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The new war on Islamism The West has been terrorised into silence

Matches and gasoline (SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Matches and gasoline (SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)


June 14, 2022   5 mins

Art and Islam often seem like oil and water. Other times, they behave like matches and gasoline.

It is hard to believe that more than 30 years have passed since Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses — longer ago than the fall of the Berlin Wall. I also experienced the combustion created when art meets Islam, back in 2004.

Over that summer, Submission, a 10-minute film that I co-created with Theo van Gogh, was aired on the taxpayer-funded VPRO channel in Amsterdam. I had pulled four very explicitly misogynistic verses out of the holy book, which Theo then inscribed on the bodies of women who acted out the selected verses. After a series of threats, Theo was murdered by a radical Islamist fanatic. Warned that I would be next, I went into hiding.

Dutch society got the message: Submission was pulled and since then nothing of any significance critical of Islam’s founding father or holy book has been aired or exhibited by any mainstream Dutch outlet. Two years later, the message was driven home in another small European country when Flemming Rose, the editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, solicited drawings of the prophet Muhammad after a Danish school teacher wrote a children’s book on the prophet but could find no illustrations for it. After Rose published them, both he and one of the illustrators, Kurt Westergaard, received credible death threats.

The controversy over The Lady of Heaven — a drama about the daughter of the prophet Muhammad, Fatimah — is the latest illustration of the extreme difficulty, not to say danger, of mixing art and Islam. In all three cases, the central concern was over how European countries should accommodate a Muslim minority in Europe without sacrificing freedom of speech. On one side were those who believed Muslims should adapt to the places they now chose to call home; the other side preached that we should exercise patience and compassion.

Yet in all three cases, the debate was hijacked by a minority of Muslims who were willing to use brutal force to terrorise society into silence — threatening infidels and blasphemers, plotting attacks, beheading people and blowing things up. Most political and intellectual leaders in Europe were frightened. They would issue condemnations of the violence, followed by silence. Few expressed uncompromising defences of free speech. Most were inclined to suggest that free speech did not include the right to offend religious believers. This is a fatal caveat — as the staff at Charlie Hebdo discovered in 2015. It’s a lesson Samuel Paty was also forced to learn, after he showed Charlie Hebdo cartoons to his class in a Parisian suburb. It was enough to ignite the flames of Islamist intolerance: an 18-year-old Russian-Muslim refugee of Chechen origin beheaded Paty with a meat cleaver.

In my book Heretic, I argue that there are three sets of Muslims. Islam is a single core creed based on the Qur’an, the words revealed by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad, and the Hadith, the accompanying works that detail Muhammad’s life and words. Despite some sectarian divisions — principally the ancient schism between Sunni and Shia — this creed unites all Muslims. All, without exception, know by heart these words: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; and Muhammad is his messenger.”

But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that credo and all it entails: Muhammad and his prophethood, his family, his book, and his moral code of practice. In the early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door canvassing his idea of one God, he used the tool of persuasion through preaching to convert the Arab polytheists. This was when he was in Mecca. Those Muslims of today who love tolerance, charity, and an acceptance of the other use as their moral reference the Muhammad of this period. I call them the “Mecca Muslims”.

However, after ten years of trying this kind of persuasion, Muhammad and his small band of believers had won over no more than 200 believers. So they moved to Medina, where unbelievers were still invited to submit to the one God, Allah — but if they now refused, they were harassed, threatened, and murdered. A big spectacle was made of these brutal tactics. Muslims of today who kill, terrorise and threaten while screaming “Allahu Akbar” are replaying that script from Medina. These are the “Medina Muslims”.

The Mecca Muslims are repelled by the wanton violence of the Medina Muslims. However, they shrink away from debating them, leaving the arena of winning hearts and minds to the radicals. As a consequence, Mecca Muslims who can’t handle the dissonance either leave Islam, as I did, or, much more commonly, tacitly accept the dominance of the Medina Muslims.

There is, however, a third group of Muslim dissenters: the “modifying Muslims”, who know it is hopeless just to keep declaring that Islam is a “religion of peace”, in defiance of successive bouts of Islamist violence. Most of these Muslim dissidents are reforming believers — among them clerics who have come to realise that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of violence, intolerance and backwardness.

One such cleric is Yasser Al-Habib, the author of the script for The Lady of Heaven. Al-Habib is a Kuwaiti cleric, a Twelver Shia who rejects the Iranian government’s pretensions to lead the Shia world, and the leader of the Mahdi Servants Union, a UK-based Shia group. Clearly, we are not talking here about secular liberals like Theo van Gogh, Flemming Rose or Charb. I doubt Yasser Al-Habib and I would find much common ground in the unlikely event of our meeting.

Nevertheless, the making of The Lady of Heaven should be seen as a milestone — a significant one, in my view – in the process of Muslim reformation. They picked a woman as their heroine, after all. That in itself is remarkable.

Islamic reform is a minefield, as every Muslim who has ever hinted at the desirability of adapting scripture knows. Yet after decades of the most barbaric violence committed in the name of their faith, some Muslims have had enough. They do not want to leave their faith as I did. They want to haul it into the modern world. This is how I view the Muslim makers of The Lady of Heaven: the central message of their film is that Islam was originally intended — in Mecca — to be a religion of peace.

With discussion no longer taboo, European governments and societies now have to make their minds up about the category of Muslim leaders they wish to support. And so far, they are making the wrong choice. Take the most ardent proponent of a ban on The Lady of Heaven, an imam named Qari Asim, who was a government adviser on Islamophobia and deputy chairman of the anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group. For far too long the British government has consulted and even partnered with duplicitous clergymen like Mr Asim. They represent the non-violent but no less sinister arm of the Medina Muslims, the proponents of dawa — radicalisation that stops short of explicit calls for jihad, but points in that direction. Time and again, in every row over free speech, these people get exposed for who they are. And yet politicians continue to be duped. It took the British government until the weekend to dismiss Asim from his official roles.

None of this is to say that The Lady of Heaven is a good film. But that is not really the point. The Satanic Verses is not Rushdie’s best book. The cartoons in Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo were not great works of art. Nor, to be honest, was the film I made with Theo van Gogh.

But the mere fact that Muslims in 2022 would venture to release a film about the Muhammad’s daughter is an encouraging step in the ongoing Muslim reformation. This is a movement that all Western governments should support — just as they should ignore without apology all those who cry “blasphemy”, and prosecute anyone who attempts to use violence to deter artistic interpretation of their religion.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an UnHerd columnist. She is also the Founder of the AHA Foundation, and host of The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Podcast. Her Substack is called Restoration.

