Friday, May 27, 2016

The Closing of the Muslim Mind

Jamie Glazov, PhD interviews author and intellectual Robert R. Reilly.

The entire interview can be read by clicking on the adress below:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/74360/closing-muslim-mind-jamie-glazov

THE CLOSING OF THE MUSLIM MIND


How intellectual suicide created the modern Islamist crisis.

 
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Robert R. Reilly, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council who has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington PostReader’s Digest, and National Review, among many other publications. A member of the board of the Middle East Media Research Institute and a former director of the Voice of America, he has taught at the National Defense University, served in the White House and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His latest book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, just been published by ISI Press.

Quote:

FP: Share some statistics and facts with us to illuminate the earthly incarnations of the closed Muslim mind. In other words, paint for us the dysfunctional culture of Islam today.

Reilly: Well, there are tons of statistics put out by the UN Arab Human Development reports, all written by Arab scholars, by the way.  In brief, but for sub-Saharan Africa, the 300 million people in the Arab world would be at the bottom of every measure of human progress – education, literacy, health care, productivity, GDP, patents, etc.  Original scientific research is essentially dead.  The effort of science is to discover nature’s laws.  The teaching that these laws do not, in fact, exist (for theological reasons) is an obvious discouragement to the scientific enterprise.
Also, it is very revealing that Spain translates almost as many books in a single year as the Arab world has translated in the last thousand years.  What would Caliph al-Ma’mun, who created the House of Wisdom in Baghdad in 830 A.D. to translate books, think of the state of the Arabic world today?  He would be appalled.
Sometime anecdotes tell as much or more than the statistics, especially about the effects of the denial of secondary causality on even the most practical aspects of daily life.  For instance, former British Islamist Ed Husain relates that “Hizb ut-Tahrir [an organization dedicated to the restoration of the caliphate] believed that all natural events were acts of God (though in some actions man could exercise free will), hence insurance polices were haram . . . Hizb members could not insure their cars.”  Likewise, the use of seatbelts is considered presumptuous.  If one’s allotted time has arrived, the seatbelt is superfluous.  If it has not, it is unnecessary.  One must realize that the phrase “in shā Allah [God willing]” is not simply a polite social convention, but a theological doctrine.
Those involved in training Middle Eastern military forces have encountered a lackadaisical attitude to weapon maintenance and sharp-shooting.  If God wants the bullet to hit the target, it will and, if He does not, it will not.  It has little to do with human agency or skills obtained by discipline and practice.  As the Qur’anic verse states: “When you shot it was not you who shot but God.” (8:17)
A Kurdish acquaintance told me that he went on the Hajj with a devout friend who was very much taken by the Ash’arite teaching of God as the only cause.  At the Ka’ba under the hot Saudi sun, his friend touched the black stone, which was cool.  See, he said, this is God’s direct miraculous action; how else could this stone be so cool in this heat?  My Kurdish acquaintance looked around until he found stairs descending to a refrigeration unit.  He then took his friend down to see it, and explained to him, “This is why the stone is cool.”  His friend’s reaction to this lesson was outrage.  Rational knowledge was a threat to his religious certainty.  The refrigeration unit, a product of rational knowledge, was an assault on his theology.