by Theodore Dalrymple (June 2016)
My wife and I were browsing in a bookshop at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris recently when she called out to me ‘Here’s the Islam section.’ Actually, it was the Islamic terrorism section, and very extensive it was too, at least for the size of the shop. There were whole shelves of books on the subject. more>>>
Indeed, Birnbaum and the Iconoclast are spot on when it comes to the religious dimension of the rebellion in Algeria (1954-1962). To this day the official FLN newspaper, its Pravda, is El Moujahid, the holy warrior. The influence of the Algerian rebellion on the creation of the PLO also cannot be overstated and in fact in my book PHANTOM NATION on the invention of the "Palestinians," its longest chapter is on the Algerian war as the model for the "Palestinian" war against Israel, which is also, beneath the fantasy of this phantom nation, religious. All the respected historians of the war in Algeria, e.g. Alistair Horne, consistently refer to the rebels as "Muslims" and never "Algerians." Fatah is also portrayed like the FLN as secular, vs the Islamist Hamas, but in fact, as my research uncovered, Fatah is the title of the 48th chapter of the Koran which means "conquest" [of the infidel] which is why it was chosen. In fact, Fatah was founded by eight former members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Kudos for Birnbaum and the Iconoclast for writing the truth.
"Both believe that their world outlook has something uniquely precious about it, but perceive that in fact the world can get on perfectly well without it. What, then, remains of the precious contribution of their worldview?"
If you view "worldview" as a true/false type of statement, then yes, we must all converge on one worldview and the world can get along perfectly well without a diversity of worldviews.
If you view "worldview" as a genre of music or literature, then, yes, the world can still get along without any particular worldview; but the world would be poorer for not having it.
Per the Hindu worldview (if one Hindu worldview can be said to exist), the claims of the various religions are more akin to the rules and constraints that make classical music into one thing, and jazz into another; and behind all music there is a common quest for musicality. Or there are different sports, with different rules; but behind them all is a common love of competition expressed in physical activity. Similarly behind all religions is a common quest; but for any religion to claim that it is in sole possession of the Truth and all must submit to it sounds as absurd as there being One True Music or One True Sport. Perhaps this is the way in which we coexist and we do not go extinct.