Ayaan

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Former Guardian Reader
Former Guardian Reader
2 years ago

I’m glad that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has survived despite the threats made against her and continues to contribute to what debate there is about Islam. I’m grateful to her for her contributions because they contain information and ideas that are new to me and I’m grateful to UnHerd and others for publishing her work despite the risks of doing so. However, I am sceptical about the possibility of Islamic reform (which it is not Ayaan Hirsi Ali‘s responsibility to create) and wonder how many more people will be killed or driven into hiding or raped before such reform happens.
In the last five years there has been a lot of discussion of anti-Semitism, particularly in relation to the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the wider far left. Whilst there is also anti-Semitism elsewhere what I found galling about the anti-Semitism on the left was that it often came from people who claimed to be opposed to racism and hatred but who somehow made political justifications which turned anti-Semitism into an acceptable form of racism and sought ways to disguise their anti-Semitism whilst decrying other forms of racism such as Islamophobia.
In the last 25 years Islamic terrorism has gone from being a small threat to parts of the world to a major threat to most of the world due to the rise of al-Qaeda and then Islamic State. During the same period so-called “grooming gangs” have gone from being a rumour that was discounted as racist trouble-making to being a fact verified by dozens of criminal trials and official inquiries into the failings of state institutions responsible for protecting children. During a similar period protests against things deemed offensive to Muslims become familiar, even in the UK.
I come from a family of coal miners and I remember that during the 1984-85 strike the striking miners were described as “the enemy within” by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I don’t remember the striking miners crashing a hijacked plane into Conservative Party Central Office or blowing up southerners on tube trains or splattering men, women and children across the foyer of a concert venue. However, Islamophobia is treated as a heinous thought crime despite the evidence of threats, rape, murder and terrorism inspired by Islam. The view that Islam may be a uniquely violent religion cannot be tolerated.
What is wrong with Islamophobia? Is Islam the enemy within?

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago

In her wildest imagination, Margaret Thatcher’s world did not contain 9/11, 5/5, Lee Rigby’s murder nor any of the unspeakable horrors meted out in the name of some religious delusion. Therefore, in her reality, there was an interior threat. You throw an emotive straw man.
But I agree if you belong to the moderate but worried, who are not phobic. We, the MBW, recognise the danger of allowing appalling crimes of unfettered violence from whatever source to continue – even as a background threat – until we are mute, cowed, paralysed.
The government, authorities and others charged with our safety, do not appear to be so exercised.
Was it Stalin who said ‘kill only one, and you frighten the rest’?

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

Margaret Thatcher’s world contained the Khomeini revolution, the assault on Mecca in 1979, and the massacres of non-Muslims in Bangladesh by Islamic militias, to name but a few.
However, that world saw Communists as the most dangerous threat, then they let a new threat grow to fight an old one.
Politicians rarely care for what it does not seem to be an immediate threat, and money from oil & gas countries apparently shine more than the deaths of a few dozen civilians in terrorist attacks.

Former Guardian Reader
Former Guardian Reader
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcia McGrail

Margaret Thatcher’s country didn’t contain what you rightly describe as unspeakable horrors because at that time the ideology that makes such horrors possible was evolving and spreading far away and the threat it would later pose was hard to imagine. What I was trying to do was compare two different eras: one in which one side in an industrial dispute is described as “the enemy within” and one in which an act of mass murder is followed by lighting candles, laying flowers and singing a pop song. It’s the same country but the politics and the people have changed significantly.
After you posted I remembered that in Margaret Thatcher’s time there was an external or partially external threat in the form of the IRA. Remembering this makes even more comparisons possible, as does remembering that part of New Labour’s response to acts of terrorism in the UK was to try (unsuccessfully) to introduce 90-day detention of terrorism suspects whilst the Heath government introduced internment in Northern Ireland. Comparing the acts of terrorism and the reactions to terrorism today reinforce my belief that we live in an era where saying something bad is viewed by some as worse than violence.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

Saying something bad could be terrible indeed, even if it happens to be a well-argued idea.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
2 years ago

Yes indeed – but at least the IRA did not fly under the false flag of “the Religion of Peace”

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago

An excellent article & and excellent response. Of course, the real elephant in the room is that vast number of Muslims are also antisemitic & they & the left wing are now the drivers of a horrendous wave of attacks, verbal & physical, against Jews throughout Europe. Only witness the recent UN report on Israel, the only Jewish State in the world being blamed for all the ills in the Arab world! Antisemitism is now the only racism that dare to speak it’s name!

End PC
End PC
2 years ago

Islam cannot be reformed. Must disagree with Ayaan. Islam is based on the Qur’an which must be taken as direct dictation (via Gabriel) from Allah to M. Accordingly, via its Median verses (which trump the earlier Mecca verses) it is forever a conquer and subjugate the world supremacist, totalitarian belief system. Islam simply has to go and Muslims must be persuaded out of this absurd and fraud religion as many are every day.

james goater
james goater
2 years ago
Reply to  End PC

Largely agree, but there are tiny “green shoots” of potential reform, at least among more educated Muslims. The 2016 book, “The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason” by Ali A. Rizvi talks of such and is an informative, enlightening read.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  End PC

Ahhhh… but despite trans global military action by islamists and terrorists, woke British Gestaplod and our courts are imprisoning ” extreme right wing terrorists” aka people looking at gun and bomb making on the net, and making comments…. How Al Quaeda must laugh?!

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
2 years ago

Being Muslim is not a race – anything to do with Islam cannot be described or categorised as racist.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

The problem is that there is on such thing as a moderate Muslim

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
2 years ago

There certainly won’t be when they are forced to pick a side.

Dominic S
Dominic S
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

“Pick a side”
At the moment they are fighting one another over this film. So when we talk about “sides” we need to remember that the worst of what might happen in the near future is likely to be as a result of their own infighting. If one “side” becomes dominant in the UK the rest of us will be in even greater trouble.

Former Guardian Reader
Former Guardian Reader
2 years ago
Reply to  Dominic S

On the question of Muslims picking a side I see cause for optimism. Violent extremist Muslims are in the minority in the UK and many other Muslims will either see through their rhetoric or enjoy the benefits of living in a democratic society and won’t support people who agitate to turn the UK into a theocracy (and some people in the UK have been doing so for over twenty years). The Eastern Bloc collapsed when enough of the people got to see or hear more about the west and Muslims can see what has happened in Afghanistan and Islamic State’s caliphate. Shamima Begum fell for IS propaganda and now regrets it.
Freedom is tempting. Stability is reassuring. As long as the ones trying to force Muslims to pick a side are violent extremist Muslims the result may not be what the extremists want.

G F
G F
2 years ago

I hope you are right, there needs to be a coming of of the closet of exmuslims (at considerable personal danger), in the way that the OIC and MB concocted the plan to invent “Islamophobia ” as a form of “neo-racism” basedo on seeing how successful the gay activists had been with pointing out homophobia and changing public opinion.

Edge Turns
Edge Turns
2 years ago

The problem is, that is it conservative, Islamic Religious Supremacists that are the dominant voices and leaders in Muslim Communities.

