I’ve lifted this from yesterday’s ephemera because – well, because it’s so shameless and really too good to miss. Behold the wisdom of the Saudi cleric, Muhammad al-Munajid, aired on Al-Majd TV, March 30, 2008.
If you missed the money quote, here it is.
The problem is that they want to open a debate on whether Islam is true or not, and on whether Judaism and Christianity are false or not. In other words, they want to open up everything for debate. Now they want to open up all issues for debate. That’s it. It begins with freedom of thought, it continues with freedom of speech, and it ends up with freedom of belief. So where's the conspiracy? They say: Let’s have freedom of thought in Islam... They say: I think, therefore I want to express my thoughts. I want to express myself, I want to talk and say, for example, that there are loopholes in Islam, or that Christianity is the truth. Then they will talk about freedom of belief, and say that anyone is entitled to believe in whatever he wants... If you want to become an apostate – go ahead. Fancy Buddhism? Leave Islam, and join Buddhism. No problem. That’s what freedom of belief is all about. They want freedom of everything. What they want is very dangerous.
I’m almost tempted to admire the frankness. The chutzpah, if you will. But if such things are a dangerous “conspiracy,” an obvious question springs to mind. Dangerous for whom? What’s most interesting about the extract above, and the worldview it illustrates, is that al-Munajid doesn’t seem terribly concerned with the numinous per se, or even with an erratic and spiteful deity named Allah; instead the object of worship is Islam itself – the institution, the power, the license to control.
There’s more, of course. Al-Munajid also shares his insight regarding the use of coloured underwear and how to urinate piously.