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Islamic Enlightenment, Now! – Róbert Puzsér On How Europe Must Wage War For Its Soul

Hungary Today 2016.04.20.

Two narratives of the Islamic Reformation – the continuous strengthening of deeply religious groups taking the Holy Scripture by word – and the sectarian was launched by them are known. The first narrative points out that the overwhelming majority of the Islamic world – numbering close to 1.5 billion people – are people striving for a peaceful and civilised way of life who themselves suffer at the hands of jihadists returning to their Mediaeval roots. According to this reasoning, the several cultural accomplishments and valuable historic heritage of Islam are an undeniable reality. This is especially true of the centuries-long era of religious tolerance in the Middle East, where peoples of Muslim, Christian and Jewish religion lived side by side for close to 1500 years. This argument provides an explanation of how the colonisation and exploitation of the Third World unescapably led to the gradualradicalisation of Islam and its turning against the United States and Europe.

The second interpretation sees and displays Islam as a totalitarian ideology. It considers the non-existence of enlightenment a serious problem, along with the fact that Muslim masses remain unable to separate religious and political questions until this day, while through the introduction of Islamic law, they want to force a way of life upon Europe from which women, homosexuals and religious minorities in the Muslim world suffer day by day and that is unacceptable for the Western man. This reasoning point out that when subjected to criticism, Islam always defines itself as a religion and refers to the freedom of thought. However, once it gains strength, it is no longer a religion but a political will regulating all aspects of life, as embodied by resistene to integration, parasitism on Western good-will and welfare systems, disdain for our culture and way of life, all characteristics of the behaviour of a large share of Muslims arriving today.

If Europe is to accept the first interpretation, it must face up to Islam with respect and the intention to cooperate; if it is to adopt the second, it should harbour fear and apply force. In reality, both arguments are well-reasoned, necessitating the use of both strategies. Europe cannot wage war against a world religion and a billion of its faithful, and it similarly cannot deny the numerous virtues of Islam. In the meanwhile, it nevertheless has to wage war against an Islam that is voicing its political ambitions with increasing strength, behind which it is able to channel the political and military brutality of its founder, its demographic strength, the billions of dollars controlled by Saudi Arabia and the suicidal intellectual sphere of cultural relativism.

The sole solution to the problem is for European societies to extort Islamic enlightment themselves. We have clear historical experiences of political power being able to extort changes in theology and religious organisation with the “carrot and stick” method – it is enough to recall the establishment of the Anglican church. Europe must regulate the operation of mosques and demand an intepretation exclusive of doubt from all European imams on Qur’anic verses encouraging violence or other deprivation of rights. Europe must form an alliance with Sufism, a mystic branch of Islam with traditions based on peaceful cooperation that are in harmony with the Christian and humanist traditions of the West. The training of clerics and financing of mosque life should under no circumstances be allowed to be overseen by Saudi Wahhabites or any other Salafist groups; instead of them, thousands of Sufist preachers should be called to Europe or disciples sent to them.

We need documents in which Muslim clerics acknowledge sexual freedom and the equality between man and woman, while disallowing punishment for abandoning religion, marriage with a spouse of another religious affiliation, and categorically condemning all forms of religious violence. It must be demanded that this shall not merely be a paper but an organic element of Muslim community and religious life. It is essential to regularly inspect the operation of mosques and contracts between the state and imams must be taken seriously. Religious preachers failing to observe cooperation between Europe and Islam should be removed not only from the head of their communities but also from the continent. Europe’s peoples cannot tolerate a totalitarian ideology creeping back to their lives in the guise of religion but similarly cannot allow fascism to prevail in public life or the further radicalisation of Muslim communities.

If the pious Christians of England, who in many cases valued traditions above their own lives, were able to accept the overbearing and big-featured Henry, and his daughter Elizabeth not long after, as first man after God instead of the Pope, religious reform based on the peaceful traditions of Islam is also possible. Europe is at crossroads: fundamentalism, terrorism, totalitarianism and fascism, or a bloodless wars which produces more winners than losers even among the defeated. Europe must wage a battle for its soul.

Translated from the Hungarian original, available here.

photo: blikk.hu