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September 10, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

CounterPoint With Paul Morris

“Not politically correct either”

It is hard to know quite how to respond to the two-part ranting rave on Islamofascism in recent issues of Salient. We should probably read and respond with roughly the same degree of seriousness of research and attention exhibited by the writer. These two pieces appeared under the rubric of ‘not politically correct’ and were clearly intended to shock and provoke rather than inform and generate reasoned debate and discussion.

The author laments that his substantive points and arguments about Islam have not been addressed, although his response to students who did reply in good faith was to lampoon and insult them. The wild assertions were justified on the grounds of ‘freedom of speech’, but the only issue that they seem to have generated is whether Perigo has finally gone beyond the pale or not. And while this may well be of some inherent interest to a tiny minority, it is hardly at the top of the global issues of our time. I subscribe to the freedom of the press but see this as a right that entails a duty to be informed and responsible, not a licence to distort and misrepresent.

But let us try and take the matter at face value. The claim is that terrorist attacks are motivated by the subscription to an ideology known as ‘Islamofascism’. This neologism has been taken up by the US president and others, and is now included in the latest Oxford Dictionary. Perhaps the attraction for its users is that just as fascism was defeated in the last century, so this so-called contemporary form of it will be too. The dictionary definitions are clear that ‘Islamofascism’ is an extreme position held in various forms by a small minority of Muslims.

My objections are the slippage from the correct or false attribution of a political ideology to a tiny minority of Muslims to the claim that Islam and all Muslims are Islamofascists. And this is exactly the claim made by Perigo and it is simply false.

Perigo insists that “Muslims must discover rationality and decency,” and that “Westerners must rediscover them,” but makes it very hard to take this seriously when he writes that Muslims require “robust sodomy as (they) bend towards Mecca.” This is neither rational nor particularly decent and can only be intended to be offensive.

We do live in a world that is increasingly religiously diverse and we do need to seriously think how we might live together in non-violent ways. This is an issue in New Zealand, in our schools, universities, workplaces, suburbs, and even sometimes in our families. Regionally too, our closest Asian neighbours are Muslim-majority countries and our Asia-Pacific region is home to many of the world’s religious traditions. Finally, globally we are going to have to try and live with each other. While we might agree with the call to condemn fascism in all its forms, we don’t really help anything with intemperate calls of ‘death’ to a religion of perhaps one and half billion people. The alternative is exactly Perigo’s rationality and decency – rational discussion and dialogue and a degree of decency that goes beyond, “You all ‘stink’ and I’m not going to listen to you.” Students are better off taking a course on Islam or joining a local interfaith group and actually meeting and talking to Muslims about what they actually believe and do.

Professor Paul Morris
Religious Studies
Victoria University of Wellington


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Comments (7)

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  1. rawinjune says:

    To the Editor,
    Take note of this submission- This is what true journalism is about. At the moment the writers that youre allowing to submit articles into the Salient are basically “muppets” and write like crap.

  2. cookedindecember says:

    rawinjune: Are you calling Nicola Kean, Laura McQuillan, Jenna Powell, Michael Oliver and Robbie Nielson muppets who write like crap? I’m also not a big fan of Salient this year but that doesn’t mean its devoid of quality.

    Paul: Thank you for taking the time to put things into perspective.

  3. rawinjune says:

    Yes I am. Thanks for taking the time to clarify my position.

  4. Michael Oliver says:

    Bags being Gonzo.

  5. Sandra Ashworth says:

    Professor Morris

    I find it ludicrous that you propose talking and listening to interfaith dialogue as opposed to looking for yourself to see what they actually do. Perhaps this could be construed as personal research.

    The Qu’ran 4:144, implicitly states that Muslims should not take disbelievers as friends. {1]

    If you were to form an opinion based on what other people had told you, your work would not be published or acceptable at any intellectual level. I seriously doubt you accept submissions from your students based on hearsay.

    Muslims are Islamo-fascists by default and this is because of their own doctrine.
    According to Muslim terrorist Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, in a well-documented and referenced interview.

    “As long as there is no intention to fight us and Islam continues to grow there can be peace. This is the doctrine of Islam. Islam can’t be ruled by others. Allah’s law can’t be under human law. Allah’s law must stand above human law. All laws must be under Islamic law. This is what the infidels fail to recognize” [2]

    You quote Lindsay Perigo (“robust sodomy as (they) bend towards Mecca.”) as being “neither rational nor particularly decent and can only be intended to be offensive.”

    It is not particularly decent nor is it rational for the Bible to declare that homosexuals should be put to death. This, Professor Morris is particularly offensive to most New Zealanders and thus NZ law deems this to be abhorrent and illegal, although Shariah Law claims to be above New Zealand law. Do you subscribe to this?

    The Qu’ran is particularly adept at being offensive

    Qur’an 33:61. ” They are an accursed people. Wherever they are found they should be seized and mercilessly put to death. [3]

    Qu’ran 5:33-34 “The reprisal against those who wage war on Allah and His Messenger, and go about the earth corrupting it, is that they should be killed or crucified, or have their alternate hands and feet cut off, or be banished from the land. That will be their degradation in this world and in the hereafter they will have a terrible punishment. “ [4]

    Professor Morris, I urge you to move away from hearsay evidence, towards quality research. Your position as a Professor of religion, reduces you what is read as a personal attack on Mr Perigo as opposed to researched and referenced statements.

    A great place to start is with this memorandum from the Muslim Brotherhood 1991.

    The Muslims speak of every Muslims duty to Jihad, in order to eliminate and destroy Western civilisation from within by sabotage and that Allah’s religion will be made victorious over all other religions.” [5]

    Further reading you might find interesting from “Abu Bakar Ba’asyir” and I quote.

    “As long as there is no intention to fight us and Islam continues to grow there can be peace. This is the doctrine of Islam. Islam can’t be ruled by others. Allah’s law can’t be under human law. Allah’s law must stand above human law. All laws must be under Islamic law. This is what the infidels fail to recognize, that’s what America doesn’t like to see. You should read a book, “The Face of Western Civilization” by Adian Husaini. It’s a good book, a thick one. The conclusion of the book is that Western scholars hold an anti-Islamic doctrine. It is true there will be a clash of civilizations. The argumentation is correct that there will be a clash between Islam and the infidels. There is no [example] of Islam and infidels, the right and the wrong, living together in peace.” [6]

    In conclusion it would be a good idea for you to consider these final quotes from the Qu’ran from the so called “Religion of Peace”

    Qu’ran 4:101 “The disbelievers are your clear-cut enemies.” [7]

    Qu’ran 4:102 “Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment for the disbeliever’s.” [8]

    [1] Qu’ran 4:144
    [2] Abu Bakar Ba’asyir Interview
    [3] Qu’ran 33:61
    [4] Qu’ran 5:33-34
    [5] “Islam Strategic Goal”
    [6] Abu Bakar Ba’asyir Interview
    [7] Qu’ran 4:101
    [8] Qu’ran 4:102

  6. Atheist says:

    You should read the Torah.

  7. Watcher says:

    Thanks Prof Morris for calm and balanced response.

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