January 18, 2006

Allahu Akbar and a Better Editorial

Justine Simon 06 responds eloquently in the D today to Ilya Feoktistov's very one-sided "Allahu Akbar and a Bang".
Creative exercises such as "Allahu Akbar and a Bang" do nothing but breed the ignorance involved with the Western World's understanding of Islam. Where there is religion, there is fundamentalism. From L.K Advani, the Hindu fundamentalist who spearheaded the massacre of Muslims in Ayodhya in 1992 to Yigal Amir, the messianic Jewish fundamentalist responsible for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, it must never be forgotten that extremism spans all religion.
I can personally attest to this. This term I'm in Richmond, Indiana, my hometown and the home of Earlham College, a liberal arts college founded and still controlled by the Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers. If there is a single sect I would believe to be incapable of collapse into fundamentalism, it is the Quakers. However, this is simply not true. I have met, strange as it sounds, Quakers I would describe as fundamentalists. Now I certainly am not trying to demean the entire religion or even make a generalization about its members; I just want to say that no religion is immune to fundamentalism. No group that focuses on something as important as the metaphysical aspects of life is going to be free of exclusivist practices and attitudes, of fanatics, of harmful pride.

Also, check out Thomas Cormen's explanation of the structure and improvement of the Writing Program.

Finally, I've been meaning to link to a few different posts of theirs, but keep forgetting. The Agenda Gap has been doing a great job of late covering national politics and legal issues.


  1. Anonymous11:39 PM


    You read the D!

    You met some Quakers!

    Good job!

    I'd call you a hack, except you don't get paid.

  2. Wow!

    You read my post!

    You left a comment!

    Good job!

    But that's the best you got?



  4. Chomsky1:41 PM

    What do you make of this?
    It's on a slightly different point, but still relevant, I submit.

    I think Feoktistov's reply might be that simply because every religion has its violent fundamentalists does not mean that that the problem within each is equivalent. It's not racism or bigotry to try to examine the causes and structure of Islamic fundamentalism, nor after doing so is it racist or bigoted to conclude that Islamic fundamentalism is morally reprehensible and in no sense "justified" by political or social conditions. Justine Simon makes some valid points in rebuttal, but I don't think that the debate has a clear winner.

    connor, if you don't have anything at all to say, shut your fucking piehole.

  5. chomsky, I definitely would say that the debate has not been decided, and neither did Ms. Simon convince me that the problems of Islamic fundamentalism shouldn't be treated differently from those of other religions. I guess I just meant that her op-ed actually had some facts in it, whereas Feoktistov's op-ed, while it could be an accurate depiction of an actual event, utilized fiction in a sensationalistic fashion, which I think is beneath a Dartmouth student. The facts are sobering enough; we don't need an example of Feoktistov's rhetorical flair.

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