Monday, 29 October 2007
Note that "diverse." "Diverse" is good. Diversity Day. Diverseness everywhere you look. Always good. But here it has another purpose. It is the "don't you dare say anything about Islam because"
1) Islam is not "monolithic"
What this means is that some Muslim men wear the Central Asian tubeteika and choban, and others wear business suits in Dearborn, and some women wear the kalwar shameez, and others a burqa, and others go the full-fledged route, burqaed and niqabbed, while still others merely the scarf or hijab.
But this misses the point. The same Qur'an, with the same passages, the same Hadith (that is, the same "authentic" Hadith in the collections of the most "authoritative" muhaddithin, such as Bukhari and Muslim), the same Sira with the same examples of Muhammad's behavior, Muhammad who is the Perfect Model of Conduct, uswa hasana, and the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil.
In that respect there is no difference. There is no "European" Islam, no "American" Islam. The texts and the tenets remain the same. Superficial differences having to do with food and clothing are not enough to make Islam -- as opposed to Muslims -- "diverse." It is not surprising that this would escape the attention or be beyond the wit of Kurt Nelson and those who have an unshakable vested interest in Interfaith Feelgood as a substitute for study and thought.
But imagine if students at Dartmouth took the same tack, and offered the same unexamined and baseless and confused notions of what they should believe, as the same substitute for study and thought, in their classes on physics or history or anything else, for that matter. Those who long ago endowed the Tucker Foundation would, one suspects, not be happy with how it is presently being run, and for what purposes, and with what assumptions, the assumption for example that ideas don't really matter, ideologies don't matter, and we are not to inquire into them too deeply, but merely assume, with the Higher Bomfoggery (Brotherhood of Man, Fatherhood of God) that Everyone The Whole World Over Wants The Very Same Thing, and we are all God's chillun', and why oh why can't we get along, and we would get along, wouldn't we, if only those sinister people insisting that we study just a bit before parroting a prefabricated worldview would just shut up, just go away. Not exactly what campuses are supposed to be for: the active discouragement of thought. But that's it. That's the way it is, and not only being spouted by self-preening sinecure-holders at Dartmouth -- see Scott Appleby, Defender of Tariq Ramadan, see the scandalous destruction of Islamic studies at Columbia, where Arthur Jeffrey and then Joseph Schacht once walked the halls. See See See.
Posted on 10/29/2007 2:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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