i'm reading Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali...and it's beginning to go downhill at this point. in the chapter 'Seeking God but Finding Allah', she says this in a conversation she had with a priest. this is a proposition she presented to him:
"'The churches could go into Muslim communities, provide services just as the radical Muslims do: build new Catholic schools, hospitals, and community centers, just like the ones that were such a civilizing force under colonialism in Africa.'....Father Bodar positively beamed with happiness. he said he had been trying to achieve just this for years and that he has often been mocked for even suggesting it. the Roman Catholic has a long history of resisting religious challenges from inside and outside what used to be called Christendom. all kinds of heresies have been combated successfully from the earliest times....and of course, the church fought against Islam not only in the time of the crusades but also when, as recently as 1683, Muslim troops of the Ottoman sultan menaced the Holy Roman Emperor's capital, Vienna."
there are two parts that are important.
1) "...a civilizing force under colonialism...."
i cringe just typing that. as i have read, Somalia, where Ayaan is from, was never formally colonized. Somalis successfully fought off the British four times. and i wonder if she ever realizes what an amazing act they, known as The Dervish State, did for Somalis by resisting colonization...
of course this priest has been trying to get into Muslim communities for years and convert them. he's a typical priest-he prays on those that do not ascribe to his religion in order to make himself feel morally superior; he capitalizes off their emotional distress by regurgitating some theological bullshit that probably came from the priests that were murdering, lynching, and torturing Muslims during the Crusades all while making them feel as though their religion, their culture, their beliefs are inferior to his.
religion disgusts me on many levels, particularly Christianity, but what disgusts me even more are missionaries and priests that go into remote parts of the globe and convert the people. they force them to convert in exchange for food, they brainwash the inhabitants to hate and devalue their own culture, and sometimes do so via violence. they reek havoc on some of the oldest societies in the world without thinking twice about it, and get praised in the process by their Christian brethren!
for one, to believe that colonialism was a "civilizing force" and not the degradation, enslavement, disregard and disrespect for indigenous cultures that summoned centuries of genocide for Africans on the continent and in the diaspora....is just ignorance, if not blatant euro-centrism. more and likely, her understanding of colonialism has come from the European perspective. not to mention her bias against nearly anything Islamic or Middle Eastern. that statement also gives the impression that African cultures prior to colonialism were uncivilized. if that isn't typical racist, ignorant, anthropologically foolish bullshit straight from David Duke's mouth, i don't know what is. i really can't believe this is coming from an African. as intelligent as Ayaan is in so many other areas, how is it that she does not understand racism in anthropology, history, and sociology? maybe, on some level, it is too difficult to revere a culture (as she does) while simultaneously understanding the atrocities committed in its past.
and second it is absurdity to suggest that churches in colonized countries were of any aid to.....anything. this really sounds like something i'd expect a tea partier to say. churches and Abrahamic religions in general have, for the most part (with the other part too overshadowed to even acknowledge...), been a detriment to society; to mankind, and have aided in the imped of almost all progressions we now consider successes. the Enlightenment period in Western history that Ayaan speaks so favorably of, was battled in nearly every aspect by the church. individual freedom, reproductive rights (which are very much so still in progress), religious freedom, separation of church and state,and scientific freedom have all been fought tooth and nail by the church. it's still fighting these things. and in colonialism, it aided in the brainwashing of the indigenous peoples, damaged, burned, and destroyed ancient religious artifacts, shrines, traditions and belief systems. any ancient knowledge these societies possessed prior to colonialism is now lost due in part to the church. i could make and entire blog devoted to showing the ills and problems the church and religion in general has done and aided in.... i have no idea how an atheist could give credence in this way to the church.
2) "...the church fought against Islam...in the Crusades...".
fought against or persecuted to the extent that modern day standards would consider it an attempted genocide against Muslims? they weren't fighting them because Muslims had hundreds of suicide bombers at that time, they were doing it because they were religious fanatics (like the same extreme Muslims she's very much opposed to) who wanted control of the minds of any and everyone they could and didn't like another religion infringing on their proselytism. how can she justify the religious extremism of one religion and abhor it in another? religious extremism is religious extremism. whether it is coming from Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Shintos, or Baha'is. it should be opposed in any and all regards because it is the threat to the very freedom she venerates.
i think, like many critics of Ayaan's, is that she has let all her concepts about nearly everything be shaded by this good/bad; western/non-western dichotomy.
Islam and the Middle East is backwards; wrong; inferior; less than-Western society is good; better; superior.
the fact that the west, at one point and time (and still today) has done more harm to this planet than good (which is not to say that others have not) is something i don't think she will let herself realize any time soon. the west, to her, will always be the shining beacon of hope and goodness and freedom, and the middle east will always be anything but.
comment. criticize. think. pray....ha...just kidding.