Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Islamic Question, excerpts.

Go and read:

Unfortunately, open and liberal society becomes paralyzed when it encounters a closed and incompatible civilization. The problem of tolerance was worked out within Christian civilization in order to defuse its internal conflicts. But its introduction made sense, because tolerance was a value recognized by all parties, in that it was able to find a theological foundation. But in Islam, there is no foundation for tolerance in the broad sense that characterizes our secular societies. Freedom of the press does not make sense. The Middle Ages had Boccaccio, and the Renaissance had Pietro Aretino. But in a much less offensive case, Islam censured the mathematician and poet Omar Khayyam (1048-1122) for talking about wine and drunkenness. And the fact that he was rehabilitated to some extent in Iran at the end of the twentieth century does not represent the sort of openness that one would like to believe it does. In Saudi Arabia, Islam protects itself by banning even the visible wearing of a necklace with a cross. But how can it protect itself in Europe? It’s not just the problem of girls wearing jeans. It is the problem of schools, newspapers, labor unions, women in leadership roles, cinema, television, libraries: it is the West in the sum total of its institutions that is a threat to Islam. And not because it wants to be, but simply because it exists. Like Israel.

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