Feb 24, 2008

Defeating Islamic Extremism 101 - Part 3

"They (the Taliban) might be implementing Islamic law, an Islamic state, but they completely waste their time because they do it in a totally un-Islamic way"

In a letter to his mother in late 2000, Australian David Hicks would offer a glimpse into the mindset of a Western Al Qaeda recruit who was slowly beginning to see the pharisaical hypocrisy in Al Qaeda's austere call to primitive purity. What Hick's had failed to see though was that Al Qaeda and the Taliban's revolution was more "nationalistic" than "Islamic" and it's violence inspired more so by jealousy rather than jihad.

I can understand exactly how David Hicks felt at the time. You see, I had been in the same situation as Hicks once before, the only difference I suppose is that I never made Al Qaeda's final cut. Unlike Western Al Qaeda recruits David Hicks and Adam Gadahn, I would have an epiphany, a sudden intuitive realization of the profound hypocrisy in the words and deeds of Islam's self-proclaimed über elite, a pharisaical hypocrisy that not only made their avowals of pious purity unconvincing, but one that made them vulnerable.

My first day at the madrassa was interesting to say the least, but I had made my decision. I was there to teach English and in return Hassan and his friends would teach me all about Islam. I'd mentioned to Hassan that I had never taught English before, but that didn't seem to matter. What mattered is that I spoke English and that the children didn't. I told Hassan that I guess I could help with the basic conversational English and so I went to a book store and picked up a some elementary school books for my first class the next day.

I arrived back at the madrassa later after the evening prayer. Just in time for dinner and I joined Hassan at one of the wooden picnic-type tables in the canteen. The students were all sitting on the vinyl-covered floor in a large room next to the canteen eating their dinner. In total there was around 30-40 students with four students to each large rounded tray consisting of a mound of rice, four hard-boiled eggs, some dried fried anchovies, boiled tapioca leaves and a sambal. The students were sitting on the floor many with their left hand positioned under their knee and then eating with their right hands. Hassan must have caught me watching this and then proceeded to explain to me that the left hand is dirty and meant for cleaning yourself. Making a mental note of this, I picked up the cup of coffee in front of me with my right hand and took a sip.

Hassan didn't realize that it wasn't the way the students were eating that had caught my eye, but rather what they were eating. This was something that I found a bit disturbing, the food served to the children hardly seemed to be sustaining. There was no meat and the amount of food that the children were given hardly seemed to be even enough to even fill their stomachs. As the students finished eating the passed by our table on their way into the dormitories.

By this time our food had arrived, a sumptuous spread of saffron-scented biryani rice, lamb and dhal curries, a large omelette of some type, fresh vegetables and several large pieces of naan. Being the new English teacher I sat at the table with Hassan and his guests from Pakistan. With the students all passing by obviously still hungry I felt embarrassed and ashamed and yet Hassan and his friend didn't seem to be phased in the least, they proceeded to help themselves. As I sat there, Hassan spoke up and asked me to join in. I looked at the table and at the people eating before me and then asked Hassan if I could kindly have a fork and spoon. Hassan frowned and then called for the cook to bring a fork and spoon over to the table. Hassan took the fork and spoon from the cook and handed it to me and as he did I seemed to find myself focusing on his other wrist, the one with the gold Rolex on it.

As I ate my meal, I found myself intrigued by the fact that Hassan and his students didn't seem to be very Malay to me, they seemed to have cultivated a predilection for everything either Arabic or Pakistani, as evidenced not only by their gross adulation of the dress and mannerisms of their "brothers" from Pakistan but by their adoption of a dualistic worldview where they see themselves as part of some cosmic, Manichaean struggle between good an evil. It wouldn't be long before I found myself being constantly critiqued on what was acceptable under Islamic jurisprudence and what was not.

to be continued...

Related Posts

Defeating Islamic Extremism 101 - Part 1

Defeating Islamic Extremism 101 - Part 2


  1. Interesting story Lao.

  2. # The Lib-Left intelligentsia, which continues to labour under the self-perpetuating myth that all of Islam is a religion of peace and only an insignificant, fringe minority is to be blamed for distorting the great faith that was born in the sterile sands of Arabia; and,

    # The so-called moderate Muslims who till now have skilfully used doublespeak to position themselves as representatives of the ummah, more so in liberal democracies. Their status is now seriously threatened by those who have no hesitation in acknowledging the true nature of Islam both as a faith and a weapon of subjugation.

    Those who believe in liberty and freedom of thought need not fear either. Being charged with Islamophobia is a small price to pay for securing our future.

  3. If you are reading is and interested in the continuation, then let me know ;-)

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