Category Archives: Mohammed

Notes on the indoctrination of children

Dalrymple is in favour of indoctrinating children so that they are

  • polite and respectful to their elders
  • eschew pop music
  • do not chew gum
  • resist the temptation to drop litter
  • refrain from sending text messages to their friends in restaurants

But he is against indoctrinating children

on contentious political matters, where their minds are filled with ill-digested slogans from which they never recover the ability to think independently.

Dalrymple’s impression is that children

have become increasingly like those who have been to madrassas, except that what they have been taught is not the Koran but a vulgate of political correctness.

When he talks to young people, he senses that they have been

brainwashed, and that some thoughts are beyond the range of their neuronal possibilities. When I say that I am uncertain about global warming, they react as I presume people would if, in Mecca, I denied the existence of God and alluded to the less attractive characteristics of Mohammed even as depicted by early Moslems.

‘I don’t care what you all say: there is no Allah and Mohammed is not his prophet’

The Gramscian Islamists

Allahu akbar!

Allahu akbar!

It would be simplistic, writes Dalrymple, to ascribe the violence of Muslim fundamentalists

to Islam itself, by citing those verses from the Koran that seem to justify or even require it. Selective quotation does not explain why extremism is the province of the young, and why, for example, the first generation of Muslim immigrants to Britain (and elsewhere) were not at all attracted to it.

Even in Islamic countries, fundamentalists

are not mediæval throwbacks, however they may see themselves. They derive their ideas, even if they do not acknowledge it, at least as much from Lenin, Gramsci, and Mao as from Mohammed. They claim to want to return to seventh-century Arabia, but this is no more realistic or sincere than the wish of Victorian admirers of the Gothic to return to the Middle Ages.

Most Muslims in Britain, Dalrymple points out, are of Pakistani origin.

They were encouraged to come to Britain largely as a source of cheap labour, to prop up declining industries that had not adapted to the modern economy. But no labour in Britain could ever be cheap enough, without technological superiority, to compete successfully with labour in much poorer and cheaper countries. Originally, the idea was that the imported labour would be shipped back home if ever it became surplus to requirements. The opposite happened: each immigrant established a beachhead for others.

The immigrants

tended to congregate in certain areas, and they often met with hostility. Their children, growing up in virtual ghettoes, were neither fully of the host country nor fully of their parents’ culture. They were betwixt and between, in effect left to develop their own culture. Insofar as they encountered the hostility of the surrounding society, they developed resentments.

The Muslims were not the only immigrants to Britain.

There were Sikhs and Hindus as well, who fared much better, on the whole: their rates of unemployment are much lower than Muslims’ (indeed, lower than their white contemporaries’); they are underrepresented in prison, unlike Muslims, who are increasingly overrepresented; and they never developed any propensity to violence.

Islamism

provides a utopian and violent ideology of the kind that appeals to disgruntled young men facing all of the existential difficulties of youth. Moreover, Islamic society provides young men with another incentive for Islamism: the maintenance of the domination of women.

The British government

promoted ‘leaders’ of the Muslims, thus giving a golden opportunity to fundamentalists to establish themselves as controllers of government funds and to establish networks of patronage. Not knowing what it was doing, the British government spread Islamic fundamentalism.

Multiculturalism

has been another unwitting ally of Muslim extremism. Multiculturalism has created an informal system, like the late Ottoman empire’s millet system, in which various groups receive their privileges but are expected to live separately and distinctly from everyone else. This serves to prevent the various groups from developing any common identity and stimulates the ascent of political entrepreneurs whose power depends on the maintenance, aggravation, and inflammation of supposed grievances. Islamists are political entrepreneurs with a plausible doctrinal reason for violence. They are now able to extract from society the kind of respect that street muggers demand, and multiculturalism has become the ideological wing of sheer cowardice.

The character of Mohammed

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 08.53.23Dalrymple writes that even as portrayed in Muslim apologetics, the character of Mohammed

is at the very least questionable when viewed from any other standpoint than that of an a priori belief in his moral perfection, and there should be no limitation of discussion of it.

Dalrymple points out that Mohammed (the representation at right is from the north wall frieze of the Supreme Court chamber, Washington, D.C.),

connived at armed robbery, mass murder and the abduction of women.

Of course, Mohammed was

behaving in a way that one would expect of his time and place, and it may be that, on the whole, he sometimes behaved better than his peers. But that is not the point: it is nothing short of a moral, intellectual and indeed political disaster if his conduct is taken as a model for all time.

