Thursday, 5 July 2007

Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi on Giulani

Came across this article on the net. Its an NBC reporter's interview of Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi (of lal masjid fame). This is how it begins:

“In New York when Rudy Giuliani was mayor and he closed the brothels and all those things, no one said he was an agent of the Taliban, did they?” Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi shot back to a question about the creeping Talibanization in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. He was referring to Giuliani’s campaign in the ‘90s to clean up Manhattan’s Times Square, ridding the area of strip clubs and X-rated video stores.

My, my, but this is most interesting. We must concede the point to Mr. Ghazi. The rest of the article is mediocre blah, and the comments from readers that follow the usual uninformed blend of racism and ignorance from a variety of perspectives.

But there's an interesting point to be raised here. Something, that is readily apparent to anyone who has been exposed to people with the kinds of views Mr. Ghazi has and the kinds of books they read and ideas about the world and how it works, that they hold. So-called Islamic fundamentalism is very much a product of the modern, globalised world. It is in fact a phenomenon of modernity.

There's an endless recycling of rubbish by so-called experts in the media about how Islam is against modernity, it has to 'catch-up' or 'reform' or reconcile itself with modernity etc. There is endless analysis of the writings of Syed Qutab, deconstruction of the writings of Tariq Ramadan (who no one has heard of outside the west). I've had people who have never met a Muslim in their lives quote some obscure saying of the prophet no one has ever heard of to me and tell me that it is because of this that 'they' want to kill 'us'.

Most people with 'extreme' views that I know, watch CNN, read Samuel Huntington, get corporate sector jobs, parrot ideas popularized by Christain fundamentalists about the evils of science/the west/communism/atheism and for the most part have little concern with what the 'experts' believe they are guided by. Almost every single one insists that 'traditional' or 'uneducated' Islamic practice is wrong and must be reformed. They present their own views as the correct or true interpretation of Islam.

In fact, much like in the Reformation, where the traditional, "superstitious" Christianity of the peasantry was rejected by Protestants who offered up their own, educated interpretations as the true Christianity.

There's much more to be said on this topic, but at the moment I have neither the time nor inclination. Suffice to say, when Maulana Ghazi is inspired by Giulani, you know that many of the assumptions made by experts in the media need to reassessed.


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