The Enlightenment vs the Jihadies

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Offline Sasha

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The Enlightenment vs the Jihadies
« on: May 31, 2017, 11:26:02 AM »
The Enlightenment vs the Jihadies

There're a host of well-credentialed 'experts' who take to various media platforms everytime an Salafi terrorist blows themselves and a bunch of innocent people up and these ‘experts’ will tell you with all the authority that the train of acronyms hanging off the end of their name can carry, that Islam is not compatible with western values.  They are wrong, all of them, and they are admitting they do not know too terribly much about either western history or Middle Eastern history.  This error is in fact one powered by one of the most important omissions traveling the foreign policy tracks today:  the forgotten late 18th century's Al-Nahda - the so-called 'Arab Enlightenment' - an organic, internal, classical liberally inspired philosophical reformation.

The figure often cited as the primarily vehicle of the period's European influences (after Napoleon inadvertent effects) was Egyptian scholar Rifa’a Rafi’ al-Tahtawi.  A truly gifted student, he landed in Europe without command of the languages and before he left he had learnt and exported so much European culture and knowledge (that had itself been drawn in part from the pre-Renaissance Islamic Golden Age) that he would be credited with bringing Egypt (and later Syria and Lebanon) into the Westphalian age - the grandfather of Egyptian nationalism if Gamal Abdel Nasser is its father.  But, this is not to say that al-Tahtawi had divorced himself from Islam concerns, quite the contrary:
“Naturally, I shall approve only that which does not run counter to the prescriptions of Muhammedan law … .”

This liberalized Islam would in-part lead to the thwarted promises of pan-Arabism in mid-20th century (and the assassination of Nasser) that were always at odds with its pan-Islamic fundamentalist contemporary that had formed in Arabia in response to the same 18th century European colonial influences.  The Salafi response to this colonialism was to dig up and relight the cold coals of their own Imperial fires buried beneath centuries of sand.  The conflict that arose between those peoples of the Middle East and North Africa who favored regression into old tyrannies and those who wanted freedom from tyranny was further complicated by the philosophically hypocritical alliance that formed between the Muslim fundamentalists and the European Colonial powers.  They conspired to suppress and undermine any organic philosophical divergence from their regressive religious inclinations.  Pan-Arabism and individual liberty were direct threats to both European colonialists and Salafists alike and still are today.  This unholy alliance continues even now as the part of the military industrial complex’s petrodollar crutch; as the NATO-GCC coalition runs regime changes with proxy Islamists all over the Muslim world, these players are still at the root of so much of what’s plaguing the Middle East, North Africa, and so much of the rest of the world today.  And thus it’s not much of a stretch to assert that if left to their own devices, the people of the region would return to the regional conversation they were having about liberty and sovereignty before the imperial colonialists inspired a return to regional imperious traditions.
Morality is contraband in war.
- Mahatma Gandhi