Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bong bombings   posted by Razib @ 8/17/2005 11:31:00 AM

350 small bombs explode in Bangladesh. Rezwan, who blogs from Bangladesh, has more, and promises updates. The analogy between Islamism and Communism or Fascism has its weaknesses, but one point of similarity is that all of these "movements" have been directly or indirectly responsible for more casualties to their own presumed constituents than "the Enemy." On a less human note, Mecca is being bulldozed (while the possible eradication of historic Muslim sites in Christian Spain is worthy of an article in The New York Times), in large part to destroy historic sites which might become the objects of reverence. The Wahabbi attack on holy sites (Muslim holy sites, including the tomb of Muhammed) dates back to hundreds of years, but what they couldn't get away with through fanaticism they are justifying as development. Sometimes this "Islamic solidarity" that goons like the 7-7 bombers are inspired by seems like such a farce, but, I suppose it can be asked if one could say that a terrorist is anything but "dumb" on a fundamental level about the relation between reality and their own fantasy projection. Also, you might be curious about this statement put out by the "Muslim community" in Britain, who expose themselves as being rather unreconstructed cultural particularists (as opposed to universalists) if you take their defense of both shariah in Muslim lands (see point #1) and hard-core Western civil liberties in the UK at face value (see point #4). It smells a little like the "what's mine is mine and what's your's is mine" philosophy, nothing logically wrong about this sort of egotism, but people tend to intuitively revolt against it (let's hope).

Update: Eoin points me to this piece in The Guardian throwing cold water on calls for a "Reformation" within Islam (most recently by Salman Rushdie). I think that "Reformation" is sketchy concept to apply to Islam as a whole because the network of relations and concepts of Islam circa 2005 is simply so unlike Christianity circa 1500. But, as the article makes clear, the Reformation itself was a rather mixed-bag in itself. It seems that these calls for "Reformation" in the Anglo-Saxon world are the long lost channelings of the old Protestant polemics which viewed Luther, Calvin and Knox as rebels against "Papist Superstition." Instead of a Reformation, I have said multiple times that Islam in the West needs to be rendered subservient to the Enlightenment. The yoking of religion to the values of the Enlightenment in the West is so complete that most Christians and Jews would assert that democratic liberalism is implied by the very nature of their faith.1 Just as Messianic Jews declare proudly that Christianity completes their Jewishness (ie; turning their back on 2,000 years of Jewish rejection of the Christian message is more authentically Jewish), participants in a liberal democratic order must, to the overwhelming first approximation, believe that that order completes (or at least does not contradict) their other ideological and confessional identifications. How one goes to believing that A implies Z is ultimately irrelevant.

1 - There is a case made by many, of various religious, political and disciplinary persuasions, that democratic liberalism is a subset of Christian religious values. I think it is a plausible hypothesis, but I remain skeptical.

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