Are Islamists flying with us to Mars?

islamists on mars muslim
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When we look at it closely the whole discourse with Islam, especially with its conservative and Islamic representatives can be brought down to this question: ‘Damn, are you going with us to Mars, or not?’

Where does it come from? If I was to say, that I am not considered the most sensitive person among my friends, it would be an euphemism. But even my eyes get wet on some occasions, and one of those was, surprisingly, watching a film about planning a journey to Mars. All this expansion of humanity into space, amazing views of Earth and pictures from ‘Curiosity’ rover.

 

That week I have also been reading Grzegorz Lindenberg’s forecasts concerning technological progress, mainly in genetics and artificial intelligence. I was writing a short article about a Turkish-American scientist, who was at that time working at NASA’s on their Mars mission, examining the effects of cosmic radiation on astronauts.

 

Sadly, he will not finish his work, as the Islamic Turkish dictator Erdogan has had him imprisoned, allegedly for terrorism, but in reality for having a bank account in a bank owned by Fetullah Gulen, accused of putsch in 2016, as well as for attending one of his schools. Also, for the past couple of weeks I have been exploring the book by Piotr I. Kalwas and Jakub Winiarski ‘Archipelag islam’ (‘Islam Archipelago’), which can be summarised as follows: ‘Islam’s fear of modernity’.

 

And, to use an euphemism again, it is really irritating, that in times of exploration of space, of advanced robotics and genetics, we need to discuss yet again, what did the Prophet mean, when passing on the God’s words. To split hairs on the meaning of Jihad and think, what really stands behind the statement that ‘men are above women’. To debate, which Hadith should be considered valid, and in case of which the meaning has been lost somewhere on the way etc.

 

I agree, also in Europe there are people, who are not tolerant, who try to impose their morality on others, who try to elevate religion above reasoning. They do exist. It is true. It is also true that we do not need more of them.

 

What the hell do we need all that for? This dialogue with people coming into Europe should look completely differently. When we sit together, we first take a look at what everybody brings into the situation. Representatives of Islam quite often speak of religious revelation, which they pass on. About being a civilisation of morality (a direct quote from Ahmed El-Tajeba, The Great Imam of Al-Azhar). For Islam supporters it is in fact Islam, that is the solution.

 

Is it even important to us? We do not really think of ourselves as immoral, rotten at the core and so on. Besides, as history shows and some of us even remember, cliches about morality were often used by the ruling authorities to stifle freedom. Ironically, the same al-Tajeb reminds us about the threat of morality imposed and controlled by the government, while simultaneously preaching that the death penalty for apostasy is a good solution for maintaining social peace and morality.

 

Sure, maybe some teenagers live quite a promiscuous life, maybe they watch too many mind-numbing TV programms, maybe they are only interested in endless consumption – but this is the price of freedom, which we accept, because we can see its benefits. Especially, if we know that many women in the countries of Islam are not that much passionate about morality understood as obligation to cover their heads, and here we accept this custom as a sort of a side note. It also does not protect women from sexual abuse – despite of what we are constantly being told. Well, thanks for that then, what else?

 

Commanded by God, perfect organisation of community life? Even if it was good at a certain time, we still choose to believe in dynamic systems; changing, as the times change; open, not closed. Here law made by people fits better than divinely revealed law, which can only be interpreted by scholars according to very specific rules. Moreover, we respect people of other faiths and believe, that they have the same rights as we have – because being a citizen, not a believer, is the basis of relationship between an individual and the state.

 

Had we agreed on yours – dear Islamists – legal proposals, we would have been acting against a multicultural community, understood as peaceful coexistence of people from different cultures, under the same, commonly established law. We also have a different understanding of the role of a woman, as a person fully equal to a man, both in rights and obligations, not only towards God. This way of thinking is another element pushing our civilization forward.

 

What else?

 

islamists on mars

 

The Islamic civilization was once superior to European and made many breakthroughs in science. That is great, we acknowledge that part of its knowledge Europe took from science centres in the Islamic world. But wait a second, why did that Islamic world stop? Why did it not go any further? It was way before colonialism or the conquest of Alhambra. Did that world not negate primacy of mind in discussion on revelation? Did Maimonides not have to flee from Cordoba? Were the representatives of rational Islam not deemed heretics?

 

Yes, today again Muslims join Western scientists and contribute to progress, however, they do not work in science centres in Islamic countries. Somehow they usually work somewhere in the West, according to the Western idea of superiority of reasoning above spiritual revelation. As for example the aforementioned Turkish employee of NASA.

 

I agree, also in Europe there are people, who are not tolerant, who try to impose their morality on others, who try to elevate religion above reasoning. They do exist. It is true. It is also true that we do not need more of them.

 

So, if the Islamic civilization has nothing to offer, that would be of any interest to the Western culture, what can be done?

 

islamists on mars space islam muslim jihad

 

It is obvious, that we are open. Open to cooperation, to contributing to advancement of civilization, to mutual welfare. When we do not have any better ideas, it is obvious that we try means that proved to have worked well in the past. That is – reason above religion, Man’s law before God’s law, equality of sexes, equality of citizens before one law, morality as a private matter and a private code of conduct and not an institutionalized system of prohibitions and requirements.

 

In this situation, whoever wants to join us on our journey to Mars, has to loose the excess luggage. And if not, if the fascination by the past, the golden age that had passed long ago, is so strong, that someone is not interested in adventures lying in front of humanity, then maybe it is time for those people to become honest and turn down all the advantages of human progress?

 

At least we are not obliged to care, if someone is actually not making any use of those advantages, nor do we have to open our countries to such people. We are not obliged to take care of people, who openly reject our biggest accomplishments.

 

Jan Wójcik

The Polish original: Czy islamiści lecą z nami na Marsa?

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