Western Jahiliyyah

Don’t know what that word means?
Educate yourself and look it up.
Do we, in the West, really believe ourselves superior?
If so, we need to pull our heads out of our fucking asses.

expand the post to read an excerpt from Karen Armstrong’s book Muhammad, A Prophet for our Time

We have a long history of Islamophobia in Western Culture that dates back to the time of the Crusades. In the twelfth century, Christiam monks in Europe insisted that Islam was a violent religion of the sword, and that Muhammad was a charlatan who imposed his religion on a reluctant world by force of arms; they called him a lecher and a sexual pervert. This distorted version of the Prophet’s life became one of the received ideas of the West, and Western people have always found it difficult to see Muhammad in a more objective light. Since the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, members of the Christian Right and the United States and some sectors of the Western media have continued this tradition of hostility, claiming that Muhammad was irredeemably addicted to war. Some have gone so far as to claim that he was a terrorist and a pedophile.

We can no longer afford to indulge in this type of bigotry, because it is a gift to extremists who can use such statements to “prove” that the Western world is indeed engaged on a new crusade against the Islamic world. Muhammad was not a man of violence. We must approach his life in a balanced way, in order to appreciate his considerable achievements. To cultivate an inaccurate prejudice damages the tolerance, liberality and compassion that are supposed to characterize Western culture.

~ Karen Armstrong

I have spoken out recently. In disagreement. I have tried to understand, but its impossible to dialogue with someone who makes little effort to understand you, isn’t it? Frankly, I’m sick and tired of the lies perpetuated by small-minded bigotry which takes historical events out of context for pure ideological hubris. And I have as much as said so, choosing against doing what everyone else does: tip toe around the shit pile, or pretend not to smell it. If this has made me unpopular, then … oh well. Too fucking bad. Your loss … I rather like being unpopular … its what I’ve always been, and its quite freeing, actually.

EDIT: a great description of the Bush Administration by Stephen Lewis ~ “… they have not a moment of remorse [for the situation in Iraq]… they’re military predators!” … HOW BRILLIANT!

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~ by frizzyscissorhands on October 12, 2007.

7 Responses to “Western Jahiliyyah”

  1. I went back through your blog, apparently there was a post that you took down so I don’t know what happened but one of the first things that I noticed about you and probably what made me start reading your blog, is your warrior spirit. You are strong, so people challenge you. Be proud of that! And you probably hit a nerve with this person as well, the truth often does that.

    I will never, never be able to understand how people keep their heads in the sand the way that they do. I have actually, finally gotten to a point where I can have compassion for them . If they leave me alone, they stay over there and let me stay over here, then we are cool.
    My thing is, they seem to have taken over in the US and they seem to have gotten into power to the extent that their viewpoints are affecting my life and I do have a problem with this.

    I have noticed that people from Canada whom I know from blogging seem to be so well-educated. Could you tell me what the educational system is like there?

  2. bbe ~ thanx for your words. i think one key difference between canadians and americans is that canadians make a concerted effort to know and learn about the world beyond their borders.

    canadians, perhaps, believe knowledge is power. and americans, i think (as a collective, i mean), believe power is power, they there’s not much need for them to know about the rest of the world, but that there is a great need for the world to know about them.

    also … i think the mosaic versus the melting pot concept makes a difference. i also think the news media we have access to is hugely, hugely, responsible for the lay sort of knowledge of the average person … you guys have CNN, FOX, MSNBC, yuck. not exactly examples of balanced and compassionate coverage of events. we have, among others, a national network … the CBC.

    i sum, i guess we have more of a european character than america does … america adopted to frontier-type, wild west atmosphere. we don’t need to kill, conquer and dominate. we want to get along … learn why others are different from us, etc.

    also … the religious thing. america does not appear to have successfully separated church and state. our leaders have traditionally been catholic, but never, ever, have uttered a religious justification for a decision about politics! y’know? the religious underpinnings of USA, IMHO, plays a key role here.

    as for the education system … let me reflect on that … or, perhaps, i have answered your question?

    i shall return.

  3. Behind hubris, I suspect is fear–the fear that one isn’t really all that, plus or minus a bag of chips.

    Americans, as a people, have always been rather isolationist. US power, however, has sorta featured a combination of isolationism and dominion. In other words, for most Americans to feel secure, they sociologically, and psychologically, their participation in world events may only come if they themselves call the shots. We can find this evident in such things as Manifest Destiny, Indiginous American relocation, slavery, the Monroe Doctrine, NATO, Hollywood (cultural imperialism), and so on.

