Monday, June 24, 2002

Eric Raymond on Islam Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

Eric Raymond on Islam Joel has linked to part one of Eric Raymond's series of posts on Islam. Check out part two. And especially part three. I have only one thing to add to Mr. Raymond's comments-the majority of Muslims might actually want some liberalization. But they are easily cowed by the minority of militants because on some level-they feel the militants are more genuine Muslims. I will illustrate by a personal example. I have an uncle who is a biology professor in Bangladesh who happens to a Islamic fundamentalist (he is the type to proudly declare he has given his religious students A's automatically for the past 20 years). He took me to a radical rally when I visited Bangladesh in 6th grade (I watched a cock fight in the back of the rally)-his nickname in my family was "religious guy" (yeah, no joke). Most of my family is pretty liberal-when he would come around, the women would put on chadors and get out of sight. One time he stole all my aunt's family pictures (they were idolatry remember) and refused to give them back. He would periodically go on rampages and attack the sincerity of other's religious beliefs. He would sit there and regularly castigate my female relatives for going to the market without a male escort. How did people react this heavy-handed behavior? Some might grumble a bit-but in general they respected him for his piety and didn't feel they could say anything against him-he was after all a sincere follower of Allah. Though in their own lives they would/could never imagine adhering to the strict tents of Islamic fundamentalism-they admired it in the way that environmentalists activists might feel a tinge of sympathy with eco-terrorists. And that is what the West faces-not the rage of the minority-but the bovine complicity of the majority.

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