Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weiss, Michael. "The Bertrand Russell of Islam: a Review of Warraq's DEFENDING THE WEST [on ORIENTALISM]." NEW YORK SUN December 12, 2007.

. . . "Orientalism," Mr. Warraq writes, "taught an entire generation of Arabs the art of self-pity . . . encouraged the Islamic fundamentalist generation of the 1980s, and bludgeoned into silence any criticism of Islam." Though it's Mr. Warraq's plaint that the book "stopped dead the research of eminent Islamologists who felt their findings might offend Muslims' sensibilities," it is not merely an abstract charge, but personally felt. "Ibn Warraq" is an Arabic pseudonym, meaning "son of a stationer, book-seller, paper-seller," which this Indian-born writer assumed after witnessing the critical reception Islamists gave Salman Rushdie, all the while claiming themselves as victims. Said, Mr. Warraq argues, contributed to the Islamic ideology of victimization, practically inviting offense by writing, "every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric." This sentence is repeated multiple times throughout Defending the West, which otherwise might have been titled "Not In My Name." Applying the cool, thin steel of Occam to these and other follies of logic and critical analysis, Mr. Warraq asks, "If Orientalists have produced a false picture of the Orient, Orientals, Islam, Arabs, and Arabic society . . . then how could this false or pseudo-knowledge have helped European imperialists to dominate three-quarters of the globe?" . . . Read the rest here:

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