This morning’s Buddhist speaker on Thought For the Day, Vishvapani, sounded like a self-hating Buddhist. I’m using that term loosely, as one does. Another way of putting it is that he’s a kind of “AsaBuddhist” if you know what I mean.
“The qualities Buddhists uphold, such as loving kindness, must extend to everyone, including minorities”
He was, of course talking about Myanmar (bad Buddhists) and the Rohingya. He wasn’t exactly dissociating “Burmese Buddhism” from true Buddhism, but he dearly dislikes ‘what-they-are-doing’ to the Muslims of Myanmar, the Rohingya.
|A little long-winded|
I’m sure James Naughtie would have thoroughly approved of that sentiment, because he too chooses to turn a blind eye to the political, supremacist aspect of Islam, not to mention its inherent Judeophobia. Well, he’s only following the general BBC consensus on that.
Alexander Gauland from the Alternatif fur Deutschland party is expected to win a seat in the Bundestag in the upcoming election, and James Naughtie’s interview with him this morning was quite good as it happens. It proves one thing, which is that if you ease off a bit on the aggressive and overly adversarial approach, you get a better interview. Naughtie did indeed give the man space to make his case, which made a nice change.
The listeners who agree with Herr Gauland would have been pleased with the way he dealt with the somewhat predictable questions that Naughtie put to him, while the others, arguably the majority, who might regard his party as Islamophobic and far-right (in the disparaging interpretation of the term) ought to have been delighted that he was given enough rope with which to hang himself, and they may feel he was hoist by his own Islamophobia.
I thought the outcome was enlightening, therefore ultimately successful as interviews go. That’s the way to do it, as Mr. Punch might say. However, there was little doubt as to where James Naughtie was 'coming from'. Somewhere blinkered.
“Who has to be sent back?” asked Naughtie - a passive-aggressive question if ever there was one.
“But most ordinary Muslims in this country want to be part of a functioning society” asserted Naughtie, “to practice their own religion freely, something which you say is compatible with basic law. They don’t want to pursue Jihad against Germany, most of the five million….do they?” In other words, he made the fashionable “Not all Muslims are Terrorists” manoeuvre.
For an answer Herr Gauland referenced the Turkish community. Despite having resided in Germany for years, they remain a ‘community within a community’ and still steadfastly support the increasingly Islamising Erdogan and have not really integrated into German society.
Then came the killer question: (a little long-winded, but you know what Naughtie’s like)
“But you know that for anyone looking in from outside, and indeed for many people in this country, there is a question that is raised, and it’s this: what is the difference between talking about Muslims in Germany, in the terms that you just have, and the way that people talked about the Jews in the 1930s?”
Obviously, any answer that might be given to such a question would be inadequate because the entire premise of the question was so misguided. There are simply too many differences between the Muslims in Germany and the Jews in the 1930s to enumerate them comprehensively and sufficiently succinctly to squeeze them all into a time-constrained Today Programme interview. Here’s the answer that Alexander Gauland actually came up with.
“That is totally different because the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis because of their race, we don’t discuss the race - the Jewish people who were persecuted by the Nazis were Germans since generations; look at some person like Walther Rathenau a famous foreign minister who was murdered here nearby,- he was integrated in the German society and the Nazis said, well, he is not a German, he is a Jew. That’s not (the same as) my problem.”
So, not a bad answer, but of course it doesn’t tackle another aspect of the dissimilarity between Muslims and Jews. The one that touches on the false allegation that ‘Muslims are the new Jews’.
Of course the Muslims are not the new Jews at all. The Muslims share the 'oldest hatred' with the Nazis, so if the Muslims are the ‘new’ anything, it’s the new Nazis.
If the current anti-Muslim sentiment is in any way reminiscent of the propaganda against the Jews between the wars, it is only in a way that is completely superficial. It is a big mistake to be distracted by the superficial resemblance between growing anti-Muslim sentiment and the propaganda that vilified the Jews to such an extent that persuaded 'ordinary' Germans that the Nazis were justified in exterminating an entire race.
World-wide terrorism, and the violence throughout the Muslim world can be cited to justify anti-Islam sentiment, but to argue “Jewish equivalence” by citing “what Israel is doing to the Palestinians” and suggesting that that is the opposite side of a nasty coin is to ignore the terrorism and violence emanating from Islam, which necessitates the defensive measures taken by Israel that left-leaning Islam-apologists regard as obnoxious.
Logic says that the people who disseminate that particular comparison view Judaism as a supremacist ideology as in, say, ‘the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’ and I sincerely hope that doesn’t apply to James Naughtie If it does, maybe he could devote an episode of his ‘meet the author’ series to it, if he could find the author.
Another long-winded, passive aggressive, Naughtie type question effectively asked “how could you be happy, unsettling people who have lived in Germany for years, and dividing the country?”
“German society IS divided,” came the reply. “We have parallel societies, and we don’t want to enlarge the situation as long as Islam is not reformed, as, let’s say, the Catholic Church or the Protestant Church or the Anglican Church.
“None of the mainstream parties will work with you”
“No. But we don’t want to work with them”
There was another interesting item on the Today Programme, a two-parter actually, to do with science, which asked how much voice the BBC should give to minority opinions. They concluded that no matter what evidence or ‘truth’ was brought forth, people still ended up with the opinions that they set out with.
So, not much point in me writing this piece then. I knew that.