Former Guardian Reader
Former Guardian Reader
2 years ago
Reply to  Edge Turns

You may be right, although some Muslims may not be part of Muslim communities and not listen to community leaders.
I don’t support people doing things like drawing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed or dumping pigs’ heads outside mosques. It’s not because those things are offensive or upsetting to Muslims: it’s because it plays into the hands of those Muslims who seek to incite hatred and violence. It’s better to have calm but frank discussions but to be absolutely clear that when Muslims are involved in terrorism or so-called “grooming gangs” their self-justification comes from Islam and that threats and violence will be dealt with using the full force of the law.
And the only time I would support the burning of the Qu’ran would be after an Islamic terrorist attack. If I had been Prime Minister at the time of the Manchester Arena bombing the next night I would have given a televised address in which I burned 22 copies of the Qu’ran in Downing Street and said than any human life is more important than any book.

Human Rights and Sharia
Human Rights and Sharia
2 years ago

Remember one dog can control a hundred sheep.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

Religion is the one sphere where supersessionism can overwrite actual historical chronology. Christianity purports to overwrite Judaism. And Medina Islam surely purport to overwrite the Mecca Islam. Both Christianity and Islam were violent, bloody and ruthless toward any root of the branch of the tree.
Muhammad first sought to be a Jewish prophet. The age of prophecy had passed. An illiterate Jewish prophet would be a hard sell.
How feasible is a move to restore an original version of any religion ? Well, as hard as the Christians try to convert Jews, my impression is that Judaism, being the meatier and more intellectual faith, and the more sympathetic, could, one day, overwrite Christianity. The Hebrew Bible does constitute around 99% of the poetry, narrative and dicta of “The Bible” of the Christians. All that is lacking is fr Christianity to come to terms with this historical and chronological reality a little more fully. But in the absence of a restoration, Judaism and Christianity can coexist.
Christians share texts with Jews. Christians and Jews do not share texts with Islam. And Islam is fully greater than 50% a political ideology. Islam regulates and is extremely hostile to the Kafir. Discrimination, hatred, and even violence toward against the Dhimi is not just tolerated, it is codified within Islam. Jews in particular are viewed and treated with disgust in the Islamic texts and in Islamic societies. Islam is unlikely ever to be cleaned of the stain.
Modern secularism is also now in competition with religion, Societies face confusion and competition from socialism, capitalism, and communism, and all hybrids thereof. Societies are having a hard time even crafting laws which clearly state what “the law” is. Totalitarian governments, agencies and NGOs, both on the left and the right are being tolerated and given free reign because confusion and obscurity prevails.
In the gap, Islamic fundamentalist enclaves are worming their way into all parts of the world’s communities.London is now known as Londonstan.
Fear of Islam is wholly justified. Islam is poisonous political ideology masquerading as a religion, and should be recognized as such in national legal codes. Islam is a competitor to any form of democracy It deserves no protection. The Center for the Study of Political Islam is a good resource for those seeking to think and speak clearly about Islam.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

excellent piece of intellectual polemicism

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

“and many other Muslims will either see through their rhetoric or enjoy the benefits of living in a democratic society”
I really don’t think that they believe there are any benefits of living in a democratic society

End PC
End PC
2 years ago

Islam cannot be reformed. Admire Ayaan but must disagree. Islam is based on the Qur’an which must be taken as direct dictation (via Gabriel) from Allah to M. Accordingly, via its Median verses (which trump the earlier Mecca verses) it is forever a conquer and subjugate the world supremacist, totalitarian belief system. Islam simply has to go, it’s clearly a fraud of a religion concocted by the Abbasids centuries after M’s death. Even Mecca, as Ayaan should know, is an fraud realized as such by many scholars since Patrica Crone wrote about it many decade ago. See New MAPS debunk Muslims claims about Mecca! on Youtube.
Let’s not encourage the hopeless reformers but try to convince all Muslims to leave this fraud Islam as so many are doing every day.

Michael Webb
Michael Webb
2 years ago

Oh dear, poor old Maggie. Just like Hitler, she gets dragged into any/all ‘discussions’ to muddy the waters and distract.

G F
G F
2 years ago

It’s particularly interesting how the Palestinian cause is taken up by the left. Jeremy Corbyn would have immediately recognised the State of Palestine had he become PM.

Those championing it are completely oblivious to their status as useful idiots for the Muslim Brotherhood and the expansion of the Ummah.

They definitely cannot consider the roots of it go back 4000 years to Isaac and Ishmael and leads to Muhammad’s rejection by the Jews who referred to him as “Meshuggah” 1400 years ago. He had them massacred.

That biblical story sits deep in the collective psyche of Islam.

They couldn’t consider that Muslims have no historical claim to Jerusalem at all. (Not to say that individual Arab families have some right to their historic land BTW)

The cause is a major coup for the MB as a wedge and vehicle for a red/green alliance – which allows a flourishing Islamophobia industry and the stifling of free expression… also with a threat of violence and it’s sister – cancel culture.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

I don’t remember Thatcher using the term (although it seems a widely-accepted fact), but I do remember Harold Wilson using the phrase, applying it to unions. I think it was the seamen’s strike.

Former Guardian Reader
Former Guardian Reader
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Margaret Thatcher described the striking miners as “the enemy within” at a meeting of the 1922 Committee so the only people who heard it first hand were fellow Conservative MPs. She was going to say something similar in her keynote speech to the 1984 Conservative Party Conference but the speech was rewritten after the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel.

james goater
james goater
2 years ago

As has been noted elsewhere, “Islamophobia” is a propaganda term cleverly designed to protect Islam from all criticism by secular societies and the fact that it has become common currency in the English language indicates that it is very effective indeed. It should also be noted that “phobia” usually denotes an irrational fear, of open or closed spaces for instance, but anyone with even a smattering of relevant knowledge should be circumspect (at least) about the religion. There is nothing irrational in viewing Islam and its rapid growth with considerable alarm.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

Religion is the one sphere where supersessionism can overwrite actual historical chronology. Christianity purports to overwrite Judaism. And Medina Islam surely purport to overwrite the Mecca Islam. Both Christianity and Islam were violent, bloody and ruthless toward any root of the branch of the tree.
Muhammad first sought to be a Jewish prophet. The age of prophecy had passed. An illiterate Jewish prophet would be a hard sell.
How feasible is a move to restore an original version of any religion ? Well, as hard as the Christians try to convert Jews, my impression is that Judaism, being the meatier and more intellectual faith, and the more sympathetic, could, one day, overwrite Christianity. The Hebrew Bible does constitute around 99% of the poetry, narrative and dicta of “The Bible” of the Christians. All that is lacking is fr Christianity to come to terms with this historical and chronological reality a little more fully. But in the absence of a restoration, Judaism and Christianity can coexist.
Christians share texts with Jews. Christians and Jews do not share texts with Islam. And Islam is fully greater than 50% a political ideology. Islam regulates and is extremely hostile to the Kafir. Discrimination, hatred, and even violence toward against the Dhimi is not just tolerated, it is codified within Islam. Jews in particular are viewed and treated with disgust in the Islamic texts and in Islamic societies. Islam is unlikely ever to be cleaned of the stain.
Modern secularism is also now in competition with religion, Societies face confusion and competition from socialism, capitalism, and communism, and all hybrids thereof. Societies are having a hard time even crafting laws which clearly state what “the law” is. Totalitarian governments, agencies and NGOs, both on the left and the right are being tolerated and given free reign because confusion and obscurity prevails.
In the gap, Islamic fundamentalist enclaves are worming their way into all parts of the world’s communities.London is now known as Londonstan.
Fear of Islam is wholly justified. Islam is poisonous political ideology masquerading as a religion, and should be recognized as such in national legal codes. Islam is a competitor to any form of democracy It deserves no protection. The Center for the Study of Political Islam is a good resource for those seeking to think and speak clearly about Islam.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

What is such a worrying consequence of so much that is so eloquently and superbly put on “Unherd” is this Conservative governments passing and enforcement of laws that criminalise and now imprison individuals who express their views that ” offend” the Islamic, LBGTQ and even climate change zealots, as well as now ” right wing ” extremists for actually looking at certain web sites, and convicting them as terrorists.

