‘The multicultural issue’

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s very vocal dissidence from Islam has served to polarize public opinion, to say the least, especially in Europe. While most people have a hard time arguing with her views when confronted with them, committed multiculturalists cannot help attacking her, or at least trying to put her credibility into doubt among audiences who might be receptive to her views.

signandsight has compiled the contributions to an especially heated debate on multiculturalism in general and Ayaan Hirsi Ali in particular. It started when French philosopher Pascal Bruckner defended Ali against attacks by Ian Burama, author of Murder in Amsterdam, as well as Timothy Garton Ash in his review of the book (only available to subscribers). Beyond addressing their specific points on Ali, he went on to attack misguided claims of moral equivalence between ‘Islamist fundamentalism and Enlightenment fundamentalism’ and he also compared multiculturalism with South African apartheid policies. While Ash, Burama and some others couldn’t leave that unanswered, and were in turn criticized by other participants.

You can find the whole debate here: The Multicultural Issue.

It should also be noted that the people at signandsight have their own biases, for their introduction to the debate begins with the sentence “Who should the West support: moderate Islamists like Tariq Ramadan, or Islamic dissidents like Ayaan Hirsi Ali?” Some people who know what they are talking about aren’t agreeing that Tariq Ramadan can indeed be called a moderate (of course, the really bad news here might be that Ramadan really *is* a moderate, as Islamists go). They also let Ash and Burama have the last word, with “Timothy Garton Ash and Ian Buruma set[ting] Pascal Bruckner straight on a few last points.”

Then again, this kind of skewed stance might be necessary for there being any debate at all, for a strictly rational and impartial consideration of the issue would quickly lead to the conclusion that there really is nothing that could possibly justify Islamism as well as multiculturalism (you could argue that this is a kind of bias in itself, but I happen to hold the axiomatic view that our values are simply superior to theirs, and better them than us, should it ever come to that).

9 thoughts on “‘The multicultural issue’”

  1. Ralf Goergens writes: “…Islamists like Tariq Ramadan, or Islamic dissidents like Ayaan Hirsi Ali?”

    Aayan Hirsi Ali is an apostate, not a dissident. She drew her line in the sand around 15 years ago. She is not a Muslim.

  2. Ralph writes: “Once you are in, you stay in! ;)”

    This is wrong. And it is very importantly wrong.

    Islamics are aware that people leave islam. That is why they have the death penalty for it. Your writing, “Once you’re in, you stay in!” is a foolish and dangerous statement.

    Further to this, in their koran, it assures them that everyone is born a muslim. You were born a muslim, Ralph. Being muslim is the accepted state of being.

    You criminally left islam – you see, they do accept that there is such a thing as apostacy – and you are therefore deserving of death. That is why they can blow us up and kidnap and behead Christians and Jews without a second thought. We are apostates and deserve it. We were born in the bliss of islam and we rejected it.

    This is an extremely important point to remember when you hear imams and the usual suspects agreeing with interviewers that it is a tragedy that “innocent victims” should have died in 9/ll, the Madrid train station, London Transport, Bali and all the other islamic outrages too numerous to mention.

    Press them … and you will force them to admit that the “innocent victims” for whom they feel sorrow are fellow islamics who happened to be there. The rest of the people who were slaughtered were apostates and deserved to die. The key word, with muslims, is always “innocent”, and if you are an apostate, you are not innocent, have rejected allah and are therefore deserving of death.

    Do not write “once you are in, you stay in” with a cutesy-poo emoticon and degrade the bravery shown by Aayan Hirsi Ali. The woman is a hero.

  3. Futher point, Ralph, to reinforce my point, that is why converts to islam are never referred to, within islam, as converts. They are always referred to as “reverts”. One reverted to his natural state: muslim.

    It is important for Westerners to be aware of these points, because islam inches forward on a field of ignorance.

  4. Verity, I was just kidding.


    Islamism is apolitical movement that tries to justify its goals by citing Islam the religion – while far too many Muslims tolerate this, by no means all of them do. Islam the faith, as opposed as Islamism as a political movement, has a lot of adherents who simply pray five times a day, don´t eat pork etc, etc.and wouldn´t dream of bothering any followers of other faiths.

  5. Tariq Ramadan’s reputation as a “moderate” rests largely on his pronouncements in English. The French ones are very different and, I am told, the Arabic ones are very, very different. The US government appears to be more correct in its understanding than the University of Oxford and (sigh) my own old college within it.

  6. Ralph – forgive me if I come across as a pedant, but there are few true muslims “who wouldn’t dream of bothering any followers of other faiths”.

    Again, this statement illustrates the basic lie about Islam that has been drilled into the heads of many Western governments and commentators.

    Islamics think that people who don’t follow their faith, islam, are an offence against God. Yes, there are some wonderfully sensible, advanced muslims who have knowingly jettisoned this belief, but the vast majority of them live by it.

    I don’t have the figure to hand, but I recall that a year after the event, something like 47 per cent of British muslims admitted,in an anonymous survey,that they “could understand” the blowing up of British Transport.

    Islam is sly, Ralph. The head of the anti-British propagandising British Muslim Council went on TV whining softly about “the loss of innocent lives” when the interviewer asked if he regretted the people murdered and maimed. Yet the reporter didn’t say, “Do you regret the loss of innocent lives?” He said, “Do you regret the loss of life?”

    It was Sacranie who inserted the word “innocent” For once, a British broadcaster pressed him on the issue, and in the end, he was forced to admit that when he said “innocent”, he was in fact referring to “muslim”. In other words, he didn’t give a monkey’s about all the indigenous British who died, and were maimed, in the service of his belief system.

    This hedging the truth and slyly changing meanings is so institutionalised in islam that it has its own word: taqyya. Taqyya is a technique – lying by carefully misleading.

    You should be very careful what you accept about islam because you don’t seem to be very familiar with it. It is not like Judaism and Christianity, and their talk of “the Ibrahimic tradition” is more of the same.

  7. Thank you, Verity. Unfortunately, I´ll have to get back to you next week, for I´ll be travelling for the next days. I´ll write a follow-up post and wecan discuss this further then.

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