"the humorless bigotry of Islam."The humourless bigotry of this generalisation. Ever heard of the Mulla Nasrudin, Roger? You know, wisdom & metaphysics in the form of jokes, unlike the stuffy, humourless academic style of yours? Such a complacent, ridiculous, ignorant simplification, and with no sense of irony regarding humourless bigotry, does nothing but undermine the value of what Scruton endeavours to stand for.
Well, TS, I am myself fond of the Sufi mystics, and everyone loves Rumi, I think, but they don't seem to be the face of Islam these days, what with that poor woman and the teddy bear in Sudan and the other woman in Saudi Arabia sentenced to a flogging for being raped. No Christian in his right mind defends the brutalities done in the name of Christ and no one else in his right mind can possibly argue that because some followers have Islam have been wonderful we should never denounce in no uncertain terms the large number of Muslims who seem to believe their faith permits them to indulge the all-too-human tendency to commit atrocities.
But the very point is that this is the face of Islam, Frank: the face as portrayed by the media is inclined to vastly different from the reality, but this is what the media will run with. The total generalisation of Scruton is damning simply in terms of his own self; however we justify such ignorance- it's a ridiculous and harmfulsimplification. That atrocities are committed by supposed Islamic regimes I take with a healthy pinch of salt in the sense that I wouldn't describe Nazi Germany as Christian. It's also an acknowledged truth by Zbigniew Brzezinski that very large sums were invested into places like Afghanistan & Pakistan with the express intention of radicalising Islam. Then successfully achieving this, the media saturates us with the notion of a radicalised Islam. I'm sorry this is a turning a bit long, bt in an interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur,The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [From the Shadows] that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan, December 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.The Washington Post's Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway report (pp. 1-2):In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation. The "Primers", which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code. Stephens and Ottaway identify the governmental and educational organisations involved in development of the textbooks (p. 4):Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID [Agency for International Development] grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994. Under this project, the images and talk of violence were craftily intermingled with legitimate education (p. 4):Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited US interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders. An examination of a textbook produced shocking results (p. 5):An aid-worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages. The writers of the Washington Post story go on to provide a specific example of the material that is nothing less than appalling (pp. 5-6):One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier's head is missing. Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin [sic], who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says. This social engineering project successfully transformed Muslim children into conscienceless killing machines. Many would go on to join al-Qa'ida, the terrorist network headed up by Osama bin Laden.
I maake th Nazi Germany analogy a bit hastily. I, for example, don't consider the torturers and murderers of the Inquisition to be Christians. Their actions were satanic, & they can be viewed as satanists. They are the polar opposite of Christianity, and I hesitate to consider them misguided or unconscious agents of evil as opposed to conscious, at least those higher up the ladder. People immersed in evil don't tend to be too bothered about lying, after all. "They come in sheep's clothing but underneath they are ravenous wolves."Such people love power & to persecute, & will very willingly take on the idealistic garbs of religion to further & mask their true selves.