Saturday, 9 November 2013

"I Regret my Anti-Islamic Past". Arnoud van Doorn converts to Islam. ATTN: Matthew Bannister

Dear Mr Bannister,

According to the BBC Website, you look at "Why former Dutch far-right Freedom Party politician Arnoud Van Doorn converted to Islam”.

But your interview doesn't answer that question. The closest we come is his statement that he did some "research" on Islam, spoke to the Imam of a local mosque and concluded that Islam is "peaceful" and "wise”.
That's it?
But what has changed in his Islam-critical  movie, Fitna, a movie he now regrets producing?
Which of the Qur'anic verses has been abrogated? Why, none. Which of the imams, which of the sheiks, which of the Islamic representatives quoted in the film has changed his (always “his”) mind? Which has decided that it's no longer acceptable in today's world to kill gays and apostates?  Which no longer believes that Jews are "apes and pigs"? Why, none. 

Could you not have asked van Doorn about these issues? That is:
How does he reconcile that Islam he previously presented with his recent discovery of a  "peaceful" and "wise" Islam?
Yet instead of germane and pointed questions you preemptively help him out: you suggest that those views in Fitna, and of "some others" in the west, are "propaganda" or "caricatures”.

Leave aside the lack of neutrality in those words. Leave aside that the BBC's own coverage of Islam over the years might just as well be described as "propaganda" and "caricature" (the "Religion of Peace”). The fact remains that there are many Muslims in thrall to the very "propaganda" and "caricature" that is shown in Fitna. For the movie is, let’s recall, nothing more than quotations from Islamic doctrine, set alongside actions that are prompted by those quotations.

If one objects that it is only a "tiny minority" of Muslims who act on those violent verses, still, it's an awful lot for a tiny minority. In fact it is not a minority at all, not even in the west.  For all polling shows a majority of Muslims in western countries want the imposition of Sharia law in their host countries and substantial minorities support violence to do so. 

In another part of the interview, you again help out Doorn, by suggesting that those who are critical of Islam might be so through "ignorance". But there are many people, amongst whom I include myself, who have become critical of Islam, not through “ignorance”, but the opposite: through extensive study of it: that is, as our knowledge of its doctrine, and history, has increased so has our criticism of what it stands for: its supremacism, homophobia, misogyny and anti-semitism.  (Don’t believe me? Study the Qur’an)

Which once again begs the question we started with: just why did Doorn convert?

My guess is that the answer is contained in Doorn's observation of himself -- that he had felt "something missing" in himself. Islam provided for him the answer, it tells him — from the dawn's Fajr to the dusk's Isha — it tells him exactly what he should be doing (even unto how he should perform his ablutions…). For many, especially those lacking in self-confidence, this can be immensely comforting. (If you search YouTube for converts to Islam, most say that this clear “structure” of the religion is what has appealed).  And to know that you are now part of something really, really big — and growing —  the 1.5 billion Ummah of brother and sister Muslims. How can Calfornia Fitness, or even the local pub, compete with that?

Sadly, you missed the opportunity to delve into this question. For Doorn to get away with saying that he found Islam to be "peaceful and wise" is just not good enough.   
It’s an opportunity wasted.
And for what? To enable the smooth advance of Islam in the UK? With nary a whimper or even a chirrup of contention?
Peter F...
Hong Kong