Saturday, February 03, 2007

"I do not believe in gallows of ideology"

Courtesy of MEMRI, excerpts from a fascinating interview with Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi. In his comments, Al-Musawi describes the open hostility towards intellectual freedom that permeates much of the Muslim Middle East:

"I do not believe in gallows of ideology. Our problem in the Arab world is that we have many gallows of ideology and of accusations of social betrayal, on which we try to hang an intellectual, a thinker, or a poet every day, just like in the case of Naguib Mahfouz and others. We, I'm sad to say, are against creativity and civilization, and against any language that seeks common ground in society."


"We must have the courage to get rid of the 'backward' cholesterol of ideology, accumulating in the arteries of Arab awareness and the Arab mind. We suffer from backwardness. This is not masochism - the kind psychologists talk about - acts of self-flagellation. This is the truth. We have not developed even to the point of admitting defeat. We [have to] admit our cultural defeat. In the past, we had a civilization in Andalusia and in many other places, but today we are regressing - we export violence, we terrorize whole countries, we threaten national security, and many other things."


"We need to reform and to reshape religious thinking, because, in all honesty, the pulpits of our mosques have begun to 'booby trap' the people."

Please read the rest.


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