There are so many distortions and inaccuracies in this short article that it would take a book to disentangle them all. From IslamOnline, with thanks to Anthony:
GENEVA, June 26, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) — The West has misjudged Islam and done it injustice, largely because of shallow knowledge of the Muslim faith driven from the distorted writings of early orientalists, a prominent Swiss expert has said.
I see. So the Christian lands of the Middle East and North Africa were subjugated and Islamized in the seventh century and thereafter not by Islamic jihad armies, but by the distorted writings of early orientalists. Got it.
“Rising Islamophobia is the result of the West’s shallow dealing with and misunderstanding of Islam,” Arnold Hottinger, who spent 50 years in the Middle East reporting for the leading Neue Zurcher Zeitung newspaper, told a day-long seminar organized by the Paulus Akademie.
Not that it, if it exists at all, has anything to do with 9/11, or the Iraq beheadings, or the Madrid bombings, or countless other actions by Muslims. No. Hottinger is obviously of the Saidist mindset that Westerners can only be perpetrators, and Muslim non-Westerners can only be victims.
Hottinger, a fluent speaker of Arabic,…
Oh, well, you see, then he must know what he is talking about. This kind of thing slips by the reader so quickly that usually he doesn’t even notice what is being done to him. See, he knows more than the Orientalists. I, on the other hand, am in daily contact with many fluent speakers of Arabic who could explain in dozens of ways how this man is wrong. So we’re back to zero on this one.
…faulted the West of portraying Muslims as the terrifying neighbor for long centuries.
“Early orientlists and churchmen only portrayed Islam as a religion of violence and wars” he told his attentive audience.
“This image found its way into textbooks, turning the Muslim world to a terrifying neighbor, which is a major injustice to Islam.”
Look. Muslims advanced into Spain and Europe in the 8th century. Nine centuries later, mujahedin were besieging Vienna. There was no significant hiatus in between except during the time of the Crusades. The Muslims, in short, were the terrifying neighbor for Christian Europe for hundreds of years. If there had been no Muslim invasions of the West, Hottinger might have a point. As it is, he stands simply as a shallow propagandist.
Hottinger has authored a number of books about the Muslim world in addition to writing many articles and giving lectures.
The Swiss expert said Islam is a melting pot for people of different ethnic and cultural background, a fact, he said, that is hard for the West to conceive.
Note that he doesn’t say it’s a melting pot for people of different religious backgrounds. No, the dhimmis are to keep discreetly out of sight during this presentation. But Hottinger’s contention is absurd in any case: it’s designed to portray the Muslim world as superior to the West in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity — witness the immigrants from all over the world streaming into Riyadh and Tehran!
“No textbook in the West explains how Islam rapidly grew in Asia, which is home to the majority of Muslims worldwide,” Hottinger said.
Oh, it hasn’t been entirely ignored. You can find some information on the bloody jihads in India in my book Onward Muslim Soldiers.
“When the Muslim immigrants came to Europe, a negative image of Islam was already deeply-rooted.”
Meanwhile, while drawing a veil over the blood-soaked history of jihad and dhimmitude, he predictably enough skewers Western colonialism:
The Swiss expert also shed light on Europe’s bad history of imperialism and colonialism in Arab and Muslim countries.
He cited Europe’s role in the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, causing many ethnic and border conflicts still raving in several Arab and Muslim countries.
Why, that’s precisely the complaint of the global jihadists.
When the First World War (1914-18) broke out, the Ottoman Empire broke neutrality and fought on the side of the Central Powers.
The Ottomans were eventually defeated by the Allies in the Balkans, Thrace, Syria, Palestine and Iraq and its territories were colonized by the victors.
EU & Turkey
On Turkey”s bid to join the European Union, Hottinger said refusal to allow the admission of Muslim but secular Turkey would be a “big mistake”.
He cautioned that such a position would have major consequences as it would prove the view of “Muslim extremists” that the West is not willing to make any rapprochement with Islam and Muslims.
Actually it is only the West that has shown any interest in such a rapprochement. What has been done, Hottinger, on the Muslim side?
“It will also prove that Europe is a Christians-only continent and will cast doubts on efforts to bridge the gaps between the two sides.”…
Why is no one complaining that Saudi Arabia is a Muslims-only country? Or that Christians suffer discrimination of one kind or another in every other Muslim country on the planet today?
Hottinger opined that any attempt to strip Turkey of its Islamic identity is doomed, saying even Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular republic in Turkey failed to do this.
“In the first democratic elections according to western standards, the Turkish people elected Islamists,” he said.
Further highlighting his point, Hottinger cited failed attempts by the communist rule to strip Muslims in Central Asian republics of their Islamic identity.
“During my visits to Central Asian republics after gaining independence following the collapse of the Communist rule, every body I met was keen on reaffirming his Islamic identity,” he recalled.
Quite so. And to see that fact in an unalloyed positive light is to gloss over huge amounts of evidence of jihadist activity related to that reaffirmation.