The Good VS The Bad

Posted on: April 15, 2007

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


9 Responses to "The Good VS The Bad"

Fascinating review. Very interesting stuff. You’ve convinced me. I’m going to help making Dinesh D’Souza a bestselling author.

Although immediately two objections came to mind.

For instance I don’t think one should put on a level the Islam tabu and the secular tabu’s of the west. At least not the way the author does.

When Ahmajinedad did break the Holocaust tabu
(he recently organized a exhibition on this subject) no Iranian buildings have been burned down, no mobs flooded the streets of London nor any Iman has been slashed in Berlin or Copenhagen. But in the aftermath of the Middle Eeast publicity about the cartoons ( published half a year earlier btw), Danish buildings in fact have been burned down and a Catholic nun has been slashed.

And I wonder what kind of an intellectual the author is. Even in 2000 a lot of people suspected the new administration to consist of a bunch of cheats. Maybe “9/11” may have blurred the patriotic view for some time. But anno domini 2006/7 I can not understand the state of denial the author seems to suffer from on the Iraq subject. And even worse: the inferior kind of reasoning of Dinesh D’Souza on the necessity of this invasion and occupation.

Nevertheless: I want to read the book.

I believe that both cultures have to understand and try to respect each other’s values. From my point of view it is best if the west could respect what muslims believe in. I know the west has their “freedom of speech” but I’m sure that even the westerners believe that freedom has its limits. I don’t recall muslims ever insulted christians by mocking Jesus Christ even when the west claims that it is ok.

It is true that no Iranian properties were burned down, but maybe that’s because the west was too shameful to do so as they understood well how Israel had been killing innocent Palestinian children and women every day.

It is not a debatable issue that more than 6 millions of Jews were killed during World War 2 but did it give Israel an authority to steal other people’s land? Can it be a justification for what Israel is doing to Palestine right now?

Anyway, you must read the book. And tell me when you’re done. Thanks for your comment.

world will changed by those uncivilized act from US government….
even we never know who and why those ‘terrorist’ attacked WTC…

Great review. A concise and balanced one. Thx

Thank you for your visiting, nice blog

I already read Ali’s Infidel. The cultural elements are enormous. I do, however, have sympathy for her due to her pains as a woman. Excellent review. Keep up the great job, Tasa a.k.a. Bukan Monyet.

Jennie S. Bev

Thank for your information about good books and bad books on Islam. But I think there is no radical muslim and traditional muslim. The radical ones is just person who have a partial on understanding of Islam, but they act as they think they are Muslim. They don’t represent Muslim community.

Suseno B Prasetyo

pretty well spoken(typed)..
i’d like to give some feedback about the iraqi war. first of all, i dont agree with the concept of war. so i strongly disagree with the bush’s invasions(iraq and afghan).on the other hand, i also disagree with the saddam’s regime and taliban’s. And without the invasion, who would’ve done the revolutions.
in my opinion,religion(islam) is just a smokescreen for certain individual goals in these cases. in otherwords, it the individual that is have a problem, not the question is,” why this misused cases happen a lot in islam?”

Mba Jennie: I do have a big sympathy for her too, I’m sure that she had a painful experience in the past and it is something that the Islamic world should be ashamed about. But, the way she provokes muslims is something that I can hardly accept.

Suseno: You are right. The radical muslims definitely don’t represent the whole muslim community. They just can’t accept differences either in or out the muslim community, and they always use extreme and radical approaches from their blunt interpretation of Islamic teaching.

Rafa B.: Did they really need a revolution? Is America doing a revolution? What cases that you think? You mean the blowback that Islamic community is having? You can read my article on that matter.

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guebukanmonyet is Tasa Nugraza Barley. He's a free man with unique thoughts and dreams. He sees his life and this world differently from anyone else. That's because he knows what he wants; and for that reason he doesn't want to be the same. Read why he blogs, here.

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