Friday, August 31, 2007

There is no Ummah

Ali Eterez is characteristically acute here:

The ads abound. “Indian parents of young woman seeking Indian, preferably Punjabi man…no other need apply”; “Syrian-Born stallion seeking beautiful girl from the homeland…No Lebanese Scum!”; “Morrocan Spanish speaker seeks Morrocan Mami…Evaluating Strictly.” This is the state of marriage among Muslims.

On the other hand, everywhere I look Muslims are brandishing the slogans of Universal Brotherhood, of Ummah, of a Unified Islamic State, of a Modern All Expansive Caliphate.

How can it be that as far as marriage and multiplication is concerned, Muslims have no interest in looking outside of their narrow cultural spheres, but when it comes to power they suddenly become eager beavers who throw aside all their differences for the sake of an Imagined Unity?
[...]
Our marriage patterns, therefore, demonstrate most conclusively that there is no ummah, just culturalisms and nationalisms and languagisms. Let’s stop faking the existence of a cultural ummah, and recognize it for what it is: a vague spiritual idea that not even the ultra-pretentious among the pietists live up to, prone as they are to plundering other Muslims over purported (im)piety (thus making my point doubly).

Now, an Ummah given to economic and social justice I can get with. But the pretentiouspietists will never get behind that sort of an ummah, because it is inclusive.
And makes an interesting point here:
Consider this: in recent years there has been no shortage of Protestant leaders deriding, mocking, and vilifying Islam. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have often made patronizing remarks towards Islam, and have even directly insulted the Prophet. Even evangelical leaders, generals and bureaucrats have made anti-Islam remarks, all the way from suggesting that Mecca should be nuked, to that Muslims should be converted to Christianity by force. Yet at no point during these remarks did Muslims worldwide give the kind of response (or any response for that matter) as they did when Pope Benedict said something negative of Islam (in a scholastic speech of all places). This makes the essential point that in the Muslim world there is only one representative of Christianity, and it is the Pope. Neo-Conservatism, headed by George Bush, never commanded this kind of recognition in the Muslim world. It was seen as a bastardized version of colonialism and immediately distrusted. As such, any intervention from it was deemed by Muslims immediately suspect. On the other hand, Muslims are less likely to believe that the Pontiff is, or needs to, engage in geo-political posturing, or is driven by a lust for oil. As such, when the Pontiff puts forward his version of a compassionate global conservatism, he has a greater chance of being believed.
This last quote in the context of the Pope's Regensberg speech last year. Unfortunately Eterez doesn't yet grasp the full purport of that speech, which was actually a direct statement that the Muslim view of God is wrong, and that they should all become Christians.

1 comment:

dearieme said...

Treating the Pope as THE representative of Christianity is just more evidence of how, um, unsophisticated many Muslims are. I don't myself class Roman Catholicism as Christian - I put it in the Christianity-Plus category, with the Mormons. I don't suppose that Rome trembles, mind.