Monday, November 12, 2007

Putting on stones

I guess Perry de Havilland speaks for all of us in this furious reaction to the interview given by Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari to the Telegraph. Dr Bari is head of the Muslim Council of Britain which is usually credited as representing moderate Muslim opinion. God help us.

Is stoning ever justified? "It depends what sort of stoning and what circumstances," Dr Bari replies. "When our prophet talked about stoning for adultery he said there should be four [witnesses] - in realistic terms that's impossible. It's a metaphor for disapproval.

I see...

Don't worry, dear, what we are about to do to you is just a metaphor

It is pictures like that which fill my mind with homicidal rage. The Muslims partially burying this Muslim woman, in preparation for her being stoned to death in accordance with the Koran, all deserve nothing less than a bullet in their brains, to be put down like rabid dogs. And when I hear people like Dr. Bari describing this practice as a "metaphor for disapproval" rather than a method of theocratic execution, my feelings towards him move from mere disagreement into transcendent loathing. Take a moment and really look at that fucking picture. According to Dr. Bari, if there were four witnesses, that is perfectly okay then. Try getting your head around that.

And so when a man who cannot bring himself to unequivocally condemn such barbarity tells us that we have anything whatsoever to learn from what he sees as Islam, it would be fair to say "I do not think so". As I discovered in Bosnia in the 1990's, being a Muslim and accepting the norms of western post-Enlightenment civilisation is entirely possible... 'Muslim' becomes more of an ethnic identity rather than a religious one, in which you just have to ignore large chunks of the Koran or 'interpret' them into something harmless (and face it, there are parts of the Old Testament most Christians prefer to gloss over too). The key is that the Bosnian Muslims became more and more secular (i.e. less religious), more western, the west did not become more like them.

No comments: