ARE THEY HIRED INTELLECTUALS FOR WESTERN PROPAGANDA?
ABDUL GAFFAR CHOUDHURY
Recently I read a book titled Why I am not a Muslim written by Ibn Warraq, one among the many recent books written by some Muslim intellectuals. This is his pseudonym and he is a Pakistani writer. This book was first published in 1995 from New York and is still available in the western market. It is understandable that the writer has not revealed his name because of the fear that he would be hunted by the Muslims not only from his own country but from all other Muslim zealots around the globe. Perhaps the book was not allowed to be circulated in many Muslim countries but is available in the west in abandon.
My curiosity was first aroused by seeing the title of the book Why I am not a Muslim? I thought the author has followed the famous book by Bertrand Russell Why I am not a Christian? In his book Russell did not defame Christianity but showed its contradictions in practice and preaching. But after reading Warraq’s book my first impression was that he did not discuss Islam from an academic perspective and did not show the real contradictions in Islamic doctrine and revelations. These sorts of contradictions are to be found in all scriptures of all ages.
Modern science and religious beliefs are in fight with each other for a long time and modern man has made a compromise between belief and knowledge. Still in all ages there are some people who want to discredit religion and their preachers without appreciating the fact that preaching symbolizes the socio-economic condition of the respective ages and the beliefs and practices of the preachers should be examined in the light and context of those times.
There was no written history of ancient religions and folklores, fairy-tales and legends were the basis of their history in those times. Certainly those stories varied from man to man, sometimes they were exaggerated by the fanatic believers. Bertrand Russell did not attack Christianity on the basis of the myths and lores but tried to evaluate Christianity with modern analysis and wanted to show that a modern man cannot keep himself a prisoner of old beliefs and practices. There was also controversy over Russell’s opinion but nobody said that he tried to defame Christ or Christianity.
The book written by Ibn Warraq is full of information and analysis of Islam mostly collected from some old and new Christian, Jewish and Muslim pundits. But it seems to me that the purpose of writing this book is to condemn Islam and its Prophet (PBUH). He quoted in his books many incidents from the prophet’s life which has different versions. In most cases he favoured some of the Jewish and Christian pundits’ interpretations who were known for their anti-Islam and anti-Prophet stands.
Warraq’s writing expresses venom against the Prophet which was absent in Russell’s writing. He did not express any grudge against Christ or Christianity. He showed deficiency of Christianity as a religion. But Warraq’s writing not only defames the prophet but tries to prove Islam as a fake religion and show that all its creeds and practices are borrowed from Christianity and Judaism.
One of the significance of Islam is that the Prophet did not claim that his religion was a new one. He said that Islam was introduced from the very first prophet Adam. He accepted all other previous prophets like Moses and Jesus and said that Islam is a collaboration, assimilation and the last development of the previous faiths. So, some of the elements of the scriptures of all the religions that came before Islam are naturally found in the Quran.
Warraq did not mention this development he simply wanted to establish that Islam is a fake religion, that there is nothing new in this religion and its Prophet forcibly imposed his religion on the nomadic people of ArabIa.
There are hundreds of religions in the world. Islam is the latest one, it has a history in the recent past so one can easily scrutinize this history.
But the histories of Judaism and Christianity is obscure because they are so ancient that the life of its preachers Moses or Jesus has no reliable history. Whatever we know about these prophets are nothing but myths. When an orthodox Jew says, Moses met God face to face on the mountain of Sinai or Jesus is a child of Virgin Mary without a father and he is the son of God then nobody criticizes these myths.
A modern Jew or a Christian do not give any importance to these myths or argue about it unnecessarily. They made a compromise with the modern outlook and ancient myth. It is only some Muslims who are favourite to western countries and a section of their intellectuals like Salman Rushdie or Warraq, who instead of trying to modernize Islam are attacking its roots and its mythical beliefs.
Present day Islam needs modernization and to free itself from the clutches of backward looking fundamentalism. Instead the so-called Islamic critics are attacking Islam which strengthens the western propaganda against Islam to continue the Judeo-Christian hegemony over the world. The onslaught on Islam is going on for the last two centuries. Even a writer like H. G. Wells wrote something about the Prophet which was defamatory and not true. It is now a new phenomenon that a new clan of Muslim intellectuals are now engaged in Islam-bashing writings.
Salman Rushdie is the most prominent among them. Warraq’s book not only supported Rushdie but also claimed that world-wide Muslim agitation against him was a heinous attack on the rights of free expression. He did not quote Bernard Shaw that free expression also has a limit. When it endangers peace and human life then this ‘free expression’ should limit itself with responsibility. Rushdie’s writing endangered peace and more than thousand lives were lost in demonstrations against this book.
I read Rushdie’s book also and was surprised to find that the book was a literary success. Its stories regarding Islam and its Prophet were not critical but highly defamatory. It could easily arouse discontent not only in the minds of devout Muslims but ordinary Muslims also.
A few years later when I read a report how American CIA financed and patronized the publication of Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago to condemn communism and communist governments then I realized that after the fall of communism a similar pattern of propaganda war has started against Islam and its prophet to
demoralize the new generation of Middle-Eastern Muslims not to rise against western imperialism and its doctrines.
This time the powerful Zionist circle has also joined hands with them and brought some Muslim intellectuals under their umbrella most of whom are eager for name and fame.
If Warraq’s book Why I am not a Muslim is part of this Judeo-Christian propaganda I will not be surprised. This book is highly praised in the western so-called intellectual circle like Dr. Zhivago more than five decades ago. Now western critics are saying that the book does not have the literary merit to be awarded a Nobel prize and Rushdie’s Satanic Verses has also gone to oblivion. Rushdie never achieved his ambition of getting the Nobel prize.
In the last century the great Indian Islamic intellectual Maulana Abul Kalam Azad said that like Christianity Islam needs reformation and moderation keeping its basic tenets. But defaming Islam and condemning its Prophet (PBUH) is part of a motivated western propaganda which wants to demoralize Muslims to keep their hegemony over the oil rich Muslim world.
Unfortunately some of the Muslim intellectuals are now their pet writers who are not helping Islam or Muslims but collaborating with vicious western propaganda against Islam.
NOVEMBER 28, 2014