The almost total lack of media and political outrage at the advent of offence and ‘ hate’ crimes is to me the single most important issue facing this country: the arrival of these laws is the single biggest threat to freedoms that this country has ever known.

John McKee
John McKee
2 years ago

Very well said and utterly true, It is even worse here in the USA.

G F
G F
2 years ago

The CHristo and reformation was hardly a bloodless affair, so the violence in an Islamic one could be off the charts. How long Europeans can or will tolerate even current levels of threats or violence is probably rapidly diminishing especially seeing the growth of Muslim population s in Europe and the difficulty in maintaining secular values the larger that grows. A reconquest a is more likely than any meaningful reform of Islam, which according to its very nature is unchangeable.

The Medinaa/Mecca situation should make it obvious to any observer that Mrohammad was a false prophet – what spiritual messenger carries a sword? It at the least raises questions about his corruption in Mefina. .and the nature of what Allah really is. During the temptation of Christ, Satan offered him the chance tof be ruler of this world. Islam claims all the world for Allah.. I suggest that someone took the deal.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 years ago
Reply to  G F

We’ll said. I can find nothing in the New Testament that suggests that a Christian should resort to violence in order to increase the fold.

David Wildgoose
David Wildgoose
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

No, but “and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one” (Luke) also shows that Christianity is not against defending itself using violence if necessary.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

Unfortunately in jettisoning Christianity for secularism UK society has lost faith in itself. Where are the militant secularists that would show intolerance of the demands of militant islamists that their religious feelings trump secular belief in free speech? Secularists don’t believe sufficiently. Where are the counter- demonstrations against those who want to ban this film?

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Any counter demonstrations would be stopped by the police because their actions might cause a “breach-of-the-peace”. I can see the Chief Constable telling those who march for peace “You mustn’t antagonise these jehadis – they will hurt you! I’m clearing you off the streets for your own good.”

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Indeed, and while islamists seem to be able to issue blood curdling threats with impunity were someone to act as a militant free-speech advocate and issue similar threats against he islamists there can be little doubt the police would be after them as dangerous right-wing terrorists.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yes, it appears that ‘free speech’ is a one-sided affair in governmental/
authoritarian circles.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Exactly. If the police and the authorities are protecting Islamic bigots against secularists, they are no better than Trump letting the Evangelical right raid the Capitol.

Bruce Hakami
Bruce Hakami
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

And have any of our politicians commented on the banning of this film by intimidation, or are they all blind to it?

Sarah Weatherhead Kous
Sarah Weatherhead Kous
2 years ago

The problem with the “Islamic Reformation” narrative, is that ‘reformation’ does not mean to soften, but to “re-form”. The Christian reformation was a return to the roots of Christianity not a softening. The only Islamic equivalent to a Christian Reformation would be groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sarah Weatherhead Kous
Bruce Mirbella
Bruce Mirbella
2 years ago

Well, the Reformation was an attempt to return to the roots of Christianity; witness the various and widely differing Reformation churches.
That said, you are right to imply that the Reformers were often extremely radical; one contemporary Catholic witness wrote that while the Lutherans re-purposed Catholic churches, the Calvinists burned them.
The reality is that churches (or Islamic traditions) of long standing have had to confront reality over a long period of time. They might be more or less tolerant or cruel, but they have at least had to live with the consequences of their actions. Reforming movements do not have this experience, and can propose (and attempt to carry out) stupid and even wicked actions before reality catches up with them.
On a hopeful note, after about a generation, even the Calvinists settled down and became, well, Presbyterians.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruce Mirbella
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

You make an intetresting point about ‘re-formation’, but if we are going back to the roots of Islam then it would seem that the Mecca period would have the best claim to be the root, as this covers Muhammad’s first years of preaching.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

The book, ‘Answering Jihad,’ by Nabil Qu’reshi makes this point very powerfully.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

Thanks Ayaan. The categories of Mecca, Medina and modifying Muslims are much more useful than the more common secular distinction between ‘Islamists’ and the ever-elusive ‘moderate Muslims’.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew D
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yes. Not sure why we’re only now being given an insight (through media channels) into how the various factions of Islam have become what they currently are, but this bringing into the light (enlightenment…) is very useful for all Western countries grappling with issues of peaceful integration of Muslim minorities. For this alone, the Lady of Heaven film has become valuable, even through it’s being withdrawn from cinemas under threats of violence being the cause.
Of course, if we all wanted to become scholars of Islam and we had the time to do so, we could learn these things for ourselves; but how much better to have the spotlight shone on the followers of the prophet by someone who understands them but is no longer an adherent.
It’s through a gradual process of information, insight and discussion that any Islamic Reformation will begin to take hold. It may take a very long time (as with the Christian Reformation) but they’re a necessary first step, akin to the printing of the Bible in native languages.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You can only peacefully integrate minorities into a social cohesion if they wish to be so integrated. The fact is that a huge volume of Muslims do not wish to be integrated. They dream of bringing everyone under a Caliphate where only the believers (in Allah) will be the rulers & everyone else, their slaves. As for free speech, that is only permissable for them to curse/threaten/insult others not a two way street. Unfortunately the Western nations have been too late to recognise the threat of subsidising their unlimited capacity for increasing their numbers by birth & conversion. Once a church starts hiding its statues to provide shelter for Muslim ‘refugees’ you know the plot has been lost by our civilisation.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 years ago

I’m not sure there’s any particular evidence that “a huge volume of Muslims do not wish to be integrated”. As ever, there’s likely to be a silent majority who would be more than happy to become rather more integrated, except they’re not (in the main) allowed to express that wish – a huge number of women whose lives are currently suppressed, for instance. Having worked alongside many Muslim women in the NHS during a long career, I couldn’t help but notice how they were pretty vocal in standing up for themselves in a relatively free working milieu. It only takes a few chinks in the armour of those doing the suppressing for the light to shine through. More open questioning of scripture and Islamic history by people such as Ayaan and the Lady Of Heaven film maker might just provide those chinks.

Last edited 2 years ago by Steve Murray
End PC
End PC
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Don’t believe reforming Muslims. What is going on is a multibillion fantasy-Islam industry trying to sell peaceful versions of Islam that don’t exist to allay the fears of the gullible Kafir while the Muslim population increases.

