Together facing the new totalitarianismThis manifesto reads a lot like a liberal attempting to talk tough. "Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations." No, Islam is fueled by mysticism and irrationality.
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilizations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and un-egalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatization of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
"Nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred." No, the despair in the Islamic world is caused by the totalitarianism and hatred that springs from irrationality--despair is the product, and not the cause of the Islamic world’s woes.
"To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people." No, it is not our job to assure anything beyond our own borders--the oppressed or discriminated people have a responsibility to fight for their own rights.
"We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions." Ok, it's nice that the authors see relativism as a problem, but they are attempting to put a new spin on the term. Cultural relativism really consists of judging a culture that embraces reason and freedom no differently than a culture that rejects them. Cultural relativism doesn’t victimize the Islamic world as much as it disarms the West (unless holding Muslims to low standards now counts as Western victimization).
This letter seeks to be a grand statement, yet in ideas, it gives away far too much. Count me as disappointed.