Islam has nothing to say to the modern world

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.25.23For the second time in living memory, writes Dalrymple,

we find ourselves obliged by historical circumstances to examine doctrinal philosophies that, from the abstract intellectual point of view, are not worth examining. They belong, rather, to the history of human folly and credulity: which is itself, of course, an inexhaustibly interesting and important subject.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.43.06The first was Marxism; the second Islamism. Which of us, Dalrymple asks,

would have guessed thirty years ago that an inflamed and inflammatory Islamic doctrine would soon replace Marxism as the greatest challenger to liberal democracy? The vacuum left by the collapse of one totalitarian doctrine is soon filled by another.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.44.55Dalrymple hopes that Islamism

will pass from the world stage as quickly as it arrived on it. In the meantime, however, it can cause a great deal of havoc, and will not disappear spontaneously, without opposition, much of which must be conducted on the intellectual plane.

Yet

Western intellectuals have failed to examine Islam and its founder in the same light as they would examine any other religious doctrine of comparable importance.

Dalrymple believes that all forms of Islam are

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.47.53very vulnerable in the modern world to rational criticism, which is why the Islamists are so ferocious in trying to suppress such criticism. They have instinctively understood that Islam itself, while strong, is exceedingly brittle, as communism once was. They understand that, at the present time in human history, it is all or nothing. They are thus more clear-sighted than moderate Moslems.

The problem with Islam may be rooted

Image (latterly effaced) of Mohammed on frieze, Birch Memorial Clocktower (1917), Ipoh, Perak

Image (latterly effaced) of Mohammed on frieze, Birch Memorial Clocktower (1917), Ipoh, Perak

in its doctrines, its history and its founder.

Mohammed

connived at armed robbery, mass murder and the abduction of women. Of course, autres temps, autres mœurs, and it may be that, on the whole, he sometimes behaved better than his peers.

He was

a political genius: he understood what motivated men, and he developed a system of belief and practice, of social pressure and ideological terror, that meant that Islamisation once established was irreversible, at least until the present day. Leonid Brezhnev’s doctrine was that a country, once communist, could not become non-communist; how puny, historically, was the communist achievement beside that of Islam!

Part of private quarters (1578) of Sultan Murad III

Part of private quarters (1578) of Sultan Murad III

Islamic civilisation has many attractive qualities . At least at its summit, the Ottoman civilisation was

exquisite, and in the decorative arts was Western Europe’s superior for centuries.

But the quality of a civilisation

does not establish the truth of the doctrines current in it, nor the suitability of those doctrines for living in the modern world.

Judged by the abysmal standards of fifteenth century Europe, Islam

looks quite tolerant; but judged from the modern, post-Enlightenment perspective, it looks primitive.

Its attitude towards polytheists and atheists is

doctrinally abominable.

Islam

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 14.46.00has nothing whatever to say to the modern world, and as yet has no doctrinal means of dealing constructively with the inevitable diversity of human religion and philosophy, beyond the violent imposition of uniformity or second-class citizenship.

Can Moslems of moderate temperament find some way of reconciling their faith with the exigencies of the modern world?

The problem is that this reconciliation cannot be a mere modus vivendi; it has to be intellectually coherent and satisfying to last. Personally, I am not optimistic. Islamism is a last gasp, not a renaissance, of the religion. But last gasps can last a surprisingly long time.

All the qualities of Neville Chamberlain except his fundamental decency

Dalrymple on Jack Straw, denouncer of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons

Dalrymple on Jack Straw, denouncer of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons

Common sense on Islamic terrorism

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Islamic horror

Dalrymple Q&A

What do you say to those who pretend that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam?

Such a view violates common sense.

Should internet providers and universities be less complaisant towards Islamic extremists?

Yes.

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Conspiracy theories

Should the conspiracy theories Islamists peddle be countered and mocked?

Vigorously.

Is Islamic terrorism caused by poverty?

No.

Is there any other reason for complaint that justifies Islamic terrorism?

No.

Certain immigrant groups do not flourish in the UK.

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Symbol of success

This reflects more on their group characteristics than upon the host country.

Give an example.

The Sikhs, who came to Britain from the Punjab with nothing, are now the second-wealthiest group by household, as classified by religious affiliation; notwithstanding individual successes, Muslims who came from the Punjab at the same time remain relatively poor.

Are values such as democracy, freedom, sexual equality and non-discrimination compatible with Islam?

