Islamophobe Geert Wilders on Lying
by Rev. Frank Julian Gelli
Dear Mr Wilders,
Verily, you are a man with a mission: to destroy Islam. Huh! A Herculean task. Not easy. Yet, you do your best. You tar all Muslims over with the same lurid brush. When a ‘Russia Today’-TV interviewer told you that an imam had just issued a fatwa condemning suicide bombing, you came up with a smart repartee: ‘Yes, but Muslims believe in taqiya.’ Therefore you cannot trust the good Imam is telling the truth.
Taqiya. Horribile dictu! A doctrine which allegedly permits Muslims to conceal or dissimulate a belief when under threat of death or injury. Or to defend Islam. A couple of Qur’anic verses are invoked to justify it. I must leave to the wise men of Islam to expound on it. Not a job for a poor Christian. But, right or wrong, the matter really grabs me. Allow me therefore to share a few, modest thoughts with you.
First, do you realise that, historically speaking, the recipients of taqiya have been mostly Muslims? It was actually the Shi’a who invoked the concept, to defend themselves from persecution by Sunni caliphs. So, I wonder why the fuss. Unless…are you by any chance a crypto-Sunni, Mr Wilders? A Wahabi, perhaps? A follower of old Ibn Tamiya? It would be nice to know. And Sunnis too believe in taqiya, of course. So, if you were a Sunni…that would mean you too might be doing taqiya. Blow me! How could I then believe a word you say?
Second, I am not being frivolous, just baffled: a politician accusing others of lying. Hhhmmm…Is there a wee irony there? The pot calling the kettle black? Politicians never lie, of course. Well, occasionally, perhaps. But maybe the good Dutch are different. (I am sentimental – I had a Dutch girl friend once.) You have no Tony Blair, no Gordon Brown in Holland, have you? Verily, you are blessed.
Third, I know Muslim-bashing is your favourite hobby but, if it is deception teachings that worry you – I say this in fear and trembling - have you looked at, say, Judaism? After the Romans exterminated the Bar Kocheba rebellion in AD 135, a council of Jewish scholars met at Lydda, in Palestine. They approved a ruling that it is lawful for a Jew, in order to save his life, to break any divine precept. Only three exceptions: idolatry, murder and incest-adultery. NB: the commandment ‘Thou shall not bear false witness’ is not one of them! In effect, that meant that lying might be justified for self-defence. ‘This decree was destined to become the fundamental guiding principle of Jewish life in all centuries that followed.’ You don’t believe me? Christian anti-Semitism? La samaha Allah! Check out Isidore Epstein’s nice book, Judaism, Penguin edition, p.118, and I’ll be vindicated.
I now expect you to declare you cannot believe PM Netanyahu when he says he is committed to a Palestinian state. Also, to distrust any authoritative rabbinical pronouncements. Or even to doubt the Jewish holocaust. Mad, mad and bad but…kind of logical no?
Third, Christians too have accused each other of harbouring and fostering their own perverse taqiya teachings. Are acquainted with that formidable Frenchman, Blaise Pascal? The man who wrote the celebrated Provincial Letters? Pascal was a Jansenist, a stern, austere kind of Roman Catholic. Taking a dislike to the Jesuits – also devout and learned Catholics – he penned a sulphurous book. Imaginary conversations with Jesuit theologians. He accused Jesuits of teachings almost all the sins in the book. Especially of defending lying. And the breaking of oaths and solemn promises. Under the guise of unworthy tricks like equivocation and mental reservation. ‘It is the intention that stamps the moral quality of an action’ he makes his Jesuit say. So, “after saying in an audible voice ‘I swear I did not do this’ you may add inwardly ‘today’...Now this you must admit is telling the truth” Pascal’s straw man smugly affirms.
The Jesuits were indignant. They protested, they wrote back, they preached, they argued, they refuted. Even the anti-Catholic Voltaire said that Pascal had unfairly attributed to the Society of Jesus the extravagant opinions of a few writers. He had tarred all those excellent and holy priests over with the same brush. To no effect. Pascal’s satire was too much fun to be written off. His vitriol stuck.
Mr Wilders, does it all ring a bell? Aren’t you too perhaps, in your infinitely lower and jejune manner and status, doing a hatchet job on millions of ordinary, sincere and truth-telling Muslims? Besmirching their religion? I wonder.
Fourth. The English, as Protestants – or, rather, former Protestants - are especially suspicious of anyone supposed to fall short of the virtue of veracity. Catholic theologian John Henry Newman wrote a whole book, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, to exonerate himself from such attacks. A Prot called Kingsley accused him of not considering truth a virtue in itself. Of teaching deception, falsehood and equivocations as meritorious acts. Newman’s response was a classic. Eventually Kingsley was forced to recant. He accepted Newman did not profess lying as a system of ethics. He wrote that to Newman. The great man’s comment was superbly sharp. He had spotted Kingsley’s self-contradiction: ‘My word! I am dumb! The word of a professor of lying that he does not lie!’ What a put-down! It destroyed Kingsley.
What could learned and pious Muslims reply to you, Mr Wilders? Whatever they did, in your eyes they are damned. They are all professors of lying, according to you. You won’t take their word they aren’t, will you. They are stuck.
Fifth. Yes, the English. This great ex-Protestant nation. I love them – aren’t I a Prot, too? I am kind of Anglo-Italian, a Latin amongst the lions. Yet, I am acutely aware of the English vice. It is called hypocrisy. Dissimulation. Pretence. Taqiya as a national custom. You don’t have to teach them taqiya – they have it in their blood. Did my parishioners always tell me what they really thought of me? Taqiya, Mr Wilders, is the natural, inborn English sin.
Sixth, Mr Wilders, don’t worry. To save a life I too am willing to dissimulate. Do my own taqiya. Should I come across a fanatic-looking nutter brandishing a dagger, shouting ‘Where is that dog Wilders? Tell me!’ and I knew you were down the road, I would tell the guy ‘Down that way’ and point in the opposite direction.
Taqiya all right. I trust you wouldn’t blame me, would you?
FATHER FRANK’S RANTS
Rant Number 388 11 March 2010
SEE ALSO: The Taqiyya Libel Against Muslims, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_taqiyya_libel_against_muslims/