Under the banner of the “War On Terror” politicians have used the current political narrative to serve their interests. Right wing politicians such as Geert Wilders are calling for the ban of the Qur’an, and it was reported this week that the right wing Dutch Politician released a film on the divine book which he named Fitna, a Qur’anic term meaning strife.
The film is an attempt to show how the Qur’an incites to violence, terror, death and destruction. In addition to this he has commented on the Qur’an many times, his opportunistic one liner’s include:
“Ban this wretched book just like Mein Kempf is banned”
“Muslims living in the Netherlands should tear out half of the Koran”
“…this fascist book called the Koran”
However, can anyone take him seriously? Isn't this political opportunism at its best? The current situation in the Netherlands gives some damning answers,
Netherlands under its current secular political framework suffers from:
– 48% increase in robbery
– 35% increase in violent crime
– 24% increase in drug trafficking
– 105% rise in prison population in the past 10 years (1991-2001)
– 15% increase in homicide
Where are Geert Wilder’s detailed policies on these issues? Is he really interested in the Dutch people and the future of his country? If he is, then why does he and his political party just produce anti-Islamic rhetoric? This exposes his political opportunism.
Additionally, politicians who advance that secularism is the only political framework suitable for the world should be humbled by the statistics from a country seen to to be a shining example of secularism.
Many politicians who attack the Qur’an claim that Europe is based upon the Judeo-Christian heritage and that secular values are the standard to follow, misquoting and twisting verses from the Qur’an. However if their thinking and approach were to be applied to their own heritage, then can not the following be taken as an excuse or justification for violence, oppression and hatred?
“If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’. Then you must enquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a - whole burnt offering to the Lord your God.” Bible, Deuteronomy 13: 12-16
Dutch Constitution Article 97,
(1) All Dutch nationals who are capable of doing so shall have a duty to cooperate in maintaining the independence of the State and defending its territory.
(2) This duty may also be imposed on residents of the Netherlands who are not Dutch nationals.
If we use the line of thinking that the politicians who attack Islam and the Qur’an use, then anyone can conclude that the above statements have been, and are being used, as a justification to murder, subjugate, oppress and terrorise human beings. Was it not under the secular political framework that the following occurred?
- 700,000 innocent deaths due to the current Iraqi occupation?
- 500,000 Iraqi children dead in the 10 year sanctions?
- Over 60 million preventable deaths is Africa due to unjust trade laws and economic policies in the past decade?
- 70,000,000 murdered American Indians?
- World War 1 and 2?
- The occupation of Palestinian land?
- The genocide of Bosnians?
- The genocide of the Jews?
- Stalin? Hitler? Bush?
- The Vietnam War?
- The mass murder of new born baby girls in China?
- 250,000 dead Fillipinos?
- The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Chechnians?
- The oppression of Muslims via western backed dictators in the Muslim world?
However, the replies to this crude analysis of the Dutch constitution and the Bible would include ‘you are no law maker’, ‘do you have all the necessary tools to extract legislation?’, ‘you have ignored the context’. Muslims would agree, and this is how Islam and the Qur’an should be viewed too.
In order to extract law from any secular text, knowledge of the language, relevant education in Law, knowledge of legislative changes and the rules of interpretation are required. For example to interpret any UK book of law there are four basic rules of interpretation,
- Literal Rule: Literal Meaning of the Words
- Golden Rule: Take the whole of the statue rather than a few texts
- Purposive Rule: Ascertain what the craftsman intended
- Mischief Rule: Looks at what the circumstances and history when that law was created
This is similar with the Qur’an. Islamic scholarship has developed methods and rules of interpretation based upon the Islamic intellectual heritage. One requires all the necessary tools and techniques to extract legislation and law whether it is a secular text or the Qur’an, because they both deal with the individual and society. Therefore Geert Wilders who simply quotes and associates the Qur’anic verses with terror and oppression shows that his agenda is to destroy bridges and prevent dialogue.
In a world of sound bytes and generalisations his politically motivated and agenda driven film does not facilitate any form of dialogue and understanding. This indicates that he is a self-publicist and a political opportunist, using the current narrative on the War On Terror to achieve his right wing goals.
This façade does not create an environment where people of the Netherlands, and Europe, can learn about the Qur’an without pre-judging the book and its followers. Dutch society is thirsty for information and its people are willing to initiate in a dialogue that transcends the anti-Islamic hysteria and hype. Having recently returned from delivering two presentations at Maastricht and Utrecht universities on ‘The Qur’an: politics, approach & inimitability’ this point can not be over emphasised.Geert Wilders further exposed himself when he stated on Fox News “I am not a cultural relativist…I don’t believe cultures are equal I believe our culture is better than a retarded Islamic culture…” Without initiating a dialogue and a positive debate, how can he make these claims? It seems that he has already assumed the position of judge, jury and executioner.
The Qur’an can not be viewed just as a spiritual text but as a dynamic text that provides legislation for all of aspects of human life and behaviour. Politicians are in no position to understand the Qur’an with regards to Law, Foreign Policy and Economics as they do not have the tools in place to interpret the divine book.If someone was willing to understand the Qur’an they would acquire all the tools necessary to do so or at least ask those who know. Can a butcher read a law book and claim he has knowledge of the law?
Hamza Andreas Tzortzis
Watch the current affairs programme where Hamza will discuss Geert Wilders, the Qur'an, Islam and the West. Click here for more information.