A Chinese writer, Ding Gang, recently musing on the dangers of Islam in Asia, wrote an article that asked this question: “During a trip to India not long ago, a question came to me: Why does it seem that Muslims in India have remained largely apart from the radicalization that has happened to Muslim groups in other parts of the world?”
The Egyptian scholar and historian of medieval Islam, Professor Youssef Ziedan, recently caused a great deal of controversy in Muslim Arab circles, roiling the waters when he put forth, on an Egyptian talk show, his argument as go why the “Al-Aqsa” mosque in Jerusalem is not, and cannot be, the real one.
Ramadan has been treated very differently by a Muslim community that, one might have hoped, would shun him the way Harvey Weinstein and so many others in the United States have been shunned. Instead, Ramadan continues to be lionized by a Muslim community that sees him as their champion, supposedly victimized by the enemies of Islam. Wild charges have been made by his supporters, including that of a “Zionist plot” designed to silence him.
These groups have defied threats by the Pakistani military to remove them physically from their sit-ins in front of, or even inside, government buildings. Tehreek-i-Labaik’s leader, Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, known as a firebrand, has been the uncompromising organizer and public face of this protest, ranting against what to most of us would seem the most minor of infractions.
We have all heard Pope Francis over the years repeatedly utter disturbing words of praise for Islam. Some have wondered if perhaps he was playing a subtle game, trying to convince Muslims to be not as they are, but as he described them– to “measure up” to the Pope’s imaginary Islam. Others thought he was simply ignorant.
When Polakow-Suransky claims that “populist” leaders (a subdued synonym for “right-wing”) are “rebranding” themselves “by depicting Muslims as the primary threat” to “Jews, women and gay people,” don’t we have a right to reply that’s it not a question of “rebranding,” but of stating the truth: aren’t Muslims in fact the “primary threat” today to all three?