I used to frequent a wonderful Afghan restaurant outside Washington. Before 9/11 there was a poster on the walls of an astronaut standing on the moon. Next to him was standing a group of smiling, bearded Muslim men, not wearing moon suits or helmets. The caption was “Houston, we have a problem.” The poster disappeared when the Towers went down, but the tendency it embodied remains: a tendency to construct a fantasy world where reality has been disappointing. Khatami’s remarks are a prime example of such fantasizing. A broken-English piece from the Iranian Qur’an News Agency, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
Tehran – President Khatami in Inauguration ceremony of Tehran Int. book fair said: long before western Intellectuals emphasize the significant role of intellect in human civilization and progress, Islam 1000 years ago has defined Intellect as an indispensable criteria for progress….
1,000 years ago. As Hugh would say, What have you done for me lately? I.e., if Islam is really responsible for all this intellectual advance, why is the Islamic world in the state it’s in? What’s that? White imperialists, racists, and Islamophobes? Oh. Got it.
The president pointed out that whenever the intellect has ruled, Islamic culture has faced considerable burgeoning. Islam that has always emphasized the rule of wisdom at least 1000 years before Francis Bacon elaborated on his ideas, in the holy Quran had introduced intellect as cornerstone for progress. President added in the past with the advent of petrifaction the stunning magnificence of Islamic civilization began to retrograde. He also stressed that both Islamic and Western civilization have gone astray in dealing with the concept of freedom and those who confine liberties continue in this trend the collapse of the society will be inevitable. Putting a high price for wisdom always bears its fruit and intellectualism and freedom are undisputed values in Islam and at the same time confining freedom is vehemently condemned in Islam. He also said our problem is ignoring wisdom. President also pointed out that the only way to get rid of the plague of war and insecurity is putting a high value on wisdom. Freedom has also its limits and violating those limits confines liberty.
“President added in the past with the advent of petrifaction the stunning magnificence of Islamic civilization began to retrograde.” You got to give this guy points as a prose stylist.