Monday, July 9, 2007

What is The Proud Islamist?

In the name of God, the most Gracious, most Merciful.

What is The Proud Islamist?

I don't know.

I would, however, like to first explain what it is not:

Is this a blog devoted to gruesome videos and threatening rants against the West?

No. That is my day job.

Seriously, you will not find any of that sort of nonsense here. I believe that whatever I write should be the sort of thing you wouldn't mind reading with your mother in the room. Additionally, while rants against "the West" (whatever that is) may be reproduced here, and while I might even pen one or two of my own, I don't believe that any particular society or ideology is to blame for all the evils of the world. Generally, people are to blame for what is immoral. Everything else is just an accident.

Is this a blog devoted to dietary restrictions, women's clothes, and men's facial hair?

No. Fashion advice, religiously motivated or not, will most likely not appear here. While I am aware of the religious significance of these things, and appreciate that they have different meanings to different people, here I am only interested in these insofar as they can tell us something about the people and groups that are concerned with them.

Are you a "moderate Muslim?"

Do I try to pray 2.5 times a day?
Do I drink, but just red wine, for my health?
Do I pick-up, but only to hold hands?
Do I vote Liberal in every election?
Do I support Fatah in everything, Hamas in nothing, and Israel's Right To Exist?
Am I in favour of American wars, but only with Minimum Collateral Damage?
Do I want to Reform Islam to Comply with Modernity?

That's an absolute no on all counts. That's because such a person does not exist. He would be a walking self-contradiction.

Are you an Islamist?

Read the title.

What does that mean?

Not much. It is an exceptionally poorly defined term, largely disseminated by the English news media to describe a poorly understood and extremely diverse set of political movements in the Muslim world.

Just as "Terrorism" is a propagandist's shorthand for "Political violence we don't like," "Islamist" is the propagandist's term for "Muslim I don't like."

Since it's out there, I thought I might as well claim it for myself. It is difficult to nail down, but for now I will say that to me, "Islamism" means "The belief that Islam should influence the political action of Muslim groups and individuals."

Ok, so what are you?

I am, first and foremost, a human being aspiring to be a Muslim.

Even I am not yet sure of the implications of that.

So why did you make this blog?

It was largely inspired by the rise of an abject stupidity that has arisen in Canadian political discourse, primarily surrounding the Muslim world and extending to the way in which Canadians relate to the interplay of faith and politics where Muslims are concerned. I should say here that I am a proud Canadian - I believe that this society has achieved things that are unparalleled throughout the world. From a functioning constitutional method of resolving internal disputes, to a working single-payer universal health system, an unchallenged rule of law and a strong sense of patriotism that shies away from vulgar jingoism, I see unique virtues in Canada's political life, virtues that I feel go to the core of what it means to be an Islamic society.

Recently, however, this has been changing. Media conglomerates owned by forked-tongued, fascist-minded ideologues are changing the political discourse in Canada. Their message:

1) Fear the Muslims.
2) Abandon your concern for social justice.
3) Canada is a bad country to live in.
4) The West is morally superior in all matters.

In this climate, it is increasingly conceivable that a dissenting voice on political and cultural issues, writing on a blog called "The Proud Islamist" might just be tracked down and locked up. We shall see.

At the same time, I am confronted daily with the stupidity of the Muslims. From their embarrassingly low literacy in the developing world to their unthinking, uncritical, often un-Islamic approach to life and religion in the developed world. They find themselves trapped between the Irshad Manji's and the Mullah Omar Wanna-be's, and seem often incapable of realizing the absurdity of the dichotomy.

So I wanted a place to muse in public about these problems, and this is as good as any.

And as we always say, if anything I say is good then the credit is to God, and if it is bad, it is due to me.

That's all for now.


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