The Fractured Nation Interviews
Muhammad Abdullah Domeini
Democracy, Liberty and Western Art as Blasphemies
Johnny: [sighing] I understand, and thank you for understanding. I am sooo relieved. As I was saying, unfortunately, I don't have a degree in religious studies so I don’t know what to believe. Perhaps you could enlighten me and our viewers on why the so-called Greco-Roman Civilization, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment were all, in your opinion, big mistakes.
Muhammad: Again, it is not an opinion, it is a fact. Take the Greeks’ poisoned gift of democracy. If Allah, The Fashioner of Forms, had wanted the masses to make decisions, He would not have given us the prophets, the mullahs, the imams, thousands of holy men to instruct the faithful about what Allah, The Subtle One, expects of them. Greco-Roman philosophy! If Allah, The All-Embracing, The All-Knowing, had wanted the masses to question his creation, He would not have given us the Koran. As to liberty being the most precious possession? One of the meanings of Islam in Arabic is to surrender your will to God, so the Greek’s definition of liberty is so much nonsense.
Muhammad: The Western concept of godless liberty is alien to Islam. In Islam, there is no liberty except for the liberating experience that comes from living according to the dictates of the Koran and by the sayings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad, the peace and blessings of God be upon him.
Johnny: What about ethics and morality that come from within?
Muhammad: If you believe that then there is no hope for you, no hope for you at all. Hell is definitely your final destination. If there is one idea that illustrates the depth of depravity and lack of scholarship of the Greek philosophers, it is this idea. This abhorrent idea that ethics and morality does not have to be god-inspired; that you can be ethical and moral and not believe in God. One of the Prophet’s, the peace and blessings of God be upon him, greatest contributions to civilization was to remind us that morality is what Allah, The King, The Sovereign, says it is. The Prophet, the peace and blessings of God be upon him, exposed the shallowness of Greek thinking for what it was. Imagine a philosophy that claims that humans have rights simply because they are human beings – that they have human rights. The Prophet, the peace and blessings of God be upon him, reminded us that we have “no rights” except those that Allah, The Generous One, is willing to grant us.
Johnny: What about the Enlightenment, the philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to question accepted doctrines and traditions?
Muhammad: You call ‘enlightened’ a movement that promoted so many misguided, so-called humanitarian reforms. This wicked Enlightenment philosophy was an invitation to question dogma, something the Prophet Muhammad, the peace and blessings of God be upon him, would have considered blasphemy, an affront to Allah, The Lord Of Majesty and Bounty. This shallow philosophical movement, like others that came before and others that would follow, advanced notions that were not that much different from those put forward by these same second-rate Greek philosophers and their wrong-headed notion of human rights .
Johnny: Surely the Renaissance, which marked the end of the Catholic Church’s dominance in Europe, allowing for a flowering, a renaissance of the arts and sciences was a good thing?
Muhammad: The Renaissance, what a foolish mistake. Islam forbids all realistic representations of people or animals. The Prophet, the peace and blessings of God be upon him, said that on the Day of Judgement, God will command people to put life into what they have fashioned. They won’t be able to do so and God will have a good laugh before condemning them to an eternity in His Hell for disobeying Him. The Renaissance encouraged all those painters and sculptors to create those graven images expressly forbidden by Allah, The Preventer. They even invented perspective to make those images stand out, adding insult to blasphemy. Need I say more?
Johnny: It’s not that I disagree with you, but I have difficulty imagining a world without Michelangelo and his David; the Mona Lisa of Leonardo de Vinci; the Greeks statues celebrating the beauty of Venus and athletes of ancient Greece; the figures carved into stone in remembrance of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, not to mention the lion with the human face – the Sphinx; the statues and art of the Roman Empire; the paintings on the cave walls at Lascaux. I have difficulty imagining a world whose art is confined to geometric art combining circles, lines, squares, triangles, and so on as to avoid any representation, any resemblance, no matter how remote, to the human or animal form.
Muhammad: What you call the geometric art form is the only type of art that Allah, The Fashioner of Forms approves of therefore it is the only type of art that is to be allowed. All other form of decadent art must be ruthlessly eradicated as was done by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Johnny: Yes, the almost two-thousand-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas.
Muhammad: The Western press completely misinterpreted the action of the Taliban. Islam demands the destruction of idols or graven images only if there are no worshippers of these blasphemies close by. They were no Buddhist worshippers in the vicinity of the statues, therefore the Taliban were not only in their right; it was their duty, their sacred duty to destroy them. Any representation of the human and animal form will not be obliterated as long as there are people within the vicinity who revere these blasphemies. Only when Islam is triumphant worldwide, when no one will have any objections–we will all be Muslims–will we see the systematic obliteration of these ignominious creations of depraved minds.
Johnny: Something to look forward to. You have given me, and I’m sure a lot of our viewers, a new perspective on the roots of Western decadence. Your explanations have also given me a new appreciation of religious studies; they are not a waste of time. I can see now that if I took time to learn about God, it would be time divinely spent – especially for a television host. A degree in theology would have been much more appropriate than a degree about some dead, decadent, soon-to-be-forgotten culture.
Muhammad: [smiling appreciatively] There may be hope for you yet.
Johnny: I hope so. Getting back to why I selected the poem that I did, a selection that I now deeply regret, as an introduction to our second program in our five-part series on the demise of Canada ten years ago this week; it was because, in the final days that marked what historians commonly described as The Fracture, there was a lot of sectarian violence. I wrongly believed that the poem The Second Coming was a good way of introducing the topic of sectarian violence since it is about a world in turmoil with the eminent return of Jesus Christ.
Muhammad: It was not the coming of Jesus Christ that I found objectionable; it was the Christian poet and his Christian poem.
Johnny: I recognize that now. I also, after further reflection, recognize that I was wrong, not only because it was an insult to my Muslim guest and to my Muslim viewers, but because the sectarian violence, which caused many horrible deaths, was nowhere near the level suggested in Yeats’ poem. “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed” is a bit much.
Muhammad: Not only were you wrong in using a Christian poem when your guest is a Muslim, but you would also be wrong if you are insinuating that Muslims were responsible for the violence.
Johnny: I was not. Everyone knows that it was not a Muslim who fired the first shot, and that it was a Muslim who was the first victim of the violence.
Muhammad: We were just defending ourselves. We were just doing what Allah demands of any good Muslim.