Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the requirements that dhimmi educators in France will very soon have to meet:
Now that Europe is busy accommodating Muslim sensibilities, think of all the authors whom Muslim students in France will refuse to read right off the bat, writers who are known to be Jews or partly-Jewish: Montaigne, Proust, Perec. The writers of lai-de-France chivalry (too close to the Crusades, and besides, who wants to read about men taking women seriously). The writers who are too much in praise of Infidel France, such as that Infidel Du Bellay, with his nationalism (“France, mere des armes, des arts, et des lois” — when it is Muslims who are the arms-bearers, and Islam which will decide which “arts” are halal and which haram, and “lois” mean nothing if they do not accord with the Shari’a or Holy Law of Islam). The writers who are homosexuals (with a taste for Arab boys picked up during their trips in Tunisie and Algerie), such as Gide. The writers who take Christianity seriously, whether or not they believe in it: Roger Martin du Gard in “Jean Barois.” The writers who are, flat out, too Christian: no more sonorities of Bossuet’s “Oraisons funebres,” no more Francois Mauriac, no more Maritain, no more Charles Peguy. No more study of those who glorified the individual rather than the umma — no Reveries d’un promeneur solitaire, no “Confessions.” Rousseau will not do.
None of that stuff about the pre-Islamic period. All those Roman places by Racine and Corneille will have to go. All that stuff about the heaving passions of women — what does Islam have to do with that? Baudelaire, with his mistresss’s chevelure, and his drugs, and his “nuits” meaning “nuits st.-georges”? Impossible. Ditto with Apollinaire for “Alcools.” By the time we are done, there will scarcely be a single author in French literature who will not turn out to be verboten in Islamic terms.
Even where a writer has done something that works on Islam’s behalf, that can be cancelled out by something else he has done. Take Chateaubriand, of Combourg and points east, west, south and north. He did, after all, produce “Le Dernier des Abencerages” about the last Arab dynasty in Grenada. In French-reading Europe that work did as much as Washington Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra” did in America and England to promote myths about the wonderfulness of the convivencia in Islamic Spain. That myth lives on in college courses today, wherever (as in those taught by Mesanostrans — google “MESA Nostra” for more) The Ornament of the World about Cordoba is included, so carefully, on the syllabus. That book, the writing and marketing of which deserves to be studied by students of the state of Western scholarly standards, was turned out by the former head of the Whitney Center for the Humanities at Yale, who was just recently appointed to be one of four new Sterling Professors, Professor Maria Rosa Menocal. Menocal, who presumably reads French easily, cannot explain her failure to consult the major Western scholarship on Islamic Spain, including above all the work of Evariste Levi-Provencal, who along with many others is not even mentioned in Menocal’s bibliography. The enthusiasm for this feel-good project, beginning with the early encouragement of a train-riding companion, Harold Bloom’s wife, and the failure of Menocal to address any of the severe and unanswerable criticisms made of that book (glowing reviews by apologists for Islam do not convince), tell us much about “scholarship” today both at Yale and outside Yale. Feelgoodness in many places triumphs over mere facts, or even obviates the felt need for presenting such facts. And it also triumphs over consulting the recognized authorities whose lifetimes of scholarship are not to be ignored.
Chateaubriand was writing nearly two hundred years ago. He and Irving can be forgiven their errors about Islamic Spain; they were having fun. It was as much fun as tales of Atala in the American wilderness. A professor enjoying the scholarly resources that Yale provides, and failing to take advantage of them as she writes a book of false history, not a romance, cannot be so easily forgiven.
And Chateaubriand of course will not be forgiven by Muslims for another reason. Though he did write “Le Dernier des Abenceratges,” he also wrote two works of Christian apologetics: “La vie de Rance” and “La genie du Christianisme.” Those works would certainly offend Muslims and outweigh, in the Muslim scale, his abenceragiste moor’s-last-sigh fantasia.
And what about Diderot and D’Alembert and all that Enlightenment, Les Lumieres, Aufklarung stuff? How can Muslims, knowing that all of wisdom is contained in Qur’an and Hadith, be expected to endure discussion of some silly Encyclopedistes and their pointless enterprise? It makes no sense. It offends them. And Muslims are not in French schools to be offended by Infidels, Infidel history, Infidel literature, Infidel teachers, Infidel syllabi and lesson plans. No. Out with the 18th century and of course with the Revolution itself. Who really cares what one group of Infidels does with another group of Infidels? Does it really matter to Muslims? Should it? Should they be expected to spend their time learning about European history, quarrels among Europeans? Why? What business is it of Muslims?
And even in a vast corpus, a single misstep can be fatal in the Muslim scheme of things. Think of the prolific Victor Hugo. Americans may think first of his prose writings, especially as brought to the stage by Andrew Lloyd Weber, but Hugo was mainly a poet, the author of some 158,000 lines of verse. And here are four of those lines:
“Le divin Mahomet enfourchait tour Ã tour
Son mulet DaÃ¯dol et son Ã¢ne Yafour;
Car le sage lui-mÃªme a, selon l’occurrence,
Son jour d’entÃªtement et son jour d’ignorance.”
This is translated by the indefatigable Blackmores (in “Selected Poems of Victor Hugo”) thus:
“Sacred Muhammad rode alternately
On Doldo and Yafur, his ass and mule,
Because a sage himself is apt to be
Stubborn the one day, and the next a fool.”
There may be more lines by Hugo that will be deemed islamically unacceptable. But four lines out of 158,000 will do to cause Muslim students to reject Victor Hugo, and all his works and days.
So to that list of French Authors Muslim students in French schools will believe themselves entirely justified in rejecting, not only in refusing to read, but in disrupting classes where such authors are being taught to non-Muslim students, one must add, as a final summing-up, one more name — that of
Victor Hugo, hÃ©las!