End PC
End PC
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Islam cannot be reformed. Islam is based on the Qur’an which must be taken as direct dictation (via Gabriel) from Allah to M. Accordingly, via its Median verses (which trump the earlier Mecca verses) it is forever a conquer and subjugate the world supremacist, totalitarian belief system. What is going on is a multibillion fantasy-Islam industry trying to sell peaceful versions of Islam that don’t exist to allay the fears of the gullible Kafir while the Muslim population increases.
Islam simply has to go, it’s clearly a fraud of a religion concocted by the Abbasids centuries after M’s death. 

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 years ago
Reply to  End PC

Might i suggest that’s precisely what used to be said about the Bible. Heretics were tortured and burnt on the basis of any slight deviation. It was only through a very gradual process of becoming literate and educated that the dam was broken. I see no essential difference with Islam.
Apart from anything else, what we’re witnessing has less to do with religion and far more to do with attempts at maintaining male domination. It’s pretty transparent to those of us who don’t see the world through a prism of scriptural dogma.
Even this discussion can help further the cause, in it’s own small way. Many people still clearly feel the need to believe in some form of god, but the idiocy of trying to impose belief cannot last forever. Even your point about the concoction of a fraudulent religion points in that direction, as a different perspective, in the same way that the fallacy of indulgences helped to break the stranglehold on the medieval Catholic church.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Indeed, such categories come from Sudanese Muslim reformist Mahmoud Taha, who was executed by instigation of the Muslim Brotherhood for blasphemy in the 1980s.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
2 years ago

I wonder how many of the British public understand the cruelty of halal killing – it closely mirrors the jihadist favoured method of murder. It always makes me wonder what they practice on – I’m sure it’s not pineapples.
Instead of targeting the madrasa who foment this behaviour, the government targeted girl guides’ camps and closed an infant school for ‘unbritish values’ .
Not only have we sold the not-so-proverbial rope, we are willingly putting our o-so-accommodating heads into the noose.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
2 years ago

Our country is being colonised from within. There is a war against us, to destroy and replace our culture. The population know this and are ready to fight for their country and culture. But our craven leaders insist not – preferring to appease.
It can be likened to well meaning parents who, to impress the neighbours and feel virtuous, have adopted an endangered tiger into their home. The cats and the dog have recently disappeared – a few remains were found, but the parents insist that the pets were hit by traffic. The children are scared.
Now, the tiger has taken to sleeping outside the bedroom door of the smallest child. The parents look delighted, and tell the others that the tiger is protecting their young sibling. The children are not convinced.
The parents have taken to locking their bedroom door at night now…

Last edited 2 years ago by Albireo Double
Madeleine Jones
Madeleine Jones
2 years ago

Islam has existed for nearly 1400 years without reformation. What makes you think one will occur in the next 14?

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

That’s not entirely true Madelaine. The Islamic World led science and technology until about 1400. The trouble is that, since that time, it has in fact been actively regressing. The historian Niall Ferguson writes a compelling chapter on this in his book The West and the Rest. Christian reformation and Islamic regression is one of his explanations for the divergence between the two worlds and the eventual fall of the Ottomans.

In that regard the problem may be worse than you point out because they are still in the process of regressing, not in a static state from which reformation might be conceivable.

Madeleine Jones
Madeleine Jones
2 years ago

I’m aware of the scientific and technological achievements by Muslims, especially in centres like Baghdad, but none of this signifies a Reformation, which was a massive intellectual and cultural shift in Early Modern Europe. Also, the ‘Islamic Golden Age’ was concentrated in specific geographical areas. It was not done under a Christian or secular majority.
Also, the experiences of conquered kingdoms by Moors and Arabs in the 8th century A.D kinda differs from the narrative of gradual divergence. The conflict between Christianity and Islam goes back to Late Antiquity. I do like Niall Ferguson so I’ll check out his chapter for more info.

End PC
End PC
2 years ago

Even Fergurson writes therein that “ the network that produced the Scientific Revolution arose in the Christian but not in the Muslim world.”
There’s been much exaggeration about the so called “Golden Age” under Islamic suzerainty. This impressive Golden Age of Learning occurred in spite of Islam, not because of it and under very tolerant caliphs at first (wouldn’t even call them Muslim) and it came to an end largely due to Islamic orthodoxy which persecuted most of its best minds.  In his excellent book “Islam And Science” Pakistan’s top physicist Prof Perez Hoodbhoy has a section called “ Five Great Heretics”, all famous scholars who suffered under Islamic orthodoxy. Obviously the many 7th century scientific errors in the absurd Qur’an did not produce an environment of free scientific enquiry.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

Good point. In many aspects, there was a regression concerning women’s rights in nienteenth century Europe, when a poor man had more civil and property rights than a noble woman, until the suffragettes challenged that.
We should not forget that female citizens of the Roman Empire had more property rights than female citizens of the British Empire 2,000 years later.
Muslim women might lead a reformation. Actually, they have just started.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

There has been a number of heretic reformers in the Muslim world. Some still exists, such as the Alevi and the Bektashi sects in Turkey and the Balkans, and some are under attack, as the secularist movement of Mustafa Kemal.
In fact, some extremist sects have been taking over the Muslim world with money from Wahhabi countries. Western countries first considered them a fair concession to oil monarchies and a good ally against communist and Pan-Arabist regimes. Khomeini was exiled in France, Osama Bin Laden was retained by the US to fight the Soviets, and the Muslim Brotherhood and Milli Gorus found a safe haven in Germany.
Nazis needed 10 years to take power and six years to be defeated.The ayatollahs are still there after 40 years even if many urban Iranians live in a parallel society, and the Soviets remained in power for over 70.
Perhaps if we start sending secularist preachers to those countries instead of giving money to Islamic groups, we might expect some quick results. At least we could try.

Bruce Hakami
Bruce Hakami
2 years ago

And this ‘reformation’ seems to pivot on deciding between the younger Muhammed, or the older one. It seems we have learnt nothing of value in the intervening 1400 years, but seek our salvation by following Muhammed, once we have determined which was his truest version!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

… and contribute more, and are more succesful in every single element of life… fact!

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
2 years ago

Everything in the UK is policed, except crime.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
2 years ago

I agree with much of what you say but would disagree with you on religious slaughter where it is practised & supervised by the law of the land such as the Jews do. In Islam, there are tales of people chasing an animal round their back yard before plunging in the knife which may be aporcritical but has been reported A Jewish slaughterer is a highly trained individual who is aware of the needs of the animal & the method of killing the animal as humanely as possible. The orthodox Jews have also managed to adapt Western clothing so that they can follow their religious laws on modesty whithout conspicuously standing out. I wonder why no-one has told Muslim women that covering yourself in a black shroud & covering your face is NOT a sign of how modest you are but rather makes you stand out in a crowd – not usually considered a modest way to behave.

Dave Corby
Dave Corby
2 years ago

How can a religion be reformed or modernized? We either believe that it’s God’s word or not. If you change it then you don’t believe it.
Christianity does not need to be changed by one iota. Christ taught love for your neighbour and even your enemy. That we are ALL of equal worth to Him.
He taught us to point the way to Him but not try to convert people ourselves – that’s down to the Holy Spirit. No force or violence or hate.
Can those teaching from the text in Islam say the same?

