – which had been insulated from change for centuries – will see the light and walk down the path of irreversible reformation.

  2. I’m anxiously waiting for the next installment. This is fine so far, but I’d say you haven’t made your case yet. The weapons thing is a red herring–with current technology everyone has access to WMDs. If they’re willing to use them, like the islamists, they’re there.
    The other part, doctrine, is on the mark, but still casts too wide a net, applies to more groups. In this case I replaced ‘islam’ with ‘zionist’, and only had to change a couple of words. So it seems to me you’re on the right track and will narrow things down. Maybe the next one will address how the doctrine comes to a position of power in these anti-modern states you mention?

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  5. i have read this article and it is interesting to see that with all your big claims, there is no evidence to back up any of your arguments?!
    also, while the rest of the world was in their dark ages, muslims were at the forefront of development, inventing soap, while the queen of england bathed once a year…but more importantly, it was this so called “dark-age dogma” that commanded a muslims to seek knowledge, as the only way for success. it was the muslims who actually invented numbers. the numbers we use today are arabic numbers, and our everyday actions are wholly dependant on these numbers, for example, the computer works on the numbers 1 and 0, so without islam, i am pretty confident a numerical system would have been developed much later and much more differently..

    • Mai L,

      what do you mean there is no evidence? If you have read my articles beyond the headlines – then you will notice that the supportive evidence is right there. For instance, in the case of this article itself, have I not shown that Islamists are fixated on the Koranic instructions and yet have access to modern weaponry and technology? Ahmedinijad is building nuclear reactors (of course to power biscuit factories) and still talking about bring about cataclysmic armageddon which will herald the return of the last Imam or prophet or whatever. What else do you need to see the lethality of mixing religious fervor with techno-ferocity?

      And please spare me the homily about Arabs being advanced when Europe was in the Middle / Dark Ages….. Nobody is denying the glory of their past. In fact my main point is that we need to move into present so we can proceed into the future. And the world of Islam at present is in the gutters.

  6. Mai L needs to do some fact checking instead of blindly repeating the mullahs claims

    Muslims did NOT invent numbers..The arabic numeral system was actually first deveoped in the indian subcontinent..by non-muslims much before the birth of Islam..


    So I am sure the world would have been just fine without Islam…

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