Sunday, April 13, 2008

Freedom of thought (and colored underwear)

David Thompson blogged Behold the wisdom of the Saudi cleric, Muhammad al-Munajid, aired on Al-Majd TV, March 30, 2008.

If you missed the money quote, here it is.

The problem is that they want to open a debate on whether Islam is true or not,
It isn't
and on whether Judaism and Christianity are false or not.
They aren't.
In other words, they want to open up everything for debate. Now they want to open up all issues for debate. That’s it. It begins with freedom of thought, it continues with freedom of speech, and it ends up with freedom of belief.
And Muhammad al-Munajid want's you to think what he thinks, speak what he speaks, and believe what he believes.
So where's the conspiracy? They say: Let’s have freedom of thought in Islam... They say: I think, therefore I want to express my thoughts. I want to express myself, I want to talk and say, for example, that there are loopholes in Islam, or that Christianity is the truth. Then they will talk about freedom of belief, and say that anyone is entitled to believe in whatever he wants
hee is, otherwise it is not a matter of belief.
... If you want to become an apostate – go ahead. Fancy Buddhism? Leave Islam, and join Buddhism. No problem. That’s what freedom of belief is all about.
And it is a good thing.
They want freedom of everything. What they want is very dangerous.
I’m almost tempted to admire the frankness. The chutzpah, if you will. But if such things are a dangerous “conspiracy,” an obvious question springs to mind. Dangerous for whom?
For those that want power.
What’s most interesting about the extract above, and the worldview it illustrates, is that al-Munajid doesn’t seem terribly concerned with the numinous per se, or even with an erratic and spiteful deity named Allah; instead the object of worship is Islam itself – the institution, the power, the license to control.

There’s more, of course. Al-Munajid also shares his insight regarding the use of colored underwear and how to urinate piously.
This is amazing. They have almost 70 rules about how to urinate and defecate, including which foot you should enter the bathroom with, and which foot you should exit with. And of course you should not have colored underwear.

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