September 20, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 786

Arab Progressive: The Arabs are Still Slaves to a Medieval Mentality

September 20, 2004
Special Dispatch No. 786

In a recent opinion piece, the progressive author and journalist Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi condemned the growing support for terrorism and extremism in the Arab world, and the rejection of moderation and reason. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

'We have become the Most Terrorist Nation and the Greatest Spillers of Blood in the World'

"… If the Arabs had today a well-burnished mirror in which they can see themselves, and if they had the requisite courage to look in it, they would be stricken by fear and panic at the sight of themselves. The image [would be] that we have become the most terrorist nation and the greatest spillers of blood in the world in this [current] stage of history in which nations resolve their problems through dialogue, diplomacy, conventions, and through appeal to the world's better judgment, to public opinion, and to intellectuals, instead of threatening [others] with bloodshed if this or that demand goes unmet… The image is that we have become a nation devoid of reason!"

'Why have the Arabs Gone Crazy in Such a Manner?'

"What happened to the Arabs in Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Palestine, Morocco, Yemen, and in other countries? What caused the Arabs to lose the rationality with which they led the world in the 10th century? Why have the Arabs gone crazy in such a manner? Is it because they have lost hope in comprehensive reform? [Or] because they have lost hope in the success of the Arab world? Is it a result of the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots? Is it a result of the degrading poverty that reduces many Arabs to rummage through garbage cans to find food? Is it a result of the pervasive corruption prevalent in governmental institutions that do not want and are not willing to undergo any reform that would result in the unraveling of even a single thread from the luxurious carpet on which they rest, with the support of the police establishment which is capable of obstructing any call for reform…?

"Did this... occur because of the rule of the dark religious educational system which incites to war against modernity, democracy, and the new liberalism, and permits the spilling of the blood of its supporters, pioneers, and students? Is it because the cultural elite have abandoned its political role and in so doing has paved the way for the clerics, with their white, green, or black turbans, to set the tone of political action in the Arab world to such a degree that we no longer distinguish between the political and the religious? The impure has become interwoven with the holy, the mosques have turned into proving-grounds for armed political campaigns, chaos has spread and in the Arab world a thousand religions have sprung up, all of them [claiming to be] Islam…

"Did this occur as a result of the fact that the intellectuals have distorted the truth and lack the courage to tell the truth to their students? Is it a result of the frightening spread of illiteracy and cultural ignorance in the Arab world, with the result that the vast majority of people do not read, do not know, [and] do not think? Is it a result of the cumulative political and cultural repression from which the Arab people have suffered for the last fifteen centuries? Is it a result of the proliferation of holy sites and the proliferation of totems in Arab life to the extent that most people have lost faith in their efficacy and [so] have invented their own totem, which is represented in a nationalist totems such as Abd Al-Nasser or Saddam Hussein, or in a counterfeit religious totem such as Bin Laden, Muqtada Al-Sadr, Al-Zarqawi, or many others?

"Did this occur as a result of the fact that terrorist groups have huge incomes from the charity tithes streaming in daily from good Muslims all over the world? In a recent report it was said that the worth of Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi, one of the preachers of terrorism in the Arab world, is estimated at tens of millions of dollars. From the 'Al-Taqwaa' Bank alone he lost three million dollars after it was shut down by the Americans…

"Did this occur as a result of the huge sums that the terrorists obtain by growing hashish and opium on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border…?"

'The Arabs have Surrendered to the Demagogic, Hysterical, Provocative Media'

"All of the verses, all of the prophetic traditions, all of the wise sayings, all of the poems and the words of intellectuals encouraging thought and the application of reason have been wiped out from the Arab memory. The Arabs have surrendered to a fake religious culture. The Friday sermons, the religious programming, the religious literature and the turbans have become the decisive factor in every matter – in religion, politics, the economy, society, education, and culture. The Arabs have surrendered to the demagogic, hysterical, provocative media and have begun to search the news editions for bloodshed, beheadings, the dragging of bodies, the flaying of skins, and the destruction of homes. The most endearing sight of the year for the Arabs was that of the mass graves in Iraq."

'Anyone Who Thinks and Makes Use of His Intelligence in the Arab World is Detestable, Condemnable, and Accursed'

"Anyone who thinks and makes use of his intelligence in the Arab world is detestable, condemnable, and accursed; he is of the seed of serpents and the fruit of Satan, he is an agent of the new American colonialism, one who writes [in support] of the Marines, and a spy in the service of foreign intelligence agencies. The Islamists who hijacked Islam, stole it and counterfeited it … are now leading the flocks of Arabs towards the annihilation of human history … not through reason but through distorted emotions and promises of the hidden Hereafter, and through a lack of pure and simple faith in Allah. Indeed, the Arabs have lost their pure faith in Allah and have turned into slaves of blood-drenched religious totems, instead of being servants of Allah…

"The Arabs think in a medieval fashion regarding politics, society, the economy, and education, even if [they do this] by way of modern electronics. For their foods and their transportation they make use of the latest in Western science and technology in all of the various fields, but at the same time they think in a medieval fashion and behave in their lives as though they are still living in the Middle Ages, and indeed they are still slaves to a medieval mentality and to thinkers from the Middle Ages…

"Unfortunately the Arabs' stupidity has grown, as has their thirst for blood, and they have distanced themselves from reason. Their humanist political values have attenuated and they have begun speaking to the world with the sword, the axe, and armies of masked bandits, robbers, and murderers…"

[1], August 14, 2004.

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