Edward Said’s book ‘Orientalism’ was the first academic attempt in the western world to debunk the myth of clandestine, impoverished Eastern world.
Snake charmers, streets filled with begging children, uneducated pristine brunettes, spice-loving vegetarians, the oil supplying terrorists, wife-beating fanatics, and exotic colorful performances, this is all we have in East for what westerners care. This prejudice entwined with outright lies have dominated western literature from the times of first orientalists’ interactions with the Islamic world. Muhammad Asad’s book ‘Road to Mecca’ sheds light upon it from the perspective of a Jewish convert to Islam.
Intellectually dishonest commentaries on Quran by Schacht, Nöldeke, Blachere and Puin spoke of ridiculous misinterpretations, cherry-picked excerpts, distorted rulings, misquoted texts and white lies. Earlier seminaries where these orientalists were educated and funded are the same institutes that western world today prides itself.
These Jesuit Christians slowly indoctrinated the otherwise friendly population of European continent against its Semitic cousin for their personal gain, in some cases for the perceived service they had done to Christianity.
Gerd R. Puin, a German professor of Arabic in Saarbrücken, writes in his article in Atlantic Monthly in 1999, surprisingly after centuries of first interactions with Arab world:
My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions, there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants.
There has been a consensus even among western scholars these days on how ridiculous this assumption is. One of the best book to have tackled all the false assertions of Orientalists is Professor Mustafa Azmi’s work, ‘The History of the Qur’anic Text from Revelation to Compilation : A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments”.
In his magnum opus, Professor Azmi not only rejects allegation after allegation orientalists have concocted against collection and dissemination of Islamic texts but also provides a juxtaposition of these procedural methods with Christianity and Judaism. An Indian National with a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Cambridge, Professor Azmi currently works as Professor Emeritus at King Saud University.
Has this all been a huge misunderstanding between the west and the east or it’s a carefully choreographed clash of civilization with its roots in theology? One of the leading scholars in the western world on the Middle East is Bernard Lewis. Despite his Jewish background and inciting views on Islamic history, he categorically denied Muslim violence in crusading years.
While it’s a documented fact that unlike Christian vagabonds who ransacked Muslim population after crusade victories, Muslim armies after the recapture let them walk away and didn’t retribute the violence. It was so ravaging that Pope himself had to come out and apologize for that to Muslims.
Stanford Shaw in his book on Ottoman Empire argues that condition of minorities in Ottoman Empire was way better than they had in their own so-called countries where Isabella Ferdinand massacred Jews for not converting to Christianity subsequently expelling them to the Ottoman Empire where they lived happily.
Lord Macaulay’s speech in British Parliament in 1835 is probably a verbatim explanation of why this jingoist ambiance is necessary for public support these governments need to continue its onslaught on foreign countries to bring bank the plundered booty. After first invasions of Indian subcontinent this was his report:
I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in the country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore,
I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
Two centuries later after a crippled independence based on divide and rule, Subcontinent today is half stable countries at daggers drawn with each other. Education, jurisprudence, politics and administration all are run by same English maxims. Capital punishment under section 302 of Penal Code of Pakistan 1860 is a perfect example of this. Pakistan came into being in 1947. How on earth is Penal Code of Pakistan written in 1860?
In the wake of the recent surge in populist politics in Europe and Islamophobic rhetoric, it is no surprise that fifth columnists among the ranks of Muslims have been trained and educated for centuries.
Quilliam Foundation, a London-based think-tank, founded by Majid Nawaz, a self-proclaimed scholar and secular critic of Islam is a perfect example of it. Its relations with Gatestone Institute an Islamophobic group is an evidence example of such synergies.
RAND corporation’s report ‘Civic and Democratic Islam’ is a document that outlines the western strategy of infiltrating ranks of Muslim academia and civil society to pave the way for a secular and western revolution. It highlights religious divisions and emphasizes the importance of supporting the factions that are in line with western foreign policy.
It is both unfortunate and tragic to see Christianity join hands with Judaism in the propagation of such outrageous views about the Islamic world. Christian Science Monitor’s reports are some of the most biased reports on the Muslim world. People like Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi are being painted as if they are the epitome of Islamic ideals of a woman. Ironically this is not how western world reacted to the conversion of Lauren Booth’s conversion to Islam.
In the battle of protecting the world from the dark forces, sons of the west always leave out the east as if we have no love for our freedoms, values, convictions, identities, and progeny. While these white heroes wage wars against the deteriorated villains and Arabs, we the darker just sit around and enjoy falafel and kebabs!