May 18, 2017

THE REFORMATION IS LED BY THE ANGLOSPHERE:

Historian Tom Holland's film goes to the Islamic roots of ISIS (Jennifer Taylor, May 17, 2017, Providence)

On Wednesday night, historian Tom Holland--leading writer on the ancient world and author of no less than five award-winning civilizational epics--sticks his neck on the line.

He has made a film for Channel 4 TV in Britain--sadly not available yet in the US--about the Islamic State called Isis: The Origins of Violence that even he admits was "brave".

In it he goes back to Sinjar in northern Iraq, the scene of genocide against the Yazidi people, escorted by a former SAS security advisor, and gets to within one mile of where ISIS fighters are based.

Fearful of abduction and standing by a mass grave of women considered too old to enslave, he evacuates the contents of his stomach. You don't see that bit. Too gross.

But later he retches again in the stinking rubble, and the camera deliberately lingers on his misery.

Tormented by the unreality of a genocide sanctioned by a holy text but ignored by the West's liberal intelligentsia, he believes only a changed sensibility will result in a desperately needed and more effective foreign policy.

And he believes that message is so urgent, only a graphic film can do justice to it. [...]

Holland travels to Jordan to speak to a leading Salafi who directly cites, to camera, the Qur'anic justification for the actions of ISIS.

"It had never crossed my mind that I would witness in the lands occupied by the Assyrians and the Romans, a campaign in which men were being crucified and women enslaved", says Holland.

Yet the sanction for such behavior is in the Qur'an and being actualized as we live.

Ideology and terror combined to make other empires great, says the author of Persian Fire and Rubicon. And it also made the Islamic State great.

To defeat the group, you must defeat the ideology--as the new religion of Christianity eventually defeated the brute imperialism of Rome. [...]


Holland insists the West must be more robust "at every level" in its interrogation of what's really at stake, in the same way people in Europe were obliged to interrogate nationalism and Darwinism after Nazism, and in the way that Christianity interrogated how the Gospels had fostered anti-Semitism.

"What's needed is acknowledging the problem, at every level. I am just astonished there's not more of an interrogation of that by Muslims predominantly. It's their faith that is spattered with blood."

Holland's articulacy has won him a huge following and many awards, and in 2015 he was included among the Sunday Times' 100 Most Influential People. Does he not fear he will be branded in some way for so negative a portrayal of Islam?

"Well it's not illiberal to object to ideological genocide," he says.

He received death threats after his first film Islam: The Untold Story, also screened by Channel 4. Is he worried about that?

"ISIS is Islamic which doesn't mean they embody Islam. Islam is just a name we give to the vast agglomeration of perspectives that go by that name.

"You are morally obliged to ask, well, what's within that tradition that has encouraged this rather than just burying your head in the sand and saying it has nothing to do with it whatsoever."

It is something Europeans should be peculiarly sensitive to. European civilization after all gave us Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Locke, as well as imperialism and the Holocaust.

"It's part of the continuum, but a measure of self-criticism is incumbent on a people whose culture has resulted in such crimes."

Posted by at May 18, 2017 6:10 AM

  

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