Even as Borders and Waldenbooks bow down in dhimmitudinous submission to their Islamicist masters [via LGF] by refusing to stock the latest issue of Free Inquiry magazine -- declaring “For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority" -- the magazine itself online proudly headlines in bold red caps, "THE APRIL-2006 FREE INQUIRY INCLUDES FOUR OF THE CONTROVERSIAL DANISH CARTOONS. TO ORDER A COPY OF THIS ISSUE, CLICK BELOW!"
Our thanks to Borders and Waldenbooks for unwittingly drawing the blogosphere's attention to Free Inquiry by refusing to stock the latest issue of the magazine of the Council for Secular Humanism because it contains -- gasp! -- four of the "controversial Danish cartoons." Checking it out online, we came upon an excellent article by Ibn Warraq [a pen name traditionally used by dissidents in Islam] -- one of the signers of that anti-Jihad manifesto blogged here, "Together facing the new totalitarianism." "What we need is an Enlightenment in the Islamic world, of the Islamic mindset or worldview," writes Warraq. The idea has been floating around in the ether for some time but is particularly well articulated here. A few excerpts [Warraq's quotations are from Jonathan I. Israel's Radical Enlightenment]:
". . . Spinoza offers an elaborate theory of what religion is, and how and why religion construes the world as it does, creating a new science of contextual Bible criticism" . . . In his attack on the very possibility of miracles, and the credulity of the multitude, Spinoza’s Tractatus made a profound impression everywhere -- in England, Italy, Germany, and France . . . Spinoza’s ideas were easy to grasp in one sense even by the unlettered, ideas such as "the identification of God with the universe, the rejection of organized religion, the abolition of Heaven and Hell, together with reward and punishment in the hereafter, a morality of individual happiness in the here and now, and the doctrine that there is no reality beyond the unalterable laws of Nature, and consequently, no Revelation, miracles or prophecy" . . .
Qur’anic criticism, on the other hand, has lagged far behind . . . Without criticism, Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress: ossified, totalitarian, and intolerant. It will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality, originality and truth.
Western intellectuals and Islamologists have totally failed in their duties as intellectuals. They have betrayed their calling by abandoning their critical faculties when it comes to Islam . . . Karl Binswanger has remarked on the "dogmatic Islamophilia" of most Arabists. Jacques Ellul complained in 1983 that "in France it is no longer acceptable to criticise Islam or the Arab countries . . . Understanding has given way to apologetics pure and simple."
According to Warraq, the source of Western apologetics toward Islam and the Arab countries long predates the postmodernist, post-colonialist critique of "Orientalism" in the Edward Said sense as a "corporate institution for dealing with the Orient." Instead, in the aftermath of The War to End All Wars, Islam was seen as a counterforce to the Communist threat:
Patricia Crone and Ibn Rawandi have remarked that Western scholarship lost its critical attitude toward the sources of the origins of Islam around the time of the First World War. Many Western scholars of the 1940s were committed Christians, such as Montgomery Watt, who saw a great danger in the rise of Communism in the Islamic world and thus welcomed any resurgence of Islam. They were insufficiently critical of the Islamic, Arabic sources. John Wansbrough has noted that the Qur’an "as a document susceptible of analysis by the instruments and techniques of Biblical criticism . . . is virtually unknown" . . .
In recent years, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries (for example, Brunei) have established chairs of Islamic Studies in prestigious Western universities, which are encouraged to present a favorable image of Islam. Scientific research, leading to objective truth, no longer seems to be the goal. Critical examination of the sources or the Qur’an is discouraged . . . In December 2005, Georgetown and Harvard Universities accepted $20 million each from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for programs in Islamic studies [blogged here and here].
Back to American bookstores' metaphorical book burning in the ongoing dhimmitudinous "synchronization of culture," Pajamas Media sums up "A creepy experience at Borders Books" reported by Van of Kesher Talk:
Upset by Borders’ censorship of a magazine that carries those not-that-offensive cartoons of Mohammed, Kesher Talk is stunned to discover that Borders at 57th Street and Park Avenue -- not far from Ground Zero -- doesn’t have “a single book devoted to 9-11” in its section on New York. [Judith of KT has] also got a roundup of top blogs weighing in, with fresh fears that Barnes & Noble will also ban Free Inquiry magazine.
Meanwhile, a Borders employee emails Charles Johnson [via Dymphna of Gates of Vienna, who has a nice summary of her own on the subject]:
It is Borders policy as a whole (not my particular store) that due to complaints in the past from Muslim customers, we are not allowed to put our copies of the Koran on any shelf other than the top.
Finally, Robert Bidinotto of The Bidinotto Blog is mad as hell and isn't going to take this anymore. He's started an Instalanche. It looks like Borders has a dhimmi problem.
Update: Steven Green [via Instapundit] walks right in and drives the dhimmis away:
President Bush isn’t a fascist, and I can prove it.
We’ve seen what American bookstores and publications and universities do when confronted with real fascists: they knuckle under. You might not be able to find those Danish cartoons anyplace respectable, but you’ll sure find lots of anti-Bush stuff.
Ipso facto, America is doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.
Goliaths=0, Army of Davids=1.
Update: Michael Weiss of Slate makes our day:
Libertarian Sissy Willis of Sisu takes her free speech with an ironic twist of unintended consequence: "Our thanks to Borders and Waldenbooks for unwittingly drawing the blogosphere's attention to Free Inquiry by refusing to stock the latest issue of the magazine of the Council for Secular Humanism because it contains -- gasp! -- four of the 'controversial Danish cartoons.' "
Straight up with an ironic olive of unintended consequence, to be exact.
Update: We were delighted to find this post listed among the distinguished group of finalists in the Watcher's Council's "Best Non-Council Posts" of the week at Watcher of Weasels. Lots of good links there.