The transformation of Islam


David McDonagh

The long swansong

Satire is the chief enemy of Islam in those swan-song days of its prelude before its “death” in the form it has been hitherto, but, its new life, after this “death”, a new life as a normal bourgeois religion is slowly emerging before our eyes.

This normalisation is what its adherents have long dreaded, and many Muslims still dread today, but most of Islam’s younger members, especially the males have already been there since about 1970. It was clear that many teenaged males, and also older males in their twenties, were drinking beer on par with the UK natives in public houses by the late 1960s, yet that is a great departure from Islam, even though mosques were back then springing up as though the creed was growing rather than ebbing.

Most of the many UK mosques maybe date from the early 1970s. But by 2070, they will most likely be closing UK mosques more rapidly than they are the forsaken Christian churches in the UK today.

But this normalisation of Islam is a cultural tide that many Muslim still wish they could roll back. That is what the Rushdie affair of the 1980s was about and it is what the attack on the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday was about too.

Twelve people were killed in the attack on the magazine offices to get revenge for targeting Islam in their cartoons. Eight were journalists, and four others including two policemen were also killed. Eleven others were injured, a few reported by the BBC as badly so.

The reaction will only enhance the felt need for most Muslims to conform to French normality. A few more Muslims might join the jihad to protect Islam, but way more will want to conform as a result. So, ironically, the cultural tide they seek to resist will be boosted by their resistance. Such jihad resistance can only effectively score own goals, even if they also recruit a few to aid them in the short run.

Cherif and Said Kouachi are said to be the main two attackers on the magazine yesterday. They are now on the run but still armed. Cherif Kouachi was sentenced to three years in gaol back in 2008 for recruiting jihadist fighters to go to Iraq from Paris. Hamyd Mourad, 18, on hearing his name on the news, handed himself in to a police station in Charleville-Mezieres. So he is already keen to conform. That indicates that even the very committed may soon drop out, owing to this sort of activity.

The magazine’s office had been earlier firebombed in 2011. It had a long running aim of the staff of the magazine to normalise Islam. Bystanders yesterday reported that the gunmen shouted in the street as they made their getaway, saying “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” , “we killed Charlie Hebdo”, and “God is Great” in Arabic too, but if they have killed off this particular magazine, many new ones are highly likely to arise to further satirise Islam. The aim of Charlie Hebdo staff to normalise Islam looks unstoppable, even if the magazine itself now folds up.

12 thoughts on “The transformation of Islam

  1. I hope you are correct Sir. But I see no evidence that Islam is “ebbing” – actually Islam has been expanding (both in raw numbers and as a percentage of the population of the world) for more than a century, and it continues to expand.

    Nor do I see any evidence that Islam is being “transformed” – mainstream Islam (there are, most certainly, reformist movements – but they seem to be small) still appears to be following the teachings and personal example of Mohammed.

    It is a difficult situation – when a Christian does terrible things, and many have and do, one can say “would Jesus have done this?”, saying “would Mohammed have done this?” is rather different. After all when an old blind poet mocked Mohammed the poet was murdered, and when a pregnant woman poet protested against the murder, she was murdered also (both murders being approved by Mohammed himself). So when people murder in the name of Mohammed today – how can one argue that they acting against what he taught and practiced?

    Arguing that Mohammed is not a divine being has no effect – as Mohammed never claimed to be anything other than a mortal man. He just rejected the idea that reason could be used to find moral right and wrong via discussion and so on (as with such attempts as Greek philosophy or the Jewish Talmud) arguing that moral right and wrong can only be understood as literal commands of the will of God (which Mohammed helpfully communicated – and were later written down as the Koran and the various hadiths). A position oddly similar to that of Martin Luther and John Calvin – although they denied any Islamic influence in their thought.

    Still there are many currents within Islam and it may be that positive ones will gain strength over time.

    • Thanks for your criticism, Paul.

      Most nominal Muslims are normal today in the way that I expect the lot to be in the next few decades [viz. apathetic or bored by the creed]. I said by 2070, but I was looking at about a hundred years from 1970; when I began to look at Islam.

