The Gulf War was in 1989-90. My most enduring memory of it’s an interview with Yasser Arafat. Interviewer: ‘Who do you support in this War?’ Arafat: ‘Saddam’. Interviewer: ‘Why do you support Saddam?’ Arafat: ‘I don’t support Saddam’. I thought to myself ‘How can Israel negotiate anything with this man?’ The 1.2-1.6B Muslims in the world comprise 20% of the world’s population [1, 2]. Yet Islamic cultural and religious tenets are largely unknown beyond the Ummah. I’m unsure why. Probably to know and interpret Islam requires an insider’s experience and understanding. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (pictured)  is an amazing woman. Born in Somalia in 1969, she was a Muslim until 2002 (when at age 32 she became an atheist). A Dutch citizen and former Dutch parliamentarian, she’s written and spoken extensively about Islam – honestly, thus controversially, thus bravely. Last week the FT ran an important essay she’d written. (Here’s the full version  and a short one .) She explained the Islamic culture of submission: ‘In this culture submission is instilled early on. If you are not allowed to talk back to your father, or teacher, or clergyman, submission to state tyranny becomes almost second nature. In such a setting, the methods to empower oneself – indeed to survive – are conspiracy, manipulation, intrigue and bribery’. I accept this concept. Do the Western media? No – given their unbridled optimistic reporting of recent Egyptian developments. If the Islamic culture of submission’s real, this optimism’s unfounded. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Time will tell.
2 days ago