Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Douglas Murray: Facing Up to the Fanatics

After the Munk Debate, I also was thinking about how some in the audience changed their mind about the resolution, and that caused me momentary optimism.

Douglas Murray has been thinking about the same thing: 

"We don’t study Nazism without studying the teachings, writings and beliefs of Hitler, she pointed out. We don’t teach our children about Communism without reference to the writings of Karl Marx. Likewise, she stressed, you cannot understand Islam or Islamism without looking at the teachings, behaviour and writings of Muhammad. Including the bad bits. Admittedly the venue was once again very well guarded, but nobody stood up and started screaming. Here was an actual discussion. There are problems in the tradition and rather than skirt around them or pretend they are not there, it is better for everyone — Muslims and non-Muslims — to face up to them."

"Afterwards I found myself reflecting on how people’s minds change. It never does happen just there and then, with someone saying, “Yes — I see, I was quite wrong and you’ve changed my mind.” But over time the bits of your own argument that have become unsupportable simply crumble away, usually without you even acknowledging it."

"But one thing of which I am quite certain is that in order to stand any chance of change or progress on the subject of Islam, the facts and opinions have to be confronted frankly. Our decent desire to be polite, combined with our indecent concessions to fear, make the possibility of reform less likely. But for one night at least one saw the fruits of progress in action."