      Since the killings, many nominal adherents have become ashamed about Islam. The killings are own goals and work against live Islam but towards bourgeois Islam; or apathetic Islam.
      Yes, Islam is not clearly peaceful, as it boasts, but Christianity is; at least in letter. However, this very common boast of peacefulness is part of the ebbing of Islam. An enthusiastic Islam would have only contempt for such a boast. So you do hear evidence, Paul!
      I see no evidence that the God of the OT is in any way peaceful, Paul.
      Like Sean, you may say they are hypocrites. The crass idea of hypocrisy, an idea that all should be ashamed of ever using, is unbearably stupid, and, as it usually an unwitting change of the subject, it might be called a logical fallacy, if ever the speaker/writer wants to be germane, for if a mass murderer , for example, calls another person a murderer, it is never germane that he is pretending not to be a murderer himself; or ignoring it if it is known [though if he admits it then he is not quite a hypocrite, for that is the pretence of being morally upright that, alone, is the hypocrisy]. We should only deal with one case at a time.
      Hypocrisy is a pet idea of Christianity, a creed full of similar silly cant. It tends to endorse the absurdity adage that “two wrongs make a right” or at least makes for a morally neutral, or a blameless, deed. The main fact about that creed is that the word never was made flesh; nor was there any word in the beginning.
      Islam is more like the OT than is Catholicism. But I do not see much of worth in Catholicism, having listened to it from birth. Luther rejected Catholicism. He went back towards the OT, but my own generation did not think much of the OT. The late comedian, Dave Allen, was typical of the baby-boomers. Islam will soon have their own disrespectful comedians, if they have not already. Salmon Rushdie was the first swallow.

  2. I feel that this piece is like an act of appeasement.
    Yes many will “normalise” . Should they be any different anyway?
    I feel that if more people take to the pencil then that will only outrage the nutters even more.

    • We are getting to the point, I believe and soon – despite all the Fabian efforts of our ruling masters to make our reactions muted – when we need to do things like “Lance The Boil”, or even “Drain The Swamp”. PG Wodehouse didn’t I think invent those, but he’d probably have mentioned the effects of soft-boiled eggs hitting electric fans. In fact he did.

      The continued silence of (all, more or less) Moslems, coupled with continuing emergence of “Jihadists” and “militants” from exclusively among them or else those impressed orgasmically by the supposed glamour of the life (and the 72 post-mortem-raisins too maybe), does not bode well.

      It is not “normal” to forcibly dress women in binliners in public in the 21st Century after Christ, to behead people in public for being “the wrong sort” and get away without airstrikes on one’s capital, or to stone people to death watched by “crowds of men”. Worse, there is not even a climate-related reason for the dressing-up-bit, in the West (granted that it was probably of utility in the 7th-century desert.)

  3. I don’t agree with Charlie Hesbo that it needed to insult the prophet Muhammad and that goes for the other one that did so. However, speaking freely about Islam,the Prophet Muhammad, the Koran and the Sunnah, and Allah is something that does need to be done. More people in the West need to understand that Islam is a religion of hate and violence. We don’t need to cower from Muslims and our freedom of speech is our most cherished freedom. Governments need to keep out of the affairs of anyone who criticizes Islam or burns the Koran as one Pastor from Florida was going to do. Most of the West criticized that Pastor for what he was going to do, but do you really realize that what he was going to do really needed to be done. He showed bravery. He should have told those who criticized him to come watch. Burning the Koran was simply telling the Muslims you cannot burn our freedom of speech and expression, but most people did not stand with the Pastor. When another man in New York burned the Koran he was promptly arrested invoking Shariah Law against him by the NYPD. They, in fact, arrested him on bogus charges because many people have burned the US flag, US Constitution, the Bible and Jewish scriptures and never were arrested. It is our Western governments that need to stop denying us our rights to freedom of speech and expression. The only way to do that is to go out and speak freely on something that really angers the government anti-freedom club. The more you force the government to deal with you over freedoms the more people will come out and support you. The more support the greater you will reestablish your freedoms. If government gets away with restricting you you need to get back out there and keep pushing until they give up, don’t you give up.

  4. I do not feel many will be wearing bin-liners in the2030s, David. They make Islam look silly today. There seems to be nothing that Muslims can do to reverse their slow decline. The actions of the enthusiasts are more damaging than that of the mockers.

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