Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christopher Hitchens on Islam

Hitch was wrong about the invasion of Iraq and many other things. But he was also right about many things, like the fact that Henry Kissinger should be brought to trial for "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture," and that Mother Teresa was a "fanatic, fraudulent fundamentalist".

Among the things that Christopher Hitchens was right about, one subject in particular stands out and demands our attention: Islam.

Of Sin, the Left & Islamic Fascism
The Nation
, October 8, 2001
"Not all readers liked my attack on the liberal/left tendency to 'rationalize' the aggression of September 11, or my use of the term 'fascism with an Islamic face,' and I'll select a representative example of the sort of 'thinking' that I continue to receive on my screen, even now."

The Hitchens-Pollitt Papers
The Nation
, December 16, 2002
"Now, Katha, you and I both attended many rallies in favor of the victory of the Vietcong. Were we duped? Were we led astray by sheep-faced 'pacifist' clerics or shifty-eyed Stalinists? No. (Or perhaps I should speak for myself here.) We knew what we were doing, and we wished mainly that Vietnam, which constituted no threat to anybody, had been reunified and independent by 1945. The objection to Washington's imperialist war was not that it would go badly, or turn into a 'quagmire.' For shame! The point was to take the side of the revolution."

Christopher Hitchens talks to Jon Stewart about Islam

The Daily Show, December 1, 2004
"According to Christopher Hitchens, too many moderate Muslims believe it's a war on Islam and not within Islam."

The War Within Islam: The growing danger of the Sunni-Shiite rivalry.
Slate, February 19, 2007
"I have met a few very hard-line right-wingers who say: So what? If one lot of Islamists wants to slaughter another, who cares? It's very important to repudiate this kind of 'thinking.' Religious warfare is the worst thing that can happen to any society, and it now has the potential to spread to societies that are not directly involved. For the most part, official U.S. policy in Iraq has been sound in this respect, always working for a compromise and recently losing American lives to rescue the moderate Shiite leadership from a murder plot hatched by a messianic Shiite militia. Even where this policy fell short—as in the appalling execution of Saddam Hussein—the American Embassy urged the Maliki government not to conduct the hanging on the day of the Eid ul-Adha holiday that would most humiliate the Sunnis. We cannot flirt, either morally or politically, with divide and rule."

Defending Islamofascism: It's a valid term. Here's why.
, October 22, 2007
"It was once very common, especially on the left, to prefix the word fascism with the word clerical. This was to recognize the undeniable fact that, from Spain to Croatia to Slovakia, there was a very direct link between fascism and the Roman Catholic Church. More recently, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica, coined the term Judeo-Nazi to describe the Messianic settlers who moved onto the occupied West Bank after 1967. So, there need be no self-pity among Muslims about being 'singled out' on this point."

Assassins of the Mind
, February, 2009
"When Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on novelist Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses, it was the opening shot in a war on cultural freedom. Two decades later, the violence continues, and Muslim fundamentalists have gained a new advantage: media self-censorship."

Push to criminalise criticism of Islam
The Australian
, March 9, 2009
"And this whole picture would be much less muddied and confused if the state of Pakistan, say, did not make the absurd and many-times discredited assertion that religion can be the basis of a nationality. It is such crude amalgamations -- is a Saudi or Pakistani being profiled because of his religion or his ethnicity? -- that are responsible for any overlap between religion and race. And it might help if the Muslim hadith did not prescribe the death penalty for anyone trying to abandon Islam; one could then be surer who was a sincere believer and who was not, or (as with the veil or the chador in the case of female adherents) who was a volunteer and who was being coerced by her family."

“islam is the opposite of a multicultural society”, October 2, 2011
"In reading the Koran I can't tell if it's the word of God or not, and I doubt that there is such a thing, but I can hope that this was a bad day for God."