They do not appear at first sight to be so, though no doubt some Muslim reformists would like to make them so; and Bangladesh, from which a large group of immigrants to Britain have come, is one of the few countries to have witnessed an explicitly anti-democratic mass demonstration. In most Muslim countries, it remains dangerous to be explicitly atheist. Criticism of Mohammed, even if reasoned and scholarly, would be even more dangerous.

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Banner of failure

Is it a problem that many immigrants to the UK do not feel British?

This misses the point. It’s not how immigrants feel that matters, but how they behave. No one has any idea how British the Polish, Brazilian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other immigrants (of whom there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions in total) feel, but nobody cares, because none of them is intent upon the destruction of British institutions. This is not true of some unknown and probably unknowable—but possibly not negligible—proportion of Muslims, no matter which part of the Islamic world they come from.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 10.28.43

The great enabler

Does diversity make England a better place?

Success in Britain isn’t caused by diversity, but becomes possible for diverse people because of the rule of law—British law, not shariah, Jewish, canon, or any other law. And I doubt that the general population feels that the Kosovars, say, or the Romanian gypsies have, as a group (irrespective of any individuals among them), made Britain a better place.

Like denying Allah’s existence in Mecca

Radiantly fascist

Radiantly fascist

Dalrymple drops in at an exhibition devoted to Le Corbusier, the fascist architect. The event fittingly takes place

in a hideous complex of buildings designed to overawe, humiliate, and confuse any human being unfortunate enough to find his way in.

At the exhibition, Dalrymple falls into conversation with

two elegantly coiffed ladies of the kind who spend their afternoons in exhibitions. ‘Marvellous, don’t you think?’ one said to me, to which I replied: ‘Monstrous.’ Both opened their eyes wide, as if I had denied Allah’s existence in Mecca.

A man with all the qualities of Neville Chamberlain except his fundamental decency

Dalrymple on Jack Straw, denouncer of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons

‘£5,000 a day, that’s what I charge’: Dalrymple on Jack Straw, denouncer of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons.

To commit barbarity in the name of righteousness is one of the greatest joys

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 08.50.12The burning need for an Islamic Enlightenment

You don’t have to be a follower of Jung, writes Dalrymple,

to discern something deeply symbolic in these beheadings by self-appointed executioners. To sever the head from the body, at least nowadays when we have a more refined sensibility, is not merely to kill: it is symbolically to annihilate not only the biological existence of the beheaded, but the very thoughts he has had during his lifetime.

To throw away a head as if it were a worthless inanimate object

is to deny in the most categorical way possible any ideas that it might have had while living. It is to imply that only correct thoughts can henceforth be allowed to exist in heads, the kind of thoughts that the executioners themselves have; not until there is unanimity in thoughts, they imply, will our heads rest easy on our shoulders.

No need to emphasise

the terrifying demonstration effect of the decapitation of supposed infidels by people to whom plenty of bullets are available as an alternative, swifter, and more certain method of procuring death.

We conclude, as we are intended to conclude, that

these are fierce and ruthless people whose belief in their own desert-tribal righteousness is unshakeable.

To commit barbarity in the name of righteousness

is one of the greatest joys known to man — or at least to many men — and not just to Islamists, though at the moment it is they alone who have the courage of their barbarity, and rejoice publicly in it….Cruelty is never worse than when higher authority is invoked not merely to justify, but to demand it.

The answer to the question, ‘Can people taken more or less at random, who are however members of a class or nation perceived to be an enemy of Islam, rightly be beheaded?’ is thought to be found somewhere in the Koran or the Hadith, and nowhere else. Original thought is

unnecessary, since the answer to every question has already been given, if only we are diligent enough to find it in irreproachable texts. If the Koran or the Hadith says that such beheading is right, it is right; if it says it is wrong, it is wrong. If Mohammed says we can cut off people’s heads whenever we choose, then we can; if he doesn’t, then we can’t.

Compared with this,

even the most literal-minded Bible fundamentalist in the West lives, de facto at least, like the child of Voltaire, for even such a fundamentalist probably wouldn’t dare justify decapitation as a policy by reference to David and Goliath. And if by any chance he did, he would rightly be laughed at by his fellow citizens.

God does not exist and Mohammed was not his prophet

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 02.34.40

Shouting such a thing at the top of one’s voice in Mecca is like saying to a young audience today that equality of opportunity is a thoroughly vicious idea, writes Dalrymple