Edge Turns
Edge Turns
2 years ago

I’ve worked in the voluntary and local authority youth services for years and worked within Muslim communities. Let me tell you, the community leaders despised all non-Muslims working with their children. We were seen and labelled as ‘Kafir’ I’d never heard of the word until then and this was across two very different counties. The issues were exactly the same. Not one project or programme I worked on within this community was not threatened, manipulated or closed down if it did not comply with their Intolerant Religious beliefs. I’ve seen entire projects go down the tube and be fraught with fear of offending. I was completely shocked at first and could not believe what I witnessed.
We are in VERY troubling waters indeed. And as the Muslim community grows their demands will only get louder and more aggressive. I’m extremely pessimistic about the future. We are literally sleepwalking into a situation that could look something like Lebanon or the Balkans in the 70s and 90s social and political unrest.
It is mindboggling, that Liberals on the left believe that people coming from Islamic countries will simply embrace our values of pluralism and classical liberalism, they are blinded by their own arrogance. Just a glance at the Terrorist events across Europe over the last 20 years is all the evidence you need.
What an absolute mess we’ve made for ourselves and future generations. Because if they can’t achieve their goals through violence, it will be ‘Jihad’ through the ballot box.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

Superb article as usual from this writer. Nothing more needs saying as far as I’m concerned.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
Bruce Hakami
Bruce Hakami
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Well, I agree about the quality of the article. But does it lead to a practical consequence, or do we just file it away in a dark corner of some library as a record of history?

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruce Hakami
Damian Mooney
Damian Mooney
2 years ago

Violence and intimidation is a sign of insecurity, not strength.

Bruce Hakami
Bruce Hakami
2 years ago
Reply to  Damian Mooney

But we submit to violence and intimidation, and that is a sign of?

Ellen Finkle
Ellen Finkle
2 years ago

The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. Koran,5:33. Are any Mecca Muslims or reformers prepared to reject this, or the many other repulsive commands in the Koran?
What’s more, Islam didn’t start in Mecca, and all those pilgrims have been going to the wrong place.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

islamophobia?…great Orwellian non word… how about Toffobia, Etoniphobiia, Wokephobia, phobia about everyone who has a more priveliged life/family, school, connections phobia?….

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

Not sure how to call a phobia about those who pretend to have the ultimate truth or be the ministers of God’s word on Earth. Any suggestion?

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
2 years ago

Sanctimophobia?

John Sullivan
John Sullivan
2 years ago

A phobia is a disproportionate or irrational fear of something.

Concern about religious extremism is neither disproportionate nor irrational.

“Islamophobia” is just one more example of meaningless drivel supported and promoted by the far-left useful idiots – the only common ground between today’s left wing and islamist extremists being their common penchant for totalitarianism.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Sullivan
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

The thing which amuses me is that while pointing to Islamophobia, these particular victims practice homophobia.

james goater
james goater
2 years ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

Couldn’t agree more. (I’d posted earlier, before reading your above contribution). “Islamophobia” is a propaganda term, nothing more.

John McKee
John McKee
2 years ago
Reply to  John Sullivan

A very good point which needs to be emphasized in all discussions of the subject!

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

Indeed, the anti-islamophobia activists are usually not Mecca-Muslims but Medina-Muslims. The best way to hide their own bigotry was to launch a preventive attack, accusing Mecca-Muslims and their supporters of bigotry.
EU, UK, US, Canada and other Western countries are supporting both financially and ideologically the Medina Muslims and their organisations while refusing to support Mecca-Muslims and other peaceful minorities.
As a result, we have the Ilhan Omar Bill in the US. It is not a tool against racism as it claims, but a blasphemy law. Exactly the kind of bill the Evangelical right wanted: the religious law finally ruling over Common Law. Welcome to a new theocratic world.

Almodather Awad
Almodather Awad
2 years ago

To be honest, I can’t see any hope for the Mecca Muslims to win this battle over what Islam is unless we change the way we treat the Medina Muslims first. Dawa should be tightly observed and regulated. Wahhabi or other radical groups of Muslims should be expelled or cease their activities in the West. Tolerance should not be wasted on those who don’t show it to others; tolerance is a two way street. We should also hope Western governments would get over their fears of being called Islamophobic. Islam is not an ethnicity. It’s an ideology. You can simply renounce it. Or at least not act on every part of it. Westerners deserve to feel safe at their home countries, not threatened by a religion they don’t know anything about. That’s my honest opinion as a former Muslim.

james goater
james goater
2 years ago

Very much appreciate your comment. It is a great tragedy that the one sect of Islam whose adherents are peaceful, tolerant, accommodating, and largely well-integrated wherever they live — Ahmadiyya — is persecuted. Members are discriminated against and often killed by adherents of the main Sunni sect. Much much more could be done about this, at an international level, but there is only silence.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  james goater

When muslims in every single majority province of India broke away to form an islamic nation, where other religions would by definition be treated as inferior, who do you think were at the forefront of that movement?
The Ahmadis.

Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones
2 years ago

Europe imported and continues to import non-European people in huge numbers. So many of these stresses and strains (along with the violence) were predictable and indeed predicted. Yet all the official energies went into a massive propaganda offensive, legal activism and wishful thinking. Well, here ‘we’ are.

Human Rights and Sharia
Human Rights and Sharia
2 years ago

There is an alternative approach

Action Plan

Get the ECHR ruling that sharia is “incompatible with democracy and human rights” taught as a compulsory part of the curriculum in ALL schools.
ECHR Annual report 2003
The follow-up report ajdoc282016 by the Council of Europe adds considerable detail to the original judgement summary.
Ask the government to publish the data behind paragraph 6 of Council of Europe resolution 2253 (22/01/2019) that shows exactly which parts of sharia law contravene the human rights convention. The UK voted for that resolution:
“The Assembly recalls that the European Court of Human Rights has already stated in Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and others v. Turkey that the institution of Sharia law and a theocratic regime are incompatible with the requirements of a democratic society. The Assembly fully agrees that Sharia rules on, for example, divorce and inheritance proceedings are clearly incompatible with the Convention, in particular its Article 14, which prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex or religion, and Article 5 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention (ETS No. 117), which establishes equality between marital partners. Sharia law is also in contradiction with other provisions of the Convention and its additional protocols, including Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 6 (right to a fair trial), Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 12 (right to marry), Article 1 of the Protocol to the Convention (ETS No. 9) (protection of property) and Protocols Nos. 6 (ETS No. 114) and 13 (ETS No. 187) abolishing the death penalty.”
Get this statement of principle from the Council of Europe resolution(1804 – 2007) implemented via legislation with strong teeth:
“Nor may states allow the dissemination of religious principles which, if put into practice, would violate human rights.

If doubts exist in this respect, states must require religious leaders to take an unambiguous stand in favour of the precedence of human rights, as set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights, over any religious principle.”

