The Good VS The Bad
Posted April 15, 2007on:
In America books on Islam and terrorism are bestsellers. After 9/11 Americans have become so curious in finding out the motives that the 9/11 terrorists had. Right now they are so eager to find out more about Islam: the religion that 9/11 hijackers believed in.
Today, Islam and terrorism are promising commodities for authors and politicians in America to get reputation and recognition. Not the kind of Books on Islam that you will find in Indonesia, many of those books will never even be considered to be published in Indonesia. Those books include Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Now They Call Me Infidel by Nonie Darwish, and Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel. After I had had some difficult times in finding “good” books on Islam and terrorism I finally found a good one called The Enemy At Home by Dinesh D’Souza, thanks to Indonesia Matters that gave me a brief information about the book.
I think mainly there are two perspectives that differenciate the “bad” books and The Enemy At Home as the good one:
- Dinesh D’Souza in The Enemy At Home divides Muslim into two kinds: radical Muslims and traditional Muslims while the bad books basically bash all Muslims, they see all Muslims are the same. The bad books think all Muslims all around the world are retarded as they are willing to follow an old-fashioned religion. The bad books say that Islam is the source of all problems, it is a religion that teaches its believers to put bombs on their bodies and explode their heads up in the crowds. While Dinesh D’Souza is wiser in describing the situation that Islam is facing right now. He thinks that more than 80 percent of Muslims are the traditional ones and they are basically against of radical Muslims’ thoughts and ideas especially for such issues like jihad. The problem he says is that the radical Muslims are the ones who get the most attention from the Western medias since they are the ones who think jihad is about killing the infidels. In his book, Dinesh D’Souza mentions that Taliban was a joke even to Mullahs in Iran and yet The West was so amazed to see how Taliban Regime was treating women in Afghanistan which led them think that Taliban was a representation of Islam in general.
- The bad books can’t differentiate between Islamic values and cultural values, and I think this is so misleading. Bad books think that if Muslims act something then it must be told by the Koran. One example is how Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her book exploits the practice of female circumcision in Muslim countries like Somalia where she is originately from. Although it is true that there are Muslims who believe that female circumcision is allowed or even supported by Islam as they have a hadith that justifies the practice but at the same time there a lot of Muslim scholars who think that the hadith has a little credibility and authenticity. The authors of the bad books wrote their books mostly based on their experiences in the past which they are so emotionally attached. For example the author of Because They Hate Brigitte Gabriel wrote her book based on her childhood experience as a Christian Lebanese during the civil war where her family had to live in a terrible condition.
In addition, The Enemy At Home gives some interesting perceptions on some issues and one of them is the controversy made by Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published cartoons of Muhammad in September 2005 in the name of freedom of speech. Muslims all over the world were outraged and demanded the Danish government to ban the newspaper and made it apologize to Muslims, something that the Danish government could not give as they claimed they did not have any authority to control its medias. The situation got worse when newspapers in more than fifty countries in the West reprinted the cartoons as an act of support to Danish journalists. This fact made Muslims all over the world got angrier. Jylland-Posten responded Muslims’ anger by saying that they would do the same thing to Jesus or any other religions something that astonished Muslims as Jesus has a higher status in Christianity than what Muhammad has in Islam.
Dinesh D’Souza through his book has a sympathy to Muslims by putting Ahmadinejad‘s comment on the issue. Ahmadinejad said, “If Islamic culture has religious taboos then the western culture has taboos in racism and holocoust.” Dinesh D’Souza supports this idea and asks his readers how would the west react if a well-known newspaper in America printed some cartoons to mock Martin Luther King. Something that every American newspaper will never think about as racism is a very sensitive issue in the West especially in America where recently a famous-talk-show host Don Imus got fired by MSNBC after his racist comment toward black community.
But I don’t agree with everything from The Enemy At Home. In last chapters Dinesh D’Souza strongly supports the war in Iraq by Bush’s administration. He says that even it turned out that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction but it was the right thing to do for Bush as he was in a difficult position to choose between to attack or not to. Dinesh D’Souza then argues what if Saddam Hussein actually had developed weapons of mass destruction and Bush as the president had not attacked Irak what would this world be, he asks. My question to Dineh D’Souza, if America’s suspicion on Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction can be a justification for the war (although the UN did not support it) then if any other countries, for example Iran, had suspicion on America could they just attack America? Who gives the authority to America to be the police of the world? Does God give it to America?
Although I don’t agree with his opinion to support the war in Iraq but I can understand his position. In America it’s either you are a Democrat or a Republican. So if you are selling a political book and you position yourself in the middle, or worse your book bashes both sides, most likely your book will not sell that well. So, way to go Dinesh.