[FoRK] [fauxever@sprynet.com: [extropy-chat] Poverty of Dignity]

Eugen Leitl eugen
Fri Jul 15 07:57:19 PDT 2005


----- Forwarded message from Olga Bourlin <fauxever at sprynet.com> -----

From: Olga Bourlin <fauxever at sprynet.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 07:45:52 -0700
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: [extropy-chat] Poverty of Dignity
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Reply-To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>

"But virtually all suicide bombers, of late, have been Sunni Muslims. There 
are a lot of angry people in the world. Angry Mexicans. Angry Africans. 
Angry Norwegians. But the only ones who seem to feel entitled and motivated 
to kill themselves and totally innocent people, including other Muslims, 
over their anger are young Sunni radicals. What is going on?  ... Clearly, 
several things are at work. One is that Europe is not a melting pot and has 
never adequately integrated its Muslim minorities, who, as The Financial 
Times put it, often find themselves 'cut off from their country, language 
and culture of origin' without being assimilated into Europe, making them 
easy prey for peddlers of a new jihadist identity. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/15/opinion/15friedman.html?hp

July 15, 2005
A Poverty of Dignity and a Wealth of Rage
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
A few years ago I was visiting Bahrain and sitting with friends in a fish 
restaurant when news appeared on an overhead TV about Muslim terrorists, men 
and women, who had taken hostages in Russia. What struck me, though, was the 
instinctive reaction of the Bahraini businessman sitting next to me, who 
muttered under his breath, "Why are we in every story?" The "we" in question 
was Muslims.

The answer to that question is one of the most important issues in 
geopolitics today: Why are young Sunni Muslim males, from London to Riyadh 
and Bali to Baghdad, so willing to blow up themselves and others in the name 
of their religion? Of course, not all Muslims are suicide bombers; it would 
be ludicrous to suggest that.

But virtually all suicide bombers, of late, have been Sunni Muslims. There 
are a lot of angry people in the world. Angry Mexicans. Angry Africans. 
Angry Norwegians. But the only ones who seem to feel entitled and motivated 
to kill themselves and totally innocent people, including other Muslims, 
over their anger are young Sunni radicals. What is going on?

Neither we nor the Muslim world can run away from this question any longer. 
This is especially true when it comes to people like Muhammad Bouyeri - a 
Dutch citizen of Moroccan origin who last year tracked down the Dutch 
filmmaker Theo van Gogh, a critic of Islamic intolerance, on an Amsterdam 
street, shot him 15 times and slit his throat with a butcher knife. He told 
a Dutch court on the final day of his trial on Tuesday: "I take complete 
responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion."

Clearly, several things are at work. One is that Europe is not a melting pot 
and has never adequately integrated its Muslim minorities, who, as The 
Financial Times put it, often find themselves "cut off from their country, 
language and culture of origin" without being assimilated into Europe, 
making them easy prey for peddlers of a new jihadist identity.

Also at work is Sunni Islam's struggle with modernity. Islam has a long 
tradition of tolerating other religions, but only on the basis of the 
supremacy of Islam, not equality with Islam. Islam's self-identity is that 
it is the authentic and ideal expression of monotheism. Muslims are raised 
with the view that Islam is God 3.0, Christianity is God 2.0, Judaism is God 
1.0, and Hinduism is God 0.0.

Part of what seems to be going on with these young Muslim males is that they 
are, on the one hand, tempted by Western society, and ashamed of being 
tempted. On the other hand, they are humiliated by Western society because 
while Sunni Islamic civilization is supposed to be superior, its decision to 
ban the reform and reinterpretation of Islam since the 12th century has 
choked the spirit of innovation out of Muslim lands, and left the Islamic 
world less powerful, less economically developed, less technically advanced 
than God 2.0, 1.0 and 0.0.

"Some of these young Muslim men are tempted by a civilization they consider 
morally inferior, and they are humiliated by the fact that, while having 
been taught their faith is supreme, other civilizations seem to be doing 
much better," said Raymond Stock, the Cairo-based biographer and translator 
of Naguib Mahfouz. "When the inner conflict becomes too great, some are 
turned by recruiters to seek the sick prestige of 'martyrdom' by fighting 
the allegedly unjust occupation of Muslim lands and the 'decadence' in our 
own."

This is not about the poverty of money. This is about the poverty of dignity 
and the rage it can trigger.

One of the London bombers was married, with a young child and another on the 
way. I can understand, but never accept, suicide bombing in Iraq or Israel 
as part of a nationalist struggle. But when a British Muslim citizen, 
nurtured by that society, just indiscriminately blows up his neighbors and 
leaves behind a baby and pregnant wife, to me he has to be in the grip of a 
dangerous cult or preacher - dangerous to his faith community and to the 
world.

How does that happen? Britain's Independent newspaper described one of the 
bombers, Hasib Hussain, as having recently undergone a sudden conversion 
"from a British Asian who dressed in Western clothes to a religious teenager 
who wore Islamic garb and only stopped to say salaam to fellow Muslims."

The secret of this story is in that conversion - and so is the crisis in 
Islam. The people and ideas that brought about that sudden conversion of 
Hasib Hussain and his pals - if not stopped by other Muslims - will end up 
converting every Muslim into a suspect and one of the world's great 
religions into a cult of death.




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Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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