On today’s Sunday Edition (CBC Radio One) – a rare example of intelligent programming – the exceptional Michael Enright interviewed Karen Armstrong, an ex-nun who has become the most important popular voice on religion, and is now almost the only non-Muslim to write knowledgeably and equitably about Islam’s relationship with terrorist factions. The podcast is a free download available on CBC.ca/thesundayedition. On it you will hear one of the very few mentions broadcast by media of the Saudi Arabian Wahhabi sect, or heresy, being responsible for the spread of terror. She likens it to a radical U.S. fundamentalist church controlling all the petro-dollars, backed by massive armed forces, attempting to take over Christianity. She also points out that, of the 41 mentions of ‘Jihad’ in the Koran, only 10 are related to actual warfare; and she also cites a Hadith where the Prophet, Mohammed, returning from battle says, “Now we have finished with the Lesser Jihad, we can return to the Greater one,” this latter meaning the inner struggle between our upper and lower natures. Ms. Armstrong quotes from a poll conducted with millions of Muslims over many continents after the 9/11 attacks. Answering the question, ‘Were the attacks justified?’, 93% said No, all citing religious reasons. Of the 7% who answered Yes, all cited political reasons. My old friend, the late Christopher Hitchens, never understood the difference between religion used as a political tool and religion as an inner communion with the Divine, calling Ms. Armstrong ‘an apologist for Islam’. His misguided and ill-researched atheist manifesto, God is Not Great, promotes a tautological argument, based on a pitiful ignorance of spiritual texts, especially the Koran. Listen to Mr. Enright’s superb interview and you will be far better-informed about the nature of true Islam, the contents of the Koran, and the pseudo-Muslims – most of them Wahhabi converts – who commit atrocities for solely political goals. You will also hear an irreducibly concise account of the Crusades and their effect upon the development of Islam over the past millennium.
The interview might incline you to lobby an MP or government Minister over Saudi Arabia’s support for Wahhabi terror, as outlined in my own previous blogs.
James Baldwin would have been 90 this year, had he lived. The most articulate and brilliant of Afro-American artists and activists from the 1960s, all of his books and essays are still relevant to endemic U.S. racism, which seems no different in Ferguson today that in was in Watts in the late sixties. The Sunday Edition also presented a moving tribute to Baldwin this morning, including audio clips of his potent, eloquent, and supremely intelligent voice addressing concerns that, sadly, remain 40 years later. I have long-awaited his equal in vain, yet still with the hope that young Afro-Americans will read his works and draw their own fresh inspiration from them. By wiping the floor with right-wing pompous TV pundit, William F. Buckley, during an interview, Baldwin proved to the world that there were far better ways of combatting racist ideology than by violence. Happy Birthday, Jimmy!
Paul William Roberts