Remove the Anti-Muslim Hatred working group from within government. No similar group exists for any other faith despite the considerable anti-Semitism that is rife within the UK. A great deal of which appears to emanate from within the Muslim demographic

james goater
james goater
2 years ago

Excellent! But the horrible irony is that, among devout Muslims, much of this is viewed as infringing upon their right to practice their religion! At the same time we hear bleatings such as “There is no such thing as Human Rights. There are only God-given Rights”.

Gavin Thomas
Gavin Thomas
2 years ago

We need more ‘religious comedy’…

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago
Reply to  Gavin Thomas

Something like the Life of Brian? It could work.

Aw Zk
Aw Zk
2 years ago
Reply to  Gavin Thomas

I’m very rusty when I comes to comedy but I’ll have a go.
Some Muslims are protesting outside cinemas because they don’t want to watch the film “The Lady Of Heaven”. If they don’t want to watch that there are other films out. They could watch “Top Gun: Maverick”.
But they want to watch good Muslim films, I hear some people say. I’m not an expert on films or Islam but is there a Muslim version of “Top Gun: Maverick”. It’s only just come out so I don’t expect there is but is there a Muslim version of the original “Top Gun”? There might be but if there is it probably didn’t leave scope for a sequel because at the end of the film the hero crashed his plane into a skyscraper.
I wonder if Mohamed Atta thought he was like a hero in a blockbuster film when he was flying a plane into the World Trade Centre on 9/11. I bet he did. He wanted to be famous but he couldn’t sing or dance or tell jokes and those things weren’t Islamic enough for him so instead he decided to become famous for killing people. If he wasn’t such a pious mass murderer he could have sung as he flew the plane towards the tower.
Highway to the Martyr Zone
Gonna take it right into the Martyr Zone
Highway to the Martyr Zone
Die into the Martyr Zone
Is there a Muslim version of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise? If there is I should imagine it’s very repetitive because the mission is always to kill the kuffars but it’s easier to follow because the back story doesn’t matter as the hero dies at the end of every film.
It’s not Chris Rock but I did say I was rusty.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

Good try, but I preferred your first post.
Chris Morris didn’t do a bad job with Four Lions

Former Guardian Reader
Former Guardian Reader
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Thank you for appreciating the effort. I’ve been off-form comedically for a long time.
Comedy has been tame and lame for a long time. The 21st Century should have been a golden age for comedy (and especially stand-up comedy and satire) with so many important and dramatic things happening in the world, including the rise and fall of Islamic terrorism. However, comedy has become culturally irrelevant, especially compared to cinema, TV drama and sport. In the last few years Netflix has put big money in the pockets of a few big-name comedians but there has been little or nothing that has had the influence of Bill Hicks or The Day Today or South Park. Comedy is a backwater where people preach to dwindling numbers of the converted.
Tell us about trans people again, Ricky, Tell us about gypsies again, Jimmy. Tell us about Boris Johnson again, Stew.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

Very true, sadly

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
2 years ago

Yes, it is always the jews. Yawn.

Ishaan Rai
Ishaan Rai
2 years ago

You will be cancelled for saying this!

thomas martin
thomas martin
2 years ago

The best comment on Islam remains that of the French writer Michel Houellebecq.

Easily findable on google.

james goater
james goater
2 years ago
Reply to  thomas martin

Winston Churchill’s observations on “Mohammedanism” must run it close, recorded in his book, “The River War”. Every one of his words rings true to this day.

Human Rights and Sharia
Human Rights and Sharia
2 years ago
Reply to  thomas martin

Houllebecq is wrong, Islam is far from dumb. It has an ultimate end of converting all to Islam and a set of brainwashing memes that ensure the blind adherence of the majority of followers. It relies on the human reluctance to kill other humans and has perfected the victim narrative whilst being totally aggressive.

Caroline Martin
Caroline Martin
2 years ago

Again I thank Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her writing. She helps me understand.

sean Mahony
sean Mahony
2 years ago

GOOD ARTICLE, i am afraid that it is difficult to reverse this in Muslim countries but it should be against the law for them to riot against any pushback in the free world.

End PC
End PC
2 years ago

No natural place in the world for such an obvious fraud of a religion as Islam. Even Mecca is an obvious fraud: see See New MAPS debunk Muslims claims about Mecca! on Youtube.

Sanjay Banerjee
Sanjay Banerjee
1 year ago

The author classifies Muslims into three categories. I am curious to know how she would classify non-Muslims in their interactions with Muslims.

Sanjay Banerjee
Sanjay Banerjee
1 year ago

The author classifies Muslims into three categories. I am curious to know how she would classify non-Muslims in their interactions with Muslims.

Iftekhar Sayeed
Iftekhar Sayeed
2 years ago

Does anyone remember Brian Haw? June 18 will be his 11th death anniversary.

james goater
james goater
2 years ago

Certainly do. Visited his years’ long protest, against the Iraq War, camping out in Parliament Square in London. Extraordinarily single-minded and dedicated protester whose death might’ve been hastened by years of vehicle fumes, outside his tent. Time flies.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

Religion is the one sphere where supersessionism can overwrite actual historical chronology. Christianity purports to overwrite Judaism. And Medina Islam surely purport to overwrite the Mecca Islam. Both Christianity and Islam were violent, bloody and ruthless toward any root of the branch of the tree.
Muhammad first sought to be a Jewish prophet. The age of prophecy had passed. An illiterate Jewish prophet would be a hard sell.
How feasible is a move to restore an original version of any religion ? Well, as hard as the Christians try to convert Jews, my impression is that Judaism, being the meatier and more intellectual faith, and the more sympathetic, could, one day, overwrite Christianity. The Hebrew Bible does constitute around 99% of the poetry, narrative and dicta of “The Bible” of the Christians. All that is lacking is fr Christianity to come to terms with this historical and chronological reality a little more fully. But in the absence of a restoration, Judaism and Christianity can coexist.
Christians share texts with Jews. Christians and Jews do not share texts with Islam. And Islam is fully greater than 50% a political ideology. Islam regulates and is extremely hostile to the Kafir. Discrimination, hatred, and even violence toward against the Dhimi is not just tolerated, it is codified within Islam. Jews in particular are viewed and treated with disgust in the Islamic texts and in Islamic societies. Islam is unlikely ever to be cleaned of the stain.
Modern secularism is also now in competition with religion, Societies face confusion and competition from socialism, capitalism, and communism, and all hybrids thereof. Societies are having a hard time even crafting laws which clearly state what “the law” is. Totalitarian governments, agencies and NGOs, both on the left and the right are being tolerated and given free reign because confusion and obscurity prevails.
In the gap, Islamic fundamentalist enclaves are worming their way into all parts of the world’s communities.London is now known as Londonstan.
Fear of Islam is wholly justified. Islam is poisonous political ideology masquerading as a religion, and should be recognized as such in national legal codes. Islam is a competitor to any form of democracy It deserves no protection. The Center for the Study of Political Islam is a good resource for those seeking to think and speak clearly about Islam.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

1 – please learn English. 2. – please learn history and anthropology. 3, please learn what Abid means in Arabic.