    In order to self-justify, or rationalize, the America Uberalis perspective, the nation has to convince itself that it’s lust of control is not only deserved, but also for the benefit of those controlled. As the fourth verse of our national anthem states, “And conquer we must; For our cause, it is just.”

    US power has used a number of methods to justify its “rightful” place as the international leader during the 20th Century. First, it was independence from European decadence (millennia of international/intertribal war, tyranny over thought and expression, embedded caste/class systems, etc.). Secondly, there was efficiency in production. Then came efficiency in consumerism (i.e., if we’re so wrong, how is it that we enjoy such affluence, and you don’t–never mind that most Americans aren’t all that affluent, by European standards).

    The attempt to marry religion to state over the past few years has more to do with the ultimate in rationalization. After all, proclaiming the US a Christian state gives it a divine right to rule the rest of the world, especially in “godless,” “un-Christian countries” where millions of people aren’t “Saved”–that is, until we force Christianity, bourgeois reality, market capitalism and all the rest down their throats…for their own good, of course.

  4. x-dell ~ what you say makes so much sense .. what a brilliant psychoanalysis of the psyche of the american society. i am starting to get it now … and it floors me, still, when i think of how extremely different american society seems to me from than of canadian and european, tho on the shallowest surface, the differences seem not all that pronounced.

    this book, about muhammad, which i have just completed in the wee wee hours of this morning … speaks of the jihiliyyah … a sort of arrogance, borne out of ignorance, of the superiority of one’s tribe. the circumstances ~ i.e. the societal dynamics ~ of the time surrounding muhammad’s revelations and his founding of islam in arabia really make me think of the way the west is today … so much of that aire of superiority.

    still … despite all this … i really do think that bigotry is bigotry and we all oughta start calling it what it is … it is destroying this planet and the people that live on it.

    i cannot accept that world peace requires any sort of cultural or religious genocide.

    i also cannot understand why culture W saw the need to take the land belonging to culture P and give it lock, stock and barrel to culture J, in repayment for maltreatment which culture N imposed upon culture J. i find myself wondering about that … its like culture W thinks itself GOD … or GODly enough to manipulate all other cultures in its effort to achieve its desirous end, much like a chess player does with pawns in his game.

    but … when i consider your explanation … i suppose it fits in some respects. still, its repugnant to me.

  5. Isn’t that a true irony…. (no question mark needed)

    “and that Muhammad was a charlatan who imposed his religion on a reluctant world by force of arms; they called him a lecher and a sexual pervert.”

    Catholic monks and priests calling Muhammad a sex pervert?

    They have taken leave of their senses, when they should have taken leav of choir and alter boys.

    The Papacy has been bought so many times in history, and they would dare call another faith “inferior”.

    The eastern orthodoxy is not much better, either. No need to single out Rome on that.

    Another great post. I always like your vision and the warrior quallity that BBE spoke of.

  6. PS-Many Americans who are of the more liberal frame of mind harbor a desire to live in Europe.
    Something that we have in common, I go back and forth from having very long hair to chopping all my hair off too! I like your new hair, it looks good on you.

  7. thruout the years, as my repugnance for the country known as USA has grown, i have, at certain times wished myself further away than just south of the 49th parallel.

    my husband, a swiss, refuses to ever set foot in the usa again. he lived in illinois for 6 months on first coming to NA. he’s lived in many, many countries. he hated the us. its quite clear, between the two of us, that if i ever want to go, i am absolutely on my own.

    the irony, i find, is that a country that touts freedom is quite oppressive.

    as for the hair … thanx … but it was only tied up in that pic ~ which is nearly 2 years old, actually. my hair grows fast ~ almost like the mythical vampire hair, which, when cut, grows extremely rapidly back to the length it was b4 it was cut. that’s my hair. i used to cut it and then let it grow when my kids were little. now … i have not cut my hair in about 5 years. its sort of sacred thing to me, like sampson’s hair.

    my husband lets me do what i want, but i do know he is a sucker for long, tight locks like mine … come to think of it ~ what man is not? still, its quite striking when i walk down the street. and sometimes i think, a poor guy doesn’t have a chance with hair like mine, y’know? i really do believe hair is sexy. and that’s not me being big-headed ~ i think a woman’s long hair is sort of sexual. so mostly, i keep it tied up, or under cover.

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