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Reply and Questions for Asma

Reader comment on item: Western Civilization on Trial: Why We Should Be Watching Geert Wilders
in response to reader comment: Wilder's Movie - please comment

Submitted by Archimedes2 (Canada), Mar 30, 2010 at 22:25

Asma, for your satisfaction: Yes, I have a PhD. Do you? Insofar as its merits as a short "indy" documentary film, I find Wilders' piece to be an outstanding piece of economy, accomplishing as much in 15 minutes as the bloated, over-funded, over-produced commercial fluff masquerading as documentaries for the cotton-candy crowd in today's market. Fitnah is well conceived and executed. It stays on topic and makes a simple but powerful point, adhering to the strictest principles of economy in film with a discipline rarely seen in the industry these days. Fitnah maintains a strong fidelity to its subject matter, in that Wilders' words are almost nonexistent throughout, appearing only as single printed phrases here and there to make logical transitions. The rest of the film simply allows islamic extremists, their actions, and the Qur'an, to speak for themselves. I am hard pressed to think of another documentarist in recent years who was quite as prepared to allow the subject to speak for itself. A remarkable achievement! As for his use of the Qur'an, at your prompting I have checked the verses as they appear in Fitnah against standard translations by the most respected scholars of Arabic, including some pious muslim scholars. I find that they agree substantially, even down to minor nuances of meaning, with the translations of Yusuf Ali, Pickthal, Shakir and Malik. Not identical, however, to any of them, which would be consistent with a translation first into Dutch and then into English, which is as I presume the film was made. Yet obviously done with some care. If I have any quarrel with Fitnah's use of Qur'an, I would say that the verses are edited too tightly -- too much is left out. This is probably a consequence of the extreme economy with which the film was made. Take, for example, the film's use of Qur'an 8:60, which stops in the middle of the verse after a command to prepare militarily, in order to "strike terror" into the hearts of "your enemy and the enemy of Allah". The verse continues: "...and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. " Why was the latter half of the verse omitted? Certainly not because it mitigates the meaning Wilders would draw from it! Indeed, the second half reinforces the first and broadens it, indicating that preparation to wage battle against religious enemies must also take into account unknown enemies in the future such as ... Um, "Western Civilization" -- I believe this addresses one of your later questions. I find particularly bloodcurdling this notion in the last part of the verse that money spent for military preparation as some sort of sacred alms, as if "Allah" places equal value on giving to feed the poor as on "investing" in preparations to kill kuffar like me. Perhaps you'd like to comment on this point, Asma? To which Sharia courts to you propose to take the jihadists of today? I have the only manual of Shafi'i law authorized for use and widely available in the west, Um dat al-Salik, which defines Jihad as to make war against non-muslims for the sake of Allah and for to make Islam supreme. Seems to me that jihadists today are acting quite consistently with this rule, and they certainly claim to be doing so. Of what transgressions of "shariah" would you convict them, Asma? You end, Asma, with the statement "Common sense dictates that freedom of speech is limited when it comes to Human rights and therefore hate speech is a violation of human rights", presumably in reference to the creation of this film. Since there are practically none of Wilders' own words in the film, what exactly do you mean by this assertion in this context, Asma? Is it hateful of him to show videos of muslims saying hateful things? Is it hateful to accurately quote the qur'an or to show footage of actual world events? It may come as a surprise to you, but in the western understanding of "hate speech", truth is considered a defense: Merely telling the truth about somebody is not "hate speech", regardless of how it makes that person feel. Sometimes, the truth just hurts, Asma. I find the notion of "hate speech" repugnant. Not because it is not possible to hate, and express that hate in speech, but because it is very hard to infer an attitude of hate from a person's words, and in almost every well-known instance at issue today, such as the Wilders' case, there is no evidence of actual hatred, only a desperate effort to silence discourse by those unwilling to tackle the actual subject matter. In other words, "hate speech", as used in such situations, is merely a political hammer to win arguments that can't be won in open debate. Hate is something cultivated in the heart. I do not hate you or your coreligionists, Asma. I am convinced that Mr Pipes certainly does not, and I have no evidence that Mr. Wilders does. Do you hate any of us? Speech should not be curtailed. The cure for bad speech is more, and better, speech. But those who harbour their own hatred and train others, particularly children, to hate, incur the wrath of God. In this vein, Asma, perhaps you would care to elaborate on the Islamic principle sometimes referred to as "Al Wala' wal Bara". If your answer to my last question was "No I do not hate non-muslims", then tell me what your interpretation of this principle is, and please reconcile it with the explanation I have found for this principle at numerous official Islamic teaching websites. Are you going to portray the majority of the pious islamic "educational" websites as "gangs, warlords, drugloads, lawless tribesmen"?

I look forward to your reply.

Submitting....

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