zaterdag, januari 05, 2008

On Your Doorstep

via Iskander

This article appeared in the German publication Die Welt, and has been translated into French by Alain Jean-Mairet. I have no knowledge of Jean-Mairet and only recently discovered his website, where the article is posted. The original author is Zafer Senocak, a Turkish-born novelist and poet, who has lived in Berlin since 1990 and writes in German.

It is significant that a German paper would publish such an analysis. Therefore I took the trouble to make an English translation, and ask that you bear in mind that since I have no skills in German I cannot attest to the accuracy of Jean-Mairet's French version:

Even if most Muslims refuse to face this truth, terrorism comes from the very heart of Islam, arriving straight from the Koran. It targets all those who do not live, do not act in accordance with Koranic rules, whether they be against democracy, against thinkers and scientists inspired by the West, or against agnostics and atheists. And it targets above all women. It is the product of an exclusively masculine Islam, that aspires with all its might to prevent women from obtaining equal rights and from at last breaking the centuries-old bonds.

You do not encounter the true face of Islam at the Conference of German Islam. You find it in countries like Pakistan. That Islam launched a world war. But the world acts as if it never heard anything about it. For many of our contemporaries, the battle is being waged far beyond Turkey. But in the modern planetary village, there is no "far beyond". There is only a "right on your doorstep." The totalitarianism of the Taliban and the Islamic terrorist cells is in all probability worse than Fascism, because it is not the result of a process within civilization. Rather it develops in a context where there is no reminder at all of the progress of civilization.

Muslims who perceive something more in their religion than the outlines of barbarity have a duty towards this progress. They must confront the barbarians within their ranks with firmness and determination. But when they do - rarely - it is only in a whisper. Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, declares Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Other political leaders compete in the sending of condolences after each terrorist act. Things become ludicrous in Saudi Arabia, where the Kingdom trembles before the terrorists it has itself engendered.

The Muslims of the world today have painted themselves into a corner. They are paying the price of the negligence of past generations. The spiritual decline and the incapacity to communicate with the modern world have thus led to the appalling current situation. Now it is necessary to act in a concerted way by uniting all the forces of reason. But while terrorism has become a world-wide network, the opposing forces are indolent or block each other out. In the Islamic world, where good common sense ought to prevail against the blind hatred of fanatics, hatred is spreading even more throughout the populations. Worse still, a number of illegitimate leaders are collaborating with this hatred in order to preserve their thrones. Faced with this situation, most Muslims stick to their rhetoric. And they avoid the decisive question, which is to ascertain whether or not their religion is capable of giving birth to a civilization.

This behavior certainly has psychological origins. People feel dominated, humiliated and betrayed by the West. But the political consequences of this psychosis are devastating. They bring grist to the mill of those forces that generate terror and spread chaos in the Islamic world. The spiral of violence is to the advantage of those who believe in terrorism and prevents first and foremost the establishment of democratic systems based on rule of law. Poverty and corruption, on the other hand, find an ideal soil for growth. This vicious circle must be broken, by the commitment of the free world and by military involvement, for it is not possible otherwise. Those fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan cannot act as if Pakistan is of no concern to them. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto was clearly predicted. The seizure of power by Hamas terrorists in Gaza was equally predictable.

But the free world only watches, paralyzed. American policies in Iraq set off and continue to feed much disdain in Europe. When it comes to criticism, Europeans are really unsurpassable. But when it comes to new ideas and political concepts, there is a vacuum. European politics confronted with Muslim terrorism wears itself out trying to undermine all concrete actions. Some want to negotiate - with Hamas, with the Talibans. They offer nuclear reactors to Qadhafi, they roll out the red carpet for the Saudi sovereign. And finally, everything is counted in petrodollars. The West does not even notice how far it has disintegrated, while terrorists of Islam win one victory after another. Benazir Bhutto will not be the last victim of a policy of appeasement doomed to fail at the hands of radical Islam.

Franse vertaling op en Engelse vertaling uit het Frans op

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