Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Muslim Amnesia

"When the streets of Damascus were lined with lamps, London was a village."

- Peter O' Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

I was chatting with a devout Turkish girl. She had resisted her family since the age of eighteen, and worn a headscarf. I thought she must truly be a Muslim. I was wrong.

We got on the subject of dictators, as the Arabs were trying to topple them. She asked me if I liked dictators. I said I loved them. She did a double take. She couldn't believe how I could love dictators. Incidentally, she said that probably I knew more about her ancestors than she did.

It seems that was correct.

I know that under the Sultans, Muslim civilisation made room for diverse religions and created one of the long-lasting civilizations of the world.

And all this was achieved under dictators, autocrats, despots....

The tragic thing about Muslims is their loss of memory. They have lost all sense of time. They don't realise that 1,400 years of Muslim history - a glorious, benign and noble history - have passed. They are either fundamentalists, or 'modern' Muslims like the Turkish girl. The latter group look to Europe and America for inspiration.

When I said that she was hopelessly westernised, she reacted quickly. "Hey," she said, "I am not westernised." Yet, unbeknownst to her, she was.

Why are Muslims so servile?

The encounter with the west has so knocked the stuffing out of us that we have lost all self-respect. We have become thoroughly defensive. We have forgotten that Hazrat Uthman liberated thousands of slaves, and that the west was based on slavery. Ours, and the Chinese civilization, were benign. In this, lies our greatness.

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