…. While visiting sites of Isis atrocities that have not yet been made safe, he was required to address the philosophical question of whether Islamic doctrine contains a strain of thought that can be used to justify extreme violence and even genocide.
Although Holland rightly emphasised that the “vast majority of Muslims” find the deeds and reasoning of Isis abhorrent – and acknowledged that the west has its own history of bloodily targeting foreign lands in the name of God – this remained a courageous film exploring questions left unspoken in large parts of the media through a combination of liberalism and fear. Many articles have explained the origins of jihad and the Islamic State dream of a global caliphate, as Holland does, but he heads from there into rare depths.
…. Qutb’s rhetoric calling for a fundamentalist enforcement of Islamic laws as a bulwark against western decadence inspired first al-Qaida and then Isis, which – in the closest this topic has to a joke – was formed by terrorists expelled from al-Qaida for having views thought too brutal.
…. While touching on the reasons cited for the French capital’s regularity as a target – reputation for decadence, large and disadvantaged immigrant population – the film also has a deeper thesis: that the Isis obsession with the French is simultaneously a revenge for and a homage to Napoleon. His seizure of Egypt and westernisation of Islamic culture, argues Holland, created long grudges but also gave some extremist Muslims a model of conquest and conversion that has been turned back on Napoleon’s successors at the Bataclan, Charlie Hebdo, the Stade de France and the Champs-Élysées. [83 comments. Closed for comments early]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 103 votes] I did a project once on Central Asia history (extending to northern Indian subcontinent and Western China) and started reading Muslim writers on how see they see things themselves in those periods (mainly 10 to 16th century). I wasn’t interested in Islam itself, but still it is very noticeable how much they wrote about attacking infidels and took great pride in it.
Violence in the cause of Islam has a long history. The problem has been that many people is the West have been too busy trying to make excuses for Islam and its violent history (you know, Islam means peace or “etymologically related” to peace stuff), and it becomes almost disturbing how inventive they can be trying to sidestep the issue of Islamic violence. If people are ignorant of what have been done in the name of Islam, blame those writers and people in the academia.
[2ND 92] Do islamists regularly attack Paris because of its
“reputation for decadence, large and disadvantaged immigrant population [or because] the Isis obsession with the French is simultaneously a revenge for and a homage to Napoleon”?
I’d suggest it’s because Paris is a symbol, to many people, or European civilisation. No wonder the death-cultists hate it.
[3RD 91] “Tom Holland is brilliant, he kicks quite hard against the ‘liberal’ consensus on Islam.”
And what is that consensus?
In a nutshell, it’s that no true Muslim would recognise violent jihad as part of their faith, and that the advent of violent jihad as a core tenet of Islam stems from Western aggression against the Muslim world.
This is why pretty well everybody knows about the crusades, but barely anybody knows about the Battle of Tours. The idea that Muslims attacked (and occupied) Western Europe centuries before the first crusade kicked off in 1099 does not fit with the narrative.
[4TH 68] Tom Holland is a brave man, you’d have to be brave to willingly travel to the middle east after skewering the traditional narrative of Muhammad’s life and the foundation of Islam, as Holland undertook to do in his 2012 book. [The Guardian] Read more