James Vallery
James Vallery
2 years ago

Any religion that has to resort to violence is a failure. It is that simple. It is the Human EGO that twists what is suppose to a Benevolent Omnipentent Diety in a nasty hating killing entity. Its the Human EGO that need reforming and dragging from the cave man mentality into the modern era. It human EGO that is to blame and it is the one that see and judges with hatered. And while you let your ego control your way of thinking you fail the simplest test of faith! Until you learn to control your Ego and understand it. Humans will always killing with hate and be offended and blame everyone else for the results of their actions and not themselves. Even more so if you give them a common collective ideology dressed up as a Faith that panders to the EGO! “we are the one true faith!” is EGO pandering.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“Art and Islam often seem like oil and water. Other times, they seem like matches and gasoline.”

The difference is that in the West, the trite, the cheap and the nasty, such as the 1979 Monty Python movie The Life Of Brian, came a little after Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus Of Nazareth of 1977; Zeffirelli’s work was so splendid, artistic and meaningful, it has probably been watched on TV by punk rockers, assorted Catholic bishops and Presbyterians on a wet Sunday afternoon in the 80s when only four TV channels in Britain effectively existed. But because art, or rather the arts and entertainments are so …. massive in the West, with mass participation in them, respectable top folk, upset by, say, The Sex Pistols topping the charts one week, are gratified by the arrival at the top by Abba the next. The pop music scene is all forgiven in such a context. The presence of the good will frequently outweigh the bad and the ugly. Or at least appear to at various moments across the arts. People in the West have accepted the intrusion of a fattening middle area, of mediocrity in abundance, as the price of living in a free society. Snootier or more high-brow types will even be gleeful, in the internet age, to see their realm of art as increasingly select in an increasingly fattened mediocrity. Had there been no attempts to foster a love or taste for art and culture across all socio-economic groups, in varying degrees, within Christendom, over centuries, then a sudden lurch into the art world, a lurch in the technology age say, and a movie on a sacred figure given some kind of Hollywood makeover, would be bound to stir a fair few souls and make them vexed — just as the sudden arrival of rock’n’roll did in parts of the church-going Deep South of America in the 50s (when it was described as the devil’s music by some presumably well-respected figures in society). But even there, then, well, as far as I know, there were no mass protests outside concert venues with placards on which we’re written “Down With This Sort Of Thing!”and “Careful Now!” Well, maybe there were! But was Elvis ever forced to cancel shows because religious zealots demanded he should? I’d like to think things did not go that far. I don’t imagine they did. In fact, that old episode of Father Ted and those scary aforementioned messages in quotation marks hint at the freedom to live as one sees fit and to protest as one wishes. It’s the stuff of good cheer and good tears, however: nobody need fear their physical safety threatened. A good old debate over cups of tea might break out. People then listen and they learn. Maybe that’s what happened in white homes across the Deep South when rock’n’roll hit TV screens.

Christianity is based on love. Much consolation rather than enjoyment has in fact been the desire of many in their quest to be entertained and to entertain. It’s a consolation that is a world beyond many poor folk in Muslim lands where income disparities are huge. In the West, there has been many a star who was “saved” by a talent he or she had found and incubated. And many a star found consolation in that as a means to escape grinding poverty or misfortune. From amateur dramatics to musicianship. The point being that they harboured dreams because they were not unnatural or wrong to have in a society whose main religion is based on love. No guilt. And in America that “anyone can make it” dream occurred in the midst of city and country horizons dotted with church spires.

The problem in the technology age is that there are elements in both the Left and Right of politics, in the West, who think they can change the world at the drop of a hat. The technology today at their fingertips may reinforce the idea that their generation is the one entitled to make the great change to a certain kind of ordered secular society. They can be evil as they ride roughshod over folk. They appear to do what it takes such that the fattened middle of mediocrity is exalted. That’s the upshot of rushing things. These uncultured drivers of culture want the greatest pleasure for the most people. It’s all money. And don’t some people today increasingly talk about The Life Of Brian being the epitome of a mature society in regard to religion and free speech? It’s a desperate job to get Jesus Of Nazareth to be the talk of the town these days. It’s not on anyone’s shelf like the Life Of Brian is!

The West has had the luxury of its historic clowns to ease us into modern times: from recent centuries to 19th century vaudeville and music hall to Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel and Hardy and fifteen years of Silent Comedy before sound came along. If Chaplin or Keaton could have emitted sound from the first, the vicar watching might have disapproved. As it was, the vicar, watching Silent Comedy, chuckled. The picture houses became then a little precious and too good to close down on account of any perceived nonsense film that later came down. Surely the good that was present would show up the bad. The ball was rolling. The artists worried whether people would laugh or cry. They did not worry if theatres or cinemas would be forced to shut down on account of something being beyond the pale.

I would guess that if the West is to become a consolatory home for Muslims, then they might look into how the Jewish immigrants to America in the early 1900s adapted their traditional ways to the American way of life. The first talkie, The Jazz Singer, is a quite wonderful movie about just that: the tension between a son’s religious duty (his budding life as a cantor at a synagogue) and his desire to make something of his life creatively in the world of the arts and entertainments. It’s very nearly now one hundred years old. That movie’s purpose may have been to announce the arrival of a well-adjusted Jewish population. Well-adjusted? That sounds a tad patronising. They had a ball! And why not?

And here we are, in the 21st century, and as miserable as old Jim. As the song goes, “There may be trouble ahead, but while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance, let’s face the music and dance.”
You’d think so, wouldn’t you!

As I have alluded: the West has had centuries of this sort of thing. Free speech then tends to come along in its wake. The tolerance and the daring works too. It might be time for the Islamic world to learn to console itself first. How many talents are waiting for a chance? How many will be discovered? Does not the West deserve by now to find out? As the inventor guy with the funny hair in Back To The Future asked, when in his Fifties younger man phase, McFly junior who’s the President in 80s America, and he is told it’s Ronald Reagan, he responds: “Ha! The actor?”

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
2 years ago

I just don’t get why this film has the sub-title ‘first victim of terrorism’. As I understand she led a pretty religious life, was married had children and died not long after her father. The only contention she seemed to suffer was that land given to her by her father was unfairly confiscated by Abu Bakr, leader of the faith at that time and that perhaps she never spoke to him again due to that theft. She attended the wounded on the battlefield and led an exemplary life. Where is she a victim of terrorism? Please explain.

Tony Sandy
Tony Sandy
2 years ago

Thank you for your post. Mohammed at Medina was enlightened because this is ‘individual.’ Mecca was politics not religion because it tried to use ‘force’ to convert people to a belief (religion is not a football game of us versus them but an attempt to unite all men behind truth, which has nothing to do with violence being rammed down your throat and obedience without thought). If Islam is a religion of peace then these are blasphemers because they are not showing anyone tolerance. You know or you don’t know. This is the difference between a saint and a sinner. People flock to hear saints proclaim wisdom they are not bullied or blackmailed into attending rallies.