The former British chancellor of the exchequer, Lord Norman Lamont, has criticized the French headscarf ban in a speech in Pakistan. Lamont talked some sense about Islamic terrorism, but then lapsed into nonsense. From HiPakistan, with thanks to Bassam Madany and Nicolei:
He observed that 9/11 dramtically [sic] increased awareness in the US and Europe of terrorists who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam. “Most Muslims are not fundamentalists, and most fundamentalists are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims and proud of it. When Muslims ask why are Irish terrorists and Basque terrorists not described as Christian, the answer is simple. They do not describe themselves like that. Many in the West react in an enormous information vacuumm [sic]. Many see only media stereotypes portraying Islam through distorted lenses focussing purely on terrorists, religious extremists and oppressed women. Others see the religious revival of Islam throughout the world. They fear that fundamentalists, who too often they equate with extremists, want to turn every Muslim society into a theocracy fanning the flames of hatred against the West in order to wage Jihad and restore the Caliphate throughout a large part of the world,” he said.
But then came the nonsense:
Mr Lamont said: “Islam’s attitude towards other religions is more tolerant than that of Christianity. The Prophet (PBUH) and his community in Medina accepted the co-existence of Muslims, Jews and Christians. The Prophet (PBUH) discussed and debated with, and gave freedom of religious thought and practice to, Jews and Christians. When the Catholic rulers of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, drove out the Jews many found refuge in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. When Muslims conquered Byzantine [sic] they were welcomed by some Christians who were persecuted as heretics. The Muslim conquerers proved to be far more tolerant than imperial Christianity had been. During the Crusades despite the conflict Muslims tolerated the practice of Christianity, an example not emulated by the other side. The Ottoman Empire, for the most part, is an example of the positive treatment of religious minorities in a Muslim majority context.”
Lord Norman should look again at the history of dhimmitude, as I outline it in Onward Muslim Soldiers and as has been amply documented by the renowned historian Bat Ye’or in her books The Dhimmi, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, and Islam and Dhimmitude. It is nice to dream of Islamic tolerance, but the fact is that discrimination against non-Muslims is part of Islamic law and always has been. It does no good to anyone to pretend otherwise. What is needed instead of obfuscations like Lord Norman’s is a forthright effort to reform Islamic law, so that it comes into line with true equality of rights as outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.